Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Good cop; bad cop
It is less than a week till we move back into the cottage. It is difficult to believe it will all be ready. I do not think I helped when I asked the builders to move the bath they had just installed. They went off me a bit then I think. I walked into the bathroom and the roll top bath was pressed against the wall as if it had a crush on it. It looked terrible. Admittedly, the builders did ask me whether I wanted it to stand away from the wall or against it. I might have said: "Against it." I did not mean obscenely pressed against it, right against it, up against it. I did not mean for the bath to make a show of herself. I meant more of a casually, in the vicinity, if you happen to be passing then feel free to call in "against it". It is in fact not just the bath which is up against it, it is the builders. I thought about not saying anything. I always think about not saying anything. Then I climbed into the bath and realised you could not rest your elbow on the side or put your hand on the bath to lever yourself up. I thought: "Every time I have a bath I am going to think: 'This over-priced bath is far too close to that newly plastered wall in a bathroom I have just paid good money for and which I hoped would be perfect because it is costing enough to be perfect'." I said to the builder: "Slight problem." He was incredibly calm about it bearing in mind the plumbers had only just finished plumbing it all in. Sometimes though, I think my husband should have these conversations without me. The wrong insulation on the spec. My husband said: "You talk to the architect. He likes you." The mixer tap arrived bent and the taps arrived without their "Hot" and "Cold" buttons. My husband said: "You ring them." The Aga was installed surprisingly far from the wall. My husband said: "You talk to them." I say: "Why do I always have to be the bad guy." He looks at me with puppy dog eyes. "You know how I hate confrontation" he says, throwing down the nice guy card and sweeping up the chips. He wins both ways. I confront. The situation changes. For the better. For the both. He hands me a bullet for the gun, hands me a bullet belt for better rat-a-tat. I fire and in between their ragged, bloody gasps the wounded think: "I don't know how that nice bloke puts up with that stroppy baggage." My husband then will kindly smile down upon their suffering faces, uncork his canteen of water to wet their dry and cracked lips; then straighten up, beckon over his armoured wife, point, smile again and say: "This one's not dead yet."