The one thing that our daughter, Jennifer, misses about our old house is the color of her room. She and her older sister spent hours pouring over paint chips at Lowe’s until Jennifer settled on a Martha Stewart color called “Lavender Soap.” When she picked it out, I thought it seemed a little gray and dull. But she proved her good taste because once it was on the walls of her room, it was beautiful. Lavender’s calming qualities seemed to overtake the room in spite of the swirling chaos of books, papers, clothes and shoes spread across her floor and desk.

The color of her room in our new place is sort of a bleached yellow. It’s not objectionable; it’s just not reflective of her taste. So ever since we moved almost four months ago, I have promised her a trip to IKEA so she could pick out some accessories to make her room feel more like her own and less like a Hampton Inn.

For Steve, an afternoon at IKEA sounded like even less fun than an afternoon at Nordstrom Rack so he decided to make it a work day. I was happy to have a reason to procrastinate doing the taxes so President’s Day seemed like the ideal day for Jennifer and I to have a shopping excursion.

I really enjoy going to IKEA because it might be the closest I’ll ever get to visiting a foreign country. When I’m there, I can pretend I’m in Europe; all the signs are in a different language and I hardly ever hear anyone speaking English. Who cares that all the words are made up and they throw umlauts over every vowel?

After fortifying ourselves with Swedish meatballs and elderflower juice at the IKEA café when we got there, we entered the labyrinth. That place has more nooks and crannies than a Thomas’s English Muffin.

One thing I love about IKEA is the slightly scaled-down size of everything. It has the same feel as Main Street USA inDisneylandwhere all the buildings are three-quarters of actual size. It’s all so cute and cozy, like I’m in a little girls playhouse – especially the pink kitchen with the faux bonbons. It makes me want to transplant the whole set up right into my house.

IKEA is one of those places that you can feel like you’ve been taken into another dimension when you finally re-emerge into sunlight, so knowing that we could loose all track of time if we weren’t careful, we sped pretty quickly through the rooms and into the downstairs Marketplace.

As Jennifer said, so many patterns! How to achieve the right zen between bold and delicate for a new duvet cover and pillows. But Jennifer did it – a big circular pattern on the coverlet and a complementary, more colorful small print on the throw pillows. Then it was onto Lamp Land…that’s when I called Steve and said he had better send a search and rescue party with a St. Bernard with a cask of Aquavit into the bowels of IKEA lest my shriveled corpse be found with my fingers still clasping the “Rodd” (that’s the “Swedish” name for the pole lamp) on Tuesday morning.

I barely escaped with my life and a bag of frozen meatballs.