For those not sufficiently convinced to click ‘like’ on the Considerings Facebook Page (and I won’t beg you to – I’ve heard it’s unseemly, but I’ll say (for the record) that if you were to head on over, you’d be in some stunningly excellent company) I am attempting a ‘twoser’ today*.
I’m really hoping that a ‘twoser’ is a suitable term for a day in which yon blogger posts twice, on totally varying (Well, or any, I suppose) subjects. I’m still relatively new to the whole community aspect of blogging (and thanks, Bloppies, I couldn’t have done it without you – I would have had several more months of guilt-free image stealing from Google. Now I know it’s not proper etiquette and have to hang my head in shame when it happens – seriously, thanks!) and I’m not sure whether one is allowed to just ‘invent’ a term, or whether I’m committing some sort of bloggy faux pas by creating a term where one already exists.
Apart from an utterly madly busy day, the main reason I’m posting again (though does half-past midnight on a Thursday really count if I then went on to be awake til 4.30? I don’t know because I was up at 7 and haven’t napped so the threads of my brain are slightly loose) is that my SanFranFriend, having ‘ROFLed’ his way through the first post (especially my nefarious childhood mischievery, which seems to have gotten more attention than the rest of the subject) turned his anguished, puppydog eyes on me (ok, I’m kidding, we were on Facebook chat. Text version. But I know him and can quite imagine it) and asked “But what will I do when I’m bored tomorrow afternoon?!”
How could I resist?
My day began
at 4am when I decided that the light outside was once again taking on an accusatory tone and the birds were singing smugly, having had their night’s kip when I woke up at 7am, fresh as a daisy and went to bring a lovely morning cuppa to Husby.
I merrily whipped around to help Sis get Niece (uncharacteristically grumpy after a disturbed night) and Neff (uncharacteristically pleasant and eager to engage, but perhaps because I’d suggested riding their scooters to school) ready and off to school.
We found a darling curiosity shop in which little was worth buying but all was worth seeing and I picked up a carton of milk on the way back to the car. Then Sis and I took gleeful advantage of the distinct lack of children to borrow their scooters and freewheel down the hill, shrieking with glee as we wobbled dangerously close to wipeout angles.
Back home with the radio playing, singing along and cheerfully into Husby to ask him pleaseverynicely would he mind getting up to help me tackle the second bedroom.
The second bedroom has been something of a dumping ground since we moved in. We managed to clear enough space to get one bed up (used by Niece, Neff and a couple of lovely guests since) but in light of Husby’s parents coming to stay, we really felt we should offer them a bed each. Which meant tackling the Mountainboxes of DOOOOM!
Which we did with alacrity and a pleasantly surprising amount of teamwork and levity. Then one glorious moment when I realised that the new, smart towel sets given us as a housewarming gift by Husby’s Lovely Aunty could be pressed into service and my cup ranneth over. I even folded the towels and left a chocolate on them, a la the best hotels (okay, it was a mini-Crunchie bar each, so not really very swish, but I did give them a teddy each – FIL got a teddy in a santa cap and MIL got soft-toy Mario)
This accomplished, parents-in-law arrived, were shown their rooms (were suitably (visibly and gratifyingly) impressed at the work we’d put in) and I realised that it was time to pick up Niece from nursery. On the way I decided to get rid of a broken and busted up chair (having phoned Mum, whose chair it used to be, whereupon she added her own, broken and busted up chair to the load) to the tip once I had Niece.
Off I went again, still happy as Larry (whoever he is)
Niece was Not. In. The. Mood.
Promptly upon being swooped into my loving, auntyish arms, she scowled, pushed me away and said in her very crossest voice “I don’t want it to be a Lizzi day – I want Mummy.”
I convinced her that it would be a good idea to get her act together and join in nicely, as we were going on a mission. To the tip. And for a while she was appeased. She was fascinated by the upside-down chairs in the car but didn’t want to get out and help me chuck them (or the load of cardboard left over from moving boxes which also got lumped into the tip run). Two nice, helpful, burly tip-men in high-vis vests helped to break the chairs up and chuck the fabric seats into one, massive bin and the wooden skeletons into another.
Then I had a great idea. The ‘tip’ is technically a ‘Household Waste and Recycling Centre’ so if anyone brings along something which isn’t completely busted up, the guys tend to rescue it and see if they can flog it. We’ve had some good, cheap stuff that way and I thought that Niece and I could go looking for treasure. We wandered into their shed and Niece was unimpressed, with a rapid glance around and a firm “There’s nothing here”.
The shed was filled with pieces of furniture and other people’s lives, from the utterly tatty (a 4′ x 3′ very badly painted picture of a Thai Buddha face) to the divine (a glorious, weathered to perfection red, leather sofa with dark, wooden legs). I was turning to acquiesce and leave, when I saw it.
‘It’ being the perfect fishtank cabinet.
I’ve wanted one for a while, as we moved with a brand-new, empty fishtank and some angelfish still in a tank at my college waiting to be brought home. We even picked a spot in the living room for the tank to go. But we needed a sturdy thing for it to go on. And really not a wooden top, because of water staining. And preferably with cupboards to store the food and cleaning gear.
And this cabinet, with its fancy scrollwork and marble-style top, was perfick.
I found a burly tip-man and asked the price. £15.
I only had £10.
Tip-man looked at me, twinkly-eyed and I looked at the cabinet, starry-eyed and he knew he had a sale. He took a £5 deposit and informed me that they were open til 7pm.
