Saturday, April 26, 2008
as my regular readers will know, there are two methods of getting things done in our house - 'properly', and 'now'.
to get something done 'properly' you have to get himself to do it. he will um and ah and get out spirit levels and tape measures and draw diagrams, then he will lean on his spade for a while, then it will get dark and the tools will have to be put away. and this is when he is well. now he is ill he can't even summon up the energy to draw the diagram, much less lean on his spade.
to get something done 'now', you have to get herself to do it. if she gets out the spirit level at all it is to prop the door open with. her adhd nature means that she goes at things with great fervour but very little skill. but at least they get done.
at present, 'now' is the only method available. and the back garden at our new house was a bit of an essential task. it has clay soil and gets very waterlogged. the new house has pale carpets. my lady friend and i have yet to master squatting over a lavatory. if the carpets were to remain glorious in their paleness, the mud had to go. both the peeps were agreed that the lawn was not the answer. it had turned from grass to mud within a week. and no-one likes mowing lawns in our house; herself because her dodgy wrists go numb, himself because he thinks the mower is the spawn of the devil. so it was agreed that slabs would be acquired and scattered around among the plants. a brief discussion about how many slabs ensued (in the past himself, with his degree in architecture and his building diploma, had excelled with mis-measuring for slabs and herself, as everyone will know, cannot even count her own toes).
"i reckon about 50", said herself. "just what i was going to say," agreed himself, causing her to sit down in shock. he never agrees with anything she says when diy is involved. when she had recovered, herself got on the phone. slabs were ordered, to be delivered on friday.
"but i'll be at work..." began himself.
"i know," said herself, smugly.
"you won't try laying them will you?" he called plaintively after her retreating figure.
suffice to say that, bright and early on friday morning, herself having waved the boys off like a proper housewife, the slabs arrived. they were lowered into the front patch by a big crane. herself set to work, with the aid of a trolley which she had the forethought to borrow from some kind friends. there were 50 slabs, and since she could only get 2 at a time up the step with the trolley, this meant 25 trips through to the back garden. the pale carpets were covered with cardboard which, given the amount of mud, was a shrewd move. as the slabs arrived at the back, herself laid them down on top of the former lawn. at this point it became clear to me why she wanted to do this job while himself was off the premises. his method of laying slabs involves endless head-scratching over the levels, gentle shuffling of soil or sand backwards and forwards, and a rate of about one slab an hour.
by lunchtime herself looked like a luminous beetroot but all the slabs were in place. and i have to say they were pretty flat. i could not see any appreciable difference between the proper method and the now method. my lady friend and i spent a happy hour placing our signatures around the new slabs. herself sat down on one of the very old and very rotten garden chairs to admire her efforts. a loud crack was heard. i knew she shouldn't have had that second bit of toast for breakfast...