It was a bright, sunny day in Hamburg, Germany. The usual clouds and rain kept their distance and the cold winter breeze tamed itself. By late afternoon, my husband and I couldn’t stand the idea of retiring for the night. The sun was shining through the empty sunroom – and the decision to create an indoor garden was final.
Enjoying the freedom to shed our scarf, gloves and heavy coat, we cruised down the three flights of stairs like it was a typical Spring Day. As we drove the 20 minutes to our destination, the excitement and anticipation of completing a long-desired project filled the atmosphere of the car. That, and frustration from roads suddenly being blocked and having to navigate new neighborhoods to find our way to the only home store open on a Saturday afternoon in Germany – IKEA.
To limit the distractions and need for multiple shopping carts, I did my best to write a list of items that were sunroom approved. It would have been very helpful had I not let it simply stay in the rear pocket of my jeans. Wink.
Two shopping carts, approximately 300 euros, and three hours later we finally make our way to the parking garage. My husband drops his coins in the machine and validates the parking ticket. We load the car with furry and jute rugs, furniture to assemble, ceramic pots, and a mixture of fake and real plants.
Looking at my watch, I realize it is still early enough to complete the project before I fall asleep. The idea of waking to an indoor garden, inspired and designed by me, makes my heart skip a beat and I settle into the passenger’s seat, fasten my belt and daydream of drinking coffee as I overlook the lake from my new city garden.
I should have known it was too good to be true. Pushing the electronic key into it’s slot, and stepping on the brake to start the engine, nothing happens. Repeating the steps, my husband looks perturbed. His mind is on the chicken creole dinner he planned on making when we got home. He pulls the hood lever, gets out of the car and tries to locate the battery. German over engineering stifles his ability and instead, he pulls out his phone and calls the ADAC people.
Two hours later, I’m freezing in the parking garage as the sun has long been gone and the night air has settled and cooled the city. The IKEA meatballs and Evian water I picked up from the cafe are not a good substitution for our elegant dinner plans. The helpful ADAC guy can’t get the car started, because it’s not a battery problem. The starter went kaput and a tow truck is called to rescue us.
This is the point when I leave the scene. Loading up as many of the small plants in a reusable shopping bag found in the back seat of the car, I make my way to the train station. Delays are inevitable at this point, and almost expected. Of course it won’t be a smooth journey home! Forty-five minutes later, with icicle toes and cramped arm muscles, I reach the sidewalk near our building.
The furniture pieces, large plants and other essential items needed to create the perfect ambiance are sitting nicely on the street. What the… As I reach the door, it opens for me and my husband looks at me and smiles. My response, “I love how you made it home before me.”
What I missed by leaving –
Once the schlepper arrived, it was quickly noted he would not be able to bring the truck inside the garage. He made his way up to our parking space and relayed the message that my husband could either 1) take the dangerous chance of putting the SUV in neutral and navigating down the hill and turns without any brakes or 2) call for a second truck and double our cost to escape the madness of the afternoon.
My husband chose the dangerous path.
Within minutes the car was out of the garage and loaded on the truck to be delivered to the shop. My husband was situated nicely in a taxi with all our loot and on his way home.
Oh, IKEA, was it all worth it?
Until tomorrow –