My husband goes to a coffee shop every day. He goes there to work, for a change of scene. Coffee is his one vice, his little pleasure in life. At the weekend, he takes either my daughter or younger son with him – whichever one of them is out of bed (my eldest is never out of bed!).
The other day, he set off for coffee with my son. Then he rang me, about when I was expecting him back, to inform me they were in Ikea. In Bristol.
We’ve been redecorating and reorganising my daughter’s room, to make way for a desk to do her homework. Before Christmas, we did some reorganising in my son’s room too. Also to make way for a desk.
And, on that Sunday morning, my husband decided on a whim to take my son and go to get the desks. My husband is very good at doing things on a whim. He’s the man who says he ‘might’ decorate the spare room and five minutes later the paint is out. Even though it’s already late in the evening.
‘I hope they get me a swivel chair,’ said my daughter.
So I told her to ring them. But there’s not much reception inside the large tin box that is Ikea.
My son had football that afternoon. He was supposed to be setting off at 12.45. At 12.10 my husband rang to say that it had been quite hard work (no sh*t, Sherlock!) and they were just leaving.
They wouldn’t be setting off for football at 12.45.
They arrived home just before 1 with two identical desks, a swivel chair that looked like a throne, a very plain chair that definitely didn’t look like a throne, two lamps, and a couple of waste paper bins, because apparently they cost about 90p.
My daughter didn’t get her swivel chair. She was not happy with her plain chair. My son had been in the right place at the right time and chosen himself a very comfy chair. My husband thought it was a bit OTT for a bedroom, so hadn’t really considered that maybe my daughter would want one. And maybe it looked a bit unfair that the chairs were so different.
‘Did you get me a chair?’ said my eldest.
None of us even knew he needed a chair. Apparently his chair has been broken for AGES.
Possibly it might have helped if my husband had actually let us know in advance whether he was going to Ikea, so the kids could have let him know what they wanted and needed.
But my eldest doesn’t bear grudges and he likes building stuff. So, without being asked, he put together both chairs and both lamps. When my son got home from football, he constructed his own desk.
Now we just need to acquire another throne for my daughter, and my eldest is happy to have the chair my daughter didn’t want. Going to Ikea on a whim on a Sunday morning seemed like a slightly crazy thing to do at the time, but the kids have got their new desks and my daughter’s bedroom is nearly finished.