Okay, mes amis. Yesterday was the day when, after months of drawing and revising plans (I can't recommend the free downloadable Sketchup program enough) we finally headed off to our nearest Ikea store in Toulouse to buy our kitchen. To digress: wouldn't you think that Ikea--creative, design-conscious, cool--seems more akin to Mac people than IBM-ers. But noooooo....their kitchen design program only works on Those Other Machines. Hence Sketchup.
So here was how we envisaged the day. We would leave Léran early, do the deed with maximum speed and efficiency, and someone would meet us outside the store at 4 p.m. with a large white pick-up truck.
We didn't get off to an early start. Something to do with a really good dinner with friends the night before. We roared up the N20 but it was still close to eleven when we arrived. As usual, we kicked off our visit with a pain au chocolat and a coffee handing over our Ikea Family Card as we did so. Little plug for Ikea. You don't have to have numerous kids to get this card, you can apply on-line, it's free--and so is all the coffee you can handle.
A double-shot later, subversion and caffeine surging through our veins, we went against the directional arrows as a short-cut to the kitchen section. They said you need a consultant and they're all occupés. Here's a pager. We didn't know how to use it and kept racing back every time it beeped. Turns out we had to await a triple-beep which arrived just as I was swigging my first mouthful of lunchtime rosé and digging into my shrimp salad.
Back I went, again against the arrows, sending French toddlers flying in all directions. A very efficient salesperson sat me down at a computer and together we went through the list. Eighty-odd items, 53 of them self-service. Because each item was listed with its precise location, the self-service part went fairly smoothly apart from a brief moment of panic when I realized that I'd put some of our cartons on somebody else's cart.
Lugging heaving boxes down from shelves has never been my idea of amusement especially when it's 35 degrees at least outside and not much cooler inside. Two carts later, we arrived at the cash desk where we had to split our order into two as the cash register was physically incapable of handling such an enormous receipt.
The truck arrived. Everything was loaded on. We all sweated buckets. We then made our way towards the depot to pick up the other 31 or so pieces. A brief déviation because of roadworks, an outright disregard for a "no entry" sign on the way to the highway and the truck and the Clio were off on the road to Pamiers.
Where we picked up a fridge. Here's a shot of the back of the truck as we drove home where we unloaded, cracked open beers and ate a late supper by candlelight in the garden.