Saturday, September 08, 2007

Off to IKEA-Land

Since my last desk fell apart dreadfully almost as soon as Travis and I began to move it out of its original resting place in my previous Pittsburgh bedroom, and since John (who was the last of several lucky people to assist me in the moving-out process) had assured me that there was no possible way of resurrecting it, there was no desk awaiting me in the storage unit when I returned.
This has been something of a problem, as while I can use my laptop without a desk, my printer is a behemoth that requires a sturdy surface, and for that matter I would like to get the desktop computer set up again.
The dismembered desk came from IKEA, so I was not particularly anxious to return to that retailer to find a new one. Much of their furniture is made of particle-board, which is extraordinarily heavy and has very little strength. The desk had been almost impossible for me to put together by myself in the first place due to its design, and took me several hours despite the fact that I'm pretty good with hammers, nails, screws, and glue.
At the same time, finding a good desk at Goodwill or a garage sale is not easy. I am sure that many wonderful desks are available when one is not looking for any such thing, but I certainly did not find one last time I went looking.
My Sibling assured me, however, that not all IKEA furniture is junk and that he has been very pleased with most of his purchases. He indicated that at least some of their wares are solid wood and therefore likely to hold a screw under stress.
Since I was not finding anything better or cheaper, I gave in and headed for IKEA-land early this morning after some adventures on the home front involving bookcases, laundry, and other heavy kinds of things.
My general attitude about going to IKEA is that it is a hellish sort of expedition that leaves the explorer drained, exhausted, and impatient. By this I do not mean to suggest that there is nothing enjoyable about it; the fact that it is kind of fun to look at their displays only makes the problem more insidious.
First one goes through the display areas, which tempt one with all sorts of ways of improving the home one does not actually live in. (And, periodically, makes one reel with horror at certain of the more brightly colored and boldly patterned designs.) IKEA is very adept at coming up with endless ways of handling storage, assuming the customer has a place to put more bookcases, wardrobes, cupboards, and other storage units. If one is in a position to devote entire walls to such things, ah well, many wonderful things can be done. Some of us, of course, live in small apartments that do not have any space for added kitchen or bathroom storage (no matter how much we might wish for it), and that do not have enough wall space for much more furniture than we already possess. As far as I could tell before leaving home, I had enough space for a desk in the bedroom and enough space in the living room to consider getting an end table and/or a lamp to go next to the couch. My parents were eager to have me look at wardrobe units since I had mentioned that my closets do not favor hanging up anything longer than the average shirt, but I pointed out that it would not be very decorative to keep a wardrobe in the center of the living room floor, although I suppose it would be more attractive than the cardboard garment box that is currently lording it over all the shorter boxes presently residing there.
I did find a solid pine desk and a potentially attractive end table, along with various inexpensive candles, a corkscrew, and miscellaneous other items that cost a collective pretty penny. As usual, by the time I left, I was anxious never to return, since if I really wanted to get sore feet and spend lots of money, it would be much more fun to go to a museum and visit its gift shop (I noticed that the National Gallery gift shop has a particularly fine selection of temptations this fall).
I will now gather up the remaining boxes of books mailed from Prague that are sitting on my library carrel, proceed on home, and no doubt spend the rest of the day putting together my new furniture in the very limited space available to me. Rabbits will probably arrive to inquire what I am doing and will then wisely decide that it would be well to retreat to a safe spot under a chair where fewer things might fall and hit them.

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Blogger Kristen said...

I agree with your brother--not all IKEA stuff is total crap. I'm very fond of my desk arrangment--all of which came from IKEA. I bought a couple of thier butcher block style table tops and some easel legs. Very sturdy. I try to stay away from IKEA only because I can never go in there without spending more than I intended.

September 09, 2007 12:33 AM  

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