Our Maiden Voyage to Ikea

Rick and I recently spent some much-needed time away with just each other. Not each other and drywall. Not each other and our cats. Just each other, with no obligations and no need to set the alarm. On our way home from our long weekend jaunt, we made a ridiculously lengthy stop at the Pittsburgh Ikea, at which point we began spending time with the most giant spectacle of a store that I have ever stepped foot into. This was an exciting time for us, because until that lengthy stop, we were Ikea Virgins. Ikea was this Magical Place I only read about in the blogosphere but never saw with my own eyes.

Until now. Until I was apparently so under its spell that I even let Rick take this weird picture of me.

You could get lost in that place. In fact, we did get lost in that place. (Okay, I got lost in that place. Rick notoriously knows exactly where he is going in any given foreign land while meanwhile I am unknowingly wandering into places like the men's bathroom.) But in addition to the fact that Ikea is just a giant monstrosity of a store,we spent far more time than necessary there because the closest one is 5 distant hours from our house. So do we buy things because we won't be back soon? Or do we not buy things because we can't be back soon, eliminating all potential for returns?

In the end, there was plenty that caught my eye, but I exercised credit card restraint and bought only a ceramic planter and 3 yards of fabric in the name of "cheap household accessories," and two Karlstad armchairs in the name of "we actually do need things to sit on." And it's a good thing we didn't buy more than that, because this is what appeared when we went to pick up our chairs:

Did I mention that our vehicle of choice is an Elantra? That was already full of our suitcase, our cooler, and other random items absolutely necessary for travel, like this hideously ancient gallon of paint?

Creative piling ensued. We ripped open the boxes and stuck a leg here, an arm there.

I may submit this post to Awkward Family Vacation Photos.

Rick wasted no time putting our contraband together when we got home, and Gingerbread wasted no time trying them out in all of their various partially-put-together stages.

I think she approves.

We also approve, because now our guests don't have to sit on the floor.

Fun-ish fact about these chairs: Rick was actually the one to find them and say "We should buy these!" (Note: this is partly because I personally spent my time in the store being lost near a urinal.) Our rule for large purchases like this is that we both have to be on board, but usually it's me doing the convincing and not the other way around. I'm pretty sure he'll be congratulating himself for the next month or so on picking out something that I, the ever-picky shopper, actually approved of. (Maybe allowing me to get lost was part of his master plan?)

We can even both fit in one at the same time, in case, you know, the cats take over both the other chair and our entire couch. (It happens.)

So our maiden voyage to Ikea was pretty fun (Rick even admitted to enjoying it, and not because of the free lunch we got for spending more than $100) but I think I am glad we don't live closer to one, mainly because I might enter and then not re-appear for several months. I seriously expected it to be snowing when we exited.

Do you remember your maiden voyage to Ikea? Did it involve the men's bathroom? Are there any remaining Ikea Virgins on this planet, or were we the last of a now-extinct breed? Are you wondering why I'm asking so many questions? Me too. Over and out.

Weekend Bloggy Reading


  1. Amazing! I am so happy you have now been to Ikea; it's one of our favorite places. It really is an event every time you go! Next time you have to try the meatballs. It sounds weird, but they are the best!

    Also, that chair looks great! I love the way you accessorized it. So sharp!

  2. Haha! Loved this, you guys are too cute. We live around 30-40 minutes away from an IKEA and we still spend hours there when we go there. It's like time stops there. And YES our cats sit on everything that we assemble, I don't know why they do that! "I am king of this pillow. I am king of this table leg."

    Chairs look great, great choice, Rick!

  3. We live 4 hours away, and all I bought were accessories.
    My first and only visit to Ikea was almost two years ago, I know the exact day. It was our wedding anniversary, okay!?! There's nothing more romantic than getting lost in the Ikea labyrinth with Swedish meatballs in hand.

  4. I am going to IKEA in two weeks and I am so excited! I am already starting a list of things I "need" to shop for while I am there. I love those chairs - and I'm glad that when I come visit I won't have to sit on the floor! Were they hard to put together?

