Ikea Blues

I know people who love Ikea. I don’t get it. The store is an endless warehouse with staff organization that makes no sense, the merchandise is adequate for the price but not really good quality, and it takes an insane amount of time to buy what you came for.

We needed a new faucet for our sink. The only one we could find that worked with the sink was at–you guessed it–Ikea. Possibly because that’s where the sink came from.

So off to Ikea we went. First of all, it’s in the incredibly soulless “revitalized” part of Burbank. And then you can only get into the parking lot from one direction, which may ease traffic flow on the street in front of Ikea, but really doesn’t make it easy to park.

We found the faucet pretty quickly, in one of the displays. The tag said we needed to go to the Bedroom section. After winding our way through Living Rooms, Workspaces, and other similarly named areas, we got to the Bedroom section. This may sound vaguely pastoral, but that’s only because it doesn’t address the throngs of people drifting slowly and aimlessly around the store. (At least that’s what it seems like every time I go; maybe I just haven’t hit the magic “Ikea Pace.”)

Generally, when you go to Ikea, there are two ways to get your merchandise. You pick it up yourself in the showroom, or you go downstairs to the warehouse and pick it up there. Well, not if you want a faucet. In that case, you stand in line to have a sales rep put the order into the computer and hand you a piece of paper. Then you take the piece of paper through the rest of the store, go downstairs, and wind through all of the dishes and glasses and candles until you reach the warehouse, which is not any help to you because that’s not where your faucet is.

Finally, you reach a register and pay for everything. There, the clerk tells you to take the piece of paper and your receipt to the far end of the building so that someone there can give you your faucet.

Fifteen minutes later, you have a faucet. Why does it take the person at Will Call, or whatever it’s called, 15 minutes to find a faucet, when the order went into the computer an hour earlier?

No idea. A faucet, six plates, and a jar. Total time in the store? An hour and a half. Life’s too short.

25 Things

Another meme! Actually, I got this one from a friend on Facebook–but having recently done 25 Random Things (although I shortened it a bit), I thought that might be overkill.

So here are my answers. To spread the joy, provide yours in your blog and link back, so that I can see what you wrote. I’m nosy that way.

Where is your cell phone ? in my bag
your hair ……….needs attention
Your father? ……..role model, mentor, and friend
Your favorite thing? ……….sitting in my living room . . . which I own!
Your dream last night?….so many dreams lately, can’t remember which were last night’s
favorite drink………….water
Your dream/goal? ………. to finish writing a book
The room you are in? ….living room . . . which I own!
Your fear? ……… loss of loved ones
Where do you want to be in 6 years?….. that’s a tough one
Muffins?………. strawberry
One of your wish list items?………. go to Iceland
Where you grew up? ……….. various places
The last thing you did? …….danced in the back yard with Mr. Sandwich
What are you wearing?……brown slacks, pumpkin t-shirt, brown cardigan
Your TV?………. turned off due to re-runs
Your pets? ………. none so far
Your computer? ……. Mac
Your life? ……… is good right now.
Your mood? ……… sleepy
Missing someone? …… absent friends
Your car? ….Subaru Forester
Favorite store?….Martin & Osa
Your summer? ….. is too far away to imagine
Your favorite color? ……… blue
When is the last time you laughed? ……… can’t remember, but not that long ago
Last time you cried? ……… can’t remember, but longer
Three people who email me? ……. MP, AC, KO
Three of my favorite foods? …….. potatoes, ice cream, steak
Three places I would rather be right now? ….Rome, Kauai, Portland (Oregon)
Three people I think will respond? …. no idea

Yo Ho, Yo Ho

So I had to go downtown for jury duty this morning. This is an entire saga, and not a very interesting one, but the upside is that it’s much easier to use public transportation to get downtown from where we live now.

I get onto the Red Line (that’s the subway portion of L.A.’s public transportation system, for those of you not from here) and who gets on the train with me?

Captain Jack Sparrow.

He nodded to a couple of people and then left the train where I thought he would–Hollywood and Highland. Off to another day at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, taking pictures with tourists and then making them pay for the privilege.

Oh, well. It’s a living. And it’s probably more fun than jury duty. Especially when, at the last minute, they decide not to convene a jury.

A Non-Tragic Sandwich Story

So today we had friends over for a cookout. Hours later, it’s time for dinner, and we decide to grill some of the leftovers.

