It’s Saturday. I don’t have the kinderbesten, and I have big plans for the day.

I get up at 7am, well in time to make it to IKEA for 8am opening. I plan to be in and out before it gets hideous. It’s all going extremely well until I miss the exit off the freeway. I’m so used to seeing IKEA looming, in all its blue and yellow glory, that I haven’t even bothered to remember the name of the exit. With some malarkey from Google Maps (mostly due to me misunderstanding which dot on the map actually represents my location) I get to IKEA just after 8am. I consider it a victory.

I go straight to the cafe to claim my $2 breakfast, which actually costs $4.50 because I have coffee too. I have a bit of a browse, almost challenging myself to be tempted by something that’s not on my list. But nothing really jumps out at me. Then, in the kitchen section, I grab a rogue item: three corkboard mats. I’ve finally broken. I’ve strayed from the list. I start to feel the stress building and I decide to get the rest of the things on my list and clear out.

I plan to drop by a friend’s house on the way home. I manage to take the wrong turn out of IKEA. But then I traverse the rest of the route with almost complete success … until I manage to completely drive past her road. Then I spend a ridiculous ten minutes trying to persuade Google Maps to tell me where I am, and where the right road is, and where I can actually park. It all comes together in the end, but a ten-minute journey has taken me half an hour. Totally worth it though: I get to see my friend, and I get to play with kittens.

But then I have to leave as I’ve arranged for Rachel’s Dad to come over and help me replace some taps (I could *probably* do them myself, but I could also almost certainly screw them up myself too). The taps prove far more challenging than they have any right to be, but we claim victory in the end. While that’s all going on, I rebuild my coffee station. It’s basically an IKEA desk that has been placed in an alcove, with a fridge beneath it, and holds all the tea and coffee paraphernalia. I’ve had visions of replacing it with some old IKEA desk components and some fresh wall shelves for years, but haven’t gotten around to it. Until now! It takes a couple of hours, but the result not only doesn’t fall down, but is almost every bit as glorious an improvement as I could have hoped. Instead of a grubby, white desk surface I now have lovely pine-effect shelves. Plus more storage space. And I even bought some LED lights from IKEA to light it up. Unfortunately they’re brighter than a million suns, so I decide to leave them for the time being.

I’ve decided that it’s time for me to spend an evening completely on my own, something that would have filled me with abject fear and trepidation less than a month ago. However, I’ve been feeling so much better over the last few weeks that I finding myself looking forward to it now.

I start off by cooking myself a steak, and it turns out so damn good that I feel tangible guilt at eating it all myself. But I do it anyway. I then build the new lamp I picked up at IKEA today. It’s meant to provide a minimal amount of background lighting for the main room, but again it’s way bright than expected. However, I find a good spot for it behind the sofas where, so long as you don’t stare directly at it, it manages to provide some pleasant ambient lighting.

Then I settle down to watch Arrival, which I bought months ago and was incredibly excited about watching and then … didn’t. It turns out to be not quite the film I was expecting, but equally even more amazing than expected. I go to bed moved and inspired and–for only the third time in however many years–in a completely empty house.