  5. This post made me laugh so hard. When we bought our kitchen, I had to stay at IKEA and wait for my brother-in-law to come pick me up because the hubby filled the car to the brim and I didn't fit.
    I love the chair and Gingerbread. With five pets we always get kicked off the furniture ;)

  6. Anonymous8/23/2011

    FYI there is an Ikea in Hamilton Ontario! Not nearly as far as Pittsburgh! ;o)

  7. Y'all are so cute! We've had an Ikea in Dallas for 4-5 yrs now and sometimes I still get lost and/or overwhelmed. I think that's part of their marketing strategy...they know we can't make it through the labyrinth without being lured in. Those brilliant Swedes.

  8. Haha you guys are so cute! All of your cheesy pictures made me smile. :) I too was an Ikea-virgin until the past year. I'm pretty sure my boyfriend regrets ever allowing me in that store! Our location is three hours away, so on out of town trips it is always a must! He even threaten me days before, "If you don't make me a sandwich we are not going to Ikea." Ha! Love it!

  9. My maiden voyage to an Ikea was actually an interview before the store was even open. I'd never heard of Ikea before I got the interview, and I ended up working there as a seamstress to get the store ready for the grand opening. I love that place now. We've actually had to drive home with things sticking out of the trunk, and we only live 15 minutes away...so the magic never dies, I think is what I'm getting at. :)

  10. LOVE this!!!!!!!!!!! This post should get an award for best facial expressions ever! Congrats on the maiden voyage and the shopping scores! Can't wait to see the products of the fabric!

    Unfortunately... or fortunately... I live only 5 minutes from an Ikea... dun dun dun...

  11. I do remember my Ikea deflowering. I bought nightstands for $12 each.

  12. Rachel8/23/2011

    Three Things:

    Thing One: I am an Ikea Virgin. I don't think that there is one near here either so my Ikea Virginity is safe for now.

    Thing Two: There is actually an Ikea closer to you than five hours...it is about 2 and a half...in Canada. :-p

    Thing Three: I LOVE the last photo of you and Rick in the share together. Love his goofy expression and love the fact you are looking at him like, "Honey...what ARE you doing???"

  13. Congratulations on the ikea deflowering! It changes your life, right? I still get that crazy butterflies feeling when I walk in, after all these years of a longstanding loving relationship with the store.

  14. You lost your virginity before me. I'm always behind. :P

    I'm loving those chairs though. I keep trying to think of a place for them in my house..no such luck!! Good choice!!

  15. Ikea virgin here too! Although... I haven't had a place of my own to furnish yet...!

  16. It's like Ikea Jenga. I'm amazed you got it all to fit.

    I'm glad that I found your blog today :) We used to live around the corner from an Ikea and I really had to exercise my self-control to stay away!

  17. The closest IKEA is 90 minutes away. I convince my husband to take a road trip about every 2 years (as long as I can find something else in the area to visit). He can't understand my need to just wander around and look at everything.
    We also have an Elantra, but ours it the hatchback so it fits a lot more.

  18. ha! When I saw the title of your post in my reader, I thought, "No way! There are still IKEA virgins out there in blogland?" ♥ me some catalog perusing the past week.

    In fact, my sis is excited 'cause the place she'll be moving to (on the opposite side of the globe) next week has a store near her city. She's planning on living the loft bed/office lifestyle when she gets settled. It will make birthday & Christmas gifting easier than shipping a package out to her, too...

  19. So how do you like the chairs? We've thought about getting some ourselves! We also have issues with fitting IKEA purchases into our car - I NEVER have thought of just opening the boxes. Brilliant, simply brilliant!

  20. This post cracks me up and I was lost for hours in Ikea. I swear some of their signs say Exit, but they lie and it's all part of their big scheme. It is just such a massive store.

    I do love the new purchase though!

  21. Ikea is my favorite store!! I check out every aisle whenever I am there. If you ask me I can go there every week but like in your case, the closest Ikea is almost 4-5 hours from our place :(

    The chair looks beautiful. The pictures were fun to look at. You both rock as a couple!

    We have a link-up party going on - Tea Time Thursdays @ Kreative Korner. I would really appreciate if you'd link up some of your awesome posts there. Hope to see you at the party.



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