“I’m so fed up of not having anywhere to put things!”
“Then stop buying shoes.”
It was right about then that Sunday started getting a little tetchy. We had about eighty percent of our things in the new place and the old place was a mess of boxes and electricity cables and sundry debris.
The morning and afternoon had been spent to-ing and fro-ing with Kia Picanto-sized portions of our life. Our new house was coming round slowly, as opposed to leaping up at our chests like a keen puppy. It had its annoying qualities – whenever I tried to hang a picture the wall flaked – and its limitations; storage space.
It doesn’t quite have the old world charm of the little casco apartment we are vacating although it will – without a doubt – be a major upgrade in terms of space, indoors and out. I am particularly excited about our private patio and the open air shade it will provide in the hot months. I will have a garden where I can plant edible things. We’ll see whether anything grows; plants tend to just lie down and die when they see me coming.
“You’re stupid”, said K.
“Shut up”, I replied.
“I hate you today”, she countered.
Then we did another run in Polly.
Why hadn’t we noticed how small the new kitchen was? Or that there weren’t any window sills? We’re heavily window sill reliant because we have all these little figures and candle-holders and what not. No chest of drawers in the bedroom.
Why hadn’t we checked more carefully? The back door isn’t properly secure and there is an alarmingly large rust spot in the bath. When we viewed the place the enterprising real estate agent had concealed the spot with a bath mat.
The lying bitch.
As deceitful, lazy, inert and worthless as she has been though (getting a sense of my state of mind yet?), she did give us the keys a week early, which made the move possible. How we expected to do it otherwise doesn’t speak too well of our grip on reality. We were at it for three days solid, till late last night, and that’s after a week of smaller runs. To be fair, I think the people at Kia would be the first to admit that the Picanto is not to be recommended for furniture removals.
It’s Monday now and my first morning alone in the house; a semblance of my normal routine, with added cardboard chaos. The coming week will see a much needed calming down.
The trip to Jerez on Saturday was an unexpected addition to our to-do list. An hour and a half away, it isn’t the kind of thing you might expect of two people in the middle of moving house, but there is something very, very special about Jerez. Something that calls out even to those who have boxes to unpack; you might say especially to those who have boxes to unpack. It has an Ikea
Ikea; clever people, the Swedes. They’ve made a success story out of a blue and yellow behemoth that sucks in the unsuspecting – starry-eyed and home-making, high as kites on dreamy domesticity and full of vim. Then it spits out the husks of these former people: broke and bickering, confused by unforeseen purchases and laden with furniture they will have to build themselves.
It’s all done very well, especially for families. If you like, you can dump your children in the child dump the minute you’re inside the door. Then it’s up the magic escalator to home decor heaven.
“Honey, look at this! We could put it in the corner under the window!”
“What is it?”
“It’s…eh…it’s very well designed is what it is! Jesus, what is it with you and the negativity?”
“Ok. Make a note of the number.”
It’s like the yellow brick road without the yellow as you saunter through sitting room sector and kitchen corner, bathroom boulevard and dining…well, you get the picture.
“These cubes would be perfect!”
“But they don’t have doors. The crockery would get dusty.”
“We could slot in some of these purple plastic drawers!”
“Ok. Write the number down.”
It’s all about solutions, you see. Basically, there isn’t anything the people at Ikea haven’t thought of before you. And it’s all so easy! You just write numbers down and at the end of the rat run, I mean display hall, there’s a restaurant!
I love restaurants!
Time for a coffee and perhaps some Swedish meatballs (meatballs to you and me) before venturing downstairs, whereupon there’s something of a change in ambiance. You’re in a shitty warehouse now, and it’s time to go to work. No, Ikea don’t have staff. Yes, you have to find and carry everything yourself and yes, you will have to navigate a mini-city of temptingly displayed impulse buys.
All very dizzying, and then of course we were spat out. It’s like the crash after a sugar binge. While it looked cute upstairs, there is absolutely nothing charming about the Anaböda chest of drawers with frosted glass front panels when you’re trying to navigate all 30kg of it across a windy car park on an errant trolley and into the back of a tiny car with two shelving units, a lantern, a waste paper basket, two large plant pots, a full length mirror, four candles, two toilet brushes and a palm tree.
Absolutely nothing at all.
Nearly time to go to work. Not sure how I’m going to deal with screaming children today. Probably by being unfair and randomly punitive. I take a bite of my lunch – a trophy from the one thing about the Ikea experience I like unambiguously; the deli on the way out. My personal source of mature Swedish cheese and gooseberry jam.Follow @RobinJGraham