Monday, December 31, 2007

What's Under My Couch This Week

I know you probably weren't expecting a list this week. Why would there be a list? We've been gone for more than a week and only home for about five days. And yet...this is what I found under the couch today:

1 catnip mouse
1 sparkly pom pom (I keep throwing these away, and yet more appear!)
2 pieces from Lily's Little Pet Shop
1 red marker
1 small pink koosh ball
1 object built from legos
1 plastic tepee (???)
1 medicine measuring cup
1 pair of Jack's shoes
1 pair of Lily's shoes
1 yellow plastic ball
2 golf balls
1 magnetic shirt from Lily's ballerina
1 Mickey Mouse straw

I can tell by the items that Oskar was a big help in collecting this weeks pile o' odds and ends.

Anyway, before we head off to our friends' house for New Year's Eve, let me explain a little bit about the five days of radio silence on the blog. We got home at about 6:30 am on Thursday (the 27th) and pretty much slept all day. Jack, Lily and I were all suffering from a nasty cold. I spent the next day sleeping, too. Thank goodness Jim was home this week so that I got a chance to rest and get rid of the cold quickly.

We have been putting off tackling the biggest decluttering job in the house -- the office. As many of you know, we have a small entry way room that we've been using as an office. We bought a pie safe to use as storage and placed that across from the door with a nice wood mirror over it. We also had an old wooden desk, some metal hanging file holders and a plastic filing cabinet with the printer on top. Every time we printed, the printer shook the whole filing cabinet. It also lost one roller any time we tried to move it.

We tried several different arrangements, but the office never really worked. Jim and I had been talking about getting some better storage and organization for the room, so once again we turned to our old friend IKEA for ideas.

We decided to buy a tall bookcase with two frosted glass doors and a new desk. We also planned to buy a bunch of boxes and magazine holders to organize all of our paperwork. I had also been planning to buy new dishes (yay!), so we thought we'd take care of that as well.

For some reason, we decided to go to IKEA in the afternoon. On a Saturday. It was not good. We have never seen so many people in that store. We skipped our usual trip to the restaurant and went right to the showroom. Lily was a cranky mess because she was still suffering some cold symptoms. Trying to shop with her was like trying to jog on a beach with a millstone tied around your leg. Add in pushing two stroller carts through a throng of customers and you will get some idea of how we felt.

We had already picked out the bookcase and doors we wanted, so all we needed from that section was the warehouse location to pick everything up. We had to spend some time picking out a desk. Our first choice was discontinued, and our second choice was much larger than we thought it would be. We ended up finding a nice desk made from the same wood as the bookcase. We spent some time looking at storage for Lily's room, but since she kept screaming "Nothing in my room can change!" we decided not to buy much.

The next stop was the downstairs marketplace. It was so packed it was difficult to get the stroller carts around. I picked up two boxes containing 6-place settings of our new dishes, four serving dishes and eight coffee mugs. Since the dishes are stoneware, the two IKEA bags were pretty heavy. We added a computer keyboard holder (fits under the desk) and a metal cord organizer, 10 magazine holders, 4 book ends, and 8 small storage boxes. It was a lot of stuff. By the time we got to the warehouse, we had two full IKEA bags. We then picked up a big cart so we could get a 78 inch box containing our bookcase, two 78 inch glass and metal doors and a giant box with our desk in it. Don't ask me how, but we managed to get it all in the Honda along with two adults and two children, and nothing had to be tied to the roof!

That evening, Jim and I put the desk together. We really like it. Unfortunately, the keyboard holder doesn't work well with the height of the desk, so we decided we would return it. Then Jim went to get the bookcase. When we opened the was 1/2 the width of the bookcase we wanted.

If you've ever shopped at IKEA, you will know how confusing the warehouse is. This is not the first time that Jim and I have come home with the wrong item or an item that needs to be returned. We often end up having to go back the next day. I think it's a part of their marketing strategy!

So we were off to IKEA again yesterday. It was nowhere near as crowded and everyone was well rested and in a good mood, so the trip went quickly. We ended up getting the storage unit for Lily and an area rug for her room. We also picked up some new glasses and more storage boxes for the bookcase. Although the 78 inch bookcase box was thicker this time around, we found a better way to get it in the car, and the storage box fit easily into the back, so the trip home was a lot more comfortable.

We cleaned Lily's room and put together her storage unit. I will have to post some pictures later. The only bad thing is that they were out of pink bins, so we only got one of the three we need. We'll be going back to IKEA in a few weeks. Their evil marketing ploy is working.

Jim and I then put the bookcase together and installed the doors (after several frustrating attempts -- it's amazing how the "easy" illustration instructions can be interpreted so many different ways). The office looks great. We still have a lot of stuff to shred (can you say "bank statements from 2001 to 2006?") but it's amazing how big that small office looks now. I'll post some pictures of that, too.

Soooo...that's why we've been so busy since we got home and why there have been no posts. I'll be downloading some pictures later this week and will make a few posts about Christmas and the rest of our California trip. In summary -- the kids had a great time, Jack broke at least five things, Lily played more Polly Pocket, Jack got two minor head injuries, and the red-eye plane trip home went smoothly!

Have a happy new year.

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