Rain, Rain Go Away—or Not by Margaret Hart
Most of the Memorial Day weekend in the Northeast was wet. While not a total wash out, it was cold, windy, and raining for the most part. In fact, it’s been cold, windy and raining quite a lot lately. Here it is almost June, and instead of sporting shorts and flip flops, people in my neck of the woods have been putting their furry winter boots back on when they go outside, and turning on the heat instead of the air conditioning when they’re inside. It was a long winter, has been a crazy spring, and is shaping up to be a weird-weather summer if the forecasters are correct. I hope they’re not.
With nothing to do outside, my mom friends and I were scratching our heads trying to think of something new and different, and fun to do with the kids that was inside. With an early release from school on Friday, a friend and I decided to take our kids to see the new movie, Epic. It lived up to its title, and earned a round of applause from everyone in the theatre.
Saturday morning, just when I thought my son’s soccer game would be cancelled, the email came that it was on. We, along with about three dozen or so other families, went to the game and watched our kids run back and forth on the turf, getting soaked, while we huddled under umbrellas on the sidelines. All the while asking ourselves if we needed our heads examined. But the kids didn’t care. They all wanted to play. My son’s team won 6-0, so it was worth it.
On Sunday, we decided we needed some retail therapy and a road trip, so we drove 45 minutes to the nearest IKEA store. Everyone else had the same idea. The place is beyond huge, and it was packed. People were loading up their shopping carts. We loaded up ours with hangers, drawer organizers, furniture and rugs.
When we got home, my husband spent the afternoon and following day assembling furniture for my son’s bedroom. We’d been searching for new furniture for over a year, since we gave away his nursery dresser. We’d looked at custom-built, and so-called “all wood” furniture in the thousands-of-dollars range, but didn’t see anything we loved that we were willing to spend that kind of money on, and then wait twelve weeks to receive. And we had been warned by other parents not to buy expensive furniture only to have our son destroy it when he’s a teenager, as apparently many teenage boys do.
We went to IKEA out of curiosity, but were pleasantly surprised to find many things we liked. I first went to an IKEA store in New Jersey in the early 1980s when I was living in an apartment in New York City and needed some quick, utilitarian, and inexpensive furniture. It was also a nice field trip out of the city on the weekend. I wasn’t overly impressed back then, and to be honest, have never really thought about purchasing anything there since. But this trip was different. Both my husband and I were really intrigued.
On Monday, we finished setting everything up and my son was chirping in delight. He loves his new red shag rug (that he chose), and his cool, black, solar-powered bedside lamp (that I chose). And he is happy that his clothing is no longer in file boxes on the floor, but in drawers in a new dresser, with all his trinkets proudly displayed on top.
After rearranging some things, including removing some old posters on the wall he no longer wanted, my son was beaming as he remarked at how he finally had a grown up room! My husband and I were delighted. We had accomplished quite a lot in less than 48 hours on a dreary, wet weekend, and the payoff was worth every penny of the $3,000 we did not spend on pricier furniture. Turns out we didn’t need to spend a fortune on fancy, custom furniture. What we purchased is very nice, sturdy, looks good, and best of all, our son loves it.
I am tired of rain, but maybe it should rain every once in a while. It seems that when that happens, we get clarity, and we get a lot done around the house!
P.S. This is not an endorsement of IKEA, just my personal opinion and experience.