Jul 3, 2006

IKEA: The Relationship Antidote


Dear reader(s): Remember when Christine and I went to Retail Land and accidentally overshopped? You know, when we went to Lowes and then Bed/Bath/Beyond and then IKEA and then topped it off with a serving of Designer Shoe Warehouse AND that terrible furniture store that's like Levitz but isn't? And how we were in IKEA so long that we had to eat a meal TWICE? Supposedly I learned from that experience that being in IKEA too long will eventually put any adult into toddler mode. As I remember it, Christine and I got overtired towards the end of the evening and then started randomly screaming and crying.

I also learned a year or two ago that Everyone's Favorite Scandinavian Superstore will also quickly erode the structural underpinnings of even the most grounded relationship. TJ and I were there long enough to get agitated, and then had a fistfight over how to properly twine the car trunk shut. By the time we got home and started to assemble the dining room table, we were pre-programmed for disaster -- I think he said something like, "Don't torque the legs when you pick it uuuuuuu..." and then the next thing you know my jaw came unhinged and his legs were dangling mutely out of my mouth.

This Sunday, the Lowes/IKEA combo had more or less the same divisive effect. We traipsed off in the morning, happily drinking lattes and taking the dog to the dog park, and by evening we had already had a tiff over the relative shininess of eggshell versus satin and a mess of other minutiae. By the time we got home, I tried to let him put together this bar-cart thing by himself so I wouldn't get my bossiness in his way. I saw him wrangling with the thing for what seemed like a long time, he even pulled out the cordless drill (which you don't usually need for this allen-wrench stuff). Still, I refrained from saying anything and let him work it out. Finally, when he was done, he looked it over and we proudly pushed it into its new corner.

I then took a break from what I was doing to assemble the stool we bought. Yeh, it was just a stool. It had, like, six parts total. So I start roughing it out and screwing in some of the fasteners and TJ comes over and says, "That doesn't look right." I looked up at him and E.S.P.'d him to shut up. He said, "Yeh, something's not right." I said, "That's because I'm not done yet." He said, "I think you need to turn that piece over the other way." I said, "TJ? Could you please go over there?" which he did but, then he came back. "I think you need to turn that one piece around."

Me: "IT'S THE SAME BOTH WAYS! IT'S A RECTANGLE!"

Him: "I think it's a trapezoid."

Me: "WHY WOULD IT BE A TRAPEZOID WHEN A RECTANGLE IS SUFFICIENT? THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE, TJ. THINK ABOUT IT!!! I AM THE ONE LOOKING AT IT UP CLOSE AND YOU CAN'T EVEN SEE IT FROM THERE, SO QUIT IT!"

Him: "Look at it again."

Me: "It's... a trapezoid."

What happened next was some kind of slo-mo realization process. Then an overwhelming feeling of regret washed over me and I started blinking excessively. I might have even started drooling. I knew then that we could never, ever go to IKEA again for anything because my credibility was completely shot. I had no capital left. I looked at the ground.

My loving husband: "Honey, I'm very, very sorry you were wrong."

Me: "TJ, I owe you an apology and I am truly, truly sorry that you were right."

Moral: When you take two people who both essentially need to be right all the time, someone is always going to get ired because someone is always going to lose. Since losing sucks, we should probably both practice being less competitive with each other. How does one do that? Who knows, but we will probably have many, many opportunities to practice.

P.S. For those waiting for the outcome of the Korea/Japan treaty, TJ and I discussed it over dinner on Saturday and came to the following conclusions:

1. I will survive.

2. TJ may not even want to go to Japan for a week anyway, and maybe will only stay a couple more days to see more of Korea.

That wasn't so hard, was it?

6 Comments:

Blogger Rod Biscoe opined...

Dubin,

I particularly enjoyed your perspective on Lowes and IKEA.

What do you think about Home Depot? Or, worse yet, Hardees?

Best,
Rod Biscoe

P.S. Rod Biscoe's Blogspot “It’s Delicious.”

4:52 PM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

Ok, Rod. I will tell my friends about your blog. No problem.

5:03 PM  
Blogger capella opined...

I have nothing useful to say since you are clearly orders of magnitude more together than I am (in that you have furniture, and a husband, and for that matter an apartment). But I just wanted to tell you I like your blog.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Lazlo Hollyfeld opined...

Did you ever see that episode of the Simpsons where Homer is opening a chocolate bar, and he's like, "Awwwww, it has that white stuff on it!!". That is one of my favorite Simpsons moments ever because it addresses something that we all know to be true, but that never gets talked about. Your IKEA entry on Dubinology is like that. IKEA is indeed a treacherous spot to spend a Sunday with your beloved. (Not two weeks ago Jay and I were in there to buy some MALM and HASTROM and KAALUUKKKOOOOORP and within fifteen minutes I was sulking and he was all zombied out pretending that he wasn't being mean. Which he was.)

5:49 PM  
Anonymous AEW opined...

Josh and I have been shopping together at IKEA for over four years. In the beginning, we experienced several very serious meltdowns and arguments related to the construction of MALMS and whatnot. But now, with much perseverance, we've become an IKEA superteam, and can purchase and build almost anything in less than three hours (if you don't count the four hour drive between the closest IKEA and our house). Eventually, you will learn that IKEA foments teamwork, not competition, and then when you compete in the Amazing Race you will totally be able to win that challenge where you have to put something together as a couple. And you will win a million dollars!! Seriously, IKEA is in many ways a perfect metaphor for marriage. (P.S., Who are all these strangers who are reading your blog? Thrilling.)

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

there are a lot of slip and grip knots, or knots for tying a load down.

Prussik, tautline hitch, midshipman's hitch, trucker's hitch.

No guarantees how well these would work with twine. You can go over and buy some 4 or 5mm accessory cord from any store carrying climbing equipment, that'll be stronger and hold knots, and it's reusable. OR, you can buy some standard climber's spec 1" tubular webbing, and just hand tighten it, and put in a water knot, it'll keep things in place AND it won't scuff your car up so bad.

6:51 PM  

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