Monday, October 18, 2004

I Was Framed!

Well, it was an expensive weekend. That’s right, it’s already that time. No, I’m not talking about Christmas. I don’t buy Christmas presents anymore, I make them…and then wish I’d bought them.

No it was time for the bimonthly trip to the happiest place on earth – Ikea. Who knew that inexpensive Swedish furniture cold be so much fun to shop for? I’ll tell you who, the Ikea people, that’s who. The same people who had the brilliant idea of putting a restaurant in a furniture store.

These geniuses got my number, but good too. Evidently, apartments are pretty small over there in Sweden. They design their furniture to maximize a small place. That’s just fine by me, because a small place is what I got. Really small.

But in this tiny apartment, we’ve managed to cram a desk, a bed, an entertainment center, a sofa, some side shelves, CD shelves, a printer stand, three bookshelves, 4 tiny coffee tables (that double as stools), 5 dressers, my guitars and recording equipment, a magazine rack, a coatrack, two people and about ten years worth of useless crap (not including electronics).

*Home burglars, see me for map and itemized inventory*

Now to that list we can add a dining room table that comfortably seats 4 and new chairs to match the occupancy of the table.

Not everything is from Ikea, but you’d be surprised how many of the things that I mentioned are. The nice thing is that if someone did decide to break into our apartment (which, believe me, is impossible. I’m terrified that someday we’ll lock ourselves out of this place) the burglars would end up with a truck full of furniture totaling about $7.

But how else do you dress up a crappy apartment that you’re contractually forbid to paint? I’ll tell you, you fill up every square inch of it with furniture made in the Philippines.

Believe me, it helps.

It also helps to hang things on the walls. God forbid we paint anything around here, but go ahead and put a thousand tiny holes in the walls; the termites have been chewing on them for years anyway.

Why is it that our landlords won’t pay to make sure the building stays up, but they’ll pitch a flying hissy if they have to apply a second coat of interior latex paint?!

Sorry, that’s not what this post is about. My landlords are asses. I’ll just have to live with that for now. Don’t rent from Fleck, people.

Anyway, we went to Ikea to get the table. They had one on sale that included 4 chairs. That’s what we went for. That’s not what we got. That table was (relative) crap. It didn’t fit with the theme of our apartment. That’s saying a lot. The “theme” of the apartment is eclecticism. If that table don’t fit here, it don’t fit anywhere.

We got a better table (but not better chairs, there’s one thing that the Swedes are behind the rest of the world in, chair technology. They don’t really sell a “good” dining room chair). I know it’s a good table because it’s the type they use in the restaurant. If it can survive thousands of Swedish Meatball spills every year, it’s the table for me. A nice plain rectangular table. I would post a picture of it, but if you’ve ever eaten at an Ikea, you’ve seen it. Besides, this place is a mess and you don’t want to see that.

See, the Ikea folks have mastered small space usage, but one thing they refuse to think about is what you’re going to do with the old furniture. I suppose it’s not their responsibility. But wouldn’t that be nice? It would be, because, right now, Tanya and I are waiting to have a yard sale and the house is packed with the old crap we had to move in order to make room for the new crap. There’s a table and chairs half blocking the kitchen. Stacked in front of the window. I feel like I live in some pathetic ghetto consignment shop.

There are poster frames leaning against our walls too. That’s another thing we got at Ikea, picture frames. You don’t leave Ikea without buying something you never intended to. It’s funny though; those impulse items seem to always be the best purchases we make there. Maybe it’s because they cost next to nothing, so if you don’t like it, throw it away?

Anyway, we framed some of the pictures I took for my college photography class. They turned out nicely. We also headed out to restoration hardware (the anti Ikea) to get some more record album frames for the old records we bought at the Salvation Army. Those turned out nice too.

Then we got ambitious. I needed paper for the cartoon, so we went to Pearl Arts and Craft Supplies to get some and walked out with a new canvas, some paint thinner and a misguided optimism for oil painting.

We decided to paint a little something for the corner of the “dining room.” It was up to me. The brand new table was getting a trial by fire. We hadn’t even had it for a day when we decided to paint on top of it.

But, I did it. And I used the oils for the first time! And Tanya painted a very nice jewelry box.

Now, when Tanya refers to the painting as “a bunch of different colored squares,” it seems almost obscene and I’m tempted to be insulted. After all, Piet Mondrian didn’t just paint “lines and stuff.” Picasso didn’t paint “messed up chicks.”

But, okay, I did. I painted a bunch of different colored squares. And it’s too small. It’s a piece of modern art. Not a good piece of modern art. But, damn it, I painted it!

I’m already plotting a “plan B.”

Fun Fact: Oil paints take a lot longer to dry than acrylics. I know that. You probably already know that. But it’s tough to remember when you’re impatiently trying to find the best place for it on the wall.

See, the painting’s not just a bunch of different colored squares. It’s a bunch of different colored squares, some fingerprints and a handsome red streak!

So there.

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