We have the lovliest first snow--a couple inches topping everything like frosting. And alas, I've no viable AA batteries to make my camera work. IKEA it is, then. The closest IKEA is Chicago, but since I never go there, it's a really big deal to visit my family and ask for Mom to bring me to what Jen on the Edge refers to as "The Mother Ship."
Such a huge store--rooms and rooms of glorious furniture, storage solutions, bedding, towels, dishes, bookcases, cupboards, picture frames, sinks and lamps. All of this is staged in apartments--imagine walking through a Pottery Barn catalog and you get the general IKEA idea. Sweet little apartments that you can totally imagine living in--complete with toilets and "front doors." Sit on the chairs, lie on the beds, try the cupboards and drawers.
One fascinating thing about IKEA is the range of customer--you see everything from college students to newlyweds building their first apartments to very stylish couples wearing designer clothes. IKEA may sell cheap goods, but they're made well enough and they're funky enough in that streamlined European way to appeal to all socioeconomic levels.
The "Rule" of IKEA is to follow the arrows on the floor and write down the aisle & bin number of the things you'd like to purchase as you canvass the top floor. After you're all done browsing the top floor (equivalent to 25 football fields I imagine), you ride the escalator to the bottom floor where the actual purchasing begins. Small stuff (pillows, lamps, picture frames, the fabulous hanging mesh storage bins) is sectioned by category--and did I mention cheap? My sister's cat's food dish cost 49 cents. Glasses are 6 for $2.99, salad bowls are $1.99, lamps start at $6.99. Nowhere (aside from a rummage sale or thrift shop) offers better deals on household goods.
After filling your cart to the brim with accessories, the next order of business is the warehouse where furniture and larger items are stored. (Which is why you have to write down bin and aisle numbers). Shoving and lugging your bounty, you pass through bargain land before checking out--Gift wrap! Candles! Holiday decorations! Deals abound like deer in Wisconsin!
Here I note the weird Swedish names on every product. The blue and red picture frames I bought for Team Testosterone's playroom to display their artwork in are named Nyttja. How do you say that? What does it mean? Some Swedish guy in a factory is laughing his tail off right now smacking the Swedish equivalent of "Iron Tongue Depressor" on a lampshade. The metal strips with magnets (again for playroom's artwork/posters) are Spontan ("Ugly Field Monkey") and the canvas closet storage thing I bought is called Skubb ("Live Fish Musical"). See what I mean about the names? It provides endless entertainment to sound them out and speculate.
At last--the check out. Followed by the IKEA food store featuring every Swedish delicacy and sodas and snacks for the weary shopper. The IKEA people offer free samples, so you stand in another check out line to buy lingonberry syrup and gingersnaps and lox. You're not done spending, really, until you hit the Exit doors.
I'd go into greater detail about everything I bought and for what, but some of it's for Mr. D and I've got to keep that info on the down low. Suffice to say my cart was full when I shoved it out of the store, but the receipt was under $100. And I've done IKEA for another year.