Much Ado About Nothing

Last weekend Mr. Mark and I drove to Tempe to visit the IKEA store.  Along the way we passed through a ghost town called Nothing.  Actually, it’s more like a ghost building considering that the entire town is actually visible in the picture.

I wanted to get a good picture, I actually took quite a few, alas I’m hopeless.
Seriously, I really did try, but as I’ve mentioned a time or two, I’m not a very good photographer so only one came out remotely decent & you’re looking at it.

That’s pretty much all there is to say about Nothing, so let’s just move on.

Mission Palms, Tempe, Arizona

I Love Tempe

Well, I love the Mill Avenue District anyway. 

I love getting a room at the Mission Palms, having lunch on the patio at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, and I really love how colorful, exuberant, and alive it becomes once the sun goes down.

As we set out on Saturday morning, I calculated that it’s been five years since our last visit.

Wow!  Five years?  How is that even possible?!?  Time really does fly!

Okay, Let’s Begin at the Beginning

When we started on our kitchen, which was a few months ago now, I knew we were going to be getting rid of a three foot section of cupboards on one wall and we were not going to be putting new cupboards in their place.

There are a number of reasons for not just putting new cupboards there, but none of them are overly important to the story… let’s just say that I wanted to use the space for a coffee bar.

I researched tons of different kitchen islands that could be used as a coffee bar, but I only liked one.  Really, just one.

Ikea Groland

The Ikea Groland.

My heart was set on it pretty much from the first second I saw it. At only $199, there isn’t anything even remotely in that price range that looks as good or is built as solid and I just knew it would look fabulous.

Even Mr. Mark loved it, which is a super huge thing!

The only problem was that IKEA didn’t have any and they didn’t know exactly when they would get them back in from the manufacturer. I kept looking for replacements, which was fruitless. Anything even remotely close costs about $600 more and still isn’t anywhere nearly as perfect. I checked the IKEA website two or three times a week, hoping to see that it was finally listed… but it never was… I was really starting to panic.

I know!  Who panics over a silly kitchen island, right?

So then somewhere near the beginning of last week, there it was!  YIPPEE!!!!  I could finally order my wonderful, perfect coffee bar!  Happy, happy, happy me!

Problems & Solutions

I could order it and have it shipped (heaven knows I’ve already had plenty of IKEA shipped), but the shipping would be almost $400! Granted, it’s solid wood, it’s big and it’s heavy…
but $400? Seriously?!

Holy crows with hand grenades, that’s one heck of a shipping fee!

I mentioned that Mr. Mark also loved the Groland, which was actually pretty cool because normally throughout the remodel he hasn’t really loved anything until after it was done and he could see how absolutely brilliant it was.

He recognized the perfectness of the Groland as soon as I showed it to him, so much so that he was as worried as I was that the were never going to get them back in stock.

So when I explained the problem to him, he volunteered to give up the last three day weekend that he’s going to see in a while to go to Tempe to pick one up! Again with the YIPPEE!

Blue Skies Over An Open Road

All through the morning and into the afternoon we drove through the desert, well two different deserts if you wanna get specific.  We traveled through the mythical saguaro forests as we dropped ever further into the fabled killer heat of Phoenix.

Mythical Saguaro Forest
A Herd of Hotrods

We passed herds of wild automobiles heading toward their summer grounds.  There were chopped down trucks with flaming sides, low-riders with fin tails and even a few of those sexy round fendered numbers!  And, of course, there were at least two large herds of motorcycles that are a ubiquitous staple of the back-roads and byways of the desert landscape.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch any of these on film.  They move way too fast!

Eventually we reached Tempe, got a room and took a long afternoon nap.

Sunday morning we hit the IKEA store before they were even officially open.  Interestingly enough this meant that we actually got to wander around and look at everything for about an hour!  I’ve never been to a store that let you come in before they opened.

If you’ve never been to an IKEA store, I can only say one thing… you really need to get to one. I’ve honestly never experienced anything like it. And that’s exactly what it is, an EXPERIENCE!

Seriously, this could, quite possible, be the coolest store I’ve seen in my entire life.  Mr. Mark raved about it too. Yeah, I know!  Amazing! Cooler still… they’re opening one in Las Vegas!

Back Home & The Groland Looks Great

Despite a few tense moments on the way home…

it was sorta touch and go there for a while when we thought we might run out of gas out in the middle of the desert in the 100 degree heat

…we finally made our way home and were welcomed with open arms by our loving children who had missed us more than they could even begin to express and to show their gratitude for our safe return from a long and exhausting trip they unloaded the car and prepared us dinner.

What actually happened was that, detecting the tantalizing aroma of pizza, they pulled themselves out of their video game induced stupors and, in zombiesque fashion, shambled out of their rooms following their noses in a stiff-legged bee-line down the hall, through the living room and into the kitchen… directly for the pizza boxes!

The point is that before nightfall the boys had put the Groland together and moved it to it’s new home… where it looks absolutely fantastic!