My husband and I thought that today would be a good day to go to Ikea (never in your wildest dreams is a long weekend day the time to go to Ikea but we like to delude ourselves on occasion) We didn't need much, some coat hangers and maybe a storage box or two but we knew the kids would love the ball room and with them just getting over colds I wasn't keen on them playing outside (it is wet and muddy from a big rain yesterday and last night) They have been miserable lately, not sleeping well and there has been a lot of whining and tears. Everyone on the mend, today was going to be different!! We left just after 1 pm.
So we get there around 1:30, and there is a line up to get into the parking lot....that should have been the first sign to turn around but no....we brave adventurers decided to forge ahead.....surprisingly we got a parking spot quickly (by stalking a shopper back to their car)
The kids ran towards the door yelling "ball room" and jumping with glee. The line up out the automatic doors of kids doing a similar dance was no deterrent, we continued on. 30 minutes filled with complaining and whining "ballroom" later we reached the front of the line. While Daddy filled out the paper work I read the list of rules in the wall
- No running, hitting or pushing
- No kids allowed that are NOT potty trained
- Attendants can not be held responsible for the dosing of medicines
- Socks must be worn in the ballroom at ALL TIMES
So off Daddy runs while I hover around the play center making sure the kids are happy and I can leave them. After about 5 minutes I realize they are fine and I am just looking like a nervous parent so I wonder off shopping. I have the funny multi-coloured pager if they need me and we need coat hangers and a storage bin or two. Now the kids are only given 30 minutes of playtime in the play center on busy days so after 20 minutes and no word from Daddy I started to wonder. I called him to find out he was trying to find a parking spot. We were now tee minus 10 minutes of ball room time and still no socks. I tell him to call me when the socks have been dropped off, to find out where in the store I am and to ask them if the kids can stay longer. This all goes according to plan except the part where my multi-light pager starts going off to pick them up and I still haven't heard from him. I slowly start walking back against pedestrian shopping traffic to the play center dreading the melt down when I arrive.
When I get there, close to 10 minutes later, Daddy is standing there in the hero pose with two just released happy kids. We did it! But with the promise to bring them back after lunch so although almost NO shopping has been done yet and we have now been here for over an hour, lets cut through all the traffic to the restaurant and eat meatballs!
Daddy and the kids grab a table while I go and get the food. It takes me 10 minutes to track down one of those carts that holds 3 trays, an absolute necessity when 'cafeteria-ing' a family of four. I acquired one the same way we got the first parking spot, by stalking a family back to their table and forcing them to remove their trays, probably long before they were prepared to. I then make my way back to the line up for food. It didn't look bad until I got close enough to realize that the crowd I saw was actually cordoned off into a long double S with bank roping. 20 minutes later I make it to the beginning of the food counter. I work like an octopus making sure we not only have everything we need but more, cutlery - check, drinks - check, meatballs - check, vegetables - check, salad - check, more meatballs - check!! It takes me 40 minutes from the beginning to food on the table with delays at the cash when some one ahead of me in line loses a meatball onto the floor and the Asian couple right in front of me SLIPS ON THEM spilling some of their own food (seriously how do two people slip on one meatball??)
The kids and Daddy are all crying with hunger by the time I get to the table. We eat faster than we should barking out orders "close your mouth when you chew", "thats too big a bite", "no talking when your mouth is full" (this one said with full mouths) the stress of the day getting to us.
It was now just after 4, the store closes at 5. Daddy rushes the kids back down to the play center in hope that they can get another 30 minutes before closing. I rush through shopping trying to grab everything we came for with 5000 other shopping thinking they are going to accomplish the same thing. Slowly the less necessary things get crossed off my list and I am feeling hopeful for the day when Daddy calls saying the play center has a longer line then when we arrived and he is taking the kids out to the car. I start running toward the cash (knowing the line up is going to be crazy so near to closing time) and because we really are all sheep, so does most of the crowd around me. Suddenly I am in some weird chariots of fire moment except that I am the only one that know why we are running. I start to question myself. Was there some sort of sale announcement that I missed while on the phone? Or are we much closer to closing time than I think? I am swerving to miss other carts, ducking under rug displays, weaving in and out of aisles to miss the stopped crowds on the main road. I arrive near the cash out of breath with coat hangers still on my list. Two runners look around confused, one of them gives me a look that says 'fuck off'. I find the bin of hangers and slip easily into a cash out....and stand in line for 20 minutes! I call Daddy. They are in the car and have been trying to back out of their parking spot of 15 minutes with no luck. I can hear the kids yelling in the background. We try to make a plan to make exiting as slick as possible. His 'new' parking spot after getting socks was on the upper level of the parking lot. Instead of me heading up there, I am going to meet him at the bottom of the ramp. Seems simple enough.
I pay and start walking through the lower (street level) parking lot. There are still people trying to get into the store even though closing is only a few minutes away. I am walking on the left hand side against traffic with a row of parked car rear ends on my left. Someone has pulled to the side with their turn signal flashing obviously waiting for someone who is pulling out. They have pulled past the spot they want with the intention of backing in. I stand in between them and the parked cars letting the car pull out safely. The guy waiting pauses in backing up to let me walk past the parking spot but before I can take a step someone hastily pulls in stealing the spot and scraping his front bumper along the car parked on the drivers side. He then does a 37 point turn righting himself in the spot while me and the waiting parker (who has now gotten out of his car) stand there with our mouths open. The driver and his girl get out of the car like nothing happened but before they can walk away they need to walk passed me and waiting parker who has taken his camera phone out and is taking pictures of the damage and the parking spot stealers license plate. They start to have an altercation, I start walking knowing that Daddy is probably looking for me. I get to the ramp and call him. He is no where near getting down off the upper parking and we decide that I am going to stand like a prostitute on the island so I can jump, literally, into our moving car as he drives past. I stand there for 10 minutes.........waiting ....and do a heroic leap into the car whereby I manage to bash the end of the coat hangers into my face and say "oouch" loud enough to wake up the now napping kids.