Furniture Love

I don’t want you
I don’t love you
You’re not the bean bag chair for me

I went to the store
Looking for decor

You sat in the corner
Like Little Jack Horner

Then I sat on your face
And loved your embrace

When I got back home
You sat all alone

The sofa didn’t like you
And your stand uppish blue

The chairs were staring
And they were a-glaring

Afraid I was pulling
Their legs, I was fooling

No need for their weeping
Them I’ll be a-keeping

There was no silver lining
Beanie’s hug was confining

So I went a-spurning
And it I was returning

That bean bag chair
Of yester year

I don’t want you
I don’t love you
You’re not the bean bag chair for me


Several Sundays ago, we made the pilgrimage, Mrs. Bardie and I, to the holy shrine of Ikea. I’d heard it was a shopping paradise. Have heard it is now one of the three main reasons to come to Orlando, Disney and Universal being number one and number two. Just walk in and they have everything, interior designwise. It will make your eyes water, your words go gaa-gaa and your wallet empty. (Guess that’s why God made credit cards, huh?)

First we had to get a map. Made me think of Epcot, only Ikea didn’t charge, and that’s when I knew I was in trouble. Anyplace I need a map to find my way to the bathrooms, I know, is going to be a bit too much. I was hoping they’d give me a compass too but no such luck. And of course, there’s a Shopping List form on the back of the map.

From the entrance, I played Follow the Leader, following my significant-other up the stairs and into the Big Store. She turned to me and said, “Now, Bardie, if you get lost, remember your Boy Scout skills. Stand still and I will find you.” The place was big, I mean, really big. And so many choices. There was book shelves everyplace and the book shelves had book shelves. And they all had Swedish books on them. I’ve never seen so many Swedish books in my life.

I saw a chair that I kind of liked. It looked comfortable. So I sat down. But I couldn’t get up. If I brought this one home, I’d need a crowbar to pull my heft out of all that comfort. If I looked around, I am sure I would have found that crowbar in the accessories department. There were living rooms so spectacular I plan to end up in one of these when I kick the bucket (oops, cliches slipping in there, Bardie). And a place for that big big screen TV I’ll buy when I win the lottery.

There was a sign saying “Serenity Now. Because there’s nothing better than knowing where everything is…” Now that sounded reasonable. I liked that. Too bad Ikea couldn’t help me in that department as I tried to find my way through the store.

Soon I found myself among a whole bunch of closets. There was one so big I commented, “You could stuff a dead body in there.” I was thinking of my Character Closet theory. If a Character has a dead body in the closet, he must be a serial killer, huh? You know it’s the little things, the details, that give a story its color. Of course, this closet was filled with shoes. Imelda Marcos must have loved Ikea.

There were desks and more desks, more desks than I’d ever seen in my life in one place. And I used to work in an office supply store. These Ikeaistas have made the phrase “everything including the kitchen sink” into a life mission statement. There was way too many kitchen sinks for me to want to look at. There were big ones, small ones, medium-sized ones.

Well, I am not one you want to take shopping. I like my shopping in little doses. My head started to hurt. I’d seen too many living rooms and I was starting to run out of steam. All these rooms were taking on the same tinge. I said to the Mrs., “We’re starting to get reruns here.” Sure it was full of well-made furniture that was inexpensive. But it was just too much.

Then, oh, my God, we headed downstairs, and would you be believe, more stuff. The cranky was now coming out in me. And the “I just want to get out of here”. How were we ever going to get out of this place? It made me appreciate Hansel and Gretel and their bread crumbs. “My God, will we never get to the checkout?” Then, “Oh, no, there’s a line longer than the one at the Pearly Gates.” Well, there was light at the end of the Ikea store. I could see the Parking Lot. As we made our way through the noise and the confusion and into the Parking Lot, I knew why someone said, “There’s no place like home.” They’d been to an Ikea store and were ready to head for home.

So that’s my Ikea experience. Maybe it wasn’t a nightmare. But I know one thing. I just don’t want to dream about it. Next time, it’s online shopping for me.

Christmas With the Joneses: A Hero’s Journey

For many of us, Christmas is the big WOW of the Year. It’s the Superbowl of holidays. Year after year, we’ve lived one remake of Christmas after another. Like the Batman origin remakes, we can’t seem to get enough of them. This year we visit our heroes, Mom and Dad Jones, as they go on a Christmas Hero’s Journey.

1. Ordinary World.
Thanksgiving. It’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the turkey feast and Cowboys football for Dad and the kiddies at the Joneses.

2. Call To Adventure.
Mom grabs her purse. “I’m off to Walmart,” she says, noticing none of the Jones gang pays attention.

3. Refusal Of The Call.
Mom takes in the line at Walmart and she’s already done before getting her foot in the door. Mom Jones has had a rough week. It’s like she already has ptsd and the combat hasn’t even begun. She turns to leave.

4. Meeting The Mentor.
Betty Smith, an older neighbor, calls out to Mom, “Don’t leave. I’ll show you the Black Friday tango.”

5. Crossing The Threshold.
Grabbing Mom Jones’ hand, Betty zips in and out of the crowd. Then nosedives through the front door. Before they can say, “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” Betty and Mom are honing down on the last of the Tuckees and the Whiz-Banger-oonies.

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies.
Mom gets home with all the junk…I mean, gifts she paid big time bucks for. Little does she realize they’ll all be on sale two weeks before Christmas. But she’s done her part. There’s one more test she has to survive before the day is done. She has to keep herself from killing Dad Jones. He slurped down the last slice of that pecan pie, and she’d wanted it. Bad!

