Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I have no one to blame but myself

One of my resolutions this year was to get out of the house and actually DO the things I talk about doing. That’s how I ended up at the UT astronomy building with five kids and thousands of strangers. It’s how I got talked into taking everyone to the waterpark from hell and to fireworks on the 4th. I’m tired of saying, “I can’t do that because I’d have to take all four kids.” If I wait for a time when I don’t have to take all four kids, I’ll never go anywhere. Besides, they need to learn how to behave in public.

In that spirit, I decided to take every one to IKEA yesterday. I figured it would make a good field trip. While I rallied the troops, B put together a shopping list of bookcases and more bookcases and more bookcases (seriously, we got 5), an entertainment center, a coffee table and other storage stuff. I added a few random items of my own.

On the drive to IKEA, I vowed to just get into the zen of the experience and take things slowly and not freak out when the kids ran off in four different directions or jumped on the furniture. And it all went beautifully. Each kid got to pick out a $.50 stuffed animal, I got some office supplies and a new garbage can. Campbell got a rug for his room that has roads and towns all over it. We stopped at the café and had a nice lunch.

IKEA lunch

Campbell absolutely, positively did NOT want his picture taken.

The closer we got to the end of the store, the crazier things got, though. Ella and Lily both begged and pleaded to get shoots of bamboo and vases. I finally gave in, which I still regret. Ella’s sole focus for the rest of the trip was making sure nothing happened to that damn piece of bamboo. I threatened to throw it in the trash at one point because she refused to push the shopping cart – “But I don’t have any safe place to put my bamboo!”

I got so many boxes of bookshelves and coffee tables that it took two flat bed carts to load everything. We were quite the sight going through the warehouse, a little train of catastrophe waiting to happen. As I was checking product ID numbers and wrestling boxes on to carts, the kids discovered that they could run underneath and behind all the shelving and I couldn’t get to them. They also realized they could climb on all the boxes. I kept hissing vague threats about what I would do if they didn’tstopitrightnowandgetbackoverhere.

IKEA waiting

That’s all our stuff.

Ella eventually kept the little kids entertained by building them a fort out of the boxes on one of the carts. Campbell and Elizabeth spent the rest of the expedition hiding in the fort and giggling wildly.

IKEA fort

The store’s safety officer was probably having a fit.

We finally lugged everything to checkout to discover long, long lines. People around us cringed when they saw how much stuff I had. One woman managed to sneak in line in front of me. I was about to protest, but she was buying two picture frames, and I would have let her go before me anyway.

The poor cashier looked to be about 18, and when he saw my carts, he muttered, “Oh dear God” under his breath. We were the family that everyone else in the store HATES. First, the cashier discovered that instead of boxes 1, 2, and 3 for the TV stand, I had grabbed boxes 2, 3, and 3. So he had to call a staff member to come get the extra box number 3 and swap it out for box number 1. Then he pulled out the new garbage can I had picked up, and we discovered that somewhere in the store, I had lost the lid. It was probably when Lily crashed into a shelf and everything fell out of the cart and wiped out an entire display.

The people behind us started sharpening pitchforks.

We finally got everything sorted and paid for, or so I thought. That’s when Ella realized that Elizabeth was clutching her $.50 stuffed snake and I hadn’t paid for it. I think the cashier was on the verge of tears. He just wanted us to go away already. Since there was no way we were going to be able to leave the store without that damn snake, I pulled $.53 out of my wallet and handed it to the cashier.

After a nice staff member named Joe returned with our missing box number 1, I headed for the exit, unsure of just how, exactly, I was going to manage to get everything in the car. Fortunately, another nice young staff member saw the look of desperation in my eyes and took over. If he hadn’t, I might have ended up on the sidewalk surrounded by kids and boxes, crying.

IKEA final

Waiting for Joe and our last box.

To fit everything, I had to fold down the third row of the Suburban along with one seat of the second row. We managed to get all the boxes loaded and then wedged our other purchases in where ever we could find a spot. Campbell, Elizabeth and Lily ended up crammed together into two seats in the second row, which meant the whole trip home was a chorus of “He’s touching me!” “She’s leaning on me!” “Tell her to get her head off me!” To make things even better, we hit MoPac at 5:00 rush hour in the rain.

I spent the trip clutching the steering wheel, praying we wouldn’t get stopped by a cop, and yelling, “Stop touching your sister!” at whoever was whining the most in the back seat.

But we made it home safely, Ella’s bamboo shoot included, and we’ll be spending the rest of the week building bookcases. B put the first one together last night. Elizabeth was his “helper,” and  after he gave her a list of tools he would need for the project, she thought for a second and added, “And you need to call someone else.” I nearly fell over laughing. He wasn’t as amused.

The kicker is that I need to return two items and exchange another, which means I have to go back to IKEA, probably with all four kids in tow.


Ann in NJ said...

Yes,the Ikea problem is like the Costco problem. It's easy to keep shopping without thinking about how it's all going to fit in the car.

But you're right to take the kids out. The more you do trips like this? The more they'll learn to behave. We took our oldest every where, from a very young age. Not so much by the time we got to the third one - his manners in public aren't nearly so good as the first. We're working on it.

Our Ikea has a ball room for the little ones so you can at least shop the show floor in peace. My kids loved it!

anymommy said...

Oh, I know this problem so well. If I wait until I can run out without the kids nothing every happens, if I take them. Well. This sums it up beautifully.

ckh said...

You are the bravest woman I know. I have two and I barely want to take them anywhere together.