Pass the allen wrench

Q: What’s cheap and Swedish and worth driving two hours for?

A: No, not me.  Because I’m only half Swedish.

I’m taking about the blue and yellow monster, of course.  Ikea. Of which there is no Raleigh location.  Which provoked me to take a road trip to Charlotte today, 150 miles each way.  For cheap-ass furniture. I feel like I’ve gone mad.

The challenge: I needed a desk.  A really small, really simple desk.  No drawers or adornments or keyboard trays.  Just a plank of wood attached to four legs.  Should be simple to find, right?

But I’d searched every single furniture store in Raleigh.  No dice.  Hell, I even tried to make my own.  (Yes – I rolled out of Home Depot with a hunk of particleboard, some 2X4s and a handful of wood screws.  Do I even need to tell you how long that project lasted?  About fourteen seconds.)

I knew Ikea would have what I needed.  I had seen the exact desk I needed on their website.  For $25.  The only problem?  Shipping was $75.  And I’ll be damned if I’m paying three times the cost of a product for its transport!  (Hello, fuzzy math!  I realize that I should have looked at the all-in cost and that this still would have been pretty inexpensive.  But I just couldn’t do it.)

So this morning I got in my car and drove my ass over to Charlotte and retrieved the cheap desk of my dreams.  Along with a file cabinet and a shelf and some other stuff.  After hauling it all into the apartment, I spent most of the afternoon poring over illustrated assembly booklets, inserting wooden pegs and spinning allen wrenches.

And now – well, step in to my office!

It’s just a corner of the dining room and yes – it’s very red.  (Red was on sale.)  But kind of cheerful, no?  I am very excited to have a dedicated work space!  Because the couch is really not very conducive to getting shit done.

I also picked up a couple of these:

They were a bitch to put together!  Like 18 screws!  My hand is calloused, Ikea.

Also – impulse buy! – a new duvet and shams!

Twenty bucks.  Take that, Pottery Barn.

I’m off to haul some boxes down to the recycling bin and rest my tired fingers on a glass of wine.  Nighty night, party people!

Today’s EAT: Here’s a fun idea for using up leftover squash soup: make it in to a pasta sauce!

With tofu and Parmesan cheese, and a side salad, this was a delicious and filling dinner.  Much better than eating plain old soup by itself!

Today’s DRINK: Trader Joe’s has a ton of these Novella wines and I have a tough time keeping them straight.

I knew I’d had a couple of Novella whites before and didn’t remember them being anything special.  But for some reason I decided to give the Zinfandel  chance, and I’m glad I did!  For a $6 bottle, this Zin is well worth drinking.  It’s not bitter or overly drying and has a nice cherry-ish flavor.

Today’s RUN: Between the driving and the hauling and the assembling…I have to admit that Ikea kicked my ass.  So I took an unplanned rest day today.  No biggie!

Congrats to everyone who successfully registered for Boston today!  I missed all of the drama, as I was busy rocking out to random Charlotte country stations and eating meatballs.  I’m curious about what will happen in 2012 with the qual standards.  And I wonder how many charity runners will get loogies spit at them this year. :/

Today’s QUESTION: Random but – I have two pumpkins to butcher for Halloween and want to carve something funny in to them.  Any ideas?


20 responses to “Pass the allen wrench

  1. I am OBSESSED with Ikea…it used to be ok because the closest one was 3 hours away, but then we moved and now we’re within 40 minutes of TWO of them. HELP.

  2. Okay, I said Costco was overwhelming, so IKEA? Holy crap. The first time I went into an IKEA I narrowly avoided a coronary. That place — crazy! Your workplace looks quite exuberant and peppy. Also, I need to stop reading your blog before I eat dinner. It just makes me sad that I’m so unambitious. Oatmeal again…

  3. Oh, Ikea. After my near disastrous purchase and then return this past month, I’ve given up on ikea furniture entirely and devoted hours to craigslist. Got my fancy pants bed off of craigslist and I couldn’t be happier!

    I’m still into carving faces into pumpkins, but I give them names, personalities and little crafty adornments. And then have show and tell. It’s fun. And a bit delusional/ weird. But fun.

  4. I would have made the trip to IKEA also, paying that much more for shipping would have made my head explode.

  5. I have been giving a lot of thought to pumpkin carving lately. So far I am leaning towards an alien or cat.

  6. True story – in 2007 I bought my first piece of grown up furniture (a bed) from ikea. The shipping cost more than the actual bed. Womp, womp. At least you got some meatballs out of your 5 hour long excursion!!


  7. ikea is sooooooooooo hit or miss for me. 5 hours of travel?! wow. intense 🙂

    as for pumpkins…google “drunk pumpkins”….that’s what i want you to do hahah

  8. some douchebag I was talking to about a trade show exhibits tried to tell me their displays were really easy to put together — just like IKEA. I go, “that’s your selling point?!” It may look great, but if I have to spend all day putting that shiz together, no thanks.

    But congrats on your fancy new digs.

    I think I’ve had to novella chard before. I don’t know. They all run together.

  9. I love your new office – very clean and classy. Confession: I have never been in IKEA. I don’t know if I could handle it. Have fun with the pumpkin carving. I usually can’t handle anything beyond just trying to carve eyes, nose and a mouth!

  10. Looks like a great set up! Congrats on getting it all together!

  11. I got no love for Ikea, although when a big store opened near my hometown about eight years ago, my friends slept outside it to get a free chair (called Ponwoi or something). I demurred. I can kind of see the appeal, but I am deeply manually disabled and put everything on backwards and upside down. Anyway, I have a pumpkin carving shindig on Sunday and am at a loss as well! If you come up with something cute, please share the brainstorm.

  12. ooh, I love your new office! It looks great 🙂 I wish I had a car so I could load it up with new furniture!

    Hmm, as for pumpkins…maybe they can be characters from a favorite TV show of yours? I am a disaster at crafty projects so I stay far far away from carving anything 🙂

  13. Ikea instructions make me feel inadequate. So I’m quite impressed you had everything turn out as well as it did! Nice work…

    And now I’m upset because I just made a trip to TJ’s and picked up a white Novella… lame!

  14. I’m that girl who breaks out in a sweat at IKEA, breaks out in hives when she tries to set up the furniture herself, then bows to the IKEA g-ds once she sweet talks somebody else into setting up the furniture.

    And totally into this idea of butternut squash pasta sauce over tofu!

  15. LOVING THE RED!!!! Thats all–hope you had a nice time in Charlotte!

  16. Shelby, I totally went home and made your Eat for dinner last night! Soup on pasta sparked my curiosity and I had a squash on its last legs so I went for it. I added coconut milk and curry, and though my husband was a little weary, I thought it was yummy. Thanks for the idea!

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