Living in Sin: The Big Shopping Trip

by Rachel on April 4, 2011

This past weekend, it was time for the big shopping trip.

You know, the shopping trip where Eric and I would buy 99 percent of the things we need for the apartment.

The shopping trip that had the potential to go badly and turn Eric and me into That Couple as a TV stand debate played out loudly in front of all the now-uncomfortable shoppers at Ikea.

Or the shopping trip that could make us fall a little more in love as we had a blast choosing the rugs, pots and pans, and furniture that were the perfect expression of US.

In the end…we definitely did not debate TV stands loudly in front of other customers..

But that was because we were barely speaking at all.

weekend shopping trip by the numbers speech bubble

Six homemade doughnuts in the new $11 pan (to start things off right).

One misunderstanding of the right way to charge a nickel cadmium battery and a five-second decision on my part that ultimately ruined the battery (to start things off wrong).

“This is why we can’t have nice things” over and over again in Eric’s mind as we prepared to shop all day for nice things.

One silent car ride to the bank, where two names were put on one account.

Two hours of tense shopping at Ikea.

Zero TV stands or entertainment centers that we could agree on that could actually accommodate a 47 inch television.

One 15-minute trip across town to Crate & Barrel for my dishes.

30 seconds in Crate & Barrel before my dishes were vetoed.

clearly label the whole set speech bubble


$99 forty-piece dinnerware set for eight on sale for $49 at Kohl’s.

$89 45-piece set of silverware at Kohl’s…that would later be returned when we discovered a $46 45-piece set at Target.

Six hours of miserable shopping all over Houston.

Two large rugs plus glasses, dishes, bowls, a toaster oven, a garbage can, and all kinds of other goodies packed into the back of my Blazer.

One 300-lb box containing five chairs and one table that needed to fit into said Blazer, come out of said Blazer, and get carried up 15 stairs without bringing an end to the relationship that necessitated the table’s presence in the Blazer at all.

30 minutes with the Blazer double-parked as we attempted to make that happen.

One pizza with two wrong toppings.

Three pissed-off calls to Pizza Hut customer service.

240 minutes of intense discussion on money, spending, and what counts as a “necessity.”

made of money speech bubble

One of us sleeping on the couch.

Both of us sleeping until noon.

More donuts.

Sixty minutes of unpacking dishes, curtains, and all the other good things we bought to cheer us up.

Three hours solo at Kohl’s, Home Goods, and Bed, Bath & Beyond to brighten my spirits.

Three more hours of cleaning, unpacking, organizing, and cooking to help me work through my feelings.

Two days.

One apartment that is really starting to look more like ours.

And I can’t really put a number on how exhausting this weekend was.

The thing is though, I think this shopping trip is to couples like the Temple was to the contestants on Legends of the Hidden Temple. It’s like you should be prepared because you’ve rocked out during all the other challenges leading up to it…but then the Temple Guards are like, “Ummmm, fuck you — you aren’t going to space camp until you can prove yourselves one more time!”

And you totally think you’ll be able to survive the Shrine of the Silver Monkey (and the whole joint bank account conversation), but in the end, you crack under the pressure just like everyone else.

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alli April 4, 2011 at 10:01 am

Oh man, I completely known where you’re coming from. Due to a crappy landlord situation on my end I moved in with the bf…and his roommate, who did a total personality 180 after I moved in (even though he was the one who suggested it in the first place!). To this day I still can’t believe the bf and I survived those six months until we finally got a place of our own. These types of growing pains suck ass, but you’ll be laughing about them in a few months. Promise!


2 Liz April 4, 2011 at 10:02 am

Don’t worry it’s all completely normal! My husband & I fought more in the first year we lived together than we have the 4 years since then. In fact we fought more before getting engaged than we did after.

No one tells you how hard it is to live with a man before you actually do it. It’s really the only thing I miss about single life. Someone always having a say in how I spend money. And yes, Panera 4 times a week, is a necessity!


3 Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 4, 2011 at 10:05 am

That sounds so exhausting. I am super impressed that you got out of IKEA in 2 hours- that place is a nightmare!


