Archive | 23:54

Do Housewives Dream Of Electric Feet?

20 Jul

I broke a door and now I can’t pee in private. You may recall that I am decorating the downstairs toilet. These DIY projects of mine go on for weeks, months and, in the case of my hallway, six years (and when I finally finished papering it you could see the join because the wallpaper that had been up for four years was a different colour from the new paper because it had acquired four years’ worth of dust & dirt).

I finished stripping the paper in the toilet a fortnight or so ago. Because I have decided to paint it – no more patchwork paper in the fiddly corners; just slap colour on with a roller – the Hub insisted that the myriad holes must be polyfilla-ed and that and the mould must then be sanded off.

Did I mention the mould? The paper that was up in the toilet was the expensive self-pasting vinyl kind. We bought four rolls for £2 at a car boot sale years ago and considered that we got a real bargain until I put it up and discovered why they sold it so cheaply: the expensive self-paste was expensively mouldy and left patches of black dots all over. We covered them with as many pictures as possible but a room the size of a coffin decorated with gilt mirrors and old Apartheid-era signs and original artworks begins to look like a stately home-wannabe desperate for attention. But there they stayed, because I wasn’t decorating the loo again until we all either developed Sick-Building Syndrome or became bored with the pattern.

The pattern won me round (pink fleur-de-lys and plague blobs are so last-millennium) and the Hub insisted we sand off the mould marks just in case. Not wanting to be infected, I delegated that job to Tory Boy (the child wants to enter politics: he’s obviously already sick). He did that and the business with the polyfilla and I was all ready to paint until the Hub reminded me that I had to strip the paint off the door and skirting boards. You know, there are times when I really dislike my husband. His argument was that seventeen coats of paint is enough for any door, particularly the way I slap it on (and sometimes forget to remove the paintbrush hairs that stick to it). I countered with the old it’s-great-insulation-at-no-extra-cost chestnut but he doesn’t like chestnuts so that was how I found myself spending five boring hours in a lavatory (not for the first time, until I discovered cranberry juice).

It was pretty tedious work until I remembered Glee and my MP3 player. It wasn’t so bad then, and I also had the distraction of the ancillary soundtrack of the smoke alarm going off at regular intervals; Spud’s frequent complaints that ‘This is getting really annoying now’; the Hub’s constant interruptions with cups of tea, bottles of water and desktop fans; and his tv blasting like The Who at Glastonbury because he couldn’t drown out my singing any other way. Loud and out-of-tune is the price my family pay for clean doors, I’m afraid.

Ah, yes, the door: I made a real effort to strip the paint properly because it was easier than listening to a lecture on My Life In Paint And The Value Of A Good Strip from the Hub. I almost suffered third-degree burns from a large bit of paint that fell on my big toe – that’s the last time I wear flip-flops to an informal re-decorating party – but I had the presence of mind to pour the bottle of water on my foot. Then I realised I was standing in water, holding an electrical appliance that was still switched on. I quickly threw toilet paper into the puddle to soak it up; congratulating myself on yet more presence of mind, it occurred to me that not only was the paint stripper still switched on, but I was now knee-deep in kindling. Fortunately, the Hub called me for lunch just then and nothing focuses my mind like the promise of food, and I turned it off.

The Hub had assured me that stripping the door of paint would be a quick job but you know what? It wasn’t. Probably because I did a Hub Job (do it well; do it right; do it carefully; develop ME and never be able to do it again) instead of a Tilly Bud Job (do it fast and don’t mind the mess because you can always cover it with a picture, a mirror and an Apartheid-era sign and still be on the couch in time for chocolate).

It was coming up to six o’clock and I was thinking of my dinner but I was only 80% done (on one poxy door) when the stripper decided enough was enough and the nozzle on the end suddenly folded over on itself. I had been at it so long that the metal had softened so much it crumpled like a husband in an argument with a menopausal, chocolate-deprived wife.

One shower and one pork chop dinner later, I felt recovered enough to let the Hub leave the room to use the facilities…and that’s when he discovered that five hours of being blasted with a ray gun has left us with a warped toilet door that refuses to close no matter how nicely we ask it.

Which proves that I was right and the Hub was wrong: eighteen coats of paint and an insulated toilet = one laughing housewife with an empty bladder and a Hub not wearing an electric paint stripper as a tail.

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