Our trip to the big city*

Courtesy of Pottery Barn — I admired but it didn’t work for me.

Did you ever go someplace and have no idea how you got there or how you got home but you were very grateful to sleep in your own bed at night? Bingo!

We need some things for the new house. Big things. It’s been so long since I’ve purchased furniture. I’m not sure what’s in and what’s out so it’s time for a field trip.

First up was a stop at IKEA. We have a huge one that’s about 45 minutes from our home. That’s what google says. The way we go it’s more like an hour and a half. I’ve been there a number of times but it always looks different. It’s on the outskirts of a huge metropolitan area and there is always construction. How hard could this be? Google gave us directions.

We took at least four wrong turns, maybe more before we found it. It was in back of a Home Depot store that blocked the view until the very last minute. Traffic was heavy. The beloved husband was making “U” turns that perhaps he shouldn’t but from the honks, people were cheering him on! We got in the parking lot! Score!

Our IKEA makes you walk through the entire store to find what you want, check out and exit. If there is ever a fire, I’m toast. All the arrows take you through everything you don’t want to see and more. If you ever need to backtrack to pick up something you saw earlier, you are screwed.

We were looking at temporary desk furniture but we didn’t see anything that would work better than our current makeshift arrangement. It didn’t matter as they were out of most of the items. Stock was down considerably. Blame it on the pandemic.

After we dusted ourselves off from that store, we went to the BIG mall which is about 20 minutes from IKEA. There were three stores we wanted to visit out of 300. I studied the map fervently noting the locations in relation to the large stores that were more visible. I marked parking that was most convenient. Boy was I wrong. The three stores were somewhat grouped together at one end of the mall and our car was parked at the other. In between is what had to be a marathon length walk. There were not a lot of directories or any map handouts so we wasted time taking wrong turns. Often.

My Fitbit went crazy. It was screaming “Hoot, hoot!” on my wrist. “You go girl!” It kept telling me to keep on walking. There were French fries in this mall! It lied. There are French fries in the mall but in the 87,000 miles we walked, we didn’t pass one FF store! That’s just wrong. Instead I bought a package of Cinnabons that were made last year before the pandemic started. At least it seemed like that from the weight and texture. Sugar is not the same as greasy French fries.

At the end of the day, the beloved husband and I were exhausted and my Fitbit was exhilarated. I saw some lovely things and got some ideas but bought nothing. However, I made it home to sleep in my own bed.

*Alternate title: The Clampets go to the big city (You have to be an old Beverly Hillbillies fan to get that!)

88 thoughts on “Our trip to the big city*

  1. Love that alternative title!
    Those Ikea paths always make me laugh (There are marked shortcuts here…but I always worry someone will stop us…or we’ll get lost forever)
    Sounds like you got a months worth of exercise. Seems like there are fewer furniture stores around now. (So much trendy “retro” stuff that looks like it will get wobbly over the years…I do not want to have to make another trip to even buy more furniture)

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  2. I do not intend to buy furniture ever again. Shopping for furniture is for young folks. I bought a rocking chair for him when Honey retired. I ordered it on the internet from the Amish. They made it, delivered it, and sat it up. It works. I really don’t care much any more whether I have the latest thing or not.

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  3. I’ve never been to the Ikea store, though I hear plenty about their furniture and the Swedish meatballs. I don’t envy you having to get furniture, painting, putting together a house to make it feel cozy and like “home sweet home” during a pandemic. I do remember “The Beverly Hillbillies” and can just imagine the going on a trip to the Big City to the bank with Mr. Drysdale and Ms. Hathaway.

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      • The living room furniture is like that in my house. The house is in Early American, but that furniture is not comfortable, but I never sit in there, so I’m not going to change it. When I still watched TV, the TV was in the den … that has a big chair and a comfy loveseat and I’d sit with an afghan over me if it was cold, but the living room … not a welcoming spot.

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  4. I’m laughing so hard at the honking “cheering him on.” Obviously it was that! 🙂 My wife has been saying for weeks that she wants to go to Ikea. I hate going there for all the reasons you mention, plus for us it’s in a part of Jacksonville that is off a very busy stretch of highway. So in addition to not knowing that area very well (sound familiar?), I too resent the way that store forces you to go through all their different departments before you find the one you wanted to see. I’m always promised their meatballs for my troubles, but somehow that never materializes because it’s too late. Ugh. – Marty

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    • I’ve never had their meatballs. Maybe that would help! I’ve enjoyed going there in the past but our dance card was full for the day and all the wrong turns took up valuable time (which resulted in no french fries!).

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    • At some point, you need a treat to keep you going. There was no treat. We walked right through the lunch hour and got home at 3 exhausted and hungry. The food court was a distance away although they had the occasional concession stand. I smelled Auntie Anne’s pretzels but I never saw them. I never enter food data in my Fitbit. That would be too overwhelming and I really don’t care. I tried using the liquid tracking function as I don’t drink enough water but it was more work than value.

