Sunday, 24 February 2013

A chance of showers

We have shower power!
Yes, we finally have a shower in our new home.
Since moving in towards the end of August Ka and myself have been cleansing ourselves in the bathtub. Bathing in the tub every morning or night was a novelty at first but soon became a pain, especially when you had to stand around for five minutes at seven o'clock in the morning whilst the rest of the house slept, blurry eyed and shivering, whilst the bath slowly filled up with water. I'd end up kneeling in the tub, facing the taps, ducking my face forward under the water, bowing repeatedly in an effort to waken myself up, probably looking like a watery Damian Lewis.
We purchased the shower back in September on one of our very short visits to B&Q. The visits are short because the wife can't stay in a B&Q, or any kind of home improvement or DIY store, for longer than five minutes, itching to leave as soon as she can.
Whether you’re in for something essential or just a wander, Ka will get impatient within minutes.
I've been pondering on buying a drill for the past few years and always end up borrowing Dad's when there's been need of holes in my walls because of these all too short visits. If I ever get the chance to wander I'll look over the bathroom suites, the doors, the shelving and perhaps pop out to the garden department, dreaming of building a better home, all the while Ka will be huffing and puffing all the way behind me.
It's ridiculous really, considering the amount of clothes shops she drags me round when she's in need of a new outfit, and I don't even get anything out of that. At least being dragged around B&Q could lead to some stylish home improvements or new decor for our home. What do I get out of being dragged round Debenhams, Zara and River Island apart from yet another mind-numbing shopping experience. Ka’s idea of shopping usually involves finding something relevant in the first shop, spending four more hours going around other shops, and then ending up back in the first shop you started in and carrying out the purchase of the item found on the first visit, a purchase that, if made first time around, could have saved you four hours of your life.
You can get a lot done in four hours. Paint many a wall, put up a few shelves or maybe just settle back and get a good chunk of your book read.
Perhaps not fit an electric shower though.
We were told fitting a shower was going to be a costly exercise as the large electrical cable would have to be fitted into the house travelling up from the downstairs fuse box into the loft and then down the bathroom wall into the newly acquired shower which would require around £70 worth of expensive thick electrical cable. By the time January came round I was more than willing to spend the money. We needed a shower and I'd had enough of worshipping in the bathtub every morning.
After contacting various plumbers, I found that many of them showed little interest, having to rely on electricians to help them out on the wiring side thus making their part in the operation rather profitless (in so far as a plumber is concerned anyway). The last plumber we got in charged us £25 for a washer for our downstairs toilet so we wanted to make sure we got the right guy in for the job. Eventually one of the many plumbers contacted me via text and popped round to the house last week to size up the operation. It just so happened this guy took care of the electrical side as well as the plumbing so he was more than willing to help us out.
David the plumber arrived early morning yesterday to measure up, asked for £120 and then disappeared again to get materials. Before leaving the house in the morning, I’d somehow got it into Ka’s head that there was the feint possibility he was a conman as he’d asked for more than half the money upfront. Keeping this in mind Ka ended up getting a little jittery when the ‘getting materials’ absence stretched to an hour long and took it upon herself to check the toolbox he’d left behind, just to make sure there were actually tools inside and not a small note saying something along the lines of “thanks for the £120”.
Thankfully, our suspicious minds proved to be just that and David strolled up the front path at around half past eleven and got straight to work. Unfortunately he didn’t finish until half past seven, disturbing not only little Sophie’s routine but, more importantly, Ka’s with it.
David the plumber was a laid back, easy going kind of guy who managed to drive Ka a little bit nuts with his favourite phase, “slowly but surely”.
Every time I asked David the plumber how he was getting on he’d hum these three words in reply which soon had Ka growling with impatience.
