My wife was recently made redundant from the bank she had worked at for ten years, and was put on gardening leave for the last month of the process. She already had another job lined up, so there was no panic to look for a job and go on countless amounts of interviews, all she had to do was sit back and enjoy the kids for a month. I was also looking forward to a bit of down time, she could share a few of the daily chores, and maybe we could have a few leisurely lunchtime drinks at our local, the 'Sir Alfred Hitchcock'.
Unfortunately for me, rather than spending some time in his pub, I ended up feeling like I was in one of his films, 'Psycho' perhaps, and my Wife started looking like Tippi Hedren in 'The Birds', all manic and rushing around like a headless chicken every time one of the kids kicked off. This is not what I had in mind for that month, but it's what I got, and it resulted in me crossing off the days on the calendar waiting for her to start work again. I know it sounds cruel, but I think after reading my account of that fateful month, you will tend to agree with me.
"I think the house needs painting" were the first words out of her mouth on Day 1. "Of course dear, which room did you have in mind?" Hoping she would pick one of the small ones, the bathroom maybe, where we have just enough room to swing a mouse. "All of it, inside and outside. It hasn't been done in a while and is starting to look a bit shabby, a bit lived in." My reply of "but Darling dearest, is not the point of a house to be lived in, so by definition it will then look lived in?" cut no ice at all. I later heard her telling the water off for being too watery, and the stairs off for being too up-and-downy.
I spent the rest of Day 1 in Homebase (now known as Homewrecker) and then B&Q, because the former did not have the correct shade of white within its range. Our walls were off-white now, would a clean not suffice? Apparently not, we ended up with a shade called "Second Base Sue", it is white with just the mere hint of red. I thought that as I was stuck with this job I may as well add a few toys to the basket. So in went a new multi-purpose sander, the obligatory new paintbrushes (why I ever clean the old ones is beyond me), 3 rolls of masking tape (1 for painting use, 2 for general mischief and taping the kids together), and a new scary potted plant.
I returned home, and was duly invited upstairs to the bedroom. I must admit that whilst climbing the stairs, the thought that my luck was in and I was going to get an early 'reward' did cross my mind. I can only blame the paint fumes for this obviously stupid thought because, as was quickly pointed out, the next time she would be looking at the bedroom ceiling it, and the rest of the room, would be freshly painted. I rather grumpily started to prepare the room.
I don't actually mind the actual painting part of the process, that can be quite relaxing. It's all the washing, sanding, and moving things about part that absolutely does my head in, and I was tempted to skip this part. I have painted over cobwebs before and it is no big deal, but I was sulking now so I decided to work to rule. If Her Royal Highness Queen of all things Bossy was expecting a quick result, she had another thing coming. I was going to eke this out, lest she find me more jobs to do before this god-forsaken month was up.
By the time it was 2pm I was finally ready to start painting. I shouted downstairs "I'm about to start painting, you had best get some 'Painting Beer' ready, you know the rules." The 'rules' are very simple, provide beers for the duration of the painting. It has been scientifically proved (well my Dad said it and that's good enough for me) that your hand is steadier after a couple of beers, therefore improving the accuracy of your brush strokes. It is fair to say that my Wife is not a massive fan of these rules, but as I swear they are Gospel, she is forced to go along with them. Off she went round the corner, and I started to paint over the 'feature' red wall that she thought was a great idea four years ago, but obviously wasn't, and I've had to live with since then.
The Wife eventually returned, and as I had built a thirst up, I went straight to the fridge only to see one of the most perplexing things I have ever seen. She had only bought three beers. Three beers? I could not understand the thought process, who on earth buys three cans of lager? It actually takes more effort to but three than four, as you have to pull one out of the plastic thingy-me-jig that holds them all together. I don't like to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I was not best pleased. I offered my thanks, and took myself and one of my three beers, back upstairs.
A few hours later I shouted down that I was done, and did she want to inspect my work. Up she bounded, hardly containing her excitement (I really need a sarcasm icon to go here), and the inspection began. Almost immediately she pointed out that I had forgotten to do one of the walls. It was then I triumphantly informed her of sub clause a) of the 'rules', which reads "one beer per wall". She delivered three beers, I painted three walls. A fervent debate then followed, which I shall spare you the gory details of, but the end result was the fourth wall being painted, and a promise from her to never do something so daft again.
I would like to say that this was the only disagreement we had during this time, but it wasn't. I would like to say that all went smoothly from then, but it didn't. I would like to say that my wife could take a hint and continue to supply the beer, but she couldn't. Needless to say, this seems like a natural end to this particular chapter, so I end it here......for now.