Let’s pretend, shall we? Pretend that I’ve come out my back door with the laundry basket on my hip. It’s a gorgeous early November morning. I’ve stood on the step to hang the wet clothes on the line. And when I’ve finished, I spy you over the backyard fence.
You’re standing with a cup of tea. Or maybe it’s coffee. And you’re surveying your domain. Mounds of leaves to be raked and bagged. Or not, depending on your “leaf-raking” philosophy. A couple of flower beds that still need tending to, plants to be cut back maybe, or spring bulbs needing to be planted. Whatever. You don’t look as if any of the chores that need doing appeal to you. So you stand there cradling your mug of tea, the unseasonably warm breeze ruffling your hair. And you gaze out over the river.
Well, my friends, I know an unspoken invitation when I see it. So I nip back inside to pour a fresh cup of tea. And I join you. And we have a good old natter. A moan and a laugh, and when we’ve finished we both feel immensely better.
You ask about my bathroom renovations. So I tell you. The tub and toilet have both been installed now. The tile work on the floor and around the tub is beautiful. The cabinets are finished and are lovely. The only thing left undone is the countertop and sink. That will take two more weeks. We’re really pleased with the work that has been done.
Except. There has to be an “except” doesn’t there? When we tried to fill the bath the first night, the water flowed through both the shower head and the faucet. Nothing would make it flow exclusively one way or the other. Sigh. That wasn’t right.
So the contractor came back. A faulty faucet, he surmised. And he scheduled a plumber to install a new faucet at 7:30 the next morning. My first morning of peace. I’d planned to sleep in, eat a solitary breakfast with my book, and then meet my friend for our walk. With perhaps coffee and scones after.
The contractor said the plumber could install the faucet in a half hour. Easy.
But of course it wasn’t that simple. The poor plumber, just a kid really, discovered it wasn’t the faucet that was the problem. He’d installed the pipes backwards. He felt a fool. And we felt bad for him. Everyone makes mistakes. And now he had to access the shower pipes somehow. Not through the newly finished ceramic tile on the bathroom wall. No way. But through the wall of my clothes closet. Thus Hubby and I, me still in my pyjamas, hauled everything out of my closet, and dumped it all on the spare room bed. Then Hubby had to leave for his golf game. One of us had to be here. And after all I had had two beautiful days in Montreal. So, I cancelled my walk.
The plumber laboured on. I sat with my tea and my book in the living room, still in my pyjamas, and tried not to listen. Clanking, sounds of running water, whine of a saw as he cut a hole in my closet, then the smell of the blow torch. Please, please don’t set my clothes on fire, I thought, with images of that new Max Mara coat in my head.
Anyway. He finished. We tested the shower and the faucet. All was well. He left, still apologizing. No harm done, really. And before I tackled the mound of clothes on the bed and the shoes and boots lying in a heap, I had that solitary breakfast. Then I put my closet to rights.
And I decided to keep going. The sunroom was a disaster area. It had been used as a builder’s yard for a month. A storage area for the cabinets, and fixtures, the plywood, and two-by-fours, and drywall, paint, tiles, etc. As each item was delivered it was squeezed into our sunroom. Who knew that one small bathroom needed so much stuff. All the sunroom furniture, plus the pillows and pictures and pottery, had been pushed against the walls, or piled in corners to make room. And now that the contractors had installed everything that needed installing, and removed what was leftover, the room looked as if a very dusty bomb had gone off. It took me more than two hours to clean, dust, vacuum, scrub. Than goodness for my Kate Ellis audiobook. You know how I hate cleaning.
And that’s one room done. And several more to go. But they can wait for next week. I plan to pace myself.
Today, I wanted to be blogging and doing laundry.
Ha. Best laid plans and all that. Today was the day that our washing machine decided to give up the ghost. After one small load of towels, it quit. It’s only been doing small loads for a while now, so this did not come as a complete surprise. I tried a few things and then called for help. The repairman comes on Monday. So no more laundry for me today.
And meanwhile, the idea I had for my blog post had gone right out of my head. What the heck was it? I’d been happily ruminating on the idea as I cleaned yesterday. But now it was gone.
The one thing I remembered was noticing that I was ruminating in a voice that sounded suspiciously like Camilla Parker-Bowles. Seriously.
Not out loud, thank goodness.
Although, let’s be honest, if Hubby came home from golf and found me talking to myself in a plummy British accent he wouldn’t be all that shocked. I do tend to be an unconscious mimic. One day I’ll tell you about the three-day outback safari we went on in Australia in 2003, with twenty other travellers, most of them from the north of England. And how as we were hiking one day, I tripped, and Hubby said, “Do you realize that you just said shit with an English accent?” Ha. That memory makes me smile. That was a lovely trip.
So, yeah. Aside from Camilla, I have no memory of what I’d planned to write about. Cleaning? Renovations? No. Maybe the good hearts of the many service people I’ve encountered lately. From cosmeticians, to Max Mara saleswomen, to renovators, and even plumbers. All of them lovely. And all so interested in doing a good job for us.
That poor plumber. How painful it must have been for him to come clean that the problem had been his mistake. And far from chastising him for an error that anyone could make, we were happy that he had come clean. And sympathetic. Besides, as I said, no harm done. My closet needed a good dusting and vacuum anyway.
So, back to this morning. And our pretending. You and me with our mugs of tea, two friends yakking over the backyard fence.
We did have a good natter, didn’t we? Something we all need now and then. A good old moan. And a laugh. With a friend, someone who makes us feel safe. And not judged. Someone who will not criticise us for moaning when, afterall, we have nothing much to moan about.
We aren’t ill, or in pain. Not anymore. We’re not lonely or particularly sad. We’ve neither of us much to complain about. We know that we’re privileged. Of course we do. But that knowledge doesn’t stop us from moaning when the washer breaks down, or the new shower doesn’t work, or someone who we might be related to is driving us crazy. Ha.
Now, it’s your turn my friends. What’s up with you these days? I’ve poured a fresh cup of tea. Go ahead, moan away if you want. We won’t judge. We’ll listen, then we’ll have a laugh, and we’ll all feel better.
P.S. I’ve always loved the image of two friends chatting over the backyard fence. Like Lucy and Ethel. It’s how my sister Connie once described my friend Debbie and me. Connie said that when Debbie and I grew up we’d probably live next door to each other and spend most of our time yakking over the backyard fence. I wrote a post about backyard fence friends a few years ago. You can read it here if you’re interested. I apologize for the formatting in the old post. Blame technology. Ha.