I whizzed away with Niece to get some cashback in a supermarket where we could also buy her some ‘Babas’ (dummies/pacifiers), about which we’d by now had a 40 minute sub-conversation about – her wanting one and me not having one, that is – and (by the time we got there) some lunch each and some cake for Neff for later so he didn’t feel he’d missed out.
Then the phonecall happened.
I’m not sure how, but a line or six had gotten crossed and WonderAunty’s Houseboy (who is actually a fully-grown man with his own cleaning business and has cleaned her house for many years, retained her business from several counties away on account of his being so excellent, and was today scheduled to give our flat a go after he’d finished her house) was outside, locked out, with no-one there.
I rang WonderAunty. She was at an appointment.
I rang Mum. She was in the garden with a tree surgeon and wasn’t answering the phone.
So instead of returning to the tip, Niece and I belted off in the opposite direction to let the Houseboy in and leave our lunches in the fridge, then zoom back to the tip.
At this point, my tired, sleep-deprived, hungry Niece let her aunty know just what a terrible carer she was by having a complete breakdown when the burly tip-men tried to put the gorgeous cabinet into the boot of the car so that it rested in beside her (with the seats down, there’s very little that can’t fit in a Ford Fiesta).
In between patting Niece’s leg and reassuring her that the giant hunk of wood and pseudo-marble heading in her direction was okay, was meant to be there and she was alright, and thanking the helpful tip men who (after much shuffling around, confirmed that no, the cabinet really wasn’t going to fit in the back of the Ford Fiesta, no matter which way up it was) tied the boot lid down with string to keep the cabinet in and (at my request) swept all the giant, flesh-eating, ear-penetrating, hair-webbing, zizzing spiders from their cosy and prolific nests under the base of the cabinet with their big, strong, tip-man gloves, I panicked about how on earth I was going to get the thing out at the other end.
I drove a still-sniffling Niece home very slowly with the cabinet poking obstinately out of the back of my tiny car, praying at each bump that it wouldn’t burst free of its strings and take out the car behind. After we made it up a particularly steep hill with my heart in my mouth and visions in my head of the cabinet just rolling out of the back and smashing into a zillion pieces in the middle of the road, I exclaimed “This is GREAT – we’re doing really well – we’ve got a fabulous cabinet and we’re going to have lunch soon.” then I looked in the mirror and saw that my poor, neglected Niece had given up and fallen asleep.
Back home, I scooped her small, warm person out of the car and carried her tenderly up to the flat. I leaned back to counterbalance as I used one hand to flip her shoes off and very gently laid her down in my bed, snuggling her into her favourite blankie. At which point she opened two startled eyes and cried “I don’t want a nap – I want to go hooooooome.”
What’s a girl to do when faced with such heartbreak? I told her to stay put while I got the cabinet.
The very helpful Houseboy assisted me in with it (thank goodness, because I would never have managed it alone) and after a quick brush off, I was certain that no spiders, webs or pieces thereof were entering the premises and left it in the bedroom while I took Niece home.
She gave her mum a massive hug, went to sit on the sofa and scarf down her cheese and tomato pasta (couldn’t leave that behind, now could we?) and upon hearing me saying that I was going to go, blithely asked “Aunty Lizzi, can you take me to the park now?”
I stalked home, half frustrated and half amused by her flakiness and the sheer audacity she had to reject and require me at a whim.
Then I spent so much time watching videos of people falling down on Youtube that I nearly missed the time I was meant to go and pick up Neff!
Because I was late there was no parking in my normal spot, so I turned a corner and drove right past the perfect space. I nipped in a car ahead, but alas, a dropped curb and an open driveway soon gave me to know that I would not be welcome there for long, so in a little bit of a rush and a (slightly smug) Fast&Furious-esque move, I flipped on my indicator and zoomed backwards out into the street, around the parked car and neatly into the space I’d just missed. Yup – parallel parking, at speed, in the face of oncoming traffic (oncoming bus, actually). And no-one was watching *sigh*.
Neff (fortunately) was keen to see me and wanted to come to my house, play his DS, see the cabinet and eat cake (in that order). He did all three (the sheer glee on his face when I handed him the whole cake, a plate, a knife and instructed “Cut” was indescribable. And he was surprisingly modest in his portion size.) and then helped me to attend to the cabinet.
‘Attend to’ is a kind idea. I hauled it into the bathroom, filled the sink with water and all-purpose cleaner and washed its every surface. Twice. The water was black. Halfway through I realised that the interior shelves were filthy, so we brought the hoover in to suck up the dirt. Neff was in charge of the hoover. Most of the dirt got sucked at, so did the bath mat, the shower curtain, the towels, his hand and my bottom! He was in stitches of laughter and insisted that the hoover was doing it all by itself! It even turned itself off at times!
Once clean, we dragged, pushed, cajoled and otherwise manhandled it into the living room to be polished, stopped for a quick photo and then realised that in order to put it in the intended corner, we’d need to unpack six boxes of DVDs and move the sofa. Which we did.
And it’s gorgeous, y’all.
And even though I made a totally unilateral decision in buying it, and pulled a bit of a Superwoman in getting it home, cleaned and into place, I am very pleased that Husby loves it too.
In the evening we went out to a ‘Thank you’ dinner from our church, for those who lead the children’s work (and their spouses) and though it was in the community room of our local park, cooked on site in the cafe, the food was absolutely, 100% hotel-worthy. And the room, decked out in fairy lights and fresh roses, was gorgeous.
It was the perfect ending.
*By ‘today’ I really mean, the period of time in between longish sleeps. I don’t feel it matters if it’s technically most of an hour into Friday when this gets published – it counts.