“So” said the hairdresser running her hands through my greying and unruly mane. “Did you do something nice with your son yesterday? The farm I think you said?”
With the plasterer and his accompanying dusty mess due and O looking like he was over the worst I had popped into the salon first thing the previous morning for the obligatory skin test before an all over colour was due to be applied the following day. I had indeed then intended on blowing away the cobwebs accumulated from our three days spent infirm on a local though as yet un-adventured, farm. However an early morning thunderstorm imprisoning us for over twenty minutes in the salon after my brief hair assessment (no skin test needed as foils rather than an all-over colour would be the low-maintenance answer for someone who it would appear, judging by the state of my locks, prefers to spend money on having her house as opposed to roots repainted) forced me to rethink.
“Er. No. We went to Ikea.”
“Not quite the Fun Friday I’d had in mind” I admitted “though O appeared to be fobbed off…just…. by playing in the children’s section with toys I had no intention of buying. There will come a time, imminent I’m sure, when nursery rhymes on the M25 won’t cut the mustard…”
Rationalising to myself that we were already part way there I had continued the journey in the hammering rain to the Swedish superstore to buy two large frames big enough to encompass some Monmouth Coffee sacks I had picked up for a quid each, destined to be hung in the sofa corner of the kitchen extension. It was therefore a fairly quick and focused whizz around the store stopping only for the above mentioned period of playtime in the children’s section and lunch in the cafe where a flirtatious O entertained a table of neighbouring pensioners before we headed home for his nap. Plastering should be finished, I thought as we humpty dumptied our way home. Extractor might be up.
It was, however, ominous silence that greeted me.
As I wrestled the two large frames out of the car and into the hallway along with O, his pushchair and nappy bag I clocked the extractor sitting undisturbed where it had been left….in a box big enough to package a number of small children….still very much disturbing our thoroughfare. I glanced upstairs. The bedroom was empty.
I called K.
“Hi.” I began, “is the plasterer and electrician coming today?”
“No I don’t think so” came a muffled reply which gave away the fact I was being listened to on a handsfree in his van. “Not today.”
“Any idea when?” I asked, straining to keep the disappointment from my voice.
“I’ve asked them to ring you” he said “before they come”
I thanked him and hung up.
“Um on Mummy!” appealed O, as he tipped out the pieces of his Bob the Builder floor puzzle. I sat down.
“Where’s the builder?” I asked. “Can you find Bob?” and trying to ignore the irony of that sentence we constructed the busily productive scene accompanied by heart-melting exclamations of “that’s right!” as O, beaming up at me, succeeded in piecing together Bob’s smiley faced collection of mechanical friends.
Though I want to, K in this instance, is not truly to blame. He is acting, very simply, as middle man and passing work across. However a reluctance to allow me to deal direct…a text over the weekend asking for the plasterers number was avoided and a phone call catching him inconveniently in an airport queue enroute to Spain allowing him the opportunity to easily evade the request again…means that we are left in limbo. The electricians number I do have and after having succeeded in reaching him I have very much un succeeded in extracting any kind of firm promise as to date of extractor installation. Perhaps he can come this Friday…perhaps next week. Meanwhile our bedroom still resembles an obstacle course with access to the wardrobe barred and me dressing daily from the washing pile (washed I hasten to add….not to be washed) whilst the building company leave numerous voicemails on my phone pressing us for that elusive photo of the hood in situ which will apparently be enough to reassure Building Control that all is properly ventilated and ready to sign off…..
Over the weekend we chose, once again, to put our heads in the sand…or rather pebbles S was to discover to his dismay….as we took ourselves instead to Whitstable for an afternoon picnicking on the beach with the added bonus of bringing home three pretty oyster shells for the bathroom. Yesterday, however my annoyance flared up again as my search for make up, hair straighteners and clean underwear was impinged by the mountainous mess which is now the dressing table area. With bile-like annoyance once again rising in my throat I sat myself down for a talking to.
Little is being achieved with this moaning I told myself. So stop dwelling on what’s wrong and figure out a way to put it right
I nodded obediently to my wiser self.
The plastering will get done when the plastering gets done and with no imminent visitors there is no rush.
I nodded sagely again.
The process of hunting down a new plasterer will take just as much time and be infinitely more stressful than sitting tight. Wait for K’s man. Take your foot off the pedal.
My good self continued in the same vein. The dressing table will soon be gone so can be moved back into the bedroom as the likelihood of the plasterer arriving before the eBay purchaser is slim. With the fireplace being collected Wednesday the landing can also be cleared allowing the vacant space to be filled instantly again…..like the sea swilling back over a hole dug into the sand…..with the remaining furniture, mirrors and pictures that our bedroom is temporarily housing. A vacuum through, a dust and perhaps a bunch of flowers popped atop of the towering hulk of the brown-varnished linen cupboard will revert our bedroom back to something which feels useable if not particularly inviting.
And so, having been told, O and I took ourselves off to the park for ice cream. There we encountered a friend with her own two children and AN Other and a game of football ensued. Before long came the inevitable….. two of the four haring in one direction after a ball kicked over the fence as two others dashed in the opposite direction after a squirrel.
“You head that way…I’ll get these two” called my friend over her shoulder as she dashed after the mammal hunting duo.
Outside the park with O’s miniature hand in mine and the rescued ball hooked under my arm, AN Other slammed the gate shut.
“What’s the password?” he demanded.
“Oh. Er. Football” I guessed wildly.
“Ice cream?” I chanced.
“Park?” I tried again.
“Crikey this is hard…” I pleaded.
“Give us a clue” asked my friend, joining the exchange on park side.
“The clue is Lego” said the boy.
“I don’t know much about Lego…” I lamented…Peppa Pig being my current area of expertise.
“It’s two words” he added helpfully.
“Star Wars?” I guessed.
“I said Lego” he chided.
“I thought maybe they might do Lego Star Wars. Sticky Bits?” I tried again feebly.
He shook his head.
“How about choosing a word that you can see?” I suggested “make it easier?”
“Ok.” He thought for a while. “Got one.”
“Grass” I began as I looked around the urban park for other potentially good passwords.
“It’s in the sea” he offered.
“Ah….” I stalled “Fish?”
“It’s a type of fish”
“Oh. Right. Nemo?”
I scratched my head.
“What does it begin with?” asked my friend
“S” he said.
And with that entry to the park was granted….as the heavens opened.
As I pushed O home in the rain I considered what the world might be trying, in its roundabout way, to tell me.
1) Always welcome a friends input….they have a tendency, it would seem, to put you on the right track.
2) With patience, patience and more patience eventually access to parks…..or plasterers….will be granted.
My phone pinged. It was K. With the plasterers number.
Oh….and always carry an umbrella. Mine is in my wardrobe…..