It makes a groaning noise similar to that which a badly acted fallen hero would make in a low budget drama – long, loud, annoying. HHHHUUUUUURRRRGGGGGHHHH is the closest I can get to it on a standard keyboard.
It’s obviously because of some kind of problem with the plumbing but beyond that I have no idea what it is nor any interest in finding out. I would definitely like it to stop but – it turns out – simply wanting a household improvement to occur is not enough to make it happen.
In a couple of weeks’ time it will be a year since we purchased and moved into our very own flat. We own it (in loving partnership with the bank) and are therefore responsible for every element of its existence. And finding out exactly what this means has been something of a rude awakening.
I can say with as much confidence as I can spell out my own name that my co-mortgage holder (and coincidentally future spouse) would like nothing more than to spend every hour of every day of every weekend sat shooting at or scoring goals against every character that dares to cross his X-Box–animated path. Indeed it is – conveniently – precisely what he is doing as I write this.
And as much as I will of course spend the rest of my life working tirelessly hard to make him happy blablabla etc etc, I simply cannot stand by and let games be played when there are weeds to be removed and flat-pack to be assembled. It turns out – as my mum would so often tell me – these things really will not do themselves, you know!
I have started looking at my parents with bewildered awe. All those things that used to break and get fixed in our houses when we were growing up. All those rooms that got decorated, lawns mowed, flowers planted. How did they know how to do it all? And, more importantly, how on earth could they be arsed to keep doing it time and time again? Beyond the serious lack of basic domestic knowledge that’s held me and X-Boxo back, the main route cause is what my Year 2 class teacher would have called being ‘bone idle’ but what I would argue is constant exhaustion. I’ll let you decide whose side you’re on.
But in a pairing made up of a woman who likes nothing more than a long but achievable to-do list (preferably involving some shopping) and a man who considers organisation to be an attribute he is only obliged to demonstrate in the office, something has to give.
Because I like our home as much as I do, I struggle not to consider every moment spent in it that does not contribute to its improvement to be time utterly wasted. Except of course the two and a half hours I dedicate each week to Coronation Street which is what I think the sisterhood would call my Me Time.
And so I stand on patrol each Saturday and Sunday, ready and waiting with my ‘We really should do’ list. For example, today’s was: 1) Go to Ikea and buy two more chairs to make our dining table more welcoming to guests who also like to sit down when they eat. 2) Do an absolute shed load of washing and marvel at how quickly it dries in the blistering sunshine. 3) Tidy up the garden which was becoming so overgrown I feared the weeds were going to break through the back doors into the lounge like those ones in Jumanji 4) Review the wedding budget because that should be FUN and 5) Finish painting the downstairs bathroom.
Well, 1,2 and 3 have all happened thanks to some excellent alarm setting and meal planning on my part and some brute strength on the gentleman’s and I look forward very much to ticking off 4 and 5…. she writes knowing she’s too tired to face either.
It turns out that – despite my initial misguided view – our mums and dads weren’t born DIY experts or cleaning machines, they got off their sofas (I presume they had them in those days) and learnt how to do it all for themselves, which is exactly what we need to do.
And we’ve made quite a good start in 12 months – we have shelves on the walls, more Ikea furniture than the shop itself and a full range of herbs and spices that we actually use. So now we move onto Stage 2 – the part where we don’t believe it would be easier to sell up than to learn how to change the sky lights when they go or knock the place down when a spider comes a-calling.
And maybe, just maybe, we will learn how to fix the toilet too. Or we could always ask our parents to do it for us. I’m sure one of them knows how.