Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Planning, doing, achieving

We are preparing for the arrival of Aunty Dee. Her presence seems weeks away, but if we don't get on with it, she will be here and staring mournfully at the state of the floor wondering what possessed her to travel several thousand miles to be asked to sleep there.

For the arrival, we must:

1. Buy a bed. This will involve Ikea. Me and Dig will stare glumly at furniture that we don't want and don't like while the kids run around in delight and tot up forty thousand dollars on pink plastic wall lights and furry flower rugs. Forced into making a decision on the bed because time is running out, we will put it to the Squirrel test. She is the only one who can be bribed to test each display bed in store as if it was her very own. In five minutes we can apply the equivalent of five years regarding durability and resistance to glue, scissors, footprints, and a cuddly platypus called Platty.

2. Look at the washing machine. The one in the cupboard that I have never used. It is time. Aunty Dee might have underwear that she does not want to see on a Facebook page set up by the local laundry woman who posts pictures of our smalls for the merriment of three million Hong Kong Chinese. To approach the washing machine I first slap on rubber gloves, and press its buttons with the end of a wooden stick. This is sensible. I have been electrocuted and I am not having that experience again.

3. Put up hooks. Behind doors, on walls, in cupboards, in hall. All kid coats, bags, hats and towels permanently live on the floor. Either buy hooks or charge entrance fees. We might be an early work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

4. Put it off for as long as possible, and maybe until she is on the airport bus to Central, but eventually squirt blue, white and green fluids around, hoping that by their very presence the collections of moulds, dirts and unidentifiable marks will simply get up and go without the aid of cloths, brushes, or me.

5. Strap the broom onto the handle. It came off after the kids took it to the roof and used it as a pole vault.

6. Find some miracle cure for the ongoing curtain problem. Honestly, these curtain tracks are rubbish. Sticky tape, string, and staring at them in a menacing manner are no solutions.

7. Resolve to sweep the floor every day. Yes, I will do that. No I won't. Yes I will. Could we hire a maid for two weeks?

8. Be resourceful with cardboard boxes. These inexplicably mount up against the walls. I fancy they appear overnight, almost as if brought by fairies. I have an aversion to throwing them out in case I can build a table from them. I am sure I once saw a craft book about making attractive furniture from cardboard. I would very much like to have a go. The fairies are trying to show me the way.

9. Make Dig do stuff. I don't know. Just help. I have run out of all strategies, like self piteously saying I do it all, when this is clearly not true and I do none of it.

10. Buy place mats for the dining table. For the last two months I have employed sections of beach mats and pieces of cardboard because somehow buying place mats was like making a commitment to living here. I deny it, but I cannot expose Aunty Dee to a piece of cut up beach mat stuck together with dried alphabet pasta. Let us not forget what is her main employment.*

* Social worker.


sharon said...

If you don't want to buy an actual bed IKEA have a fold-up that converts to a chair. We bought one several years ago for emergency use. My nephew slept on it for 4 weeks without complaint.

The maid problem could be solved by paying the gritlets to do the cleaning. As it's for Auntie Dee's benefit they might even make a good job of it ;-) Worth a try.

No more suggestions unless you fancy taking to your bed in the manner of a Victorian consumptive!

Fioleta said...

:-) At least you have a list of task you think must be done before her arrival.
Instead of seeing buying place mats as the commitment to living in Hong Kong maybe you can get some "touristy" ones and think of it as buying a useful souvenir to take back home soon.

Sam said...

It sounds like the kind of list people make before they try to sell their house :D

And when the fairies have shown you how to make furniture out of cardboard, could you send them along to me?

Yes I am crazy said...

Ah, the joys of preparing for visits which involve more than needing to just put everything in one room and shut the door on it until guests leave.

And as an aside, the more I read of Squirrel the more she sounds like my soon to be 8 daughter. Owner of a cuddly otter called 'Otto' and very much living in her own world.

Deb said...

Actually, it's my understanding that domestic help in China is quite reasonably priced. So, yes - go that route.

See if you can find one who can hang hooks and make curtains.

And cook.

And do laundry.

And supervise glitter crafts.

Gweipo said...

put her in a local hotel or B&B. It's much easier and cheaper and at the end of the visit you'll all still like each other!

MadameSmokinGun said...


Grit said...

hi sharon! it's tick for the chair-bed! and a tick for the gritlet chores!

fioleta, that is a brilliant idea. i wish i had thought of that. i have bought the most repulsive place mats i can find so i don't take them home. but i was thinking about that problem all wrong!

sam, i am sure i saw a book like that. you can make slippers and tables and drawers and EVERYTHING. (so long as you don't get the cardboard wet)

hi yesiamcrazy - we could just lock the entire house and pretend to be out, no?

deb, that is starting to sound like a plan. but i fear i would stand around in shopping malls all day long with nowhere to go and nothing to do.

we considered this, gweipo, and i bet we could find a room somewhere, even though the local hotel looks strangely closed down. but the children pointed out that it seemed a little mean to invite her to stay with us, and then tell her she's actually staying with another family down the road who did a cheap deal on their spare bedroom.

mme sg, i am coming round to you for some quick clean up tips!

Green V-Neck said...

One of my best friends is an artist who DOES make furniture and sculpture from cardboard boxes!

I am sure you will all have a great time and Aunt Dee will as well.

Grit said...

FANTASTIC! you see, i was right! and it looks perfect for me: art with a GLUE GUN. when is she coming to the uk to run workshops?!

Luke said...

OMG your house sounds like ours is it "Home Ed Chic"?

(using Luke's Google 'cause it'd be inefficient to work out how to have my own.)