Tuesday, 26 December 2006

The knickers started it

I'm wearing Dig's underpants. This is all due to a laundry crisis. No laundry, no knickers. I'm driven to shout, 'This house is a mess! Nothing gets done! Nobody does anything!' while pointing at the wooden chest where the laundry waits its turn. The children hide and Dig slinks off. As far as I can remember he has never put the laundry on in nearly 20 years. But it's not all bad. I've learned that temper tantrums of this variety are A Good Thing, because I can set about Doing Some Thing and no-one can complain. First thing to do is the laundry. And the second, rearrange the furniture.

In preparation for any household work of any type, I have to take an anti-allergy tablet. Without it I will need two packs of Tesco value tissues. Then, the knickers go in the wash. This is progress and already I'm feeling better. Next, I clear the children out of the front room. They're easily lured off to the kitchen with craft paper and a pair of scissors. Then I clear the bookshelves in the front room and pull it away from the wall. Thank goodness for the Benadryl. Behind it there's dust an inch thick. The wall hasn't seen the light of day for 15 years and the spiders are hanging about there like the delinquents in the arcade.

Out goes the Habitat pine bookcase and in comes the heirloom mahogany bookcase from the garage. We brought this back from Northumberland in last week's house clearance. It has a coating of viynal wallpaper, which we need to peel away otherwise we will look like 1960s retro-chic-disaster. On the plus side, that coating probably saved it from the clutches of Evangelical Vee. Dig disappears to B & Q. Two hours later he's back with a steam cleaner that he sets off blowing high temperature steam all over the house, then says it's difficult to hold and he doesn't know how to turn it off anyway, so passes it over and sits on the sofa reading the instructions. Apart from a few small scalding burns I handle it quite well.

By evening we have two empty bookcase in the front room, one steam-cleaned and the other blocking the traffic way. There is a Ben Nevis pile of books, and there's craft paper all over the kitchen floor. Left unattended for the afternoon, the kids have also moved off like a demolition crew to trash their room. The house now resembles the local tip from front to back. This prompts a big discussion. Me and Dig do a lot of walking about which we call 'Looking at the Spaces and Thinking'. Actually there aren't any spaces left to walk in, which is when we do this thinking most. By midnight we've talked ourselves into it. We're setting ourselves a goal of the children's seventh birthday, in six weeks time, to move all the bedrooms round, make a schoolroom happen, regain adult control of the front room, rip out all the bathrooms, create a toy room and wrestle Shark's room from her to create a room that's just crying out for a creative au pair fluent in three languages who can cope with home educated triplets.

Well in truth I can't really regret the underwear that started it all. Thanks to giving birth and middle age development of fat rolls, Dig's underpants feel quite comfortable. So I'm hiding those in my knicker drawer.

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