4 Alie April 4, 2011 at 10:19 am

I feel for you! I moved to another state with my now ex-bf, it was 100 degrees out side, we had two dogs and were trying to move stuff that had been in storage for 6 months so we had no idea what stuff was anymore and we had multiple things (like two microwaves yet no toaster?). Then I spent $300 at walmart buying stuff we needed to live, like soap, water, food, etc. I hate moving a LOT. Just think, the worst part is already over!


5 Lia April 4, 2011 at 10:21 am

I totally know how you’re feeling. When K and I first moved in together, we had a really similar experience. To this day, he still doesn’t understand why I feel the need to spend money on home items – on a recent trip to West Elm (my idea of heaven), he said “you just love to buy things we don’t need” – in reference to a little bathroom/toothbrush holder. Maybe so, or maybe we have completely different ideas about how we should spend money. We had little spurts of living together during the summers when I’d be on break from school. Our first summer living together we fought SO MUCH. It is an adjustment for sure. Hang in there, it will get better!


6 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat April 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

I’m exhausted just reading this post… and thinking that we have to complete RENOVATING our house before any of this stuff can happen.

The Legends of the Hidden Temple reference was the funniest thing I’ve read on a blog possibly EVER.

If anyone could be the first to complete the money, it would be you. It always looks so simple!


7 Rosie April 4, 2011 at 10:32 am

1. Legends of the Hidden Temple analogy = magical.
2. Sadly [or happily?] I think there’s bound to be more challenges, it’s simply part of the whole experience. Appreciate the good by acknowledging the bad – all that stuff. It’ll be fine. <3


8 Paige April 4, 2011 at 10:32 am

I’m moving in with the boyfriend at the end of this month and am now feeling pretty thankful that we already have a lot of our necessities.

But holy goodness on Legends of the Hidden Temple! I’d totally forgotten that existed and am now definitely having flashbacks.


9 Jessica April 4, 2011 at 10:36 am

two words for you:
Man Cave.
Yeah I know the expression is played out but personal space is ALWAYS in style. I often wonder if we would have ever gotten married without one :)
Also, hang in there, that’s a lot of decisions to make in 48 hours- next time start with cocktails.


10 Dori April 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

A stressful experience, for sure. But it will be worth it when this is all over and you can relax in your place together.


11 BrookeNotOnADiet April 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

I love how you compared this to Legends Of The Hidden Temple.

And be prepared for many more disappointing shopping trips. B-Fry and I are STILL trying to decide on a larger frying pan. Oh and it only too 3 months of living together before we decided on bedding.

Just know that it’s all worth it in the end. :)


12 Paul McConaughy (@minutrition) April 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

Love you and your stories about you and Eric… As someone with going on 43 years in the living together game the important thing is to always remember that you and Eric aren’t working “against” each other – you’re working toward the same goal… a great life together! The “stuff” is insignificant… really, it is!



13 Laura Georgina April 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

How can a day that starts off with homemade donuts go so wrong? Seriously, I feel terrible for both of you. And reading this makes me glad that A) Mr. Man and I never had enough money to have a choice about homewares when we first moved in together (and therefore we just took what we could get, ugly and all) and B) he could care less what I put in our house as long as I like it.


14 Rachael April 4, 2011 at 11:01 am

I have no point of reference for this as my husband has been whipped like a smoothie since the day I met him (I have that kind of power over men, I think it’s the boobs.)
There are giant black and white iris prints on our living-room wall. If that doesn’t scream female to you …

Bravo on the Legends of the Hidden Temple reference, I have remained half-convinced I was the only super geek on the planet to actively watch that show. Really though, I wanted to be on Double Dare … like REALLLLLY wanted play in the green slime.


15 Jessica April 4, 2011 at 11:40 am

Rachael- you will appreciate this… I JUST MET MARK SUMMERS! Like 2 weeks ago. Few people were as excited about it as I was, but after reading your comment I had to share with someone who understood my undying love for the host of the best show ever. When I was 10, Double Dare was everything. There’s pictures on my blog to prove it ;)


16 Rachel April 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm

That. Is. So. AWESOME.


