Friday, 4 May 2012

Paint, post and poo

In my first ever blog post I said that I was constantly tottering on the edge of chaos.  Well, I think I have fallen over that edge this week.

Last night I started chuntering at Thomas about making a mess with his tea.  He stopped eating, his fork halfway to his mouth, and looked around the room, before turning back to stare at me.

“Huh?” he said.

He had a point.

Complaining about a bit of bolognese on the floor was, to be fair, a bit like moaning about a dripping tap in your cabin as the Titanic went down.  Actually, to be really fair, it was more like complaining about the tap you left running, flooding your own cabin, while the Titanic went down.

Stage two of the ongoing decorating project is underway.

Everything I own is currently in two large piles in Thomas’s room and the spare room.  There appears to be no logic to the distribution pattern between the two rooms, probably because everything has been moved about six times already.  It’s like one of those puzzles with the sliding tiles, where you have to move one piece of the picture before you can get access to another. 

I have a fairly limited selection of clothing to choose from – I assume the rest is buried beneath the completely inaccessible mound in the spare room.  If that mound doesn’t move today then tomorrow I will mostly be wearing a pink evening dress, a London Rowing Club waterproof top and a pair of flip flops. 

I also have no idea where my desk is, my sewing scissors haven’t been seen for days and I seem to have lost my underwear.  Which is strange since the builders, Dody and Teeve (to give them there Thomas-speak names) have clearly seen it recently, judging from some recent remarks.

In short, the place looks like it has been hit by a particularly angry and thorough tornado. 

This was the backdrop against which I decided to get picky about food on the floor.  The look Thomas gave me couldn’t have been clearer. 

“Hang on a second, mother.  I’m not the one who tipped an entire pot of oil-based paint over the front steps.”

Yes, just as I thought we had reached carnage-saturation point, I managed to make things just that little bit worse by tripping up the front steps and breaking open a can of paint.  This resulted in about two square feet of cream paint spread over the dark grey steps.  The can had barely hit the ground before I had rung Dody to find out what I needed to do on the damage-limitation front.

“Oh dear,” he said.  “You didn’t want to do that.”

At least he recognised this.  HWSNBN clearly thought that I had wanted to do this.  That I had spent the entire day plotting and planning my paint-bombing of the front steps.  That I was performing some sort of triumphant war-dance around the pool of paint while telling him about it on the phone.

Everyone told me the paint wasn’t coming off.  Dody, HWSNBN, even the man from the specialist cleaning company that I rang for advice.  They way they all went on, you would think that in a million years’ time, some archaeologist from a distant planet would unearth our front steps and say “Oh look, a perfect example of what happens when ancient earthlings didn’t look where they were going and spilled oil-based Dulux paint.”

The thing is, I don’t like being told that I can’t do something.  Everyone said I was never going to get the paint off.

So I got the paint off.

With the assistance of the contents of Thomas’s sandpit, a bag of vegetable compost, about twenty buckets of laundry detergent and a small plastic bottle-brush, I got the paint off.

Dody and Teeve actually seemed impressed.  And they are very hard to impress.

They were less impressed at my next revelation.

HWSNBN and I are a bit crap at decorating decisions.  The last room that we had decorated is now being re­-decorated after HWSNBN did his Andy-from-Little-Britain impression – “Don’t like it.” 

That is how Not Good At Decorating we are.  So we thought we better get someone in to tell us what to do. 

Much to the disgust of Dody “Any colour as long as it is Magnolia” and Teeve “Don’t talk to me about mosaic tiles”, a lady from a local paint shop accordingly turned up and talked about palettes and tones and undertones  while I nodded and hmmed and tried to look vaguely intelligent, Occasionally a disembodied voice would float out from behind a wardrobe muttering “What’s wrong with magnolia?”, like a disgruntled Ghost of Interior Decorating Trends Past.  I should mention that Dody and Teeve have been doing the HWSNBN family decorating for over thirty years and have formed the view that they get the final say.  If they don’t like it, we don’t get it.

Recommendations were duly made and the B&Q Dulux paint-mixing service were recruited to colour-match the samples of Insanely Expensive Paint that she had suggested.  Unfortunately I entirely failed to make a note of which Dulux colours corresponded with which original samples, leading to the confession to Dody and Teeve that I had no idea which paint was for which room, particularly since one was currently soaking into the gravel at the bottom of the front steps.  I will therefore shortly be returning to B&Q to get them to re-scan all the samples.  I suspect they won’t be amused.

All in all, life isn’t exactly mess-free right now.  Which probably explains why Thomas and Ben have clearly felt able to express themselves freely from a mess point of view.  Ben has taken the opportunity to decorate every available surface with regurgitated milk.  Thomas has decided that the bathroom floor would look better with wee on it.

Yesterday he “decorated” his pants and promptly bent over, presenting me with his rear end and issued me with a peremptory order to “Clean up my poo.”  As I did so, he peered between his legs.

“I can see my bits from here,” he remarked.

Oh good.

And just to improve my mood that little bit more, I received a charming email from the tenants of our old house in London, complaining about the pile of post that was apparently making their house messy and ordering me to collect it immediately and change my address with “all these senders.”  It concluded with “It'll be the last time we tell you.”

Now given that I am currently living in such a state of utter carnage that I have no idea whether or not I have even received any post over the last week and a half, this disproportionate stropping over a few stray envelopes did not go down well.  Particularly since when we first moved, our post re-direction didn’t work and I had the greatest difficulty in getting the new tenants to actually hand over our post as they seemed to think it belonged to them as soon as it went through the letter box.  I therefore sent a fairly strongly worded email back, explaining the concept of “junk mail.”

I don’t think we will be hearing from them again.


  1. I'm with Dody and Teeve - getting gloss paint off your front steps is seriously impressive (must have taken ages!)
    I've enjoyed catching up, and have NO idea how you find time to write with so much going on. My life isn't half as busy as yours, but I can relate to a move that, on the face of it, makes things more complicated! We moved miles away from family and husband's work. I stay put with the kids and we see him occasionally...

  2. I do the writing in the evening after the kids are in bed - you know, that time when you sit down and go "aaah, silence!" and crack on the white wine....