There is one in Charlotte, which is right at an hour's drive for us so as I was busy cleaning house Saturday morning and supervising chores I announced to Devin that we were going to Charlotte when we got done. He moaned and groaned when I told him we were going to a furniture store followed by a grocery store because I had great expectations of also checking out a Trader Joe's, another fine chain I've been hearing so much about and that also supposedly has some great vegetarian selections.
Living in a small town does have its advantages but a vast selection of retail stores and fine dining establishments is not among them.
Devin immediately got on the phone and called his popaw to line up going fishing after their chores were done and I'm not gonna lie, I was all kinds of okay with that because taking those two on a shopping trip to Charlotte is not my idea of a good time. I'm just saying.
He apparently told Dracen that I told them they couldn't go in order to assure that he would go fishing with him and Popaw instead of to the great big city with the likes of us (they have a bit of a love/hate relationship, those two) because he told Charlie as such. And we just left well enough alone since he would have likely chosen fishing anyway.
It was two o'clock by the time we got out of the house and I didn't realize just how little energy I had left after the housework which involved my vacuuming and mopping the entire house because I think I nodded off about five times on the way down there.
When we finally arrived at the IKEA Blvd Exit, I perked up and may have uttered a four letter word or two when I saw how massive this institution was because I had sure as heck not opted for sensible walking shoes. I had no clue! I was half serious when I asked Charlie if we'd have to be taken to the door on one of those little tram cars because what with the sixteen thousand cars in the parking lot and the ginormous flags out front and atop the building, it looked more like an amusement park than a home furnishings store.
And here I just thought they sold furniture.
There were people everywhere! Charlie quick grabbed a giant yellow parachute bag to strap over this cart thingy and I got in line for a FREE membership card mainly because I had no idea what to do or which way to go and because it looked like the logical way to go. After I finally got my turn at the machine, entered my full name, address and criminal history and had my card in hand we were ready to roll!
"Which way should we go?" I asked. "To the left? To the right? Up the escalator? Oh wait, we have that cart (that horrible, awful, rickety cart that is making more noise than the neighbor's leaf blower). We'd better take the stairs...No, no wait. Let's just see what's in this room. Oh for heaven's sake, let's leave that flippin' buggy here! I'm sure we can get another one later if we need it!"
Charlie gladly obliged because that thing just truly was that annoying. I had no idea he also possesses the same knack for picking the most rickety loud ass buggy in the store as I do. It really is a curse.
After we ditched that sucker and I saw that the room we were in looked like nothing more than a bunch of dishes, we hit the escalator that promised to take us up to the "furniture showroom" but was surprised to also see a monster food court/restaurant area. WTH? I was overwhelmed. And not really in a good way.
I think we got to going the wrong way a few times because I nearly got taken out by a lamp and a bouncing toddler once or twice. "Oh crap! Look, there are arrows on the floor. We're going the wrong dang way! HELP!"
About an hour in, I was complaining of my aching feet, my growling tummy and my throbbing head and Charlie was cracking jokes, Moo-ing and saying something about feeling like cattle and "Which way's the water park?!"
I was not really impressed with the lack of character and the way too modern for my taste look of most of the furniture but for some strangely odd and unknown reason (I think it was something they were pumping into the air vents) I could not pull myself away from that place before I had explored every single square foot and there was no way, no how I was coming outta there empty-handed.
Insane, right? I know, I know. But I had to have something to show for my efforts. This could not all be in vain. I deserved a bargain for this and I was darn well gonna get one! After we made our way back down to the first floor I quickly snagged up this little treasure...
No, it's not a horse toothbrush. I don't own a horse and I felt a little ridiculous carrying that one little thing around when everyone else had lots and lots of STUFF. It's for cleaning my gas stove burners because Woo Hoo! I just love to clean! Okay, not really but the burners do need a good scrubbing and this just seemed like the perfect thing. Charlie, clearly delirious by this point, begins laughing hysterically and asking where the toothpaste is to go with our toothbrush.
We really weren't drinking, y'all. I swear.
In the end, we made it out through the self-checkout alive, each in one piece and totin' two bathmats, two lightweight cheaply-made table lamps for the bonus room and our very own Mr. Ed toothbrush. But we never did find the toothpaste and I don't think I have to tell you that Trader Joe's didn't happen either.
I try to make it a point to never say never but if there ever is a next time, I'm getting a full twelve hours of sleep first, packing a picnic and wearing some Dr. Scholl's because pulling off a successful trip to IKEA is some serious business, my friends. Serious biz-ness.