austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I'm just a wandering on the face of this Earth

Putting off work talk a little more: Thursday morning my father asked if I had any plans for after work. Well, I had vague plans of editing my humor piece for the week, but I don't talk about that because that would be revealing information about something important to me to my family. So I warily said no, and he said good, because he needed to get up to Ikea to buy a bookshelf for my sister-in-law and her husband. Apparently it's too wide for some purpose or other and yet it should fit in my car but for some reason going up by himself in his Jeep was unsuitable and oh, fine, then.

The nearest Ikea is by Newark Airport, so I was committing after the drive home to an hour-plus drive up and back again over the bookshelf. In fact, it would be more, since --- this is going to take more than a full sentence to explain. My aunt from Rhode Island was visiting for the weekend, on Sunday to pick up her son coming back from college. He was to be dropped off at a convenient midway point before his trip-mates went off a different direction, so they would meet up at one of the Turnpike's lovely service plazas. My uncle had doubts of the Google Maps estimates of plaza distances and asked that we verify them since we were nearby. So we got to drive an extra forty minutes out of the way to verify the location of several plazas on the Turnpike northbound before getting to Ikea.

At Ikea we went merrily around trying to prove the actual existence of the bookshelf, although since they're renovating nothing was where any documentation claimed it was. We stopped for dinner at the in-store restaurant, with meatballs and some Scandinavian fruit drink, and went searching again for any clerk who was not dealing with a customer involved in the most complicated Allen wrench-connected purchase in recorded history. Eventually we did find one, who guided us to the bookshelf. My father took measurements of the shelf and determined that it was too wide for my brother's needs, and it could not be cut down to size, but he could build one like it in appropriate dimensions. So we came home, with over one of every eight miles on my car now dedicated to this expedition and nothing to show for it but measurements on a bookshelf and verified mile markers for the Joyce Kilmer and Grover Cleveland rest areas.

The rest stop directions would have been marginally useful, I suppose, except as it turned out the cousin claimed to have gotten stuck in traffic coming up and so they turned around, with him going up by train the next morning. So if we got anything out of the trip it was ... uh ... my new car's first ride on toll roads.

Trivia: The Roman Emperor Commodius tried to rename the seventh month of the year `Aurelius', after one of his many names. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: Vienna 1814: How the Conquerers of Napoleon Made Love, War, and peace at the Congress of Vienna, David King.


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