Tag Archives: self-esteem

I heart IKEA

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.

chainsawSo 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.

ikea sofaSo 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.


This is not my bedroom – it’s not nearly as tidy or as girly as this. I just have the same metal bed.

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.

Want to know if you're compatible with someone? Build a piece of Ikea furniture together.

Want to know if you’re compatible with someone? Build a piece of Ikea furniture together.

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.

A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Nerds


1963 Pentax – I still have my dad’s.

Today, I went to have my medicare card photo taken.  Again.  I lost the first set and then spent the last two weeks looking for them.  Given that my application was due two weeks ago, I had no choice but to get new ones.  Government photos always look like shit.  For one, you’re not allowed to smile or have any expression on your face.  If you’re over 40, this means that you can’t disguise any lines or sagging by lifting that mess up with a smile.

The girl who took my photo was a sweet young thing – maybe 22.  I said, “try to work some magic with that camera, set it to the brightest flash, if it has special effects, select ‘soft focus’… because this picture is going to follow me for 5 years and I’m not going to get any better looking with time.”  She laughed, as all young girls, completely oblivious to the ravages of time, do.  Unfortunately, it was a standard camera, designed specifically for government mugshots – no fancy effects, no levels of brightness.  And because I had to take my glasses off, I have indentations on the side of my nose and look like a nerd whose glasses just got stomped on by the school bully.  Harumph.  I suppose it could be worse, though.  When the fella was taking my passport photo two years ago, he told me not to blink, to hold it, holllllld it… but I had been trying so hard not to blink that, by the time he finally clicked the button,  my eyes were ready to tear up and I looked like a deer with headlights in its eyes.

deer in headlights

A reasonable facsimile of my passport photo, minus the horns.

My next stop was to look for some inexpensive yoga/sports pants with thick enough fabric to hide bumps and lumps on my kiester.  (I normally shop online because I hate shopping, but with the Canadian dollar doing so poorly, it’s just too expensive to buy from the States anymore.)  Now don’t get all impressed or anything – I’m not one of those lithe, flexible gals who work on their core and muscle strength and bend like pretzels in an actual yoga class.  Nope.  Neither am I a jogger – I think the only time you should be jogging is if someone behind you  is wielding a knife.   The only consistent exercise I get is my Belly Dance Workout class on Fridays – which has the added bonus of giving my muffin top a purpose – a raison d’etre, if you will.  Despite the skinny bitch in the class who moves like she’s at a rave*, thereby annoying the shit out of me, the class is a lot of fun and very relaxing.  (*: Am I the only one who looks at people when they dance and  imagines what they must be like in the sack?  Because if I were a dude, I’d be calling 911 if I got busy with that girl – I’d be thinking she was having a seizure or something.  It really is THAT bad.)   Anyway, my old pants are in bad shape and are at risk of falling off of me while I shimmy.


Fairly accurate visual description.

At this point, I should probably point out that I have my period, so crotchety comments should be taken with a grain of salt… or Midol.  I just feel that this is the only time of the month when I can really release my inner bitch and feel somehow justified because Mother Nature is mercilessly cursing my reproductive organs with unnecessary pain.   We should stop getting periods when we’re no longer ‘viable’ as temporary housing units for fetuses, regardless of menopause.   My uterus is like a slum housing tenement in Detroit; nobody wants to live there, very few want to even visit, so just tear the whole thing down already.   But I digress… back to shopping for yoga pants….


My next boyfriend? A girl can only dream….

I walked into a store and headed for the sporty-type pants, miraculously avoiding both salesgirls.  I found two pairs that I thought ‘might’ be okay and headed for the changing room.  BIG mistake.  If ever you want to beat your self-confidence to a pulp in 10 seconds or less, all you have to do is pull your pants down in the changing room of a store.  I don’t know if it’s the lighting or the mirror or a combination of both, but I was almost stunned at what I saw.  I stood there looking at myself from all angles like someone looking at the hideously disfigured victim of a traffic accident… you know you should stop, but you just can’t.    I decided then and there that, from now on, if I were to date again, I could only,  WOULD only, date men who had some form of retinal damage.   They need to be wearing glasses.  With a strong prescription lens.  The pants fit weirdly and had that awful way of riding right up your rump – nobody, and I mean nobody, needs to see that.  Not even on a skinny girl.  It’s just not right.


Check out the beautiful grain!  Bet it smells really nice, too.

And so I left with my self-image in tatters and two hideous medicare card photos, and headed to the closest place I could feel comfortable – the hardware store.  (My comfy retailers are hardware and art supply stores.  I used to like bookstores, but the only English one left downtown is too bright, open, and impersonal for me. )  Okay, so it’s not a ‘real’ hardware store – they don’t sell cinder blocks and lumber; more like toasters and paint and cleaning supplies and even socks.   I love the lumber section at the real ones, though- because the wood smells so nice.  Inevitably, some guy with a measuring tape hooked on his belt asks me if I’m looking for a particular wood, and I just say, no, I just like the smell of the wood… and he leaves, shaking his head.

And then I headed back to the metro – an environment where I avoid making eye contact with anyone because I invariably draw in some weirdo who reeks of urine, alcohol, and wet cigarette butts.  When that happens, I often wonder, ‘how bad do I look, that a dirty, smelly guy thinks he has a shot with me? Do I give off THAT kind of vibe?  The kind that says: I’m into cuddling men who smell like week old urine excreted from a seriously diseased bladder?’  It’s a little depressing.    I once had this old homeless man propose to me when I was using an ATM at a bank.   He was with two other guys, on the floor, marinated in booze; but they seemed jovial.   I turned to him, looked hurt and said,”you only want to marry me for my money!”  We all had a good laugh.  I wonder if those guys are still alive today… and if anyone ever accepted his proposal.