This weekend, I found myself pondering a couple of fairly deep questions. How much is my time worth? And if I had a time machine, what would I do with it?

Beth is now working from home, and I’m actually making progress with the book I’m writing (i.e., I’m actually WRITING, not merely thinking abut writing) so it was decided that we should convert some available space into an honest-to-God office. We have a dining nook that to date has served as an endzone/backline for indoor football/soccer games. We’d need a new desk and some shelves, plus something to partition off that section.

This sounded like a good idea, and I would have been more enthusiastic had it not been for the fact that we didn’t want to sink a lot of money into the project. Which meant one thing.


It’s difficult for me to convey the stark depths of my hatred for Ikea. But I’ll try.

So many facets. The Tool (actual Swedish name: “fukdis”), of course – that aborted conjoined twin mutant Allen wrench horror that I’m sure will be the cause of mypremature arthritis. The particle board (actual Swedish name: “moosoffal”) that inevitably cracks when one inserts a screw, or bumps it on the floor, or looks at it in a cross manner. The stores themselves, more disorienting than a Vegas casino (I’ll interrupt my own metaphor with an update – Beth has been working for most of the day on a shelving unit; she just informed me that a piece, a fairly good-sized wooden section, is gone, nowhere to be found. More on this in a second.) The little wooden connector pegs (actual Swedish name: “peg”, which seems benign until one remembers the definition of “peg” as found on; yeah, makes perfect sense) – one of which is always missing.

There’s all that, but the clincher for me is that no matter how closely one follows the carefully worded directions (and by “worded” I mean “no words at all, just a bunch of out of scale drawings that look like they might have been written by Wile E. Coyote”), I inevitably get about 3/4s of the way through the building process when I notice that I’ve used Widget A and not Screw B on one small section of the thing and thus have to take the whole fucking desk apart and put it back together, and oh, the screws, made as they are of Number 2 pencil lead, have all been stripped, and good luck with that.

(Back to current Ikea nightmare – the missing wooden piece is still missing, and Beth, who often admonishes me for my Hyde-like temper that emerges every time I have to build Ikea furniture, is on the couch after a brief bout of swearing at the new bookshelf. Good sign – perhaps this is the last of our Ikea purchases ever. And wives/partners – until you’ve gone through the hell of trying to put one of these bastards together, do not judge the Ikea Hate.)

So to my questions. How much is my time worth? That can be answered with another question – does Pottery Barn have something like that ? What would would I do with a time machine? Travel back to 1943, and persuade a certain Ingvar Kamprad to just stick with the meatballs and the ligonberry juice.