So Much for New Hotness…

…our garage door is old and busted. Busted, friends. So busted I am afraid to go in the garage, and don’t know how I am going to get the garbage out for the trash collection on Thursday. I know repair guys can come over right away, but replacement guys? Supplier guys? Plus we have to go through the stupid HOA first to get the name of the products we can use, and who knows how long it will take to get a return phone call from them. I don’t intend to let the garbage truck come and go, especially not without taking our recyclables (they plumb forgot to come last week and our bins runneth over), but I really don’t relish the thought of

1) dragging a garbage can full of stinky trash (it is stinky beyond the usual trash parameters) up a full flight of death stairs
2) dragging a garbage can full of stinky trash through my living room
3) dragging a garbage can full of stinky trash down another flight of stairs off of my front patio
4) dragging a garbage can full of stinky trash down the road, around the building, and to the back of my condo

What makes it worse is that the broken door is probably our own fault. I am blaming it partly on a cheap Wal-Mart umbrella stroller…

…we weren’t even supposed to have: we bought in in Ohio two years ago instead of bringing our fancy stroller…

…to be broken on the plane, and then figured we might as well see if it came through baggage claim without breaking, which it did, and then we left it on the car trunk sticking out and closed the garage door, which caught the curved handles and bent the crap out of one of the panels and pull it off the track, which a garage door guy was able to bang back together for a hundred dollars. I am blaming physics for the rest of it: the bent panel failed to bear the stress it was supposed to bear, which put undue pressure on the hinges, which snapped, and then transferred the stress to other panels, which bent out of shape, which snapped other hinges… you get the idea. The noises this thing has been making for the past few weeks have been precisely the sounds I imagine the Battlestar Galactica made when the integrity of its hull had been breached. Or a tiny submarine full of human rebels hiding on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean shuddering under the water pressure while SkyNet sent aquatic probes to find and kill them. Garages can be terrible, if convenient, places. Mostly I’m sad that having the cars parked outside of the garage door gives me absolutely no excuses not to sweep it.

On the bright side, our trip to

was totally worth it. It quite possibly was the best trip to IKEA I have ever had. First of all, it was in the middle of a work day, so I almost had the store to myself, which is good because I hate 1) sharing and 2) mingling. Second, Little Fella is not so little anymore, and met the potty training and height requirements for hanging out in the IKEA play room, so I could shop with only one kid in the cart. (We stopped and had a Swedish apple pie in the cafe… it was good. I wouldn’t get it again, but I’m really glad I didn’t get the chocolate cake.) Then, I had the presence of mind to confirm with the employees in the showrooms exactly where the items I wanted were to pick up, so I didn’t have to do that thing where I wander around the three-dimensional IKEA maze and go up and down stairs until I find that lamp I want. Finally, they allow shopping carts to leave the store now! For years I’ve had to abandon my cart at the door and schlep myself, two children, and loose packages (they got rid of shopping bags a while ago, too, even for a nickel purchase) across a parking lot shared with some horrible stores for parking lots (like CostCo and Lowe’s) to get to my car. Not this time! We tootalootalooed ourselves on wheels all the way out to where the car was parked in the shade. Had I known I’d have a cart before I parked the car, I would have looked for a cart corral, but what can you do? I even resisted an impulse buy that would have added $60 to the purchase: two little round floor pillow/seats for the playroom. They were appealing in their compactness, stackability, and rigid forms. I inherited these two floppy footstool things that work OK as stools, but I don’t really like them. They look sloppy and they are a little too tall for Fella and Filly to sit on comfortably. On the other hand… sixty dollars so kids can sit on the floor seems a little pricey. But they were so cute! But they were sixty dollars! But they were washable! You can see my dilemma.

I didn’t actually get the containers I wanted at IKEA but I found some at the Container Store, so the goals of my day have been met. I read in a magazine that if you have the right arrangement of bins and boxes, toys will put themselves away. I have such bins and boxes in the room right now, and I am almost done teaching the toys how to find their new homes, so I can’t wait to see what they do tomorrow! This is quite possibly the most extraordinary promise that has ever been made to me, but it is also the promise that could change my life the most. If these toys really, truly do put themselves away, then I might have to reward them with floor cushions. I’m torn between blue/green or blue/red. There’s a lot of blue/red in the room already; I’m never sure if I should try to coordinate or mix it up. I did find at IKEA a magnetic board to hang up in the playroom, too, so I can move the alphabet letters and talking alphabet docking stations out of the kitchen. I liked hearing the kids play with the alphabet docking station and singing the songs, but I am sick of them flinging letters around the kitchen. There are more than fifty of them, and they were the number one impediment to me sweeping the floor. I will not miss these toys being downstairs. I just hope the board isn’t something you have to mount on wall studs because I care more right now that it is centered in the space that I want it than I care that it falls off the wall. If it falls off the wall, it’s going to be low to the ground and to the side of where people sit to read, so it wouldn’t crash on anyone’s head or knock anyone’s brains out. We are the sort of family that prefers everyone’s brains to be inside their heads. I know, I know–prudish Americans. I can’t help it. It was the way I was raised.

Once the playroom is set up, hopefully all play will happen there. This could mean that my downstairs will be fit for company at all times, and could mean that I’ll actually start working in my office! Imagine how much work I could get done then. It boggles the mind.

TOMATO UPDATE: I flicked a few aphids off of my tomato plants and counted blossoms. For some reason, the Red Currant plant that is sharing a pot with the cilantro has really taken off, and is sporting at least ten yellow flowers. I expect some teeny tiny red currant tomatoes by the end of next week. This will be the first fruit I will have ever harvested, and it will have been from a plant I started with seed. It’s really too bad that I don’t really like little tomatoes. Like the Borg, I’ll adapt.

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