Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What A Day!

Well . . . it was touch and go.

A long drive, a little drama and some miserable weather but I successfully attended the grand opening of the 1st Ikea in the Carolinas.

My journey didn't even begin until midnight. I boarded the car & headed off to Charlotte. My GPS was spot on accurate and the trip itself was just fine. Once I got there though there was a problem. I'm VERY asthmatic and the cold winds from last night weren't kind to my lungs. By the time I got to my spot at the end of the line I was struggling to breathe let alone set up. The wonderful people ahead of me in line helped me set up my machine & got me to an electrical outlet so I could take an albuterol treatment.

Just as I was feeling good on the machine I felt it . . . the rain drops.

I got right into my tent, blogged for Positive Fanatics then buried myself with the blankets I had brought with me. I must have dozed off for a bit because the next thing you know I could hear a lot of voices outside my tent. I came out and a large line of people had formed beyond me.

I made small talk with the folks adjacent to me . . . all in a good mood despite the weather. The rain hardly let up the entire morning AND it was cold to begin with. Luckily I was smart enough to wear 2 pairs of socks 2 pairs of pants and 4 tops/jackets and my hat/hoodie combo. I stayed relatively comfortable (with the exception of my lungs). Around the actual ceremony I could feel the cold permeating though my shoes & socks into my feet, not fun at all.

As we moved up in line making up for the space left over from the tents being put away I could feel another attack. The awesome girl who saved me earlier got someone from security to escort me to the family restroom and hour before the doors opened. I needed it . . . the guy from security was so nice & came in to check on me. I plan on writing a letter to Richard Castanon thanking him & praising the staff overall.

The Ikea co-workers really did the best they could to keep our spirits up (without coming across as phony). That's is one of the things I love about that store, no pretentiousness, no phonies, no attitudes just people available to help when needed. We were given doughnuts & apple juice, keychains, frisbees, and squshy mini chairs and most importantly rain ponchos in line.

The ceremony took place & at that point folks were getting restless . . . so they opened the doors 15 minutes early . . . let's face it they didn't want to be out there in the cold rain either!

Entering the store we were greeted by co-workers hooting, cheering & hollering. They kept going well into the morning giving 1st day shoppers an enthusiastic greeting. I have to say I kinda felt like a rock star when I went in. I am relieved that they didn't have those dreaded "bang sticks" like I've seen in footage of previous openings. Between the cold & my fatigue I don't think I could my head could have handled it.

I gave the showroom 1 good quick walk through then went right over to the restaurant. I got the regular breakfast and a coffee then sat down at a table that fortunately was next to a wall outlet and by the large window facing the side parking lot. I was able to take another treatment and view the steady stream of people still entering. It was nothing short of amazing.

. . . & that's when it hit me. I started to get a little teary eyed. I've waited a long time for this. To be able to shop at my favorite store without having to wait so long to actually get there. Granted it's still a good 3 1/2 hour drive, not exactly a trip I can do spontaneously but I can still plan a day trip without having to find overnight accommodations. I wish my family could have been there with me & I started missing them.

I trotted down to the market place & picked up a new hamper for daughter #1, a gift for daughter #2's teacher (that she's been dying to give her for months) some new curtain rod sets for my master bedroom and the obligatory 6-pack of cinnamon buns for my husband. In the plant shop they were giving out free baby houseplants to commemorate the grand opening. I picked one out for my friend Kelly as a thank you for taking care of my girls after school.

I roamed through the As-Is department (they have a LOT of stuff right now . . . I wish I'd brought more money and a pickup truck) then checked out.

I got to my van loaded up & started to leave when I realized it was only 10:30!

I had plenty of time to get home . . . but MAN I was EX-HAUST-ED! I was soooo tempted to pull off into a rest area & take a nap, but I just simply needed to get home.

I got home, gave myself a chance to unwind, then slept . . . but even right now I'm SOOOOOO tired.
I'm looking forward to a full night back in my warm, safe, comfy, dry bed!

That's about it . . . I will be continuing the blog . . . my work is far from done. I'm still shooting for at least one more store closer to home. I will keep posting any store opening updates and future trips, wish lists and sales as they come along.

WELCOME TO CAROLINA, IKEA!!!
IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!

3 comments:

gofd said...

xSaw your posts on PositiveFanatics! How fun that you got to be there (despite the weather!) and thanks for all of your updates!

Kelly said...

Congratulations!!!

Kelly said...

http://ikeatampa.blogspot.com/2009/02/ikea-charlotte-is-now-open-tampa-is.html