Message Of The Day

Sat, 07 Oct 2006

18:59 [zork(~)] cat things-that-go-bump-in-the-night.txt

The Joy of Ikea

Very late last night I was sitting at the computer, trying to decide if anything I had to say on was worth going another half hour in the red on my sleep deficit for the week, when I hear a loud thud from the bedroom. I jump up and run to the doorway to find my husband sitting calmly in bed reading.

"Did you hear that?"

"What?" he asks, innocently.

"The thud."

"Oh, yeah. Something fell."

"From where?"

"From the bed."

"And you're not planning to get up and see what it was?"

"Must I?" He looks pretty comfortably installed, not at all inclined to get up and investigate. After all, whatever it was clearly hit the ground, so it can't fall any further, right? I, on the other hand, have decided that since he was the one sitting in the room when it happened, it is his duty to fix it.

"Well, when something falls off the bed, I think it's a good idea to at least figure it what it was. But do what you like." I go back to the computer.

A minute later I hear, "Heeeeelp!" from the bedroom, go in and find my husband hoisting the mattress on his shoulders and trying in vain to whack the side post of the headboard back into place. The bed came from Ikea Seattle, a college graduation present from my father over eight years ago. It has since moved from Seattle to Boston and Boston to Paris, taken apart on each occasion and put back together, as best as we could remember without the long-lost instruction booklet. I think its latest adventure, being dismantled completely and shoved in the bathroom while we had wood flooring installed, may have been its Waterloo.

"What do you want me to do?" I ask, quite annoyed. Now I'm sure of losing at least a half an hour of sleep with no journal entry to show for it.

"Get over there and push!" He motions to the other side of the bed. I squeeze in behind the bedstand, prop the mattress on my head, and try to get a purchase on the pine post that's slipped out of place. Two of those little filmsy Ikea-issue dowels look hopelessly misaligned with their holes, with at least two inches of space between them. I push. Nothing moves. He pushes on the other side. I, in my stocking feet, slide a foot back and hit the side of the dresser.

"I can't push!"

"You have to!"

A good twenty minutes of pushing, pulling, swearing and screaming at each other ensues, punctuated by muffled thuds as we manoeuvre the mattress around the room. At one point I'm completely blocked into a corner with the mattress leaning against my back, and I start laughing uncontrollably. Any remaining force I have is drained from me instantly. Comedy becomes tragedy a few minutes later when we knock over a lamp and break the lightbulb.

My husband finally has the bright idea of removing the bed slats before trying to pushing the headboard back together. Genius! At one o'clock in the morning GMT + 2, the whole thing is miraculously back in one piece. We've even profited from the lightbulb incident by finally getting all the dust bunnies (moutons, or sheep, in French) vaccuumed up.

Of course, I have absolutely no confidence that the bed will hold together for more than a couple of months. Ikea furniture has the bad habit of falling apart at the most inopportune moments, as on the morning my husband sat down to breakfast and had the kitchen chair collapse underneath him.

Meanwhile, I can only imagine what all this late night activity sounded like to our neighbors. Though the average Parisian has likely had similar Ikea adventures, I couldn't help but blush thinking about it.

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