Thursday, August 16, 2007
Blinds and Moet do not mix
"Why don't you get a man in?"
This is the usual response from my mother. For clarification, this is referring to my propensity to conduct late-night DIY, not referring to her other frequent and similar comment: "Why don't you get married and have kids?" This is to be translated as: "Where are my grandchildren?"
I've given up answering the second question. In fact, I give up mentioning the names of any male friend because if I do start a man-oriented anecdote, mum will say: "Why don't you marry him?" "Because he's gay" is the best response.
The other day, a male rang me on my moby at mum's house and when I got off the phone, she said: "He sounds nice, why don't you marry him?"
"Mum, that was our pastor."
But I have digressed. "Why don't I get a man in?" was the question that kept repeating like a record baby, round round, right round, in my cranium when, at 9:30 the other night, I decided to fix my living room blind. I'd successfully put a couple up a year ago, so I could fix this one... oui? After all, I can fix toilet seats Loo Trouble Anyway, the blind had been playing up slightly at the weekend, and by sunday it was, technically speaking, more screwed than Jodie Marsh at training camp for the US marines.
In fact, it would neither rise nor fall, remaining half-way up like the Grand Old Duke. The cords were jammed. This was not what I had anticipated when I went home on monday. I thought I could have just clambered up onto the bookshelf, untangled the cords and Bob's your uncle. Well, he's not. Neither was "uncle" Vern either, who wasn't really my uncle, and disappeared "downstate" when I was five. This was, co-incidentally, at around the same time a nice lady came to see me and give me my first Barbie.
But It Was Not To Be. Monday evening, I came home, opened the bathroom window, washed my face and put the cat out. Locking the door behind me. So, in bare feet, I had to go downstairs, and climb up the drainpipe to the first floor, open the window with one hand and heave myself up into the bathroom.
That was not the best start to the evening, especially as it had been raining. To steady my nerves, I sought the oldest rescue remedy known to womankind: Champagne. Men - take note - chocolate only works if a woman is: a) under 21, b) fat c) married.
Anyway, two glasses later and I felt bold enough to reassess the blind situation. It was really not a good idea. I almost untangled the cords, but realised that I would have to cut the end off one to enable me to feed it through. This having been successfully achieved, I then tried by the simple laws of physics, to use the friction and pull of the rotation system to re-thread the cord through. It did thread it through - but it would not come out of the other hole. After a few attempts, during which I dropped the scissors on my foot, I realised I would have to take the entire blind off. It was attached to the ceiling/lintel thingy and required a good deal of screwdriver-based efforts and another glass of Moet to get it down.
By now, I realised that I should have removed the trinkets from my bookcase top before attempting this feat. I now need two new mirror photo frames. Never mind.
Getting it onto the floor was easy. Until Monty sprang through the kitchen window and decided that this was a new game called "Let's sit on the blind and when mummy tries to pick up the cord, jump onto her arm, cling onto her hand with your teeth and every front claw, and give her the back-foot scratch attack." My arms look like a blind suicide attempt victims' thanks to this new and fun method of home entertainment.
The incident required a second/third/fourth Moet (starting to lose count, and blood). Managed to discover the secret of the pulley system - a clever and simple Archimedian technique. I love physics, it's so rational and basic. But then there was the problem of putting the blind up.
Of course there was no point in removing the remaining items on my bookcase which had escaped the first Night of the Long Blinds. Champagne glass number one of my best set is now at the local dumpster.
Holding it with one hand, and attempting to screw it back into those cheeky little rawl plugs is not a feat I wish to repeat. By 10:30 I was done. A whole hour of my life, wasted. Precious blood, sweat, champagne and tears had been shed. Never in the history of this world has so little been achieved by so few after so many Moets.
Of course, I was ravenous after my victory and decided to make myself a carbonara from scratch. I pride myself on never having bought a shop-made sauce in my life. Hence I am the carbonara queen. What I had not banked on was the fact that, another Moet later, I was wetting myself with laughter at a repeat of The Simpsons (the funniest episode ever, or was that the bubbly?) and only realised something was wrong when the fire alarm went off.
I had left the spaghetti in the saucepan, standing upright, and it had caught fire. There was only one thing left to do. with my lightning reflexes and a steady nerve, I picked up the nearest thing to me and poured the remains of the Moet over the gloaming pasta. It has to be said, it was one of the nicest carbonated carbonaras I have ever had the pleasure of making, and eating, in my life.
Or was that the Moet talking?