By Mims Cushing

By the time you read this, IKEA will have been open for a couple of months. The 10-foot high signage went up on Aug. 18 of last year. Hundreds of permanent employees and part timers were hired to work in its 290,000 square foot building.

Did you break out your comfy shoes and wait in line two days before the opening, Nov. 8, 2017? Did people bring sleeping bags and sleep in the parking lot to be early in line for the opening?

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You may not need or want major furniture, but the store sells different and unusual kitchen utensils and storage items for closets and drawers. With its 50 decorated rooms, don’t be surprised if IKEA jogs your creative mind and lures you into changing your living space. Here’s my own little IKEA story which took place at another of the 46 IKEA stores in the U.S. a few years ago:

Many months before my oldest granddaughter went off to college, my daughter and family made a trek to the Connecticut IKEA, which is like a mini vacation for the three girls because they usually return home with something cool for their bedrooms: a framed photograph of a city, a pot of fake flowers, maybe a jazzy throw rug, or even a snazzy garbage pail. Today’s mission: to get the “middle bear,” Kallie, a badly needed dresser. After an hour, they agreed on the perfect, classic one and, after picking up a few more things, headed home. They could have had an IKEA assembler come and put it together (the husband was drooling over that idea) but the wife decided the husband could do it. Wife had forgotten the hideous time when the husband tried to put together a crib so many years ago.

The gigantic box of disassembled dresser made it up the stairs to Kallie’s room. The husband pried opened the box — no small task — and started dumping screws, nails, handles, and other bafflements on the floor.

He went to work and in one hour he steamrollered down the stairs saying, “Good God! This thing is a nightmare.” And plopped himself on a couch to read the paper.

Mackenzie, in high school at the time, said, “Let me give it a try, Dad.”

And so, try she did. Spreading out all the various bits and pieces and slabs of wood she made a stab at the directions. She twisted and turned the pieces of her sister’s dresser-to-be as though she were dealing with a huge jigsaw puzzle. She paid close attention to the little images of men on the direction sheets, inserting this, and nesting that, screwing in that over there, and pounding in this over here, and after three hours she was done.

She went downstairs and said, “Dad, I did it. Come see.”

After the news got around the neighborhood, people called to ask if she could put together baby cribs and end tables, which she considered doing.

Dad is thinking of having some business cards made up with her name and “Furniture Midwife” on it. Mom lobbied for her to finish up her homework. Mom won.

Good for IKEA for planting a nest here in our town. It’s bound to be a hit, and make us shed what can’t qualify as shabby chic in our home any more.

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