Ikea, now without a seven hour road trip!

When we lived in Maryland , we had first two, then three Ikeas within a 90 minute drive (due east, slightly SSE, and then another South.) Roughly once every month or so, we'd pile in the car and find some sort of furnishings for the home without leaving the entire contents of our wallets behind in the store. Life was good.

All these journeys resulted in a house where you don't have to look far to find Ikea's imprint. Billy and Roi bookshelves, a computer desk and work station, the kids beds (formerly bunk beds), our dressers (all five of them). Out in our garage are unassembled shelving units for the records and a rough hewn utility storage system. In the kid's closets, there are a bunch of clear plastic tubs from Ikea. The kitchen also has a thing or ten from those travels.

Alas, we moved to Florida and went a long time before getting to the blue and yellow building. Our DVDs are housed in two gunmetal gray Billy bookcases. The acquisition of the first involved my scientific maneuvering. I swiped a DVD case off a shelf in the showroom, measured it and then pulled out the cellphone calculator to discover that each shelf would hold 43 DVDs and each unit could hold 4 shelves of DVDs. (Later, my fellow geek minded coworkers would laugh hysterically as I recounted the measuring saga). A year after the first purchase, Billy could fit no more and we bought a second.

Since moving, we've slowed up on DVD purchases due to lack of funding and lack of Billy bookcases. It seemed foolish to drive seven hours and waste all that gas for a 30 dollar bookcase, so we didn't. We made plans to get up there-then we heard that Ikea was coming to Florida. Waiting for the bookshelves made sense.

Yesterday, we traveled over to the new Yellow and Blue building. (In the interim, it's been announced that Tampa gets an Ikea of it's own in 2009. I drive by the site every day). As soon as Gameboy knew where we were going, he was jazzed that he'd get to go in Smaland, the play area. Hmmm, kiddo, not sure about that. It's been three years and several inches since you last played there. You may be too big.

Luckily, he's about a half inch from being too tall. Crisis averted. Once Chef and Gameboy were set up in the land of Smal, Ed and I visited the showroom. Many names were familiar, that have been around for years. Some items were new and funkier than we remember Ikea offerings to be. They even have their own appliances, made by Whirlpool.

Once we got to the Home Organization area, we found the Billys-but not in the color we own. In the three years since we last were here, the gray offered has become noticeably lighter. Bah. I guess this means we have to do what we were contemplating, which is to go to using two tall Billys. However, that light gray is too light for the neutral gray palette we like to use. Back to the drawing board.

We continued onward. Ed and I have pretty different tastes in decor. I would point out something I knew he'd love (loud and busy) and he did. If he saw something and raved, I knew it'd be something that I probably wouldn't want. It's always good to do this kind of shopping, where we get ideas and tell each other why something will (or won't) work with what we're doing. It's nice to see that the two colors we'd like to use in the bedroom are everywhere here. That usually means everyone else will follow suit in about two years. Yay.

Down in the marketplace, we found some items for the always needy camping gear box. They now carry a Le Creuset knock off enameled cast iron (interestingly, it's made in France). The fondue pot was calling me, but I was talked out of it. Do we really need five fondue pots? my answer is YES. Ed's was no.

A wine rack caught our eye, and once in self serve, Ed twisted my arm (owwww) to get it. He had a good rationale, as the wooden box storage we use for 20 some bottles makes it hard to see exactly what bottles are in there. Removing a bottle is a breath holding exercise, so a wire rack that will match the baker's racks I want to purchase is wise. Even better, they stack, so we can have 48 bottles of wine within easy view.

As we were getting the rack, time was up in Smaland. I had to get the boys. The smell of the restaurant while we were shopping made the choice for us, and once the purchases were stowed in the car, upstairs we went. Three swedish meatball meals and a mac and cheese. It was good.

The last stop was in the food store for some orange crisps, lingonberry preserves, an almond tart and cinnamon rolls. We all were happy. Chef Jr reports that peanut butter and lingonberry sandwiches are the best in the world.

It was great to visit an old friend, even if they didn't have what I was looking for. Sometimes, looking for other stuff makes up for it.

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