(plus the Electrician, the Neighbour, the Hot Deputy Plumber and the Man Who Professionally Dries Carpets)
Sometimes my life really does sound like a bad porno. And here, by ‘bad’, I mean missing one key genre ingredient. So sexless, but still somehow filled with strange and unplanned visitations.
Case in point: 5 Days of the Tradie
One recent Monday a kindly neighbour informed me there was a leak in our hot water system on the roof of our house. Apparently said leak had been in existence for about two weeks. Fortunately the neighbour spotted me gasping for breath (and life) post wog in our driveway and shouted out the news – fortunate because as we all know it takes at least three weeks to write a note and put it in someone’s mailbox (first you have to find a piece of paper… then a pen… then you need to binge watch the last season of Big Brother so you’re across the story so far... then you need to find a flat surface on which to write… it’s a pretty big deal).
Standing at the appropriate vantage point I could see the birds were really getting a lot of joy from their newly minted winter hot springs retreat, so it was with heavy heart that I called, emailed and texted my infamously disinterested real estate agent (the kind who forgets to tell you about a rent increase until a year after the fact) with the problem. From her I received the wonderful reply “I thought your water tank was in the laundry?”
Yes. I am inventing a hot water system on the roof because I miss our long talks.
Now assuming the usual response time the past few years have taught me to expect, I decided to take a quick shower before the Portly Plumber arrived in what I presumed would be several hours. Of course, I was mid conditioner when Portly rang to say he was standing at the door.
One frantic, damp and scrabbled clothing dousing later I let him in wearing my father’s old grey fleece jumper. And a trusty pair of ugg boots. And hole-riddled jeans. But in my defence I had no idea that Portly would be joined, not just by his rather skittish dog, but by a strapping younger assistant who dutifully removed his shoes every time he walked into the house
The owners decided to replace the solar system with a new tank in the laundry (which means my real estate agent was almost right, or she partakes in recreational time travel – to be honest the second one feels more realistic). Needless to say I felt it was my duty to help Deputy Hot Plumber in spontaneously clearing out the area where the tank would go.
There’s nothing like the moment you realise just how attractive a Deputy Hot Plumber is, followed by the moment you realise you’re realising this while holding the surfer skateboard that looks like it belongs to a teenage boy, but actually belongs to your housemate, but clearly because you’re holding it, it appears to belong to you. This sent me into hyperactive, unnecessary exposition about my housemate and her skateboard. It sounded like a lie, like the times I used to buy shapeless men’s t-shirts and broadcast loudly about buying them for my young brother (though that in fact was a lie – shapeless men’s t-shirts are just so comfortable and I can only steal so many from unwitting brothers in law).
I didn’t mind that they had to come back the next day to finish the work – at least it gave me more time to come up with a surreptitious method by which to take a photo of DHP. I suspected my housemate Layla would be a particular fan. I did mind that through a series of misunderstandings they arrived on the Tuesday while I was once again in the shower. So flabbergasted was I, and disbelieving was old Portly, that I actually managed to answer the door in a towel that time around (which, Mother Painefull might argue, was a better and much more comely look than the previous outfit anyway).
I had to work incredibly hard not to make any dirty jokes about cleaning pipes. Thoroughly pleased with myself I took one look at the new hot water tank and lost all self-restraint:
“But is it big enough?”
“I think so.”
The reply came from the very literal tank delivery guy. Did I mention there were 3 men at the door, with a dog, when I answered it in a towel that Tuesday?
As the menfolk packed themselves into the laundry to try and appear like they were all necessary for what was happening in there, I remembered something a little awkward. Oh god, there’s a pap smear notice on the pin board in the laundry… (for reasons that require their own separate post we have a pin board that features things ranging from speed dating score cards, to the person each of my friends wants me to direct the police to if they die under mysterious circumstances).
Just as I came to the conclusion that it was a good thing that The Great Tradie Invasion of 2013 was about to conclude I heard them referring to the parts of the job they’d finish the next day. Plumbing, I must conclude, is like an election campaign – theoretically brief, but feels like a marathon once you’ve passed the point of no return.
To my credit I made damn sure not to be in the shower the next morning when the electrician popped in to say condescending things about my generation, hook up the power to the new tank, and flood the laundry and lounge room (in that order).
Some swearing, some shrieking and one rage run later (yes, I actually ran – apparently I need to Hulk out to exercise properly) I foolishly decided it was safe to get back into the water before the Man Who Specialises in Drying Carpet that Has Been Made Wet By Wildly Incompetent Electricians arrived. A hint of paranoia is why I left my phone in arms reach as I showered, which is why I was able to answer it, and exfoliate at the same time, when the MWSDCHBMWBWIE rang to say he was at the door.
“You’re not going to believe this, but I am in the shower again… (awkward phone silence) which might sound like a strange thing to tell you seeing as we’ve never met… (awkwarder silence) it’s kind of an in joke… (is it possible he’s hung up on me?) I’ll be right down.”
It must be said that by Friday, when he arrived to take back the industrial fan that had been drying the concrete under our ripped up carpet in the lounge room, he finally found the funny side to the fact that I was once again in the shower. I can only imagine my reputation on the tradie circuit – ‘She’s hella weird, but that girl is cleeeeaaaannnn.’
On the upside, if the Electrician (who’s response to unleashing a small wave from the new tank into my house was “Look at that, it’s flooding”) hadn’t given us a temporary water feature beside the couch, we would never have had to clean out our storage under the stairs (which also flooded). Who knew two tents, three lamps, two vacuums (one broken), a television (also broken) and this…
...completely inexplicable object were all taking up residence in the Room That Time Forgot. Mary Poppins bag, eat your heart out.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m waiting for someone to arrive for a cup of tea – I think I’ll hurry them along by hopping into the shower.