Sunday, January 22, 2012

Furniture overload

Today was one of those dreaded days where chores were in order, more specifically furniture shopping chores. Our half container with all our belongings arrives on Thursday, which means that we have to be ready to receive furniture and boxes full of clothes and books, and somehow make it all fit into our new minimalistic apartment, half the size of the condo we had in California. One slight problem is that we never really had any good bookcases or shelves in California, instead we kept all of our work books (as well as for some odd reason my copy of Anna Karenina) in our offices. The remaining few private books were piled into a small cheap (temporary, yet used for 4 years) bookcase in Zoe's room. Here in Stockholm, both Mark and I, work in open plan offices with very limited book storage. Since we did not ship the so-called temporary bookcase, the books that arrive on Thursday are therefore doomed to either  1. lie in piles on the floor, 2. be stored in boxes in the basement or 3. be unpacked into a brand-new set of lovely book cases that we have bought here in Stockholm. After thorough research, this designer book case is my favorite (the multicolored one) and Mark agrees. Except we do not have 8000 skr ($1200) for a book case at the moment. We barely have money to pay Zoe's daycare. Option 3 is therefore out. Instead were are looking closer at option 2, which brings me on to the trip of today. We are probably going to have to store them in boxes until we can afford a decent book case, but we have no storage space in the apartment apart from one large closet that barely keeps our current clothes. We therefore needed supe-cheap shelves that can go into our basement storage unit, a small narrow space that comes with our apartment (Swedish apartments are great about storage space, most gets at least one unit, all heated and dry so you can store anything). Where to go for shelves? Ikea.

Now I don't dislike Ikea, in fact I grew up with mostly Ikea furniture, but as an adult I have tried to limit my Ikea index (the percentage of Ikea furniture in one's apartment), emphasizing instead longer lasting distinct designer furniture and I am proud to say that our place in California had a very low index. In fact we are only shipping three Ikea items, two of them by mistake (two very cheap side tables that I never meant to have the movers pack but suddenly fund wrapped up and on top of the sofa inside the container), the last one being Mark's beloved arm chair. This doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a trip to Ikea and there are always accessories that are useful to get such as curtains, spatulas and pillows. But moreover, Zoe had not been to Ikea since she could walk and knowing her love for new homes (she would squeal from joy like a home stylist on caffein each time we went into a new apartment when we were house hunting), I thought this was a great place for a family trip. I even told Zoe happily that she was going to an indoor playground and that there would be meatballs (a favorite dish of hers).

She was overly excited. This is the best place we have ever taken her. Not only were there escalators that she could go on up and down, up and down (holding Mark's hand), shopping carts that she could ride ("look Zoe, this is like when we go flying", I found myself saying, realizing that most kids would be more familiar with supermarket carts but if we ever took a cart in the US, I had Zoe in a wrap or carrier. These days we only use baskets). There were also kids tables and chairs all over and she was equally thrilled whenever she saw one more. Her excitement probably got amplified by the half cup of coffee she managed to down as I let her taste mine (?!?) in the cafeteria but it was all cheer love of the situation and she was easy to distract if we had to continue and for example leave her "new" bed behind (yep, she found a toddler bed and lay down to relax for a moment, what kind of kid does that?).

We managed to spend 4 hours there to buy two book cases and a stool. We were looking for other things but in the end we were not able to make such big decisions (agreements)) as to buy a bookcase for the living room when we (I) really want the Woody one. The only crying moment was when Zoe had to be put back in her stroller and rolled out into the snow where we had to wait 15 minutes for the bus. It was sweetened a bit by chocolate cookies that I had bought in the food shop and generously handed her as she picked out the chocolate heart in the middle. Hopefully, Zoe is now prepared for all the furniture that will appear in our otherwise sparingly equipped apartment on Thursday.

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