The Challenge That Will Truly Test Even The Strongest of Relationships
There is one event that comes along that will seriously test even the most stable relationships. If you can make it through this test, you can make it through anything. Many couples don't survive. Those who do, will never be the same. A very select few make it through unscathed.
I'm of course talking about your first trip as a couple to Ikea.
You walk in with your significant other, hand-in-hand, all smiles. Some couples though, unknowingly, have already screwed up before their car even finds the parking lot. These are the couples that have planned on eating at Ikea.
Pro Tip: Eat before arriving at Ikea.
"But Sarah, their meatballs!!" No. The cafeteria at Ikea is located in the middle of the store. Meaning you have to make it through round 1, the staging area, before ever arriving at a meatball. Planning on eating at Ikea is a classic rookie mistake. They sell the meatballs in a frozen pack to go, buy those instead.
CB and I made our first serious trip to Ikea over the weekend. I say serious, because our first time there didn't really count. We had no intention of buying anything, alas, not a true test of our strength as a couple. It's all fun and games when you're strolling through Ikea playing make believe. You sit on couches, you marvel at the prices, you don't think about getting it home or building anything, you don't take 4 trillion pictures of red aisle/bin tags.... heck, you can casually even eat the meatballs. But when it is time to buy, it's a different ball game.
We of course ate at Jimmy Johns before we arrived. This ain't my first rodeo.
We managed to zoom through the couches, coffee tables, storage units and entertainment centers before we had our first real challenge. If I were a TV producer I would have a reality show that simply followed couples through Ikea. Kind of like wipeout, only cabinet drawers bust out of no where to punch you in the gut.
Our first challenge came in the kitchen section when I began opening every last drawer and cabinet that said "peek inside." As I mentioned here, we have a serious organizational challenge on our hands, you never know what is inside each drawer. CB kept his cool, and even joined in the fun after seeing that one of the cabinets contained a trash can holder that rolled in and out with ease. Neat.
In round one, we managed to choose a bed we both agreed on, picked out dressers with the intention that CB would build and I would IKEA hack, survived a potential hiccup when I spent 45 minutes trying to choose between a high gloss white desk and a plain white desk (big decisions here people) and quite literally sprinted through the children's section to complete round one.
Round two, the marketplace, was a breeze. A breeze that I'll take all the credit for. Being the single girl apartment dweller, I know Ikea's shortcuts like Lisa Turtle knows every mall from here to Tijuana. Grab a yellow bag, make a quick stop at bedding, browse kitchen quickly to see if there is anything you must have or will die, plan to spend time in the bathroom section since that isn't part of round 1 and shortcut past lighting, picture frames and flowers without passing go or collecting $200.
Round two, complete. If memory serves me right, I *think* we even arrived at round 3 holding hands.
Round 3, the warehouse. Round 3 separates the men from the boys. CB pulled out the flatbed cart and we were on our way to aisle 28, bin 12. His cart wouldn't roll straight, I could see the irritation trying to crawl on his face as he was forced to push left in an effort to go straight. As I looked around, not a soul was smiling. Couples had their arms crossed, giving their partners looks that would kill.
As we walked down aisle 28, I pictured us walking in slow motion to our final fear factor challenge where we'd have to hold our breath underwater for 17 minutes.... or arrange 48 boxes, all different shapes and sizes, on a flatbed.... so, same thing.
One extra flatbed, 13 boxes clearly filled with solid bricks, 4 giant "I'm getting really effing fed up right now," groans and 2 furry $12 rugs that kept sliding off the sides of the flatbed later we were ready to check out. We chose the longest line. This was it. Would we make it?!
After we loaded the last box in the bed of CB's truck, we high-fived.... WHILE SMILING!!!! We did it. We are the American Dream.
*As this story went to press, CB and Sarah broke up 12 minutes in to building the first dresser.*