OUR STUFF HAS ARRIVED.
It only took three months. I'm not at all bitter.
Now that we have boxes stacked up to the ceiling, it is extremely evident that our much-anticipated Stuff is not sufficient to fill our house. Commence shopping. Commence budgeting. Commence stress.
We're all about IKEA, duh, because IKEA rocks my world. And DirectBuy. Of have you heard? It's a price club type deal; pay an (enormous) upfront fee, then you get factory prices - like pay $300 for a $1200 couch. Or $500 for $3000 cupboards. (Mostly I just get mad to find out the retail markups.) Anywho, it's a great deal if you have to buy a lot of stuff. Which we do.
(It also helps that my parents are members - we get the benefits without having to pay the fees. Score!)
Of course, buying Stuff at economy prices has its downsides. Namely, WE HAVE TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER.
I complain about it, but at the same time I get a real sense of satisfaction in saying, "I DID THAT."
I, woman, hear me drill.
It reminds me of an incident that occurred years ago.
We were freshly arrived Americans in Podunkville, Brazil. Language limited. We'd just moved into a house from a (gagmesmellyyuckyihatedthatplace) apartment in Sao Paulo. I was putting together a bed when *clap clap clap,* I had visitors.
(Brazilians don't knock on the door; they clap. TRUE STORY.)
A couple stood there, grinning, kindly reminding me of their names, and inviting themselves inside. They indicated I should continue doing whatever I was doing, and they would help me. We bumbled through language barriers, laughing and being altogether ridiculous.
The three of us crowded into the guest bedroom, where there were sideboards and headboards and screws and railings all over the place. I picked up where I left off, trying to assemble a particularly hard piece. I might have struggled just a teensy bit.
At this, my new friends took the hardware from me, and, wagging their fingers, admonished,
"You're too high class to do this stuff. Leave it to us. We're poor. We're used to it."
Is it weird I was offended?
These people were mostly teasing themselves. They meant absolutely no harm. They went on to be some of my nearest and dearest friends. But I still remember, four years later, how disgruntled I was.
Excuse-a moi? You think I can't do this? You think I'm not used to this? You think I'm too hoity-toity to identify a Phillips screwdriver? Let me tell YOU, buster, I put together this whole freaking house. And I'm dang proud of it.
And it occurs to me that Americans value do-it-yourselfers. When I admire a quilt, I go crazy if it's hand made. I may compliment a painting, but if I find out you did it, I'm in conniptions. As soon as we lay a hand on it ourselves, it increases in worth.
Brazilians, on the other hand, display pride for the opposite reason. They point out when they've paid to have something done.
I'm not saying one is right and one is wrong. I'm not going to draw any profound philosophical conclusions. I'm just going to say that I ASSEMBLED THE DESK I'M SITTING AT RIGHT NOW.
And I'm proud of it.