17 Rachel April 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Lucky you. Lucky, lucky you.


18 Jessica April 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I was like Rain Man, I could hardly talk. I think I said something like “double dare…awesome…love you….AWESOME.”


19 [SMASH] April 4, 2011 at 11:06 am

The BF and I always have the tense IKEA experience. It was definitely difficult picking out our TV stand too for the big ass TV he “had to have”. But in the end, it all came together. I much prefer shopping alone 95% of the time though.


20 Rachel April 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm

What TV stand did you guys get?! This piece of furniture is seriously the starting point of all the decor issues.


21 Ashley Breton April 4, 2011 at 11:28 am

You know, for how much love Ikea gets, I’ve heard a lot of stressful situations have sprung from it. Hopefully you’ll be able to relax soon :) And also, props on the Legends of the Hiddle Temple reference.. this is me cracking up at my desk at work ;)


22 Rachel April 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm

True…the maze-like layout might add to that.

And YES for a literal LOL at your desk!


23 Bess April 4, 2011 at 11:44 am

LOVE that you referenced Legend of the Hidden Temple…that show was my jam.

It’s gotta be playing on reruns on one of my 900 channels right?


24 Sable@SquatLikeALady April 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm

My first night living with my husband was also spent on the couch. (Yup. He’s too tall for the couch soooo…) We fought more in the first six months of living together than we had in the entire duration of our relationship. It’s hard to share a living space with someone! But you’ll come out of it stronger on the other side. :)


25 Keri April 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Can I just say that I totally cracked up over the Legends of the Hidden Temple reference? Hilarious. And now I’m dreading the Big Shopping Trip even more when I move in with my bf next month…..why can’t we all be like the family on Young House Love, happily designing the house together? (I’m guessing they have their arguments sometimes too….) Oh well, I guess if you survive you end up stronger, right?


26 Ella April 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I’d just like to add to the chorus about how hard the adjustment to living together can be. I always turn a skeptical eye when people mention the “honeymoon period” after they first get married or move in or whatever. My husband and I didn’t live together until we were married and that first year was full of stupid fights (apparently I am an obsessive cleaner and he is a slothenly pig). We have learned to compromise – neither of those labels is true – and are definitely both better for it and going on five years strong.


27 Kaytee April 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Oh… the Legends of the Hidden Temple analogy was great. My entire life feels like that right now.

Can I say how THRILLED I am that you’re going through all of this just mere months before I will go through it all, too? I’m actually really worried about how we’re going to acclimate to being around each other that much. We’re going to jump from not seeing each other at all for FOUR FREAKING MONTHS to being together nonstop. I think we’re either going to be so madly euphorically happy to be around each other that we’ll be happy all the time… or we are going to kill each other within a week.


28 Christie April 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I never had any of those problems.

My problems were convincing my husband to let his dead-beat friends go. They were stifling his creativity


29 Manon April 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Wow….reading this made me need a nap. And also made me extremely happy I’m single…….I soooooooo do not miss those days. Of course, I’ve also never been with anyone who made THOSE days worth it on the OTHER days….


30 Annie @ Finding Fitness-DaybyDay April 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm

You can do it!


31 Parita @ myinnershakti April 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I’m tired just from reading your post! Seems like y’all just had “one of those weekends…” All the things you talked about are things that freak me out a bit about “living together as one.” Eeeek! Glad your place is coming along though!!


32 Jordan April 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Oh god. We are currently having the joint bank account discussion. It is PAINFUL talking about all of the options over and over and rehashing and arguing about the best way to go about things. I just don’t want to worry about who pays for dinner! That’s it!


33 Chandra April 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

My SO and I have come up with a solution that has solved the “who pays for dinner” dilemma. Rather than having a joint banking account, which I imagine we eventually will, we share a credit card. He added me as an authorized user on an credit card and we put all of our joint expenses on it. That means all of our groceries, gas, entertainment costs (only when we are together), and household expenses go on the card. We have a budget for the card that we stay mindful off and at the end of the month we split the bill right now the middle and pay off the balance. It has worked out really well for us for a few years now …

Money is a tough topic to work out .. good luck!


