I have friends coming in from France at the end of May and I couldn’t keep hiding the rips and the doggy aroma on the sofa and loveseat. My ex absolutely insisted on getting a leather sofa and loveseat because of the dogs. Ironically, he dumped me on the loveseat a year later. I never liked those pieces of furniture, they were so dark and bulky. But you couldn’t tell him anything, because he always knew better. He didn’t measure the doorways or anything , of course, so when they arrived in the middle of February – while he was off skiing with some ‘friend’- the delivery guys had to remove the back door and squeeze the damned things through. And then he gave me shit because there were a couple of scratches.
Predictably, they were too big and bulky for the space. Also, since the cushions weren’t removable, they were a nightmare to keep clean. When dogs get sick, they have a tendency to barf into corners – the best you could do is fish out what you could, wipe it down, and use a lot of Febreze.
And so, after 4 years of wear and tear (for some reason, the dogs would dig on the seats- like there was a hidden steak in there), it was time to say a cheerful good-bye. I was fighting off a fairly bad lung infection, sweating profusely, but was absolutely hell-bent on getting those things out before my IKEA delivery. By sheer determination and an inexplicably intuitive understanding of geometry, I was able to get the cumbersome loveseat out without an excessive amount of cursing or personal injury. The sofa was something altogether different. I cut the underside and the back to see if I could use a demolition bar to tear the thing apart. Nope.
So I decided to bother my neighbour. He’s a resourceful guy and has all kinds of nifty tools. When I showed up at his door, barely a rasp for a voice, I was all sweaty and gross. I managed to whisper a request to borrow a chainsaw. For a few seconds, he looked a little worried. Given that his daughter is a police officer, I decided against insisting it wasn’t to get rid of a body. Alas, he did not – which is probably a good thing or I might be typing this from a hospital bed… with my feet. Ever the helpful man, he offered to come over and give me a hand. I think he regretted this offer when he took one look at this huge monstrosity of a sofa and asked me how the hell it got in here in the first place. Magic?
Essentially, he whacked the shit out of one of the arms. There were wood chips flying everywhere. With that accomplished, the height of the thing could now pass through the door, and despite my inability to speak, we managed to get the damned thing to the back door and then finally outside just in time – because one more minute of this and I would have thrown up all over the poor guy. Note to self: refrain from strenuous activity when nauseated.
So now those two hideous items are out of my house – the last cumbersome reminders of a toxic, 9-year relationship that was void of very much love and even less common sense. In their place is a single, incredibly simple to assemble sofa (seriously, I whipped it up by myself in about an hour) with washable, replaceable covers. To replace Sasha’s napping spot on the love seat, I also bought a matching footstool/ottoman.
I really got into the whole IKEA thing after the big breakup in 2012. About six months after he left, I decided to give away the bedroom furniture. It’s too bad since it was a nice, Mission, solid oak set that cost me almost 6K. But it was kind of big and dark for such a small bedroom, and there were too many memories of terrible sex and me wanting to put my pillow over his face at night, so it had to go. I ordered a pretty, metal bed set from the US because I couldn’t find anything nice in Canada – and certainly not for that price. When the new mattress set arrived, I put everything together and had my first good night’s sleep in a long time.
After that, there was the issue of where to put my things – enter IKEA. When I had tried to put anything together with the ex, a one-sided fight inevitably ensued because he had ADHD (coupled with major anger issues) and would throw a tantrum if he didn’t ‘get’ the pictograms immediately. This time around, flying solo, it was like meditating in a Zen garden. I lay things out in an organized fashion and watched back to back episodes of The Big Bang Theory as I assembled my dressers in peace.
Two dressers, a linen cabinet, a wardrobe, a desk. The instructions claimed that you’d need two people to put those things together, yet I managed successfully -and happily- on my own. There’s a sense of satisfaction when you’re done – like you’ve built a piece of furniture, but without having to do all the dangerous stuff with a jigsaw. There was also an enormous sense of personal accomplishment because the ex always assumed that I could never do anything properly, that somehow I was too stupid, incompetent.
I recently painted two bookcases that he had left in the basement. He fucked up one of the shelves so that the nuts are on the top of the shelf when they should be underneath. I was going to fix it before painting it, but decided against it. It’s not noticeable, but more importantly, it’s a little reminder of all the times he told me that I couldn’t do something, when he had to take over because I didn’t ‘get it’ – it’s a reminder that he wasn’t as competent as he thought he was or wanted me to believe. The fact is, I was always fully capable – I just let some motherfucking prick tell me otherwise. So now, when I see that imperfection on the shelf, I’m reminded of how much better I am than I ever gave myself credit for, and how I will never, ever let another man make me feel the way he did.
IKEA: Swedish for common sense. And, in my case, building self-esteem.