Wednesday, December 13, 2006

oh, the humanity: husband consigned to hell

So, Iris's best friend from kindergarten, a greatly beloved little girl, moved to Chicago last summer, but she is returning for a weekend visit. In a moment of madness, I had the idea that I should throw a little party for her on Sunday, when she is going to attempt her Very First Sleepover (we all understand that she may not make it through the night and may need to be ferried back home in the wee hours). Accordingly, Iris and I are hosting about eight little girls, all friends from those halcyon kindergarten days, for a sleepover-themed party. In reality, only the visiting girl will sleep over, but the others have been asked to come in pajamas, and we're going to dance, have a (carefully supervised) pillow fight, eat popcorn, do pedicures, and if things get either too boring or too exciting in a bad way, we'll throw on a movie.

I had the additional idea of getting pillows for the girls, as a party favor and also to emphasize the slumber party theme. I will strew them all about the living room floor, and then the girls could take them home at the end of the party. I thought this was a no-brainer, as a few years ago I bought a lot of fabulous throw pillows for Iris's old preschool. I went to Mervyn's, where I had previously bought big, funky pillows for pennies, and all their throw pillows were about $29.99. I found some on sale for $15, but I am not about to spend $120 on the pillows for this party (I'll be buying pizzas and drinks as well, and I need to be more financially responsible as I've already dropped some cash on Christmas presents).

By now, I felt committed to the idea of the throw pillows, and I asked the husband to swing by Cost Plus on his way home today. After checking the Cost Plus website, it seemed again that the whole throw pillow market had veered sharply upmarket since my last foray into that world. There were only two reasonable alternatives left: abandon the throw pillow as party favor concept (and I do hate to let a cute little hostessy idea like that go), or send someone (possibly even myself) to the dreaded retail hell, shudder, Ikea.

I hate Ikea. It's purposely laid out to be monstrously confusing; I have been lost and wandering about in the Emeryville Ikea to the point of rage. I feel nervous in Ikeas, because they are so crowded and confusing, and if there is ever a big earthquake, there are going to be tons of corpses at that Ikea. After you've identified some crappy piece of cheap furniture you wish to purchase, you must go down and seek it amongst the huge bins and high stacks, and if you're me, invariably whatever you wanted is out of stock, and you'll end up fleeing with empty hands rather than brave the insanity upstairs again. So I sent the Sober Husband, using the excuse that the East Palo Alto Ikea is theoretically convenient to his Palo Alto office.

The man must have called eight or more times to discuss his pillow choices. He hates choices, he hates retail in general, and he hates Ikea in particular. He was unable to find a suitable throw pillow; a reasonably cute one I identified on the Ikea webpage was not to be found in the store computer. We had the idea then of getting regular bed pillows with cute pillowcases, but all the pillowcases were bundled for sale with sheet sets, rendering that concept too expensive. This was all made more difficult by the fact that celphone reception was nonexistent in the pillow and bedding department.

Eventually we agreed upon a pillow choice, a rectangular, longish pillow with a colorful pattern. I informed the husband during this phone call that I had begun blogging about his Ikea trip (yes, up to the minute reportage here at the Drunken Housewife site), and he laughed. But then down by the register, as an impulse buy, there were the cheap throw pillows I'd envisioned from the beginning. He called three times and sent a picture from his celphone camera, agonizing over the decision. We took a vote here: Lola and I voted for the heart-shaped pillows, Iris voted for the flowery one.

Poor old husband, condemned to the Ikea, wandering about with no celphone reception (his celphone and his Swiss army knife are his security objects). I suspect he drowned his sorrows in those cheap meatballs they serve at the Ikea cafeteria (once he confessed that when he was mad at me, he'd go in the kitchen and drink milk straight out of the carton; I think he eats meat in moments of marital anger as well).


2amsomewhere said...

Poor old husband, condemned to the Ikea, wandering about with no celphone reception (his celphone and his Swiss army knife are his security objects).

Better to have a Swiss Army knife as a security object than as an instrument of self termination, especially in depressing surroundings. A Swiss Army knife sucks as a Samurai sword. ;-)

I'm sure my wife throws out #1 and #2 plastics in my absence when she is honked off at me.

Anonymous said...

i think the heart pillows are a no-brainer.

PPSH. poor poor sober husband. a man awash in the estrogen imbued world he helped create.

you could also get fabric pens from the local crafts store and write their names and other cute things on each pillow. that would be fun.

also vodka in the fruit punch. maybe that's just me.

Anonymous said...

this is when a bedazzler sure would come in handy!!!
susiederk who is too lazy to log on as herself.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to have the opportunity to go to an Ikea. Your sleepover party idea is wonderful. I hope all the girls have a great time.

Anonymous said...

I now find myself wishing again I could have a daughter so that I could steal your idea. Very Clever!

Anonymous said...

I love the pillow idea!

I also love Ikea, however, and urge you to try the East Palo Alto one for yourself, as it is much less crowded than Emeryville, even on weekends. I hate the Emeryville Ikea. It's like monkey island at a particularly bad zoo. It's so awful that I would hate Ikea in general had I not discovered it in Seattle (well, Burien, I think, near Sea-Tac). And now I hope that no one reads this comment because I don't want the Emeryville hordes to descend on Palo Alto.