34 Rachel April 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm

We actually discussed doing that very thing, but decided to do the bank account instead!


35 Jordan April 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm

That’s EXACTLY what my boyfriend wants to do! I’m a little wary, mostly because I’ve never had a credit card before and also have an usual paranoia where my credit score is concerned, but I’m glad to know that it’s working for you! It makes me a lot more open to the idea.


36 Devon (Run Sleep Rinse Repeat) April 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Congratulations on living in sin :)

My mother would be the first to tell you, “You gotta kick the tires before you buy the car”. Enjoy!


37 Emma April 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm

You know, it’s almost reassuring that the big-moving-in-together shopping trip is not blissful for everyone. Ours certainly wasn’t! And, ohmygosh, if I had a dollar for every time Adam said, “This is why we can’t have nice things” to me (because I’m a clutz and, yeah, I scratch, dent, and/or break allllll nice things. And not nice things…), I’d be made of money myself. You’re a trooper.


38 Jess-The SemiAbnormal Gal April 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Only you Rachel, could make what was obviously a rough weekend into the perfect medium for a Legends reference. I make my students play “Biology Double Dare” and have recently started having to bring in video clips because they don’t know what Family Double Dare is. Tragic really.


39 Rachel April 4, 2011 at 9:11 pm

No way!! Kids these days…fuck.


40 Nikki April 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Combining lives is never supposed to be easy! :) My BF and I recently got joint checking + savings accounts (after 4 years together). The woman who opened our accounts was SO RUDE and openly disappointed that we weren’t married! Like WTF woman, worry about your own relationship!!


41 Jodi April 5, 2011 at 1:33 am

I bow to your awesomeness. A relationship blog with a Legends reference. Pure genius. Seriously though, I don’t think I have ever wanted to break up with my boyfriend, change my identity and move to a new country to become a monk or a lesbian MORE than the first month we lived together. It was horrendous. I think it is supposed to be, it’s like a relationship right of passage.


42 Phoebe April 5, 2011 at 2:05 am

Oh man – this sounds so exhausting. We took a different approach – my boyfriend and I moved in together three months ago and we still are acquiring furniture, household objects etc. I sort of envy you getting everything taken care of in one fell swoop. We just got a TV (and, yes, a TV stand) this week and do not have any bedroom furniture or lamps whatsoever. I whined about not having a dresser for the first month or so – we actually had this deal where I would go on birth control as soon as we got one (???) but still no dresser. Good luck with the rest of the merge!


43 marie April 5, 2011 at 7:28 am

Ohhhhhhh I’ve been there. I think every couple has…it is one of those secret things they all go through but no one talks about! The first time we tried grocery shopping together? Forgetaboutit. Almost committed murder right there among the fresh produce. It gets easier.


44 masha April 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Once, while on vacation in Alaska, my then new husband and I had a drag down blow out fight in an REI over the wisdom of purchasing two matching sleeping bags. I was of the opinion that we had been planning on making such a purchase, that this was an excellent deal on a good quality set, and that it was great time to buy them since we’d use them that very week. He was of the opinion that this was a surprise $350 purchase. Somehow this led to humiliating and uncharacteristic public fighting, a very embarassed salesperson who was trapped into the middle of this exchange longer than he would have liked and just an overall ridiculous amount of sturm and drang. We survived, quite happily. Also, we bought the sleeping bags—not that I “won” or anything; I just happened to be right ;-)


45 Christie April 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm

We got a joint checking when we got engaged. I still have a separate account (my previous checking) strictly for family use- like if I need to float my mom some cash or vice versa.

I honestly don’t remember any big fights about moving in together because we both kind of wanted it. However, moving in with his 2 room mates who were dead beats was a little more painful.

I guess I got off lucky- not only am I married to a great man and a great artist, but he showed how much he loves me when he took my last name. That was a riot to get sorted out after we got married!


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