The Last "Easy" Car Trip

So, I'm hanging around on Sunday lazing my way through this new knitting project

that I took up because decided I needed to actually MAKE something for this baby in order to feel more connected and welcoming towards the little parasite, (And, no, I'm not knitting a hammock. It's a blanket, silly, and it has totally transformed my knitting life. It is SO easy. I'm completely in love with this Log Cabin style of knitting now. Whether or not it will make me completely in love with the Gadlet is yet to be seen) when Spousal Unit calls me from work (he's been on a 2-week 24 hour a day science experiment involving lots of fancy equipment) and asks if I want to take an 8 hour road trip (round trip) to help return the priceless equipment he's been using with his scientific equipment. (How's that for vague and oddly naughty?) It turns out, 2 people at least have to be with the stuff at all times, and one of the two people who brought it couldn't return with it. So, it needed a second babysitter to make it home safely. Four hours in a car. Each way. I can hardly go 20 minutes without needing to pee. I'm grumbling about this a bit and balking about taking such a long trip so late in the pregnancy when he drops the magic words: "We could go to Ikea and buy our new kitchen."

Ikea. Ah, Ikea. The home of all things Swedish and disassembled. That paradise of practical consumerism, that mecca of MDF... I could go on, but for your sakes, I won't. Needless to say, I was sold. We live far enough into the sticks that it takes a bit of a production to go to any Ikea (closest is 4 hours in any direction). So, we booked a UHaul, returned the equipment, hung out with some friends for the night, and headed out for Ikea the next day.

Little bit of remodeling background: Our kitchen is great in many ways. But, it was clearly built by somebody's grandfather in the 1940s. The cabinets are this strange plywood homemade configuration of non-standardness that we really like. When we bought the house they were painted grey and white -- like the previous owner was trying to make them look like a "modern" kitchen. We said screw that and painted them a vivid electric blue. I love them. Here's a photo.

But, the downside is that there is only about 2 feet of useable countertop space in the whole place. As you can see on the left, we had to put our dish drainer on some stools because we ran out of counter space. Storage is also a bit of an issue. Plus, there's no dishwasher. Now, I know, dishwashers are a luxury, not necessary, wasteful yadda yadda yadda, but we can barely keep up with the dishes as it is and we don't have a screaming infant to contend with. Add to all of this the fact that our sink, circa 1920, is only 6" deep with severely decaying porcelain. Time to replace.

In all our wisdom, we decided that right now would be the perfect time to remodel the kitchen, because, you know, we don't have anything else going on so we might as well tear our a couple of walls, replace a few windows, move a radiator, and install some cabinets.

Toward that end, we spent most of the day yesterday at the Ikea figuring out which cabinets to buy. Now, first of all, let me say, don't panic. We are totally keeping almost all of the blue cabinets that you can see in this photo. We're just adding some others to the back wall you can't see and to the wall with the sink. We're gaining a pull-out pantry, cabinet above the fridge, countertops, so many glorious countertops, and much, much more storage space. We went with light birch cabinets, a few stainless units thrown in for good measure, and wood countertops. Thank goodness for Shahira, the wonderful woman who helped us get everything we need. Thank goodness also for Spousal Unit who loaded up the Uhaul in the 90-degree heat while I sat on the cart and watched. (I actually refrained from teling him how to load the truck, which I thought was pretty big of me.)

The funny thing is that I knew Ikea stuff came disassembled, but the cabinetry? REALLY disassembled. There were like 50 million boxes, not to mention the bags of little thingeys and dohickeys. Apparently, every single little piece of everything has to be put together. And, this is so complicated that they sent us home with a bulging folder full of instructions and a CD about how to build your Nexus Numerar Perfekt Rationaal Ektorp cabinetry. So, that will be a fun project to undertake in the next 6 (?) weeks while I dissertate and gestate.

By the time we were done with the Ikea it was about 4:00, and we started driving. Me in our car, SU in the Uhaul. An hour into the trip, we stopped and got some food at a service plaza, and happily sat in the air conditioning of the car together listening to NPR. We were almost home when we stopped again at the Krispy Kreme (hey, I'm pregnant. I can have a doughnut occasionally if I want to...) and I realized that the key I had in my hand to the car was Spousal Unit's, not mine and most definitively not the set of keys I had started the trip with. Then I had a horrible realization...I knew where those keys were -- 200 miles away at the service plaza. In order to keep my keys from falling out of my pockets as I went to the bathroom (because, dammit, I'm only wearing overalls these days -- I look like Humpty Dumpty, but they don't compress my belly), I hung them on the hook on the back of the bathroom stall door. Turns out, SU had gotten into the car and started it with his keys, so I didn't notice that I left my keys in the bathroom. Nor did I notice this when I started to drive. Grr. Pregnancy brain sure is fun! Fortunately, I called this morning and they had been found and will be mailed to me shortly, but still, dumb, dumb, dumb.

When we got home, I realized, though, that as tough as this trip was, and as tired as I was at the end of it all, it was probably the last easy car trip we'll have for years and years. Hopefully on the next one, I won't leave the Gadlet strapped into the seat that hangs from the back of the bathroom stall door at some random service plaza.


At 1:33 PM dr four eyes said...

Love, love, love the blue cabinets! Glad you're keeping them (or at least most of them).

Re the dishwasher: if you buy a water-efficient dishwasher (as well as energy efficient), you might actually end up using less water than you do by handwashing.

I feel you re: Ikea cabinets. We renovated our kitchen last summer and installed ~40 Ikea cabinets. Once you get a couple under your belt, it's not so bad. It's helpful to do all of the same type at once (all base/all wall, etc). Good luck!

At 9:05 PM Scrivener said...

Is the decision to renovate the kitchen on top of everything else an example of the nesting instinct kicking in, or are you just that crazy? ;)

At 10:11 PM Kathleen said...

First of all, what a gorgeous blanket!

Second of all, renovating the kitchen? You guys are nuts! Of course, we moved into a new house without a kitchen sink, dishwasher, washer, dryer or heat three weeks before the small one was born, so it can be done! Good luck.

At 12:12 PM jo(e) said...

The blanket is gorgeous!

And I've done that kind of thing with my keys too many times to count ....


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