Monday, 24 November 2008

Do it yourself

In reality I was quite happy to do it in the semi-dark. After all, it's something I've got quite good at; I've been doing it for years. So when one bulb - out of two in the fitting - went kaput in my bathroom, it never really bothered me.

It's amazing how one's lack of handiness allows you to adapt to inconvenience. Shaving in the semi-light was never a problem; at least not as much of an issue as getting on some step ladders, detaching the fitting from the ceiling (several small and awkwardly placed screws), replacing a bulb and then putting everything back together.

It turns out that the off-chance of slicing my face to ribbons is nothing when compared to the unadulterated faff that comes with having to perform basic DIY tasks. Eventually, however, the risk of facial injury was too great and I was to be found, a heady two feet off the ground, my arms in the air and bitching like a bastard.

Only then, blinking in the new-found light, did I realised how I'd allowed my crapness* at DIY to drive my life. I honestly had no idea my bathroom looked like it did. Shaving was to become less dangerous, if more efficient.

It was the same in the kitchen. Many years ago, before we had the whole lot ripped out and replaced by someone professional, we had the original kitchen the house builders had installed. The low-level cupboards were clearly designed for Italians. I say this because they had no shelves and were therefore useful only for tall items like pepper grinders or those glass containers filled with dried spaghetti.

In a fit of usefulness I went and bought timber (well, chipboard) from B & Q, cut it to size and fixed it in each cupboard as a halfway shelf arrangement. This immediately curtailed my long pasta storage ambitions, but helped in terms of holding just about everything else.

For about a fortnight.

I'd done what I usually do in all matters DIY. I'd set out with good intentions and absolutely no idea. I'd failed to let my lack of ability and tools get in the way. In this particular case, I'd not thought about fixing the shelves to the back wall of the cupboards with anything even remotely robust.

Slanting started to occur. Things began to move around independently. Triggered by what, I don't know - perhaps the rotation of the Earth was enough to do the trick. But as a result, it meant that opening the kitchen cupboards was a task filled with the tension normally associated with defusing a landmine. Which particular utensil, you'd wonder, was going to leap out on you with no notice?

As a result I adapted. I'd adopt the stance of a wicket-keeper. I might just have been retrieving a colander, but to casual observers I was facing a first-order West Indies bowling attack. And the thing was, I'd started to do this naturally, because it was just easier than fixing it.

So what can we learn from this, dear reader?
  • The average man will happily put up with all sorts of inconvenience as an alternative to doing work around the house; and
  • If you want anything doing around here, employ a professional.
(*I know. It's not a real word. I've been doing this daily for 24 days, for crying out loud. Throw me a bone, why don't you?)

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