Field trip to IKEA

Saturday didn’t go quite as originally planned, but it still turned out to be a fun day! We took a carload of stuff to our new house, and walked in to find a sweet house-warming gift from our landlord :). (There’s a bottle of champagne under the striped onesie.) Can’t wait for Connor to show off his new European clothes!

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The Morminos met us there to see our new place, then we walked down the street to find some lunch. Apparently no restaurants in Hochspeyer are open for lunch on Saturdays! After striking out at three places, we decided to go ahead and drive to Mannheim. We had planned to go to a hot air balloon festival in Mannheim that evening, and we thought we’d stop at IKEA beforehand. It was only about a 30 minute drive, and we went to the cafe in IKEA to eat first. Good thing we all fueled up, because it must have been about three and a half hours before we saw the light of day again!

Charlie and I wanted to look for a bed. We had a king in Colorado, but we left it in storage there because we didn’t think we’d have enough space for it here. Turns out we do, and after six weeks of sleeping in a full or queen, we are way past ready to have a big bed again. I know I know, we were spoiled with a king, but as Charlie puts it…I sleep like a starfish, and when Connor is with us, he’s either a mini starfish or he’s busy dreaming about training for the Olympic swim team. So we are definitely ready to be back in a big bed :).

I had no idea that the beds here are completely different than in the US. We thought we’d just buy the mattress, box spring, and metal frame and call it a day…we didn’t care about having a bed complete with headboard, etc. But over here, there are no box springs or metal frames. You have to buy the wooden bed, then buy the support that goes under the mattress (a layer of springy plastic slats), then the mattress to go on top. At IKEA, they only sell 2 mattresses in the size of bed we wanted, and they were much more expensive than we had anticipated. So we ended up buying two twin-size mattresses to go inside the bed frame. Turns out that’s pretty common here, and they sell the foam strip to “connect” them. We did the same thing for the mattress support – bought two twin-size instead of one big one. Phew, we finally got all of that picked out…then we had the challenge of picking out sheets. They were all sold separately, and it was almost impossible to find a flat sheet and a fitted sheet in a matching color and material. We had to go though the warehouse and pick up the mattress supports before heading to the checkout line. That took a while, then we had to go to another warehouse area to pick up the mattresses and bed, and then take all of it to the delivery counter. Next, Charlie had to go to the customer service desk to turn in a VAT form (value-added tax). In Germany, there is a 19% tax built into the price of everything, and military/DOD civilians can use the VAT forms to get that money back. After completing the form at the service desk, Charlie had to go back to the cashier to get the refund. PHEW, we were finally done, and it was almost 7:00. We were all exhausted, and decided to go home instead of going to the balloon festival. Connor hung in there for the marathon shopping trip, and the Morminos found a few things for their house.

Thankfully, every store employee we talked to spoke English. It was funny, though…when we would ask, “Sprechen sie English?” they would all shyly answer, “A little bit,” then proceed to speak almost perfect English!

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