Out with the Old, In with the New (Desk)
I have had a long history with desks and computer in my short lifetime and this history began in 1998 with my first computer and first desk. In my college and young career life, I went through a few computers and I purchased and assembled a desk that at the time was very useful for me. However, it was not put together correctly (by me) and was only held together of its own shire will. When I moved out of my parent's home in 2005, the movers had to be very careful with this desk because it was barely held together in the middle and without extreme care it would fall apart. I continued to use this desk through the years but knew that an upgrade would be necessary at some point.
It became very obvious to me this Fall that a new desk would be needed very soon. I saved up the money for new podcasting equipment (which you can see in the video here) and I used the very small space I had to set up my new mixer, microphone and digital audio recorder. When I had saved up enough money to invest in a good desk (which I have never really had) I knew the only option was to go to IKEA. Many of my podcasting friends swear by how great their furniture is and I knew it would be the best place to go. The only problem is, however, is that the closest store is in Schaumburg, IL which is 1 hour and 40 minutes away (according to Siri).
As you are probably aware, I have recorded this show in front of a live Ustream audience for many months now. Throughout this time, my friend <a href=”http://www.twitter.com/JGazMom”>Jennifer</a> has been my number 1 fan coming to every single live show. Jenn lives in the Chicago area so I thought that this would be a wonderful experience to not only to see her but also to take my very first trip to IKEA and acquire a desk.
We made a plan for me to come down on an upcoming Saturday, but since I work in retail as my third job I was not granted this request off because of the busy Christmas season. I then modified my plan and decided to travel down on a Monday that I was off.
It took just over two hours to get to Jennifer's house. It was a nice and easy drive, especially because I avoided tolls. Google Maps directed me and took me on every possible turn I probably could take. When I got there I was instructed by her sister to park on the other side of the street. After that I came in and met my friend for the first time in person and her son.
I arrived there around 9 am and IKEA opened at 10 and was a half an hour away (we decided to go to the one in Bolingbrook instead of Schaumburg) so that was good timing. We made a stop at the bank and I got a rundown on their town and community and then we were on our way. Her sister asked me questions about myself while she drove her mini-van. I think the biggest surprise for Jenn was how quiet I was (because I am very not quiet on my live streams).
Jen's sister was very displeased that we were going to IKEA because she was not a fan of the store, but she dropped us off and spent some time with Jen's son while waiting for us. The IKEA experience was a unique one as I quickly learned. You have to travel through the entire store to reach the end, which meant that there would be a lot of walking involved. Jenn remarked that it was much like walking through their catalog. Eventually we finally reached their work spaces area and I told her to sit and I would wander. Previous to this I had looked at their website and app catalog but was very unimpressed. Luckily I found two desks that would work but settled on one. It was much bigger than the previous one, but it also would allow ample space for everything and have extra space as well. Here is a photo of the display.
Unfortunately, there was only one salesperson working in the department. So once I finally decided on this desk I had to wait for him to be available. In the meantime, I posted the above photo on Twitter and Facebook to get opinions of my online peeps. All of them were very positive about my choice. I also sent the photo to DF and he approved also.
Finally, I salesperson was available and I told him I was interested in this model and the parts on display except the CPU storage. He started the order and let me know that they had all of it in stock except for the extension. He said that the Schaumburg store had it in stock, but I had no intention of going there and made plans mentally to get it online (even with big shipping cost). Throughout our time in the store, Jenn's sister was texting her to find out how much longer we would be and very concerned about whether it would fit in the van. We then went to the warehouse pickup area and I tracked someone down to help me gather the boxes. I was extremely intimidated at the size of the tabletop and was very worried about fitting it in the van and then into my much smaller car. Eventually I got all my boxes and we were headed to the checkout.
After we finished checking out, we waited for the van and when she arrived the tricky part began. We had to figure out how to fit that very large tabletop into the van. We tried every possible angle until we finally got it in over the top of the backseats (which did not move or go down). Our only option allowed Jenn to sit in a seat and me (luckily being small enough) to sit on the floor. Her job was also to catch it when it slid so as not be get decapitated in the process. At this point I was getting very concerned about how this would fit in the car. I texted DF for ideas and he suggested that I ship it through The UPS Store. There was one not far from her house, so after a stop home to load the other pieces in my car we headed there in two vehicles.