First, though, Mr. Sandwich is going for a run. He says, “Will you make me a sandwich?” and tells me how much turkey and cheese to put in it (this is not bossy; he makes his own sandwiches).

So I make him a sandwich and toast it, just as he likes.

And then I say, “I made you a sandwich.” And he says, “Thanks. That’ll save me time in the morning.”

Because it turns out that he didn’t want it toasted, so that he could eat it now. He wanted it assembled, so that he could toast it at work tomorrow.

But the story ends happily. Because I ate the sandwich.

Las Fuentes

Tonight we went to Las Fuentes. The restaurant has an unusual setup; you stand in line to order and pick up your food at the counter when your number is called. There are plenty of tables for people who want to eat in; those who are getting food to go just mill around by the counter.

Our summary: great to-go packaging. Food? Not what we’d hoped.

Mr. Sandwich had one of the “gringo-style” burritos that came with more ingredients than the menu suggested. I had a festival of tacos so that I could sample several options. Of them, I recommend the taco de carne con queso, which was flavorful and not dry.

On the other hand, the beans were quite good. I’m delighted to find more than one place that serves actual refritos, complete with cheese.

I also had a tamal dulce, because I cannot resist the allure of the sweet tamale. This isn’t bad, but I’m not sure it’s what I was looking for.

I suppose we might go back, but we’d definitely order different items.

And I still want to eat tacos off a truck.

Beep Beep

Beeps is one of many cooked-to-order fast food places, not just in the Valley but in L.A. generally. The menu is enormous, with everything from hot dogs to burritos.

With that many options, naturally Mr. Sandwich and I each had a chili cheese dog, and split a large order of fries. The verdict? The chili cheese dog was okay, but not amazing (it could have used more chili, which I almost never say), and we should have ordered a smaller portion of fries. Why? The fries were quite good, but a large is enormous. We could have been happy splitting a smaller order–and I say this as someone who loves potatoes so much that she once gave them up for Lent. Mr. Sandwich found his chocolate shake to be quite creamy, and I enjoyed my black cherry shake–although again, I would have been happy with a smaller size.

Beeps also serves breakfast. Since I have yet to find a good breakfast diner, I’d go back and see how the pancakes are. Hmm . . . there’s a three-day weekend coming up . . .

Tea Time

Starbucks has a new line of tea drinks available in their stores. There are a couple of infusions (not sure what this means in Starbucksian) and three different tea lattes. I haven’t tried the black tea latte yet, but I have tried the others.

Today I’m drinking the Vanilla Rooibos tea latte, and I’m underwhelmed. It’s caffeine-free, which I wouldn’t have ordered if there had been a description in the store, (online, I see that it is a botanical blended with vanilla and spices) and it’s very fruity in an indefinable, fruit-punchy way. I’m sure there are plenty of people who love it, but I’m not among them.

My preferred choice, which I’ve had twice, is the London Fog tea latte. First of all, there’s the name. It’s really the perfect name for a tea latte, don’t you think? Also it’s made with Earl Grey tea, which is one of my standbys.

I’ve been in a tea mood lately, so I’m glad that there are some new options to play around with. But I’m going to skip that rooibos in the future. I can’t pronounce it anyhow.

Grooming Tips from Steve Carrell

Joey Fatone is asking for some.

Hate Cameron Diaz’s dress, as usual. But her shoes are cute.

Yesterday I went shopping and saw a dress that had an oddly prominent zipper, as if it had been put in inside out (it had not). Today Renee Zellweger is wearing a dress with a similarly odd zipper (shiny gold, against a black gown). This is not a good trend.

I refuse to learn who the Jonas Brothers are.

Joey Fatone is yelling at Cameron Diaz. He wonders why she’s not listening to him. I am not wondering.

“It’s been an amazing, amazing movie. I don’t really understand…could you tell us what the film’s about?” Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Joey Fatone!

“Okay, I’m here with Debra Mess…Debra Metsing…and I was just telling her ‘I want to be you in another life.’ I do,” says Lisa Rinna.

America Ferrara always looks fantastic. I love the dresses she picks for award shows. And Salma Hayek–well, she’s Salma Hayek. That pale beige shade is a little boring, though, even if the dress itself is lovely.

Rita Wilson is shiny!

Joey and Lisa are talking to each other. So I guess we’re done.