Monday, March 21, 2011

We All Kept Our Dignity This Time

My mother-in-law Betty and I went to Ikea today. She is visiting for a couple of days, and we were drinking coffee in my sunroom this morning when she espied a little footed bowl in an issue of Country Living. We had just gotten Hank off to school, so we agreed we should go down there in search of this footed bowl that would probably solve all our problems and make us better people. The desert would bloom if we only had this footed bowl.

So we rolled down there.  Then we each had the meatball plate.  Then I tweeted that we were at Ikea because I am all about the examined life.  @SuburbanHaiku responded with her usual pith:

Ikea field trip
Overwhelmed! I always choke.
I'll just have meatballs.

Yes, exactly. But Betty and I ate our meatballs.  I was feeling good. I was feeling the pleasure known only by a woman in the middle of the morning while her children are in school, miles away.  A woman wearing tall wooden clogs and comfortable jeans. I was ready to put the hurt on some Ikea. But then I got serious. "Listen," I said. "No matter what I say to you later, no matter what you hear, don't let me buy pillows or textiles.  No matter how I beg. I need you to be firm."  Betty promised to throw her body between me and the Annamoa fabric-by-the-yard.  I still haven't done anything with the two yards I bought the last time, the time my sister threatened to punch a guy.

In the end I kept myself pretty well in hand. There was one close moment, down in the downstairs section where they have all the dishes.  That's where I can sometimes just lose my shit.  I don't need a thing in there, but when faced with decorative trays in graphic patterns or whimsical highball glasses, I kind of black out and start buying presents for people I don't even like. I'm highly aware that this is a trouble spot. So I confined myself to taking a picture.

See? Nothing I couldn't resist, even if they did have the most adorable tablecloths and dishes to match that blue floral pattern. I just remembered my mantra: I already have nice things. I already have nice things. I already have nice things?

In the end, I kept myself in hand. I bought:

roll of easel paper
taper candles in celery green
tealight candles
CF lightbulbs
doormat to replace the one the dog barfed on
a small sheepskin

I know, BORING. But I already have nice things. I already have nice things.

Betty bought tab-top curtains, a small sheepskin, scissors, and casual silverware. She said, "I'm tired of polishing my silver all the time."  I was just impressed that she polishes her silver. I never do that because I am slatternly.  I tell myself it's a beautiful patina.

We couldn't find that footed bowl anywhere. And we didn't even get any cinnamon rolls.  I already have nice calories.  I already have nice calories.

Then we headed back north. I like to just pop in to Ikea from time to time and see what is going on in there. It was a nice morning for us.

Do you have a shopping mantra? If so, tell me what it is and I'll put it in my rotation. xoxo-B


Ramona Burke said...

I just laughed so hard I almost snarfed.
I think I'm gonna steal your shopping mantra. Unfortunately for me, I live very near IKEA, it's between me and my hubs office. sooooo many irresistible things.
thank you for making me laugh!

TLC said...

I'm not generally a commenter, but I read this to myself laughing out loud before reading it to my husband and announcing that THIS is how I feel about Ikea-- to which he responded, "yeah but that mantra won't work for you because we won't really have nice things." He now understands my pain. (Denver will be receiving our first Ikea this summer!!!)

Aimee said... shopping mantra. I'm just so CHEAP. Most people get buyer's remorse. I get cheapskate's remorse. "I SHOULD have bought that xyx..."

Pamela said...

send me your fabric and i will make you a spectacular bag.

Anonymous said...

I have no control. If I don't want to shop, I don't go. Seriously. I can't help it. I can't go to Target because I hear the home section calling me from the door.

Elizabeth said...

You'll never miss it; you'll never miss it; you'll never miss it. It works for when you're trying to purge your closets of excess as well.

AM said...

Nothing can come in unless something goes out. We live in a very tiny space and we're full.

Jenni said...

I do two things. One is that if I think I want something, I put it in my cart and leave it there while I shop. Then, at the end of my shopping I ask myself, "I've gone X years without this item, and I'm doing fine. Do I really need this item? Really NEED?" And then I put back the chip clips and Tupperware containers, but I still keep the new lamp because it's so damn, cute, and I just put back all that other stuff so I deserve it.