UPS was extremely unhelpful. After helping us carry it in he measured it and told us it was oversized (obviously!) and could not be shipped. Great. The next plan was to see what we could do to fit it in the car and rope the hatch down. We stopped at a place called Meatheads where I had a very delicious chicken sandwich and the others had burgers and fries.
After lunch we headed back to the house to put the board in the garage because it was time to pick up her daughter at school. She was very sweet and very happy to finally meet me. She drew me this picture.
The next big challenge was figuring out how to get this tabletop into the car that was much smaller than the van. Sharon and I tried a few different angles to get it in but were not making much progress. We had Jenn come out to help but still didn't make much progress. Then her son came out and he was very helpful. With his help we were able to get it in much more than it was so it would be much safer to drive home. She got permission to use her brother's rope and worked together to rope it in using various knots and the various loops that were on the inside of the trunk. We ended up with a very successful rigging and I was very impressed with the result.
Once that was all set, I headed back in the house. Jenn's daughter showed me her journals of stories. I knew that I needed to head out soon because of traffic and to ensure that I had enough extra time to get back. I headed out by 3:30 and felt a lot like the dog did.
I blasted the heat the whole way although it didn't help that much considering the hatch was partially open. However it wasn't as bad as being in the van with her son's window being open the whole time! I tuned into the Catholic channel on Sirius and Lino Rulli entertained me the whole way home which made it a nice time. The only tricky part was that I didn't have any visual behind me or in the blind spot so I relied on the side mirrors and prayed a lot. Somehow I made it home all the way by 6 pm and DF helped me unload. He was quite impressed with the roping job and I recounted the process of getting it to this point. I then headed out to Jimmy John's for a quick dinner and then to chorus rehearsal.
I made a collage of the day's experience in my photo for the day (using all of the above posted photos).
That summed up a very trying, frustrating and exhilarating first experience at IKEA. It was worth the adventure because I got to meet Jennifer and I scored a great desk (despite trials getting it home).
It is now three days later and I found myself with the day off due to the school having conferences and me not needing to be there (it pays to be a specialist!). What better opportunity to put this desk together! After watching my friend Cliff record an episode of Podcast Answer Man live, I started out on my big job of the day.
The first obstacle was to move all the computer equipment off the desk and then getting rid of this monstrosity. I had already removed the hutch on the top a few days earlier.
It fell apart just as I expected it would. It very easily split in half and I was then able to drag or walk the pieces into the hallway. I scratched the floor up a bit, but it's fixable.
I then brought all the pieces into the office (sliding the tabletop and carrying the rest), unpacked them and tweeted that I ready to do this!
I listened to a few podcasts while working and then tuned my MBP into the live recording my friends Cliff and Stephanie were doing of their podcast Family From the Heart. They accompanied me through the remainder of the assembly process which was very smooth. Despite finding a few screws that didn't fit in holes and a few other issues I had few problems putting it together. I only dropped a few pieces on myself so I only yelled a few times. 😉
Eventually the process was complete and I was ready to flip the desk.
By that time it was almost 2 pm so I got some food for lunch and finished watching season 3 of The O.C. Once DF had returned home, he helped me flip the desk and remove the pieces of the old desk.
I then set up all the equipment back on the new workspace and I am so pleased with the result. I finally have more than enough space for everything and despite this desk being larger, it still works in the room. My boxes of books are more squished than before, but it all works very well.
I have ordered the additional piece that the store was out of so that is where the printer will go when it comes and I attach it. Today's photo was a collage of all the above desk assembly photos above.
I am very grateful that this all worked out for the best and couldn't be more pleased with how it all turned out. That wraps up a very long recap of the events of this week in acquiring my new desk and getting rid of the old one.
Before I wrap up, I would just like to say that I would LOVE to get rid of these boxes and boxes of books in this now even more cramped office. Would you buy a few books from my Amazon store? I would really appreciate it. Thanks for reading, following my adventures this week and a HUGE thank you to my beautiful friend Jennifer for hosting me earlier this week. I hope we are able to do it again soon since we didn't get to do much more than to get my desk. You (and all the listeners) are THE BEST!