I’ve mentioned to you before that the stairway to my basement is basically one of those caves from The Descent. To get through it, you have to lie upside-down at a 45 degree angle, suck in your stomach, and have someone slowly lower you in using a rope tied around the feet.
This is unfortunate for many reasons, not the least of which is that there’s actually quite a lot of good space down in the basement that I would love to use, but for the fact that I cannot get anything other than doll furniture into the area.
My laundry room is in the basement and when the people from Lowe's finished their 3-hour washer and dryer delivery process, they told me this was the “hardest” delivery they had ever done and that if I ever sold my house I would probably just need to abandon anything in the basement and start over somewhere else. They also said something about how great my hair looked but I'm so super embarrassed about that so I won't mention it here.
I’ve been scouring the Earth for furniture that might work for the area, hoping desperately to find a pill that turns into a couch if you just add water.
Do any of my homies remember that pill/toy thing from the 80s? They had these pills that you put in hot water and they would blow up with time into a dinosaur sponge. Am I making this up? Did I imagine something from my childhood that isn’t real? Help me.
Anyway, I’ve been avoiding the inevitable for a while. But IKEA finally came calling.
Let me be clear. IKEA is the world’s worst place. Everyone who has ever even driven passed an IKEA is going straight to hell. Every person associated with IKEA takes direct instructions from Satan himself. This includes the people who design the furniture, the people who design the store, the people who draw the pictures in the assembly instruction pamphlets. Everyone. All of them. There are no exceptions to this.
I think the Queen of Colors may be the CEO.
Can I get an amen?!
I hate IKEA with a hot and fiery passion. I hate that once you get on the escalator at the store’s entrance, you have committed to walking a full marathon. I hate that you are forced to view every piece of merchandise in the entire store just to get out of it with the one crappy thing you stopped in to buy.
And it doesn’t matter how busy the store is at any given moment. No matter how many people are shopping, the line to get out of the store is always exactly the same length: 12 miles long. It’s actually pretty impressive that they are able to maintain this consistency. I think the IKEA store managers might be math geniuses. I bet IKEA is where all of the NASA rejects go.
I'm aware that I'm probably provoking that one anonymous commenter right now who gets super mad whenever I say anything even remotely negative. But I am totally willing to accept that risk here.
Because IKEA is terrible. They actually patterned hell after IKEA. Not the other way around, like you were taught in school.
I wandered into the IKEA on a mission to buy one couch that I knew came in three long but skinny boxes that could slide down my stairs. And I believed that this was probably the only way I was ever going to get a couch into my basement.
And that’s how IKEA is able to do what they do. They make the items that every single one of you at some point in your life will be forced to buy whether you like it or not because they are the only place that makes those items. This is a capitalism loophole. They should be tried for crimes against humanity for exploiting this.
I wandered in. I found the couch. I liked it. I walked 26.2 miles to get to the warehouse section. I wandered that area for literally 20 minutes looking for an employee to help me order the item I wanted to buy. She had no clue how to use the system so after 10 minutes of attempting to do so anyway, she called another employee who took 10 minutes to show up. That employee didn’t know how to use the computer either. They called someone. They finally printed something out and told me to go wait in the excruciatingly long line, which made no sense because there were no cars in the parking lot, but, see above.
I waited in that line and paid for the couch. They then sent me to this other area to wait to retrieve it. There I was told that there was “only one person working in the back” and that it would probably take him half of a full eternity to get my item for me.
At this point, Matt showed up with his car, which we planned to use to transport the three large boxes.
We waited patiently, hating IKEA because if you don’t hate it then I GUESS YOU HATE AMERICA.
And then finally. FINALLY. They wheeled my boxes out.
In what I can only call a gross spatial reasoning miscalculation, it turned out that only two of the three boxes just barely fit into Matt’s car.
And so, we began the world’s most ridiculous process of tying the third box to the top of his car with enough twine to go all the way around the world. Twice.
We fed it through his windows. We wrapped it over the top of the box. Around the sides. Back through the windows. Under the car. Around a pole nearby. Through your grandma's legs. We tied everything to everything else. It was a mess. Parents shielded their children’s eyes when they walked by. Mr. Pants sat in the car watching us with a look on his face like he was a teenager and we were ruining his life.
Somehow during all of this, we failed to consider how Matt might enter his vehicle now that literally every single door was tied shut.
Matt folded his body in 19 different places, the way no man should ever have to do, and we deposited him into the car through one window that was half-rolled down.
And then we began the 15-mile drive across town in rush-hour traffic.
I followed behind him, while giving Bob and Cathie a play-by-play over the phone. They gasped in all the right places. All the right places were every time we had to turn and the box slid 3 feet to the side.
And then Cathie did what she always does and will always do no matter how not-12-years-old I am. She gave me some variation of the “that Matt is very good to you and you better thank him” speech. I rolled my eyes a lot and said stuff like “I know, mom.”
We got to my house safely. I truly believe angels were flying next to Matt’s car holding the box in place. I think it might have been all of his ancestors he recently found when he became obsessed with genealogy last month.
We slid the boxes into the basement. We opened the assembly manual. Ollie started eating all of the cardboard. And for the next eleventy years, Matt went to work and assembled my new couch until it was time for him to take me to the airport to catch a red eye flight.
I watched him work, because I’ve sort of stopped pretending to help in these situations. Cathie’s words rang through my mind. And I realized, as I have many times before, how incredibly fortunate I am to have Matt in my life.
It’s hard to express this sort of thing to him because he has the soul of a cranky old man and he gets very uncomfortable when I say anything nice to him. But I don’t care. He’s friends with me and he knew what I was when he picked me up (a sappy and emotional man with exceptional hair).
So I’ll say it here.
I adore you, Matt Pants. I don’t think I can adequately explain how grateful I am to have you in my life. Although I spend 90% of the time when I visit you at home rolling around on the floor whispering sweet nothings into Ollie’s ears, I enjoy every minute that I am able to spend with you as well. Your friendship has been invaluable to me. Thank you for the countless acts of service, the patience, the consistency, and the companionship. Thank you for never making me feel like a burden when I ask you for help with something I should definitely just know how to do on my own. I hope you’ll be in my life for many years to come.
Now maybe Bob and Cathie will get off my back.
~It Just Gets Stranger