Last night, quite late, our phone rang. Dennis answered. I could not hear the whole conversation but I did hear my Little Sister's voice uttering the words, "Ben and Jerry's" and "Outside your house now." This translates to "I've just come off late shift at the hospital, can I raid your freezer." Which she of course could. I even made her tea and toast. I didn't really expect it would be well gone half past midnight when she decided to take the ice cream home but, hey, it's Friday and I can sleep in.
At half eight I was woken up by the phone. Little Sis. Ikea have particular pine set of drawers on sale this week, she wants two and the computer says there are only four left. Do I want to go and get them with her right now. Well, duh! No. But you know, she's my Little Sis and she tells me that now they created the new motorway junction just for Ikea it only takes twenty minutes to get there. So that's an hour tops to get there and back with the furniture. Go on then.
En route we establish that she had stayed up to three am to wait for her husband to come in off an extended night shift only he rang to say he was doing extra hours until 7am so she went to bed at 4am and was up in time to check the Net for Ikea produce and wake me up at half eight. We also agree that if we go and get the drawers we could even have a cup of tea before we go home.
We go in. And that basically was my error. We go and get the drawers. And as it turns out a bed side cabinet. Now, she says, there are the wardrobes. What wardrobes? Well they match the drawers. Lets go and see them. En route to tea I assume. Nu-huh. We go to the wardrobes and she whips out her shopping list. The one she didn't tell me about. But this being a range which is being phased out ( hence the sale on the drawers) key bits are unavailable and the room has to be redesigned. Then we have to pick the interior bits for the modular system. We are given two sheets of paper. One with the items we collect downstairs. One with the parts that are in the external warehouse which we either get direct or can get home delivery to get for us.
Tea time then. Nu-huh. There is a blanket box to match. Somewhere. And we have to go to Kitchens to the handles for the doors to the wardrobes. Except that, when we have walked round and round the eighth circle of Hell to find Kitchens, she doesn't like any of them and they don't have ones to match the drawers. She decides she'll get some elsewhere
At last tea time? Yes, she says. Oh! No - She forgot the shelves and the brackets. And the towel rack for the bathroom. and maybe some baskets. I point out that she told me we were coming to pick up two sets of drawers. She looked confused. We did get the drawers, they are on the trolley. But, I point out, she never mentioned the full house refurbishment. Her reply? "Well in my head I knew the full story but maybe it never came out of my mouth." Right then.
Finally at 12.30 we hit the tills. I can see a tea machine on the otherside.Everything is scanned and the price confirmed. Big frowns. Doesn't sound right. Ooops, she forgot to pick up the wardrobes from flat pack. Ok. No tea just yet then. We store our half order in the till and go back. I am told to get wardrobe frames from Aisle 27 position 9. Not there. She panics. Someone else must have bought them. Everything else will have to go back. I take the list off her. The frames are in the external warehouse. This is where the doors are. We stack those on the trolley. Now, aisle 39 position 5 for the internal pieces. Not there. Panic etc. Take the list off her. That would be aisle 35 position 9.
Eventually I get my sleep deprived sister back to the tills. Huge queues. And of course we have to wait in the queue with the builders who are buying 14 houses worth of furniture because that is where our first order is stored. Finally we pay. Then she announces we have to go to customer services because she's now had the bright idea that they might let her take some door handles off the display model of the drawers. At customer services we take ticket and queue. Or more accurately, she does and I sit on the trolley weeping quietly. She returns with a handful of handles they have taken from a returned item. Bingo.
Now to home delivery. Amazingly they will deliver today. But she decides to take the small items so while she books and pays for delivery I nip out to get an ordinary trolley for the small items. These have to go to the car and then I put my hands around her throat until she agrees to buy me fish and chips with my tea. Of course sitting down is fatal and any last vestiges of energy disspiate. I have a refil of tea and summon my strength. Right. Lets go. Ok she says but Mark will never forgive me if I go home from Ikea without frozen meatballs. Where is the Swedish food shop? By the tills. Where we were at 9.30 ish.
We go home and she drops me by an art shop and I buy a few bits and walk up to her house. Ikea are there so I just get in my car and go home and leave them to it. I get to - oh - 25 yards from my house and the mobile rings. I have the receipts in my bag because she passed them to me to hold for reasons I now forget if I ever knew at the time. She needs them because Ikea did not deliver everything. I go back to her house. She is panicking. What if the frames really are sold out? Everything will have to go back.
I ring Ikea for her. The very nice lady at home delivery remembers us. That would be because I was weeping and mumbling about food quite a lot. She asks if I have the order sheets for the items at the external warehouse. I do. Ah. Well if we have it, they don't have it and therefore they had no idea that they were supposed to collect anything from the warehouse. Little Sis was supposed to sort that bit while I went for the trolley. She will have to pay for another delivery or come and collect them herself. I start to beg. Don't make me go back to Ikea. Don't. Make. Me. Pleeeeease.
Brother in law is now up. Having had a full quota of sleep. Little Sis and I look at each other. His brand new car, of which he is so proud that you have to sit on plastic to drive it still, is bigger than Little Sister's. NO he says. No, you won't get wardrobe frames in there.
We dismantle the car. Turns out with a Fabia you can not only put the seats down you can actually pull whole segments of the car apart and place it in the house. The wardrobe doors go in therefore the frames will go in. Fortunately no passengers can get in so I am not forced to go to Ikea.
I come home. I get int the house, I flick the kettle on. The phone rings. It is Mum. "I gather you went to Ikea with your sister. I am so pleased you live close enough to have nice days out together."