The renovation of our basement has been an ongoing saga now for almost a year. It began with a commitment to replace the carpet and ended up with a full-on renovation, including replacing the ceiling tiles (when Rob received an unexpected shower of mouse pooh), plastering, building walls and then, finally, in a fit of reno madness, throwing out all our old furniture. This meant that, for the last four months, the only way to admire our handiwork was to sit at the foot of the basement stairs and gaze out into the vast and empty expanse as there is not a stick of furniture down there. In fact, the snake (Sammy), has had the entire space all to himself.
So this Saturday we bit the bullet, I curbed my pathological meanness (any purchase over $1000 scares the b’jeesus out of me, and I have nightmares about going bankrupt for weeks), and we picked a sofa. It is a small, stylish, dark brown leather number and we bought it (despite me vowing never to go there again) from Ikea.
I had just about stopped hyperventilating when we approached the desk in the middle of the showroom floor where you order your chosen ‘piece’. In order to catch the attention of the young woman in the blue and yellow uniform there we had to do a lot of shuffling and smiling expectantly, but she eventually prised the phone away from her ear and promised her friend she’d call her back later. She had just started filling out the form with our order when the telephone on her desk rang once more. No problem, she picks it up and without any reservation, or pretense that it was a work related call, said ‘oh, hi Mum!’. I thought she was going to explain to her Mum that she was just with a customer and that she’d call her back later. But she didn’t – she carried on having a lovely telephone conversation, looking up every so often to mouth, ‘telephone number?’, ‘address?’, at us as she completed the form, all the while nodding and saying ‘umhmm’ and ‘oh, that’s nice’ to her Mum.
Now, if I was buying a candle or a fork or something, I wouldn’t have been so bothered, but we weren’t, we were making a once (possibly, twice) in a lifetime purchase!! Rob, sensing that this is the type of thing that boils my blood, delicately took hold of my hand and lead me away, steaming, to the light section where he tried to distract me with shiny things. Going to Ikea is a bit like drinking too much. As soon as you’ve done it you vow that there will never, ever, be a next time….