My first visit to IKEA was on a trip to Chicago to see my brother and his family. I was stunned. And happy. And greedy. I'll never forget lugging oversized IKEA bags on the plane back to Cleveland, stuffing cd racks and cups and lights and picture frames and all sorts of incredible, awesome, gotta-have-it-now stuff. We tried to stuff everything in the overhead bins and earned ourselves several glares and outright disapproval from fellow passengers.
I was hooked. Willing to be embarrassed, I didn't care. Absolutely loved the place.
Realizing later that we could get to the Pittsburgh IKEA in a few short hours, I made that trip more than once. The most memorable was a venture with several friends, culminating with a picture frame that was broken before we arrived home and my (then) husband waiting at home, already aware of how much I'd spent (thank you, online banking and debit cards).
After relocating to Richmond, the store in Northern Virginia became a great way-station for me. Often, after taking the kids to spend time with their dad, I'd stop at IKEA on the way home for some retail therapy. Sometimes I'd spend little more than $20 on a few frames and lunch for myself - and several hours wandering the aisles, working through some sort of subconscious loss and longing for home. It's a great place to imagine starting over again, with all sorts of fresh visions and positive expectations. I have good memories.
Today's trip was fun - I went primarily in search of curtain rods and curtains and the chair. I bought a few of those chairs when I moved into this house - put them together myself - and they remain the most durable chairs in the house. Every other stinkin' chair we own is either broken completely, reduced to one of two arms, cracking or creaking. But those simple wood chairs? Indestructable!
Armed with a generous gift card I received at Christmas time, we headed north.
I spent my gift card.
But I got two chairs. And curtain rods (for ONE DOLLAR AND FORTY-NINE CENTS, PEOPLE!!!!) And three plants. And a little table. And a bookshelf for the girls. And a cool light.
And little teeny tiny things that you buy at IKEA because, gosh darn it, they're just such GOOD DEALS! Meaning they cost a dollar or something.
It was a good day - a restful day. And the water's still running. And tomorrow's church.