Thursday, August 21, 2008

Now it's Thursday

We spent our second intense Ikea day yesterday. As earlier reported, we planned to go back and get a sofa, actually a "loveseat", called a Klippan. And so we did. It came in a box 7' x 3' x 1', and was formidably heavy. When I looked at the stack of these boxes in the warehouse section of the store, I wasn't sure we could get it off the pile, over to the loading area, into our SUV, back to the Rosemont Plaza (Mary's apartment house), and up to her apartment on the elevator. But Carol and Mary were more than game, and so back we went yesterday morning.

We had some other Ikea chores to do as well. For one thing, we discovered that Ikea is not perfect, because two of the items that we had purchased the day before had defects, one of them a lamp set. There was no problem with the store regarding those returns. But we took the occasion a little later to look in the "scratch and dent and returned" area and found that there were several lamps there exactly liked the one we returned; if fact, they were the only lamps in this area. We resolved not to get another one like that.

The lamp set was really, really cheap, however, about $12. It consisted of two pole lamps that fit together: one could use the set together or separate them for different uses. Quite a clever design. But the product was made simply too cheaply to deal with the quality-control problem, I suppose, and I don't think that item is long for Ikea.

Of course, we took the occasion to walk back through the entire store again. And we added a chair, called the Poang, to our purchases, as well as some smaller items. We had lunch there again too, and I marveled once more at the really cheap, good food at Ikea's restaurant. (I had meatballs, Kellsey.) Just after check-out we had the now obligatory $1 frozen yogurt cone.

If you shop at Ikea, you need to be psychologically prepared for something to go wrong with the assembly. As I said, Ikea is not perfect. They have put a lot of time into simplifying their designs and packing carefully, but part of the bargain, unspoken as it may be, must be that the consumer is to have more tolerance for things going wrong than if one purchases an item from Nordstrom's. Fair enough, but anyone shopping there needs to know this.

When we put the sofa together, we found that the screw on one of the legs had a bad thread and simply would not mate. So we took the leg right back to the store and swapped. This second trip of the day also gave Mary the opportunity to return some things, not because they were defective, but because on the earlier trip that day she saw something better than what she bought on Tuesday (for Mary "better" means just as serviceable but cheaper without sacrificing style, bless her heart.) I am now sitting on the sofa, complete with replacement, and it is just fine.

Mary and Carol fixed supper last night, and so we had our first meal on Mary's new dining table. Mary covered the table with one of her "Kikoys", which is a colorful all-purpose, cotton fabric from Kenya, and served dinner on her new dishes. Welcome back to the States, Mary!

So we are pretty much done with the intense part of setting up Mary's apartment. There are pictures to hang and things to put away, but the basics are in place, and she should be ready to turn her main attention to school work soon. She begins her orientation a week from today, and classes start the following Monday.

Today our plans are to take the train into downtown Philadelphia for walking tour out of one of our guides.

We also want to locate Tenth Presbyterian Church, where Mary is thinking of attending this Sunday. (We are leaving Saturday.) As dedicated as we are to maintaining our connection with PCUSA, we remarked last night that we are much more comfortable going to a well regarded PCA church than taking our chances on whatever the PCUSA might have to offer, knowing nothing else about what Philadelphia has in churches. So we see again how important "branding" is.

The neighborhoods around Mary's apartment house are lively. Yesterday was freshman move-in day down the street at Villanova, and we have seen empty shelves at Target and even at Ikea, as parents and students like the three of us stock up for the imminent beginning of the school year.

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