Slipping into bed behind a husband wearied from the daily grind coupled with Christmas festivities, I dropped my bombshell.
“The painter is coming Thursday by the way.” I whispered, snaking my arm around his waist and leg between his.
My limbs rumbled slightly with his groan.
“Where will we sleep?” came a small, despairing voice I barely heard.
“The spare room of course” I sang back, thrilled at the prospect that we would be waking up on Christmas morning to the Stiffkey-ed bedroom I’ve been dreaming of since…well….the summer?
His breathing had slowed. He was asleep.
Clearly the news would not be keeping him awake in anticipation.
The threat of the bedroom makeover has been hanging in the air, or rather sitting in the hall where the pots of F&B paint have been living since their purchase, for quite some time. My attempts to book the painter in November had been futile and I’d been warned instead that it would be December before he could tackle our bedroom project. December came and, it felt, nearly went and slowly the realisation dawned that Santa wouldn’t be finding me slumbering in my blue cocoon after all…..
The text to say the painter could indeed squeeze us in this side of the festivities came then as a welcome surprise but as I lay next to my sleeping husband, snoring ever so faintly like an exhausted lion, I wondered if my plan of inking out the ceiling would be a step too far. Coming home to denim walls is one thing. A blue box perhaps another? In my head it would work…..a deeply enveloping sanctuary punctuated by a brass light fitting gleaming away from its centre like the caramel filling in one of the many Celebrations I seem to be celebrating my way through of late. Though sadly, I might add, the light fitting may not be the Habitat one I’ve been forbidden to turn my Goldfingers too. For one, S has refused flatly to move it from where it currently hangs in the hallway, it having taken over an hour and a half to get it up there in the first place (though I’ll be chipping away at that excuse as a replacement awaits patiently in the wings). But secondly, I’m not sure, despite being rather pleased with my attempt on the clock…..( that’s only my opinion you understand …it’s been echoed as yet by no-one else…….) that my gilding skills are quite up to the job. Though I might yet work on that too…..
But I digress.
A midnight sky in the bedroom could push my ever patient husband to the limit. I revised my plan hastily before joining S in dreamland.
The next day I busied myself emptying the room of linen and trinkets, fetching dust sheets from the shed (picking off the odd snail in the process) and conducting a thorough yet futile search of every likely and not so likely cupboard and drawer which could be concealing the masking tape ….before giving up and heading for B&Q.
My phone buzzed.
“Work drinks again tonight” came the text “but if you want me home early just say as I’ve a sore head and could easily be convinced to forego.”
I thumb-punched my reply.
“If you come home early I’ll only make you take down mirrors and curtain poles” I warned “you might prefer that drink…..”
Thursday morning came and with it a hesitant knock at the door. Springing from the breakfast table O hurtled towards the sound as I followed close on his heels.
‘Hi….gosh it’s frosty out there!” I gasped as, opening the door to the elements I found our friendly painter stood hunched from the cold, bus pass in one hand and a plastic bag of paintbrushes clutched in the other.
I ushered him in.
“Hello” his face folded into a smile as his neck retracted, like a turtle into his shell, in order not to inconvenience by taking up more space than was absolutely required.
“Um. Shall I take my shoes off?”
“No no…” I waved my hand and knowing the answer already but feeling it was only traditional to ask it of any tradesman I ventured “Coffee? Tea?”
“Water” he smiled again, shoulders raising apologetically to his ears as his self conscious smile widened. “Shall I get started?”
So with beaker in hand we made our way up to assess quite what was to be Stiffkey-ed and what should, further to my hastily remade plan, remain white.
Some…..predominately S….might say that my timing was a bit off for this particular project. The three days the painter had carved out in his busy schedule for us spanned a weekend meaning our camping situation would need to be prolonged during days of inactivity. Coupled of course with the fact that it being so very near to Christmas there was far more stuff than usual to jam into already stuffed wardrobes or rehouse to our temporary nocturnal abode of the spare room. The weekend also coincided with one of our very few nights out of the year which meant that retrieving makeup, jewellery and hair straighteners from the tarpaulin-draped dressing table and picking my way barefooted through the painter’s neat arrangement of drying brushes and rollers to reach the wardrobe housing garments more festively appropriate than PJ’s were tasks in themselves.
That all said, our rehousing wasn’t without novelty factor. The very first night was reminiscent of a hotel stay…the room feeling excitingly unfamiliar. But the novelty soon wore off as the room filled with ever more junk and dirty washing……laziness preventing either of us from even slightly repositioning the ladder currently barricading our own wardrobe containing the laundry bin.
“He’ll be finished Monday?” begged S, patience pushed to breaking point.
“He will” I promised, deciding I might just keep quiet about the instruction I’d given the painter to coat the landing walls in the leftover (from the snug) tin of Pavilion Grey.
“I’ve set aside Tuesday to straighten it all out and get us back in there” I added instead, to which I received a curt nod.
By Monday evening the painter was done. Sat nestled on the sofa, my head nooked under S’s arm, I smiled to myself.
“Just think of all the extra action you’ll get in our sexy new bedroom…” I promised alluringly.
S’s eyebrows raised in disbelief as he patted my swelling belly. It’s significant bulge cannot be attributed only to the Christmas chocs – although they are indeed a factor – but rather to the much longed-for sibling for O who is growing, apparently happily, inside me.
“Really?” He laughed “and will I be getting extra action in the hallway too as I see that’s also been painted?”
“Um yes…about that…..” I stuttered “it was leftover paint so you know, I figured it would help empty the cupboard under the stairs. And he had half a day left…..”
On Tuesday evening, returning from work to find, as promised, the bedrooms restored to their previous equilibrium S turned to me.
“Happy with the room then?”
“I love it” I sighed breathlessly. “Absolutely love it.”
“Good” he nodded and with that he carried his tea into the lounge.
The room isn’t quite finished of course. Mirrors need to be swapped around and rehung, pictures need to go back up and whilst I’d prefer to have a go at that Habitat light… if it really is a no I’ve a back up plan of a £10 B&Q light shade I’ve sprayed. Whether that will all happen this side of Christmas is another matter entirely. You see, I’ve negotiated a little deal.
Anything not done by Monday doesn’t get done.