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IKEA - not just Furniture, it's a Lifestyle

Living in Germany for almost half a century gave me sufficient exposure to IKEA furniture to be beyond thrilled when I discovered, that the company had expanded their reach into the USA. There’s even an IKEA within less than two hours driving from where I live now. I have yet to visit that store, but while I wait for an occasion to drive there, I can simply have my purchase delivered via FedEx.

My department recently moved into beautiful, newly renovated office space with a striking lack of book shelves. So, after searching local stores and the usual big online retailers, I found myself falling back on my trusted old friend from a previous life. IKEA has a stunning variety of modular office furniture. It was easy to find something in their catalog that matches the color scheme of my new cubicle, and doesn’t break the bank.

Big part of the past Saturday was spent crawling around on the living room floor, assembling these boards into book shelves. Following along with the familiar instruction booklets full of drawings, but hardly any words, made me feel young again. Nothing really changed since I built my first “Billy” bookcase, over thirty years ago. That old shelf, by the way, is still standing in my bedroom today.

I hauled the pre-assembled furniture modules to work yesterday. They just needed a few brackets mounted on the backside, to keep them together. Now that my books and binders sit on display in style, this office feels almost like home.

Life is good! IKEA-02.jpg



Senior Dog Safety

Armani, our black labrador chow-chow rescue dog, is twelve years old now. He has slowed down noticeably, sometimes limps a little bit, and lately he seems to have a hard time walking on laminate or hardwood floors in our house. Last Saturday he slipped and fell hard on his right hip. After that he had absolutely no use of his right hind leg for a day or two. He was just dragging that behind himself, hobbling around the back yard on three legs.

We had to do something fast, so we bought eight rugs and plastered the hallway, dining room, and kitchen with them, so Armani could walk around there without making contact with any hard floor. That worked, but I really didn’t like the way it looked. The dining room had three different colors of unmatched rugs laid out. Amazon to the rescue! I ordered one square 9ft. by 9ft. area rug for the dining room, and another one 10ft. by 13ft. for the living room.


The square rug arrived Wednesday, and we laid it down today. I love it! Safety and style are not mutually exclusive.


Cubed - but not squared away

After seven months of high productivity and a feeling of purpose, sitting in a quiet office with a real door, to be able to complete a highly important project with an extremely tight deadline, I have been relegated to my prior workspace in a cubicle.

CubicleOpen.jpgWhile about 40% of US office workers sit in those contraptions invented in the late 60’s, 93% of those workers wish they were somewhere else.

The reasons have been researched, they are obvious, everybody knows – an average of 70 interruptions on any given day, 29% lower productivity compared to workers in an office with window and door, lack of focus, lack of privacy.

CubicleClosed.jpg Now, like most people I can’t pick where I sit when I do my job – but I can decorate my cubicle, organize my desk, and bring some of my own tools to work.

My latest find on Amazon is called a “privacy panel”. I call it “the ultimate do-not-disturb sign”. Now, if I could just learn to tune out noise, chatter, and other people’s phone calls, I’d be almost as productive as somebody with a real office.


Amazon Global to the Rescue

When we moved to the USA in January 2006 we had most of the contents of our 840 squ.ft. condo shipped in a 40 ft. overseas container. Books, clothes, computers, dishes, kitchen wares, small electric appliances, and furniture had to come with us – because we figured shipping the household was still cheaper than buying all new stuff.

Our bed is a typical, standard German double bed: two seperate orthopedic cold foam mattresses on slatted bases, mounted next to each other in a 200cm x 200cm bed frame. Of course we brought all the bedding for it too, so we were in good shape.

Now, even expensive bedding that you take good care of will come apart after over ten years of continuous use. Some of those sheets and duvet covers started to look like the ones my mom would relegate to the weekend cottage in Austria. Just go buy new ones, you might say. It’s not that easy, though. Fitted sheets in Twin XL size work for our mattresses, but there is absolutely nothing that would fit our down covers.

DeutscheBettwaesche.jpgThat’s what Amazon Global was invented for! Here’s how it works: go to, search for “Bettwäsche” and then filter your results by “Amazon Global bestellbar” – bingo! My latest order arrived today, fits perfectly, and looks awesome.


Germanize the Bathroom

Those of you who have lived in different countries can probably relate to the mixed feelings I have about houses in the USA, compared to houses in Germany. The main advantage of home ownership in the US is that it is way more affordable, not just because of the generally lower price of land, but also because of cheaper building techniques.

The notion of economy doesn’t stop at the outside of the building; it continues on the inside, all the way down to the fixtures and appliances. I could talk about doors, windows, rain gutters, roof shingles, siding, water pipes, heating systems, electric installations, lightning rods, sump pumps, you name it – but after a while I realized, that my audience either doesn’t know what I’m talking about, or they do and don’t need to be reminded.  HansgroheShowerHead.jpg

I personally enjoy my spacious home and find solutions for some of its shortcomings.






With a little help from Costco and Amazon our bathroom has been partially Germanized. It is sporting a shiny faucet, which we installed last year, and a new luxury shower head, replacing an identical one that was getting worn, both made in Germany by Hansgrohe.

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