Better than 1996's photo, for sure. Posted by Picasa

While going through immigration in Vancouver a few years back (it may have been late 2001, in which case I sort of understand), I was grilled by the agent whose desk I'd approached. He asked me where I was headed, how long I'd been in Canada, what I'd done while in Vancouver (Um, do I have to answer that? In detail?), where I worked, what my job title was, and on and on.

He held my passport open in his hand and kept looking from it to me, then back to the passport and back to me. Finally, he told me he was so skeptical because the photo in my passport looked nothing like the present me. "It's the bridge of the nose," he said. "Usually, no matter how much anything else about you changes, the bridge of your nose will still look the same, and yours doesn't."

I resisted the urge to snidely comment that perhaps the policy whereby adult US passports are valid for ten years was not a good one, as any number of people were bound to look different


When is an Ektorp not an Ektorp?

I've lately come off of a home improvement bender of sorts, which was spurred on by a number of things, among them the discovery of something mildew-esque on the backs on my sofa cushions.

In the immediate wake of this discovery, I went at said cushions with a sponge and my hairdryer, then realized a.) I probably was doing nothing beneficial at all, and b.) it's beyond time to get a new slipcover for my sofa, anyway. So I braved the crowds at Ikea (not as bad as anticipated, but still) and found an impossibly cheap ($21!) blue slipcover for the Ektorp loveseat I own. How thrilling! How pleased I felt with myself, having scored such a serious bargain (slipcovers normally go for $100 and up--why, I don't know)! How excited I was to come home, strip my sofa down, and re-clothe it in something new and mildew-free!

How very wrong I was. Because who knew, first off, that the Ektorp loveseat is not the same thing as the Ektorp SOFABED loveseat? (Yes, fine, it should've been obvious, but I was blinded by what I may have mentioned was a heart-stoppingly cheap price.) I figured I could work around that first hurdle somehow, preparing to get out some scissors and make alterations as needed. But then I discovered that even if I were to do some creative cutting, the damn cover was nowhere near the right size.

I mean, OK, Ikea. You sell stuff that's hardly of heirloom quality, and your product names are generally impossible to pronounce, and there's always something new and different happening within your walls. But did you actually modify one of your products just enough that no post-2004 slipcover will fit my 2002 sofa? Or has the Ektorp loveseat always been three-and-a-half inches shorter than the Ektorp SOFABED loveseat? And why do the back cushions seem to be exactly the same size? The mind boggles.

Luckily, I scored equally good deals on my new Ringum rug (yes, it's round), Limbo lamps, and Lots self-adhesive wall mirrors. But still, how utterly bittersweet to come so close to something that could've been so good and beautiful and right only to find myself foiled by Swedes.