Sunday morning. S let out a whistling sigh.
“What’s up darling?” I asked.
“Just thinking of the day ahead….” came his pensive reply.
The day ahead meant a trip up into the loft (for him…not me. I no longer fit…) to retrieve the changing table and venturing into the lofty heights of the Pebbledash Pad is never something to be looked forward to. Once up, if you can get past the initial barricade of paraphernalia which has, over the course of the last few years, been lobbed inside whilst still stood atop the ladder, you are greeted by complete chaos with a few trays of mouse poison thrown in. (Yes. The scratching under the kitchen floor continues to be an issue….) Once back down again the brave adventurer is quizzed on two things. “Did you find it?” Being the first, of which the answer is almost certainly a no. ‘Have they taken the poison?” being the second. That, more often than not, is a yes which may explain the unpleasant aroma we currently have emitting from under the floors downstairs. A stench which appears to distress only me with my pregnancy-induced heightened sense of smell. Few others have yet to notice it ….though once warm weather meets dead rodent I’m imagining that might be set to change.
But let’s not think these unpleasant thoughts and rather get back to the weekend ‘to-do’.
Constructing the now infamous Ikea wardrobe was also on the list – an essential step before Phase 2 of the loft extraction – The Hunt for Newborn Babygrows – could be enabled. Then there’s Phase 3: Find The Sheets. Phase 4: Look for Swaddle Blankets. Phase 5: Dig Out The BabyBjorn Carrier. Phase 6: Locate Muslin Squares. Etcetera etcetera.
“Why don’t we come up into the bedroom too to keep you company” I suggested helpfully. “O and I can do some puzzles and things….”
S looked aghast.
“Why on earth would you do that? I’ll be swearing for a start.”
“Well, you know. I thought maybe it could be a collaborative effort? Something we do together as a family?”
With coffee cup enroute to his lips S shook his head.
“Now that’s Gwynyth Paltrow speaking. No. I’ll do it on my own.”
And with that he and his iPad headed upstairs to shut themselves in the bathroom for 40 minutes for a bit of mental preparation for the challenging tasks ahead.
Meanwhile O and I amused ourselves downstairs with a pirate ship fashioned from the cardboard boxes the pushchair had arrived in. Once done with pirating O moved on to slaying dragons dressed in full knight regalia before sitting still just long enough to have lunch. Just then S reappeared.
“Did you buy hinges?” he asked.
“Hinges?” I gulped.
“Hinges.” he reaffirmed.
“Oh Christ.” I buried my head in my hands. “Please don’t tell me I have to go back there. Hinges? Don’t we have any? Take them off that bloody understairs cupboard…”
“I could do as I’m planning to burn that cupboard but as there are 75 different types the chances are they won’t fit. But you are NOT going back to Ikea. We’ll get them online. I’ll build as much as I can.”
And, once larder had been raided for crisps, he retreated back upstairs.
As if it would help, I scrabbled around trying to find the door handles I had remembered to buy.
“Let’s take these up to Daddy” I suggested to O. At least, if nothing else, they would be kept in the same place as the doors-without-hinges rather than lost amongst our cavernous cupboards which regularly conceal from us all manner of things that we urgently need.
Once upstairs the promise of getting his hands on Daddy’s tools was almost too much for O to bear.
“Can I help you?” he asked pleadingly.
“Yes son, ok” relented S.
“Wearing my belt and sword?” O checked, hand falling to where my pink leather belt was fastening a foam sword to his waist.
“Yes, wearing your belt and sword.”
“Come downstairs with mummy.” I suggested. “You can help me with the chopping for dinner.”
The miniature knight paused for a fraction of a second to consider the merits of sharp knife (fully supervised, you understand) against the plethora of toys in Daddy’s toolbox. The toolbox won out.
“Can I help you Daddy?” he appealed again.
“Yes son. Of course you can.”
And with a yelp of joy he picked up his oft-coveted pliers as I retreated downstairs – acutely aware that a three year old had just been deemed more useful to have around in a DIY situation than a wife.
Much testosterone-fuelled camaraderie appeared to be going on upstairs along with fairly rapid progress, all things three-year-old considered, so I busied myself upholding the stereotypes and made a cake. But before long it was a frustrated S who reappeared downstairs with a son about ready for an episode or two of Octonauts.
“Where do you want this wardrobe put pet, because it doesn’t fit where you said.”
‘Where I’d said’ was an alcove in O’s room which I’d thought a tape measure had confirmed was possible.
“Really?” I asked.
“By that much.” he held his fingers apart a few millimetres. “I do this every time. I measured the gap. Not the skirting.”
“I’d measured too….but I thought it fit….” and deflated we both ascended the stairs to stare a bit more at the problem. Once we’d realised willing it to fit wouldn’t work I attempted to apply my brain.
“Hmmm. Well. Perhaps it could go here….or here…. Or maybe here….” I stood deep in contemplative thought.
“I’m putting it on the landing.” said S decisively. “If I can bloody well get it out of the bedroom now.”
“Do you want a hand on one end?” I offered.
“No” came the curt reply and I figured, hearing the Octonauts credits rolling, that a trip to the park to leave man and wardrobe to have their fight might well be in order.
Returning home again a couple of hours later it was bad news that greeted us.
“Daddy! Have you finished the wardrobe?” O called from the doorway. “Daddddddyyyyyy!”
A tired S appeared at the top of the stairs.
“No. It’s a disaster. I can’t finish the wardrobe as those hinges from the understairs cupboard don’t fit. And I can’t put the changing table up as we’ve lost the fixings.”
“Lost them? Weren’t they taped to the underside?” I asked.
“No. And I’ve looked in the loft. And B&Q’s shut…”
Suddenly a recollection pinged into my head from nowhere.
“Um. Hang on a minute….” I slithered (as best as one can with a baby on board) past him into the office where our linen cupboard is currently shoved.
“I think I remember seeing them….” I opened its drawer, “here.”
I held up a bag.
“Well remembered” S said reaching out his hand to examine the contents. “Yes, this is them. Excellent”
With S in better spirits I thought it might be good time to broach my new idea….
“If we are going to put the wardrobe on the landing…”
I paused. S looked concerned. I continued.
“Maybe we could buy a few more sections and use one for linen and one for coats…..?”
“No. It would be too much. And anyway” he said disappearing into O’s room to retrieve his tools, “what would we do with it when we do the loft conversion?”
“Loft conversion?” I whispered to myself on the landing, a smile widening across my face. “Are we having a loft conversion?” I called into the bedroom.
A faint mumbling could be heard from within.