Episode VII: Battle for the Bed

It seemed like a simple enough thing: because he’s growing so fast, Zan’s fire-engine bed was well on its way to becoming Zan’s mini-barstool, so we needed to get him an actual twin bed. There were some constraints, however—the first of which was that it needed to be physically low enough to fit into the corner of his room, and the second of which was that it needed to be financially low enough to fit into our meager budget.

Enter Ikea. Wonder Woman scoured their site and found a bed that satisfied both requirements. However, when we got to the online checkout, we discovered that the cost of having the bed shipped to our home was roughly equal to the actual cost of the bed itself (seriously)—which, at the time, seemed like an expense we couldn’t really justify, because there is an Ikea store in our state, but it happens to be about 40 miles away, and I don’t like buying anything that requires me to actually leave the house. Hmmm. What to do, what to do … ?

Ah-ha! The Ikea store is located along a highway that my pickup-truck-driving father takes when he travels to and from his place on Cape Cod! I could ask him to pop in there and pick it up for us on his way by!

He agreed to this, and we arranged a date on which he was able to grab the bed for us. However, on that date, I checked the availability of the bed we wanted, and discovered that it was sold out.

OK, no problem, he could get it on his next trip back from the Cape the following week. In the days leading up to this second attempt, I checked the stock repeatedly, and saw that, yes, the bed was in stock … until the actual day arrived, at which point it again was sold out.

So this goes on for three or four weeks, until, finally, last Friday, my dad called and said he could get the bed, and I saw that, miracle of miracles, it was in stock. I text messaged him the exact item number, product name and color. He phoned me after leaving the store to say he had it, but it sounded to me like he was also implying that some confusion took place.

And in that moment, I already knew where this was going to end up, because he’s my dad, and I have known him for, like, my whole life. And because I love him, and because there is a very remote chance that he might actually read this (his interest in my blogging is less than fervent), let’s just leave it at that.

He arrived at the house, and the little flicker of hope inside of me, the one that long ago should have extinguished itself, momentarily managed to burn brightly enough that it blinded the knowing, pragmatic part of my mind and forced it to become preoccupied with shielding its eyes instead of saying what it wanted to say, which was: “Just leave the boxes in the truck so that we don’t have to go through the charade of lugging them into the house and up the stairs for no reason, please and thank you.” Thus, several minutes later, my dad and I were standing sweat-drenched amidst the boxes in Zan’s bedroom.

Zan was with us, and was demonstrably excited about the arrival of his new bed. No longer blinded by the aforementioned flashpoint of hope, the pragmatic part of my brain, upon realizing that there was no way Zan was going to agree to go down for the night unless his new bed was assembled first, decided to end this little farce.

Because the problem was, the birch-veneer bed that we wanted? The one that matches the birch-veneer dresser in Zan’s room? I knew that bed was still sitting on the shelf at the Ikea store. And the boxes in Zan’s room? I was quite certain they did not contain a birch-veneer bed. And I was right: they contained an ink-black bed.

So, instead of eating my dinner, taking a shower and settling down on the couch for the night, relieved and thankful that the weekend was upon us, and that the bed had finally arrived, I had to load the boxes back into the pickup truck, which I then borrowed from my father for the journey back to the Ikea store.

The store closes at 9 p.m., so, at around 8:35 p.m., after driving for what seemed like way too long, I phoned my father and asked, “You said the road that the Ikea store is on is right off of Interstate 95, right?”

“Yeah, you go down 95, and then you go past where 95 veers off to the right—”

“Wait wait wait: I go past where 95 veers off to the right? I thought you said the road I want is right off of 95, so I stayed on 95.”

“Yeah, well, it’s off of 128. 128, 95, same thing.”

Yes, they’re the same thing—until they’re not, and they split, and the point at which they diverge is several miles prior to the road off of which the Ikea store is located.

So now I had to turn around and buzz back up the interstate, and the clock was ticking, and it was quarter of nine, and if I got to this fucking place and they told me it was too late, they were closed, I couldn’t come in, well, Sept. 5, 2008 was going to be remembered as the day of the Great Ikea Massacre.

Finally, I got to 1 Ikea Way and quickly saw why the place has its own special address, because it’s not a furniture store; it’s the Death Star … and not the first Death Star, no no no, this is the second Death Star, the one from “Return of the Jedi,” the huge one that they never finished building because Lando Calrissean blew it up (I’m letting my geek flag fly, people). But he didn’t blow this one up, and they finished building it, and it’s even bigger and more intimidating when, instead of watching it on a movie screen, you’re inside of it looking for furniture.

Eventually, after an extensive search, I found the birch-veneer bed, disabled the tractor beam, fought my way past a throng of stormtroopers, escaped into the night, and made the pilgrimage back to my house with the correct bed in tow.

And next time, I’ll fork over the shipping cost with a smile on my face.

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