Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Attack of the toolboxes



They're everywhere. And they bring a degree of encroaching chaos that leaves even me, the mega-untidy one, defeated - utterly, abjectly defeated.




The Lovely Son is working on about ten things at once - sawing, routing, filling, sanding, painting, fitting in one task while another dries, and sorting out other niggling problems for me, like my printer/scanner that had steadfastly refused to scan, while carrying with him rich deposits of dust that remain on my desk when he moves elsewhere. See?



The mess is overwhelming. I have reared a Mess Monster. If he was your handyman, you would be moving into the shed while he worked; I can't, because he is putting sensible shelves in the shed, and to get to it I would have to climb over the contents of the boiler cupboard, because he's putting sensible shelves in there too. Up till now, I had shelves that tipped over sideways if too much weight was put on one end, and sent all the boxes of screws, nails and assorted, hoarded tat to the floor, where there were more ill-organised heaps of things that couldn't be parted with.


He sends me texts if I go out: "Be prepared to sort cupboard contents when you come back." This means he has just piled mountains of stuff higgledy-piggledy on the back kitchen worktop that doubles as the cats' feeding station, thus causing feline consternation at the abrupt loss of elevenses, twelveses, afternoon snacks.




The house is perishing cold. The heating is on, but the back door is wide open, because he's cutting and sanding out in the yard, and forgets that the rest of us aren't dressed for outdoor temperatures. If I flee upstairs, I have to avoid the mess from the handrails that are being sanded back to their beautiful un-paint-splattered mahogany. In the small attic, the little door to the eaves, so shrunken with age that a strong draught can blow it open, has been replaced, so that the layers of itch-inducing loft insulation are safe from marauding cats who so love an unsupervised dark corner.



Scattered everywhere else are his personal belongings, phone (with its unsettling ding-dong! doorbell sound that indicates the arrival of another text, not a visitor), books, shoes, cups, lists, pencils, and much more. The words "Where's my...." are uttered so often that I no longer hear them, let alone respond. 


The two little scaredy-cats are in hiding, because the Lovely Son is large and unfamiliar, and only safe to approach, they think, if he's sitting down quietly eating a meal, in which case he becomes fair game for professional scrounging. The dog is delighted to have him home, although the noise gets to her too, and she has to cling to me when the sanding is going on. And the LS looks a bit alarming even to me in his high-spec dust mask, practising his Darth Vader breathing technique.

Millie the fearless one sleeps, unperturbed. What she doesn't know is that she is having a special little door made for her that will close neatly and securely over the cat flap so that she can no longer break out by sliding the lock across and following me whenever I go out. This is a more reliable option than buying a more secure cat flap, because I believe Millie would learn to open or barge any cat flap, but might struggle to unlatch and open a hinged door first. 


But I may be wrong there, of course. I'd swear that she is quite capable of overcoming a lack of opposable thumbs in pursuit of thrilling walks with the dog and me. But I hope the double door idea works. The prospect of being able to walk all the way into town without casting anxious glances over my shoulder is a comforting one.

Today is dust. Tomorrow is smells; paint and varnish. I stand warned. Of course, despite moaning and feeling overwhelmed, I am deeply grateful to have so much sustained help, messy, smelly and noisy though it may be. He's not called the Lovely Son for nothing.

When it's all over, I will have a long and venerable to-do list filled at last with gratifying crossings-out. Wally the painter arrives in late April, and my aim is to have all the other major jobs completed by then. And why?

Because after the sitting room has been painted and the ancient stair carpet replaced, this old house is - dare I say it here? with so many witnesses? - I'll whisper it:

going on the market.

15 comments:

jinksy said...

I have to tell you- this LS of yours almost sounds like me in action! I can create more chaos with any DIY/craft project than anyone I know! So I sympathise, for I know what a pain it is to clear up after myself!!! LOL.

valct4joy said...

This sounds intriguing. Seeing that it's only being whispered at the moment, I'll try to contain my curiosity and not ask any questions, although it's going to be exceedingly difficult!

Bee said...

I particularly like that phrase "rich deposits of dust." We have some friends who recently replaced their thatched roof and they said that the mess was horrendous -- and also, that old thatch is terribly smelly.

Selling up . . . and moving somewhere exciting?

Linda said...

In my experience, fine dust takes at least two weeks to settle, so you might just as well put your feet up until then!

Susan said...

Wow !!!! Hooray lovely son !!! and Whoo Hooo to the whispered whisper much love Les Gang

Susan said...

Wow !!!! Hooray lovely son !!! and Whoo Hooo to the whispered whisper much love Les Gang

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

He sounds absolutely marvellous .... a Treasure . The chaos is a small price to pay for sensible shelves and a scanner that scans .
Only one thing puzzled me . When does he find the time to drink a cup of tea , let alone make a list or read a book ?

Fran Hill @ Being Miss said...

Ah, but he is Lovely. You keep saying so. That makes up for everything, surely ...

Lucille said...

What a hive of industry. But quite discombobulating. Are you moving far? Will it be Life in the fast lane from now on?

Isabelle said...

Oh, when you're finished with LS for the moment, can I borrow him? Ideally I'd like to marry him but I'm a bit old and, oh yes, married. So just using him as a workman would do fine.

Paddy Paws said...

Isn't it a shame that we make our homes perfect .... and then move? I hope you find a new home that's had as much love and skill lavished on it as this one.

Rattling On said...

Exciting stuff...moving house is great except for the packing! We've done it too many times. I remember being up a ladder wallpapering a ceiling in the last house as the estate agent was doing a valuation. Should just have given it a fresh coat of paint.
The cat door sounds interesting-look forward to seeing a picture.

love those cupcakes said...

Love that, "today is dust, tomorrow is smells". Please can I borrow your Lovely Son when he's finished there? Sooo many unfinished jobs here.

BumbleVee said...

it's been a loosely woven plan for a while now....so ....good for you......time to get out of there....to some place a bit more agreeable...

Lynda (Granny K) said...

First of all, your hair colour looks great in your new profile picture!
The upheaval will be well worth it, i'm sure.
Good luck with the adventure.

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