Now comes Dad’s turn. It’s Monday and he’s taken the day off to fulfill his obligation to save beaucoup bucks. He’s up early for Amazon’s Monday Lalapalooza Prime Day. The Prime Day to Beat All Prime Days. He pours himself a big “World’s Greatest Dad” cup of coffee. Before you know it, he’s racking up brownie points galore.

With a smile on his face, he comes to his last challenge. It’s a must-have must-have. And there’s only one of them at half price. A Family Summer Vacation at Boony World. Let the bidding begin. Just when his finger is at the ready-to-send button, there’s a power glitch. Three hours later Boony World Vacay has sunk into the swamp.

In the days that follow, there’s tree hunting. Christmas tree lights to plug in. The nativity scene alongside Santa’s sleigh. There’s putting together the this-that-and-the-other. There’s way too much egg nog for Dad at the annual Christmas party. There’s the DUI he gets on the way home from the office Christmas party.

And for Mom, she still has nightmares from the last night before Christmas. This year there’s the Christmas cookies for the PTA Christmas party that just about poisoned half the school. There’s the Christmas letters she sent that were returned for lack of a stamp.

7. Approach To The Inmost Cave.
Christmas Eve. Mall time for Dad, that giant bit of Americana that seems to be fading into the sunset these days. He’s after a super-dooper Super Dooper for Mom. He’s gonna get one for his One-and-Only come hell or high water. Even if he has to kidnap it.

8. Ordeal.
Christmas Eve. The kiddies are tucked into bed. Mom and Dad Jones start to put the swing set together for Little Alice. Unfortunately the instructions are in Chinese. Dad being handy around the house thinks he’s got the job licked. On his first try, the darn thing comes out lopsided and upside down. Then he realizes he’s been reading the instructions backwards and they’re all Greek to him anyway. There’s three screws missing, and I’m not talking about in his brain. If he had only not thrown away that small bag of leftovers, he would’ve been a-okay.

9. Reward (Seizing The Sword)
It’s one o’clock in the morning and the parents have the swing set together and the tree ready and waiting with their goodies. They drop into bed, exhausted, knowing their ordeal is just about over. Christmas Day is only a few hours away.

10. The Road Back.
The next morning Mom and Dad are awakened by a noise downstairs. It’s Snookles, the family Saint Bernard. And it’s pretty darn sure that he’s going to wrap the tree and the presents with drool. Someone forgot to close the back door last night. Heading down the stairs, they move with the speed of light.

11. Resurrection
They are surprised to find Snookles, Junior and Little Alice waiting in the living room, with big smiles on their faces and a “Very Merry Christmas.”

12. Return With The Elixir.
It’s been a long, long journey for our family, the Joneses. The presents have been opened, the dinner has been served, the God-bless-us-everyones have been said. Christmas night, after the kiddies and Snookles are put to bed, our hero couple sit snuggled together on the sofa. For just a few moments, thoughts of joy to the world and peace on Earth good will toward all run through their heads. Then Mom reaches over and kisses Dad and says, “Next year we’re going to our parents for Thanksgiving, then take a month-long cruise.” Dad nods his agreement.

Merry Christmas one and all.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat

“But it looks like a storm,” Hank says to his wife.

“You need new clothes,” she says.

“There’s a storm coming.”

“I know how you hate shopping.”

“We can’t go out in that.”

“Let’s see. You need a new blazer, a parka, a sweatshirt, and a sweater. While we’re at it, we might as well get you some pajamas, undershirts, and socks. Some briefs too. And I need shorts. One of my old pair is beginning to look like boxers. I hate that.”

“It’s going to storm.”

“You’re such a wuss. Now get my purse and let’s go.”

Resigned to his fate, Hank gets her purse and follows her out. All the while, he gets in the last word, “But it’s going to storm.”

The Christmas Man

Harry went Christmas shopping two days after Thanksgiving. He hit the streets early that morning with his list. It was a tradition with him. Avoid Black Friday and hit the stores the next day. He was off with a smile on his face.

The crowds didn’t bug him. The lines at the cash registers didn’t bother him either. He always took a a book and got a lot of reading in that day. This year it was “The Christmas Carol” on his kindle, one of his favs.

While in line, he listened to the carols and let his imagination sink into the world of nineteenth century England. There was a comfort in knowing that everything was going to turn out just right. And Tiny Tim always put a smile on his face. He could imagine the carolers coming around to Scrooge’s place of business, singing, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”.

Since he was a boy, since the first time he heard the manger story and the peace on earth goodwill toward men, since the first time he read of Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit and the transformation of Scrooge into the best of men, he had loved Christmas. While others barked out their complaints about the crowds and the lack of Christmas cheer, Harry had nothing but happiness in his heart.

When he got home late in the day, the kids waited with hugs for their daddy and Merry had a special kiss for her husband. Then he saw the tree. Merry and his boys had spent all day while he was gone, doing an extra-special job trimming the tree and decorating the house. It was a delight. Tears formed in his eyes, tears of love and wonder.

Soon the day would come, soon the presents would be opened, soon the Christmas feast would be eaten, soon the decorations and the tree would come down, but for now Harry lived one day at a time.

He went over to the pitcher of eggnog Merry had made. Poured a large glass. Took it out to the garage. He finished it, then went out to the car and carried the presents back to his cabinet and stored them away until Christmas Eve.

He locked the cabinet, then he strung up the lights around the house, put up the large Santa and his sleigh along with the Nativity creche on his front lawn. When he was finished, it was time for a late dinner. Then he was off to his job at Santa’s Workshop. He had just been promoted to head elf. He had his own desk. He even had his own special name plate. It said “Harry Christmas”.

So have yourself a very Harry Christmas and a Happy New Year.