Jenni said...

PS, we will be hanging out in TWO WEEKS! YEAH!!

Hootie said...

I have less of a mantra and more of a creative visualization technique. I just picture the item in my home after two weeks. It is either shattered, stained, or mindlessly whittled. At that point, resisting the purchase is easy.

M said...

I put a lot of stuff on hold. If I obsess about it and want it badly enough to go back after it, I must really want it. If I forget about it and sleep soundly that night, well...


Anna said...

Mine is:
"Yes, but where will we put it?"
It works like a charm, and is the main reason we can never, never move to a bigger house. I'd fill that sucker in six months with stacks of darling trays and sweet cake stands and gorgeous white platters. Not to mention the fabric.

Keely said...

"I already have nice calories" just made me snort my coffee. I am SO chanting that. It won't work, but it's funny as hell.

I don't really have a shopping mantra. I do abide by the practice of carrying things around (I think it was you that mentioned that once) for a while to see if I really neeeed them.

Michele said...

See why I wouldn't let you take me to Ikea? I would have had to check my luggage and possibly burden the UPS people. "I already have nice calorie" I love it! I'm in awe of your fortitude.

Casey said...

I think I need to go to Ikea with you guys since I usually leave with a truck full of shit. We just got our first Ikea here last year and before that, I either ordered from the catalog or drove two hours to the nearest store. I have been avoiding it for the past six or so months since I realize that half of my furnishings are from there and I'll be known as the weird Ikea girl.

Marsha said...

When I find myself with a cart full of nice things that I hadn't even realized existed until that shopping trip (usually to either HomeGoods or The Christmas Tree Shop), I try to remember how idiotic I'll feel a year hence when I donate all of it to the preschool rummage sale. I've twisted the donation drop-off into a variation of the walk of shame and my as-yet unrealized ambition is to have nothing to donate so that I can just write a check and have done with it.

Shannon said...

Mine goes a little something like:

Do I love it?
If I love it, what would I get rid of that's currently in the house?
Do I love it more than I love that?
Do I want to move it?

If it ends up not working out, could I resell it at the same amount to break even? This works better with thrift store items - where thre's no going back to pick it up after you've thought about it, LOL. Also, my biggest weakness. sigh.

As for IKEA, I miss thee so. My only solution there is to move somewhere that's too backwater to have one closer than 6 hours away. You save a LOT of money that way....

Roving Lemon said...

Yeah, what Shannon said--I have never managed to live less than 2 hours from an Ikea, and shopping off their website just isn't the same. I find having no ready access to tempting sources of housewares to be an excellent way of curtailing my spending, even if it makes me grouchy sometimes.

Amy said...

Hilarious!! Though you have to admit, the time I almost punched the guy was awesome.

My mantra is, "But it's so much cheaper in the States." not that that will help you very much. :)

Veronica said...

I leave stuff there and say to myself, "if I wake up in the middle of the night regretting the fact that I didn't buy these cute napkins, I can come back and buy them tomorrow." I rarely wake up in the middle of the night thinking that, but if I do, then clearly I really do need new cute things.

Star said...

My shopping mantra? Where will I put it? Where will I put it? Where will I put it?
Thanks, as always, for your wonderful posts, Star

Crystal said...

"Less is more." I tell myself this when I shop and organize and decorate. Love this post =).

Suburban Princess said...

I find that same area of Ikea to be the trouble spot...I can never resist the huge tealights!

Rebekah said...

I wish I could go with you and Betty on a shopping trip!

laura said...

We are finally getting an IKEA in Denver. Finally. I whimper every time I drive by the giant blue and gold building because some day I'm going to be able to just pop over and pick up a whimsical tray and a coffee table while snacking on cinnamon rolls.

Laura said...

I just wanted to add that the tea lights are the #1 best seller at Ikea. Tea lights! i guess other people get overwhelmed and just buy them or meatballs too.