By the time the shower was out it’s box and up on the tiled wall of our bathroom where it belonged the bathtub was full of dust and cement, the walls and ceilings covered in holes and cracks, some of the house’s carpets had been lifted disturbing floorboards and skirting boards and the two bigger kitchen cupboards had been emptied in order to gain access to the stopcock, so the kitchen was covered in pots, pans, Tupperware and oven dishes, not to mention the entirety of Ka’s cleaning equipment, a vast artillery of cleaning products. You’ve never seen so many Mr Muscles. As a result Ka was on the edge of her seat the whole day, fidgeting, moving around nervously and talking through gritted teeth as the dust swirled around us.
Sophie, on the other hand, was quite happy. She lay back in her deck chair, laughing and giggling at the disturbance, smiling and intermittently laughing whilst I gave my calming talks to Ka.
David the plumber smiled at Sophie and reckoned she was a cracker, revealing that he himself had four kids.
Four kids? Four?
Good gawd, no wonder plumbers charge so much for their services if they all have the same family planning issues.
Whilst David had been out getting his materials that morning I had been driving around Glasgow. The car had to get serviced and I had a sleep monitor to pick up from Yorkhill Childrens’ Hospital which Sophie had to get plugged into overnight.
The service cost me £112 at Chaz’s favourite servicing garage in Hillington Industrial estate. Whilst the car had been in, I went a wander with my latest tome, ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell, the author, not the googly eyed bloke from ‘Peep Show’. After almost buying a new bathroom in Bathroom Continental and successfully leaving with only a business card and some growls from a grumpy looking saleslady I strolled down to the Burger King and bought a hot chocolate and read my book.
‘Cloud Atlas’ is being released as a big, impressive looking movie next week, directed by German filmmaker, Tom Tykwer, who directed the fantastic ‘Run Lola Run’ back in 1998, and the Wachowski brothers, one of which is now female, and presumably a sister, since the two of them were made famous for creating the Matrix Trilogy. Starring Tom Hanks, Jim Broadbent and Halle Berry, among others, the movie looks like a bit of a ‘must see’ but unfortunately I must read the book first. I have a week. A near impossible feat which I’m sure I’ll fail in achieving but I’ll give it a shot.
After walking back up and settling down in the garage’s waiting room to continue reading, next to another car owner gent, the mechanic informed me I had a dodgy handbrake which needed attention, immediately putting my service charge up. Settling down to get on with the story of musician, Robert Frobisher, three loud women sat down in the chairs opposite. The two sisters and their mother spent the next 45 minutes chatting up the mechanic behind the reception, loudly, talking about their planned dinners for that night, noisily and shrilly berating the younger sister of the two for not knowing how to cook sausages (she had been planning on deep frying them). Once the car was ready and the handbrake in full working order, I politely refused an invitation to dinner and headed to Yorkhill.
As Sophie has been born with a cleft in the roof of her mouth she has to go into hospital for an operation at some point this year to close up the gap in her soft palate. Before this takes place Yorkhill requested that we plug Sophie into a sleep monitor for the night in order to record her breathing, her heart rate and her oxygen levels throughout a normal night’s sleep. So Sophie was wired up before bedtime, the wire sensor wrapped around her foot as it refused to stay on her big toe, which is where the doctor had advised it to be positioned. With Sophie being only three months old her big toe is not exactly big anyway so wrapping any form of taped sensor around the digit was going to be a challenge to begin with and that was before she started wiggling it from side to side in an effort to escape my fiddling hands whilst looking up at me with her big, innocent blue eyes, the hint of a smile over her lips. The wee tyke managed to get the sensor off twice during the night, making the machine’s alarm go off. The shrill, short, bleeping made both Ka and myself spring awake from our beds in shock and look around the darkened room in confusion before we realised what was going on. Sophie remained sound asleep, only flinching a little when I rummaged through her blankets and wrestled to pull her foot from within in order to get the sensor attached once more. We should find out in the next few weeks when Sophie’s operation will be. Whenever that’ll be, I’m sure I’ll still be attempting to read ‘Cloud Atlas’.

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