The Birth Of Besta: Because NOTHING brings a family closer together than Ikea

Nothing brings a family closer together than Ikea

English: Logo of Ikea.
English: Logo of Ikea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ve written about the influence of the Ikea family culture and their methodology on our dysfunctional family before.


And in the grand scheme of life and other shit, I DO REALISE that a small cupboard with doors that don’t close properly is not one of life’s major catastrophes.


But actually it is.


Because having gestated in the uterus of Ikea, Tempe, (yet another marvellous creation from the almighty Scandinavian Ikea God), I gave birth and bred this particular little bitch of a Besta cupboard – introduced it into the world, so to speak. And hate me for it if you will, but I wanted it to be perfect, or at least to function for the task it was fucking designed for.


I’m not really anal – I just wanted the fucking doors to close.


The Birth Of Besta

Admittedly, I was already tired when I cut my finger on the knife as I sheared my way through the endless layers of cardboard, after a stressful day of combining work with school holidays.

So it wasn’t the best time to contemplate giving birth to Besta.

Although I had taken some pain medication in the form of a glass of wine. But only enough to take off the edge; not enough to machete my way through hours of frustration. 

Added to which, the lighting was poor and the teens were watching The Incredibles for the umpteenth time, way too loudly – and if I hear another joke about the name Donna, I may slit my wrists.


I realize that you may be judging me and thinking ‘bad workmen….’ and all that.


And what I probably should mention is that we have this not-so-subtle underlying family competition that surrounds ‘erecting’ Ikea furniture.


This is Kurt and I racing to put together bedside tables last week. I won by a screw – now that sounds bad….


The Birth Of Besta
What competition?


(Yeah, I said the word ‘erect’ again, kids, because I know you hate it and I’m immature enough to get my own back where I can. Unload the fucking dishwasher next time!)


Have I also mentioned that I had thought that I’d be beyond Ikea at this stage in my life. I rather saw myself in the Coco Republic stage by now, but alas the old man sees things on a spectacularly different plane to me and has become an impassioned Ikea fan, no doubt driven by its functionality, design and…..price.


So at the end of our extended stay at Ikea this week, (since we moved into Dysfunctionality Box and realised just how short of furniture we were after my over-excitement on Gumtree), I’m feeling despondent. Because in an apartment the size of a dolls house, storage is key – and you can knock Ikea all you like, but NO-ONE does storage quite like Ikea.


Where in my education was the bit about hinges and aligning doors? Surely that would have been more useful than Algebra?











The Definition of Lazy

Now I would never classify myself as a lazy person, but when it comes to mundane domestic chores, I will be the first to admit that I always look for ways to cut corners.

Gardening falls into that category, as one of those mind-numbingly dull jobs that leaves me completely cold, and in the past I have tended to allocate that area of the domestic task pane to ‘men who can’, preferably of the hired, toned variety.

In my opinion, my abstinence from wielding potentially dangerous tools or risking the long-term health of my spine is a measure of intelligence, not a characteristic of idleness. And unfortunately, the old man, while being an expert at deciphering the techno gobbledygook of complex spreadsheets, fails to identify the intrinsic difference in functionality between a spade and a  hoe, and so fits into the category of a ‘man who can’t’.

How can I seriously be accused of being ‘lazy’ when the inner sanctum of our home makes this year’s House and Garden Best Home look like an African shanty house? You see, like most people I can focus my energies on activities that capture my interest, and I am absolutely anal about every aesthetic detail of the interior of my house, where even the dog is ‘antique white’.

Every accessory in my living area, for example, has a design purpose; nothing has simply been ‘put’ there and each creative element addresses a specific visual requirement. (Which is why gifts from friends invariably end up in the local op shop or are re-gifted).

Dirty dishes may pile up in the sink and washing often erupts from the laundry basket, but if a cushion errs a centimetre out of place on the sofa, I reach for the Valium. Two of the most memorably stressful occasions of my life involved losing decorative control in our home: the first, when my son decided to paint his room a colour that simply did not exist on the Dulux ‘whites’ chart, and the second, when the family decided to take control of decorating the Christmas tree.

But whereas, I could probably forge a career out of the interior decoration of my own home, when it comes to the challenges of garden maintenance, I am completely indifferent.

That’s not to say that I am a complete backyard philistine. I’m happy to be the ‘architect’ of a Jamie Durie style landscape, but I won’t get my hands muddy to achieve it. Aside from the obvious health reasons associated with gardening, and I have done several risk assessments, there is always the peril of that chance encounter with a rogue earthworm or slug which somehow always manage to burrow their way through my protective clothing, no matter how many layers I put on.

Interiors, au contraire, are for the sophisticate. There are a myriad of subliminal pleasures associated with the infusion of subtle light to a space, or a crushed silk cushion strategically placed on a vintage sofa. ‘Decorating’ is like a drug to me and no other stimulant affords me the same fix. I get a high from rummaging around flea markets and antique treasure troves in search of that perfect piece and if I spot ‘perfection’ amid the jumble, I have to remind myself to breathe. Swathes of decadent fabric, hand-painted wallpapers and any style of cushion excite me like a sugar-deprived toddler in a lolly shop. Cushions hold the place in my heart where my children should be. I might have stopped at two children, but my cushions seem to secretly multiply, by some reproductive process akin to binary fission.

Which brings me back to where this all started, when the old man accused me of laziness yesterday.You see, the old man has created this monumental list of tedious tasks for me to ‘achieve’ while I’m ‘between jobs’ to save money, (or in other words, I have become a source of cheap labour). I’ve managed to discount most of the list in my endless pursuit of personal creative fulfilment but painting the back deck held some vague appeal, and so with an uncharacteristically selfless effort (to keep him off my back), I decided to tackle this job first.

The stage was finally set. Overalls, protective eye goggles and a mild enthusiasm were all in place, and I was on the verge of really getting the party started with the sugar soap (!), when I stalled. I suddenly realised that we had forgotten to move these monstrous great plant pots from two corners of the deck, that had no doubt been re-gifted by the previous owners of our house!

Obviously, I did mentally debate how to resolve the problem for what must have been at least three minutes, before coming to the conclusion that even the marital fallout could not be as debilitating as a herniated disk and I proceeded to commit the apparently cardinal DIY faux-pas, of painting around the pots.

And he called me lazy!

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