The TripOne of the places my sweet wifey was most excited about visiting during this trip: IKEA. We had heard it was HUGE, so we decided to devote an entire day to visiting it. So that's what we did today.
We went to the Woodbridge IKEA, though there are others nearby, including one in Baltimore. At first, I wasn't sure what to expect. My wifey was certainly looking forward to it, but I was undecided. From the moment we walked into the store, though, I was hooked.
There was so much to love that I hardly know where to begin. Maybe a bulleted list would come closest to doing it justice:
- The shopping lists. At the entrance of the store, there are shopping lists with little pencils for keeping track of all the items that interest you. Then, when you are done, you can go to a big warehouse on the bottom floor and pick out the box(es) of the items(s) that interest(s) you. This makes so much more sense than the you-are-at-the-mercy-of-a-capricious-salesperson ordering method used by most furniture stores! Plus, it cuts overhead and allows shoppers to move along at their own pace.
- The merchandise transportation options. You can choose between a shopping cart, a yellow canvas bag (with a handy little dolly to wheel it along as it gets fuller and fuller), or a flatbed cart for moving large objects. And the shopping carts are especially amazing -- they are perfectly smooth, with plenty of bearings in each wheel assembly, and each wheel pivoting 360 degrees, with a zero-turn radius for easy maneuvering in cramped spaces.
- The selection. There is a huge variety of well-designed and well-manufactured products for the home. Sort of like a cross between a furniture store and a Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
- The food. We had lunch at the in-store cafeteria, where I had a shrimp-and-boiled egg sandwich and a vegetarian crepe... for like $4.00. And the desserts were buy one, get one free! Yummerz.
- The toys. Found a really fun wooden train set just like the ones I used to love playing with as a child! It will be for the boy's second or third Christmas, I think. Also got him a plush soccer ball so he can start practicing now to be the next Pele.
- The prices. Everything seemed really affordable -- and certainly more so than I have seen in a furniture store. In almost every department, I found something that knocked my socks off with its great value.
The BlessingsTime With my Sweet Wife and Baby. I love being able to spend all day with my little family. They are really enjoyable! I especially enjoyed toting the boy around in our Moby wrap. It lets me cuddle him hands-free and allows him look around all he wants to, if he is facing forward. When he gets tired, I can turn him toward me, tuck his head into the wrap, and let him sleep while I continue walking. It's really fun being so close to him.
Time With Our "Momma." Our hostess is great -- it was very nice to be able to catch up with her as we made our way through IKEA's halls of wonder.
Good News From an Old Friend. One of our friends who works for the White House Office of Management and Budget had tried (alas, unsuccessfully) to get us scheduled for a tour of the West Wing. We weren't too depressed about missing it, but it would have been really neat to see the WW. And then, as we were moving through the bedroom section of IKEA, I got a call from her saying that she was able to set a tour up for us after all. What a nice favor from the Lord! :-)
Comfort. We talked a lot with our "Momma" about a recent death in our church back home. It was sweet to be able to comfort and be comforted by her in our mutual grief for the family. Even in times of grief, it is encouraging to know that God is using the situation to bring His folk closer to each other.