Pace quickened at the Pebbledashed Pad today following yesterday’s poor outputs. Output. I believe it was singular.
P arrived in possession of keys this morning but as the law of sod dictates, this time unnecessary as O and I were still pyjama-ed at the breakfast table. Much excitement therefore ensued at P’s polite knock at the door before the sound of the key was heard. Getting up to greet him O eagerly followed.
“Nice haircut” said P to the little boy, beside himself with delight, at my side. O’s baby curls were cut off at the barbers in Spain and, as his nursery teacher remarked, he now looks as if he is in the military.
“P!” he replied eventually.
“Come upstairs,” said P taking O’s little hand in his. “I’ve got some of those little biscuits. Do you want some?” and with that O’s egg on toast paled into insignificance.
As they both returned to the table, O bearing half of P’s lunch in a bowl, I asked the question at the forefront of my mind.
“When is the bath going in?” I asked, handing over his coffee.
“I don’t know. K needs some kind of special waste for it.”
“Ah.” I said
“He couldn’t get through to the bathroom warehouse yesterday”
“Ah” I said again, “I’ll call him today.”
A little while later, O having been deposited at nursery ready to tuck into a third breakfast of a rice crispies and Weetabix medley, I did just that.
“Hi K.” I said “I’m headed to B&Q which is near the bathroom shop so can get that waste for you if you need me to”
“They don’t sell it” came the muffled reply. “I called yesterday. ‘We don’t do it’ they said to me, ‘but you can get it at any bathroom shop’.” He tutted ” ‘I thought that’s what you are’ I said to them”
I sympathised before returning to the point of my call.
“When do you think the bath will go in?” I asked
“Ummmmmmm” he appeared to consider. “I don’t know really.”
“Right.” I said, opening the car door and flinging my bag in, myself after. “We could do with it.”
“This week” he promised vaguely. “Definitely this week. Maybe tomorrow.”
I thanked him and hung up. I had to get to B&Q and back before C, the carpet people and the table delivery arrived and I had little time for his dithering.
C’s knock at the door came minutes after my return.
“Hi” I had said opening the door with a smile. C looked back at me, almost surprised.
“Er. Hi” he replied
“Come in” I encouraged “you are just in time. The kettle is on.”
Tools in hand he walked in, past the open door to the snug.
“What’s that?” he asked, stopping. I looked past him.
“It’s the bath” I explained “but I was going to suggest we move it into the kitchen to give you some space.”
“Right.” He said gathering his composure, clearly put out at such a blatant sign that ownership of the snug had transferred to the bathroom team, and placing his tools down at the island he rolled a cigarette.
“So, congratulations again on the job” I said. “Are you looking forward to it?”
“Er, well. Yes and No.” He said, his attention still on the precise manouvering of his rizler. “The office people are nice. The others are less so”
“What is the job again?” I asked
“Maintenance for a lettings company” he explained “They’ve about 250 properties…..and the tenants are, shall we say, not the best of the bunch.”
“Ah.” I poured the milk.
“You can be there all morning without being offered even a coffee” he said as I handed him his, “with the tenant stood watching over you the whole time, farting.”
“Goodness” I exclaimed
“Not always, its wrong to tar with the same brush. But often.” With that he wandered out to the patio, cigarette in hand, whilst I busied myself gathering materials to start painting.
“Have a look at this” he called from the patio, phone in hand. “This was a job I was doing last week, fitting someone’s stone worktops”
I made my way over to where he stood puffing smoke and took the phone.
“Lovely” I said, “they look great”
“And that” he said, leaning across me to swipe the photo on to the next, “is the join. Though you won’t be able to see it.”
I studied the photo.
“It’s…” He exhaled a billow of smoke “invisible.”
“Wonderful.” I said handing back the phone “they must have been thrilled.”
“Oh, they are. In fact three more people want one now they’ve seen it. Their neighbour, their other neighbour and a man through the man who gave me the job in the first place”
Eager to get him started on our job rather wallow in last weeks I made a few more of the right sounding sounds and made my way back into the lounge, C on my tail, to show him some TV wires which needed threading under the floor and fixing to an alcove wall before the carpet fitters arrived. With C suitably occupied I threw a layer of oil paint at the acne-ed lounge door (success) before beginning the job of applying a first coat of Earthborn to the downstairs hallway. An hour or so into the job C reappeared, phone once again in hand.
“You know I once thought I couldn’t plaster large ceilings?” he asked
“Yes” I said, halting my rollering momentarily.
“Well look at this” he passed the phone over to reveal a picture of a damaged ceiling. “That’s what I did last week. I had to plaster the whole thing once I’d repaired the damage of course.” He swiped. “This is what it looked like once I’d finished”
“Oh. Yes. That’s great” I said before resuming my roller strokes.
“I surprised even myself with how good it was” C said satisfied as he replaced the phone in his pocket and returned to the snug where he began work inserting the remaining laminated glass into the reclaimed doors.
The painting took me, as I should by now learn to expect, far longer than I’d hoped with only the one coat downstairs applied, upstairs remaining for the moment untouched. Progress more generally however was substantial with P cracking on in the bathroom, the lounge carpet fitted, both upstairs doors plus a couple of little jobs C’d and the new dining table having finally, after almost a month, arrived.
With C now booked for the end of June to finish the hallway floor I shall, in the meantime, look forward to the inevitable myriad of maintenance tales, both with and without the accompaniment of windy tenants….