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  5. Nothing about this excursion would be appealing to me. I’m convinced that a typical IKEA store is the first ring of hell. Those places are scary!!

    Hopefully you can find what you are looking for without further marathon hiking.

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    • I have narrowed down what I like considerably. I was stunned by how expensive furniture is. For that price I need to love it and most I have to order sight unseen in the finish I want. That is scary. Yes IKEA was more fun when I was younger. Maybe it’s the pandemic but I get claustrophobic if I don’t know how to get out of a place.

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      • Me too … and I agree on the cost of things.

        I searched for a new couch for over a year before I found one back in January that checked all the right boxes. I may be an impulsive buyer on some things but furniture isn’t one of them. It gets changed so infrequently, I have to be absolutely confident of my choice.

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  6. I love to go to IKEA, but I’m always lost, too. They know what they’re doing in sending you round and round and up and down before you’re let out of the trap. It is exciting that you have the opportunity to make some new purchases. I think I’d love the excuse. My tastes in decorating have changed over the years, but I’ll likely never really “start over” and yet I wonder what that would be like. At the same time, I see how hard you’re working, and I’m not sure I’m up to that either. LOL! I hope you’ll share your purchases when you make the final decisions!

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    • I’m way too frugal to start over. My nephew and his wife recently downsized. They sold all their furniture and bought new that fit their brand new downsized house. Love the concept but I have so much I can’t part with. I don’t buy unless I love. When I love something, I don’t want to let it go. I have a pickled armoire from the 80s and I’ve used it in every house I’ve been in. It’s large and has served different purposes but I still think it’s beautiful.

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  7. I can relate. I never go to the mall, so if I have to go for some reason, I have a similar ordeal. Except I can’t eat gluten, so Cinnabon’s is out. 😦 And don’t get me started on IKEA! I’m glad you had enough energy to get home again!

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    • I work hard to make it happy. Lately there have been so much going on and so little energy left that I had a few days under my 10K steps. I felt so much guilt about it and apologized to my watch. I need serious therapy.

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  8. I don’t know if I am ever going to be a big city shopper ever again after this stay at home thing. I don’t even want to food shop. I need clothes but I don’t have the motivation to go and look and online shopping is just a big return fiasco. You so deserved those French fries after that long day!

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  9. I am not much of a shopper anymore. Haven’t been to a mall in a few years. Never been to Ikea though I would like to visit. The closest one is in Atlanta so I’m pretty sure I won’t be visiting. I worked for years at a furniture store. I loved it! It had a great discount for employees and there was often a contest for us. I won a bunch of stuff over the years! All that does make it more difficult when I want something new.

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    • Styles and colors come and go. I was surprised to see a new variant of what they called pickling in 80s is back. I loved it then and I love it now. It’s a wash over a light stain. These days I stay away from dark colors.

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  10. And you didn’t even get French Fries as a reward for all that walking. Hmph!
    If I had been in your shoes, I’d have made sure my husband drove home, cause I’d have slept in the car on the way back. At least your fitbit was happy. (Thanks for the chuckle).

    I can relate to this. We’ve been searching for things to update the kitchen, and I have no idea about the latest trends. We spent Saturday driving around and also made a few U-turns to find a tile store (for backsplash). Still haven’t found one we like. At least we picked out a counter. Thank God we’re keeping the cabinets.
    Good luck with fixing things up to your liking.

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  11. I get the reference and thanks for the smile. Yes, your Fitbit was one happy app. We live 1.5 hours north of Boston. We haven’t been in years and have no plans to go there anytime soon. Traffic is not for the ‘mature.’ We do have a bus and a train that goes from our town down, but everything is somewhat challenged for the past year, and now the bus station is the vaccine site. The last time we needed furniture, we bought at a local store. Got it home, hated two of the expensive chairs and ended up buying another brand at a a different store and donating them. I hate buying furniture. It’s one of those things that you really don’t know if it will work until you live in it, and the stores frown on that. 🙂

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    • We are an hour north of Philadelphia and rarely (and I mean RARELY) go there. You are right about furniture. I can’t make a spontaneous decision. One piece I love the design but the reviews say the top dings up fast. Another looks like it will hold up but the design isn’t as nice. Argh!

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  12. The IKEA experience can be overwhelming. I learned early on shopping there to (a) make a list; and (b) pick up a map which shows shortcuts through various areas you may not be interested in visiting and (c) check the computers for exact location-it saves a lot of time better spent in touring lovely created rooms making clever use of space. A dear friend and I can get in and out quickly now though we linger over how to adapt those room configurations to our 70 year homes. Before the panDAMNic we used to spend the day there, arriving to have breakfast in the restaurant (they have really good coffee, though no frou frou coffee lattes but it’s good, hot and a great way to power up for all the walking you’ll invariably do). Around noon we’d be finished with the top floor, break for lunch and then head downstairs for picking up large or seasonal items or groceries and then check out. We’d leave between 3 & 4 and called our day “going to Sweden.” When I went alone, invariably ABBA songs would course through my mind in the form of ear worms.

