By: Shannon Ralph
I am sitting here staring at a white page trying to come up with something witty to write about. I haven’t been writing in my personal blog on a daily basis like I used to since I began writing for The Next Family. I immensely enjoy writing for TNF, but I must admit to missing my own blog. On my own blog, I can let it all hang out. Most of my teeny tiny readership know me personally and are well aware of all of my flaws and foibles. There is no need to try to sound cool because they are well aware that that ship has already sailed. I have never been —nor will I ever be—cool. So rather than wracking my brain trying to come up with something cool to write about for The Next Family, I will simply share some completely UN-cool and borderline tedious observations from the trenches of geeky motherdom.
Ruanita and I took the kids to IKEA yesterday. We needed to replace a picture frame the kids broke. Plus, I am never one to scoff at an hour of free babysitting. Imagine my surprise, as I pawned my children off on the unsuspecting Smalland staff, when I was handed a pager and told to pick my kids up in 45 minutes. What? What happened to my hour of freedom?? What happened to those final fifteen minutes of blissful wandering through the maze that is IKEA? Forty-five minutes? It simply wasn’t enough time. To make matters even worse, as we were checking the kids in, we realized that the top of Lucas’s head sits precariously close to the height limit line for Smalland. As a matter of fact, he is exactly as tall as the height limit. Yesterday may very well have been his last romp in the IKEA ball pit. A page is being turned. A chapter comes to a close. My days of free-wheeling freedom perusing the miles and miles of cheap Swedish imports in the IKEA showroom is coming to an end. I have to say, I am in mourning a bit this morning.
Then again, perhaps IKEA is not the paragon of parenting bliss I had always assumed it to be. My family and I decided to have lunch at IKEA yesterday. IKEA used to have 100% all-beef hot dogs grilled to plump perfection on those fancy little conveyors that go round and round. Not any more. The all-beef hot dogs have gone the way of my extra fifteen minutes of freedom. When we ordered hot dogs yesterday, there was not a conveyor in sight. Instead, our lunch was plucked from a vat of greasy-looking water. Pale, pallid, wet, and completely unappetizing. Of course, my kids did not care. They ate them anyway. And with a $2 combo that includes two hot dogs, a bag of chips and a soda, I was able to feed my family of five for $8 (with the twins splitting a combo). Limp hot dogs aside, where else on this planet can a family of five eat for $8?
Forty-five minutes of freedom and a limp hot dog is better than nothing, right? So yea, I think I will mourn IKEA. I will mourn the passing of our days of hedonistic wandering. Our days of snatching up cheap plastic crap we do not need in the throes of childless revelry.
Goodbye IKEA. I’ll miss you, dear friend.