So, did you want an entry about trying to assemble Ikea furniture today? You
did?! Oh, thank God. Because that’s what I wrote.
Okay. I bought some furniture for my house. I bought some nice pieces from the
Design Within Reach catalog, which I love. And recommend. And think you
should seriously consider when you are buying gifts for me.
But then I also bought some cheap-ass-“I’m-26-and-have-a-tendency-to-spill-and-
break-things-kind-of-a-lot” pieces from Ikea. And let me tell you something.
Making any Ikea purchases was quite a feat for me, because there is no Ikea
anywhere in the Southeast. Nowhere! None! (In fact, people in the South who
are reading this entry? Let me school you. Ikea is an inexpensive furniture
store. Did you know that people in the North can get their coffee tables for thirty
bucks? They totally can.)
Anyway. The closest Ikea to me is in Woodbridge, Virginia, which is like 700
miles away. And, although Ikea has a website, the website had, like, NONE of the
things I wanted. Of course. Because I am picky. And also, a huge pain in the
So this meant that my poor, long-suffering parents, who used to love me more
and who now love me much less, and who were driving from Boston to Atlanta
with my sister, had to stop at the Ikea in Woodbridge, Virginia. And rent a U-
Haul. And purchase, and bring home, all of the things I picked out of an Ikea
catalog. Because I am very, very spoiled. (I did pay them back, I would like to
mention. I’m not THAT spoiled. Plus my father added a surcharge for “pain and
suffering.” Because he is mean.)
But ANYWAY. So my entire family hoofed it through the Ikea, desperately trying
to find items with vague, Swedish sounding names like Iksumhogibrut, while I
lounged around on the sofa, sipping wine, and flipping casually through the
pages of an Ikea catalog. Oh, and did mention that the only catalog I had in my
possession? Was an Ikea catalog from the year before. Which meant that the
store never had anything I was looking at, and so my poor mother would call me,
hysterical, every little while, and we would have a conversation like this:
Mom: (out of breath) I can’t...I can’t FIND an Iksumhogibrut! What IS it?
Self: Well, Mother, it’s an Iksumhogibrut. Obviously. It’s a kind of...um, a
television stand, I think.
Mom: Well, it isn’t here! They DO have the Kliindesmorven, plus about a
million other television stands besides. Would you like a
Self: Hmm. No. Find me a Iksumhogibrut. And then load it into a U-Haul
that you will have to rent and that will not have air conditioning, and
haul the Iksumhogibrut and all of the other furniture I want seven
hundred miles back to Atlanta. And then put it together for me.
And then get me another glass of wine, because this one is
Mom: Okay. You know what? Clearly, I did not beat you enough as a
The family did eventually make it back to Atlanta, and then I had...a whole U-Haul
full of furniture. Very flat furniture. Because Southerners, Ikea doesn’t assemble
anything. Not even light bulbs. No. You have to do it yourself. This concept is
called “knock-down furniture” But for some reason, I always call it
“SMACKDOWN! furniture.” And I say it like that, too. I’m all, “Y’all! Let’s put
together some of this SMACKDOWN! furniture! Let’s get READY TO RUMBLE!
Bring me a HAMMER!”
But anyway. So everything from Ikea comes in boxes with screws and nails and
pieces that don’t seem to GO ANYWHERE. Fortunately, everything also comes
with instructions for assembly. Unfortunately, these instructions are written in the
universal language of "stick figure."
What? You want an example of an Ikea experience? Oh, sure! Here you go:
On Saturday, my mother, father, Dukay, and myself all attempted to assemble
one (1) Iksumhogibrut television stand. Between us, we have four
undergraduate degrees and two law degrees. Plus we are smart and good
looking. But the television stand had about 32,000 pieces. And a two page
instructional leaflet. And the entire first page of the leaflet looked like this:
1. Stick figure looks at the box. Stick figure smiles. Stick figure is happy!
Stick figure has a television stand!
2. But now stick figure sees that box is missing a big, jagged chunk out of
side. Jagged chunk looks like teeth marks from Jaws movies. Stick
figure frowns. Now stick figure is sad.
3. Stick figure finds phone! And calls Ikea! Now stick figure is happy again!
We discussed this. The lesson we learned from this entire first page of
instructions: If a shark attacks your new SMACKDOWN! furniture, you should
definitely call Ikea. But we have no idea why.
And then we turn to page two. SMACKDOWN! Let’s go! But something has
clearly happened between pages one and two, because now the stick figure is
GONE (eaten by the shark, maybe) and in his place is a completely assembled
piece of furniture. We flipped back to page one: Shark attack. Page two:
“Shouldn’t there...shouldn’t there be some sort of instructions in this instructional
leaflet?” ventured my father. We all agreed that instructions would be helpful.
But, because clearly Ikea has a higher opinion of our combined intelligence than
we do, apparently none were deemed necessary. “Fine!” we said. “Fine! We
will venture forth and put this television stand together with the combined power
of our four undergraduate degrees and two law degrees. Plus we are smart and
good looking! We can totally do this!”
We totally sucked at doing it, is what we did. We put pieces on backwards. We
made new holes when we couldn’t find the holes we were supposed to be
screwing things into, and then we'd find out that we’d been working on the wrong
piece of wood the whole time. We lost dowels under the couch. I almost
swallowed a screw I was holding between my teeth. We yelled some. In the end,
it took four people almost two hours to assemble one single television stand.
But we eventually finished. We stood back to admire the finished product. And
we were happy, just like the stick figure was! But remember how, just when the
stick figure was getting all excited about his new piece of furniture, tragedy
struck? Y’all! Same thing here! Because then we tried to put the television
stand into place!
And guess what? It did not fit. Nope. Not even close. It was two inches too long.
And, um. Guess who...guess who was supposed to have, like, measured and
stuff? Well. That would be “me”. My own damn self who just HAD to have the
Iksumhogibrut television stand, but who REFUSED to get off her lazy ass to see if
that specific television stand would fit in the television nook. Anyway, Mom, Dad,
and Dukay immediately killed me with a screwdriver and the leftover dowels. I am
So. There's the entry about assembling Ikea furniture. Anyone want a
SMACKDOWN! television stand?