    The large malls where you’ve ALWAYS parked on the opposite end from where you wanted/needed to go are tougher. Probably good to think of it as your mall walks without the annoying chatty member of the group. I go so infrequently to malls anyway, I’ll never figure out where Pottery Barn is before I found the coveted parking slot. Best to hit the store directory near the entrances and leave bread crumbs so you can get back to the right door for finding your car. There’s nothing worse than not recalling where you left your wheels to get you back home for decompression (aka cocktails). I foolhardily believed I could do some Christmas shopping but left early on during in that wasted exercise. Good luck finding furniture pieces-you’re right, far too many stores have limited inventory.

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  13. Ikea is a kind of hell. I like to sneak in the back way because it’s faster to get to anything in there. I’m glad you had a Fitbit to record your trek through Ikea and the mall. That’s a big day for anyone anymore.

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  14. I went to the IKEA in Tampa and I will never go back. Not our thing. I hated having to walk through the entire store for NOTHING.

    Good luck on the furniture front. We have a hodge podge (i.e., mish mash) of eclectic pieces acquired hither and yon. Some handmade by my dad, my grandfather, my great uncle, and BFF. Some antiques. A few purchased upholstered pieces ~ sofa and loveseats. A few inherited with the villa. I’m not terribly picky. If it works, it works UNLESS it looks decidedly unattractive.

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    • We are piecing things together here. We need kitchen appliances more than furniture but eventually we will most likely replace our loveseat with a sofa. Sometimes something small like an end table can bring it together enough to work.

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  15. I’d kill for a Cinnabon, Ellie May! I hate furniture shopping too, but alas my options are limited as we don’t have many malls here. Sometimes a mall can be too big though…

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  16. We live just down the road from our local Ikea. My son used to work there when he was at school so he showed me some of the short cuts. We can’t use them now as they have a strict one-way system or they did when I last visited. I am not sure if they are allowed to open at the moment. I am not very clear about what is an essential shop. I am envying our cats and their ability to moult as hairdressers are not essential apparently.

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  17. Shopping for furniture can be a nightmare. When we bought the cottage we had next to nothing and the longest wall available for a sofa was 6 feet. Most sofas were seven feet plus if you wanted visitors.
    We had nothing when we came here, so thought it would be easy. It’s OK, it’s home, but we could have planned a little better. Might have some changes in the bedroom, but could really do with more space, but we haven’t got it, simple.
    IKEA is the same here (well 90 miles away), you have to walk through everywhere to get where you want. The local Co-op took lessons and they have a one way system in place. If you miss your turn, tough luck, but at least they aren’t making you go out and come back in again.

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  18. Oooh doggie (another Bev Hillbillies reference 😁)…I can relate, especially to IKEA. Although, when I was doing my kitchen/bath renovation at my old place, I got so used to tramping through IKEA that I learned all the shortcuts to get to where I needed to be. And that, my friend, took a whole lot of IKEA visits!

    Deb

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    • I know! There is a huge (or was before the pandemic) food court but it was at a part of the mall we didn’t walk through. It’s large and it’s too bad they don’t have a monorail to get from one end to the other. I don’t mind walking but we were constrained for time so I wasn’t able to check out other stores. Amazingly the designer stores (Gucci, Tiffany’s, Fendi, etc.) all had a waiting line to get in. They only let a very few people in at a time.

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  19. My palms were sweating reading about the driving experience. Even with the WAZE app on my phone, I hate driving to unfamiliar places. Other drivers are so impatient and will practically run over top of you. I have a feeling those huge malls might disappear in time. So many of the large anchor stores have closed…at least in our area.

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    • Yes, many of the large department stores are gone. This one gets enough business that Macy’s and Neiman Marcus carries a much better selection than at smaller mall sites. Our newest mall is an “outdoor” style with parking in front and back of the store fronts. It’s not large but it’s easier to manage especially if you have packages.

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    • I haven’t worn makeup more than once during the pandemic. I put it on only to have it come off in my mask so that was it. It’s been jeans or equivalent pants and sweatshirts, hoodies or tees (depending on the weather) the entire time. I don’t know if I can pull off a “look.”

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  20. HAHAHA…….I haven’t been to a mall or “big” store in FOREVER. Eventually I will have to do that as we want several pieces of new furniture but I’ll have to “work up to that” – being in this small town for a while I’ve really downsized my thinking all the way around including shopping venues. We got used to ordering things online (even furniture needing “construction” – but that’s a story for another day). Just rest up well before attempting another foray into the world of furniture shopping and make sure next time there are french fries available!

    Hugs, Pam

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    • I know. It’s been busy with cat drama and house drama so there have been some days that I “wasn’t up to snuff” (according to my Fitbit). The weather is turning so I’ll try to set aside some time for outdoor exploring.

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