We have been putting off furnishing and decorating our living room since November. In its current state, it's a hodge-podge of unmatched, miscellaneous pieces of furniture that we couldn't find a home for anywhere else. We squirreled away some cash and kept telling ourselves, "When our house church launches, we'll do some shopping." House church launched much sooner and with less notice than we anticipated and as of today, we have four days to have our living room put together.
I researched furniture all week on craigslist and we mapped out our plan of attack. Pack a picnic lunch. Drop Katie at the birthday party. Run to opposite end of the Portland-metro area to look at furniture. Stop by the mall on the way back to pick up Katie. Run to the other side of the metro area to hit Ikea. The kids playland at Ikea would be a welcome break for the kids from shopping and give Curt and I a chance to do some power-shopping on our own. Eat dinner at a fast-food joint. Come home. We knew it would be a marathon day, but we decided to gut it out and if all went according to plan, we'd arrive home with a furnished living room.
We woke this morning to blue skies and bright sunshine - the first sunny morning all week. We both groaned at the thought of spending the entire day running errands, but our plan was already set in motion, so off we went.
Dropped Katie at the party and we were actually on time. A surprising start to the day. Dashed to Costco to get gas in the van, which made us late to the furniture warehouse. Thankfully the manager stayed open to show us the goods. Of course the set we really wanted to see was at a separate location, so we got directions to the warehouse owner's house. Another stop. GRRRRR!
Since Costco was directly across the street, we ran in to window-shop and verify that the furniture we ear-marked was actually a stellar deal. Fed the kids a picnic in the car and breathed a sigh of relief when Paige fell asleep, on cue, for her afternoon nap.
Stopped at the mall to exchange a pair of shoes and pick up my newly improved wedding ring from the jewelry store. But we hit traffic heading back to the party site, and I watched the clock tick-tock-tick-tock toward pickup time with a pit in my stomach. What if Katie thought we forgot about her?
I dashed into the party place and have never been so grateful to see an entire gaggle of 1st grade girls in my life! Katie had no idea we were late in our arrival and was exhausted, but thrilled with the super-fun party. We unloaded all the kids for a potty break and dealt with crying and wailing from disappointed siblings who were left-out of the birthday fun. To assuage broken hearts and to bribe them back into their car seats, we promised everyone ice-cream sundaes from McDonald's. As we waited in the drive-through line, we were forced to settle arguments about why Katie got a sundae too when she'd just been to a birthday party. After multiple threats to take away sundaes, we hit the freeway and enjoyed the silence of four kids pigging out on gooey, messy, ice cream in the mini-van.
We talked up how fun Ikea is and how it was worth the LONG drive to visit it. There was a kids play land and all the kids could run around, let out their stress of being in the car all day, and have fun while we shopped. We unloaded and all skipped into the flamingly blue and yellow warehouse, Curt making jokes about how he wished they'd paint the building a brighter color so we could actually find it. We stopped short in the lobby and groaned, both inwardly and outward. The much-anticipated kids area was CLOSED as a precaution due to swine flu. Really? Today? You have got to be kidding me.
Ikea is a mind-boggling, mind-numbing experience for a mature adult. I can only imagine how overloading it would be to a 3-year-old, especially on a Saturday when it's packed with weekend shoppers. Curt and I looked at each other and our four little hooligans, and forged ahead. We created our own 3-ring circus, corralling kids, constantly counting heads, breaking up arguments, and taking multiple potty breaks. To top it off, we found NOTHING from our list of "must haves" except throw pillows. We kept sneaking peaks over the tops of their heads and giggling. At one point, we whispered, "How is that somehow we're all still having fun?"
While Curt checked out, I took the kids for the 18th potty break. Grant trudged out of the bathroom, forlorn and appearing ready to cry. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "I'm tired, I'm hungry and I just want to go home." I couldn't help but laugh.
We ate at Quizno's and the kids rearranged stools, argued over drinks, and climbed all over the brick walls on the outdoor patio. Invigorated with food and fresh hope to continue to pound out our list, we unsuccessfully struck out at Home Goods.
We piled back into the van, certain our kids would be lucky if they lived to see bed time and fumed most of the way to Sherwood. Alli fell asleep in the car, Grant and Katie stopped fighting and Paige sat in utter bliss with her blankie and unrestricted time with her "nukie."
We drove into the Target parking lot at 7:00 p.m. Did we really want to tackle another store with four tired kids? Yep. We were on a mission. We left Target an hour later, cart laden down with everything, except cabinet hardware, on our list. Why on earth didn't we hit Target first?!?!
I think Paige "went potty" four times at Target before she had a successful trip and was able to walk around without arching her back and grabbing the back of her skirt. As we loaded our treasures, we made the executive decision to embark on one last stop. Home Depot for cabinet hardware. We chose the MONSTER cart with seat belts for two plus room for two in the cart basket and literally ran for the hardware aisle. We laughed out loud as all four kids hit melt-down at the same moment - crying and wailing and begging to go home while we counted, 1-2-3-4... on the knobs and handles we needed.
At long last, we pulled into our driveway, 10 hours later. Van laden down with treasures and tired kids who instantly perked up and ran circles in the front yard once they were free of their car seats. I put away the left-over picnic food while Curt unloaded the van. We giggled and asked, "Was that really fun?" And we had to answer, "Yes."