Nothing Can go Wrong

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post I went off to “supervise” the plasterers who were completing some repairs to a wall of my daughter’s new apartment which she has just bought with her partner. Celebrations all round and a small milestone for the family. Parking is always a problem round there so I set off nice and  early to meet the builders at nine thirty and after searching for a parking space managed to arrive at the property with ten minutes to spare: well done me.

I inserted key number one in the lower lock and pulled the door towards me as instructed. It is slightly warped and needs a bit of coaxing in order to bend to your will. Lock number one opened so I moved the keys up to lock number two and found I couldn’t get it to unlock. Odd I thought as I continued to fiddle with the key, trying various strategies to coax the tumblers into submission. Finally I had to admit that something was wrong.

I phoned my daughter and explained the situation and she arranged for an emergency lock smith to come and look at it. They would be with me in twenty to forty minutes. Luckily the builders arrived late and I had to explain to them that we couldn’t get in but that help was on its way. You never know with builders. In terms of character they come in many guises so I thought it important to engage them in wide-ranging conversation to stop them saying they couldn’t hang around and would have to go on to their next job. Finally the lock smith arrived and started fiddling with the lock.

He seemed to take a very long time fiddling with various tools before saying with  the gravitas of a consultant surgeon “The lock is broken”. It’s always nice to have your diagnosis confirmed so I smiled at him and said “I thought it might have”. More tools came out of his van and after more fiddling he drilled the lock out and replaced it with another. Opening and shutting the door to make sure all was in order we then found that lock number two had also jammed. That had to be replaced as well. The builders stood around for the hour that this took with admirable patience and when he’d left started on their work.

Given that there is no furniture in the flat its a case of asking yourself which part of the floor you are going to lie on while they proceed with their task. That done I settled down with my book and read for the three hours it took them complete their task. Occasionally I got up to ask them a range of searching questions such “Hows it going” and “Are you warm enough” but otherwise left them to it.

Finally they called me down to examine the repaired wall. New plaster went from the door to a third of the way up the stairs and looked very smart to me. He explained something about the skirting board being to short and that he had to replace a bit by the front door and I nodded sagely as I absorbed the situation. When they had gone I shut the front door and left. At least that’s what I thought I was going to do but after two pulls I found the door jammed against the skirting board and wouldn’t close at all. “Ah” I thought. “This might be interesting” A careful and increasingly panic-stricken survey of the road revealed that the builders were long gone and I was now sitting outside a building with no way to shut the door. The smart new locks were waiting to spring into action and show how perfect they were but I couldn’t get them into place.

More phone calls till finally Mr Big from the building company came onto the line and told me I would have to pull the skirting board off the wall: it was only held in place by glue apparently. This I did. It took some of the shine of the newly plastered wall but what can you do. The door was now free to close and ,sure enough, the new locks eased sweetly into position with a satisfying clunk and I was free to leave.

I set off towards my car which was parked some minutes away. I got the strange impression that some clouds were chatting to each other over my head saying something like, “He’s nicely in position: let him have it” and sure enough a rainstorm worthy of the tropics emptied itself over my clothing and head reminding me that I hadn’t bought a coat or umbrella that morning. By the time I arrived at the car I was like a sodden tea towel.

Today I am involved in more tasks set by daughter No 1 and I am dearly hoping that my luck has changed.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in creative writing, Life, life2, skils, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Nothing Can go Wrong

  1. Larry Lilly says:

    Children are never out of our care.

    Remember this when they pick your retirment home!


  2. scrambled7 says:

    We kids always need our parents. ALWAYS.


  3. backonmyown says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your day. And what a day it was! Larry said it well–Children are never out of our care. BTW, I also have three daughters and I frequently refer to them by their birth order number. Delightful writing.


  4. Beth says:

    I still hold that father’s rescue their daughters. My dad still rescues my sister and I when we need it (and we’re both in our 30s–both single)… you rescue your daughter. It’s what dad’s do. And bless you for being a good one!


  5. Barbara says:

    You are definitely a great father Peter! I’m sure your daughter realizes how fortunate she is.

    You should take some pictures while you’re there observing the work. Before and after shots are always great reminders of work well done.

    Carry on!


  6. I love the diagnosis – yes the lock is broken. Well done, two men on the ball 🙂 No seriously, well done for helping out!


  7. Julie says:

    Smile (my reaction, not a command 🙂 ) “I nodded sagely” — I like that very much. Looks like it’s time for some mirror practice. I wonder if it can also serve in the place of spouting off at the mouth. The next time I get verbally provoked, I must remember to look directly at my “adversary”, pause a moment, and nod sagely…. and, ahhhh, the love of a parent.


  8. Caroline says:

    T’was on a Monday morning the gas man came to call……..

    Flanders and Swann – I think you need to play it to cheer yourself on!!!!

    I had a great image of the situation



  9. nelle says:

    Har…all for a worthy cause. I’m reminded of the cloud in the film The Truman Show, one that moves as he moves, drenching only him.

    These are things parents do for their kidlets. Surely you earned a big smooch on your cheek, from daughter.


  10. Big Al says:

    Funny story told with the humor, modesty and self-deprecation that is the hallmark of your superior writing skills.

    In these last couple of posts, you have struck a blow for the fraternity of fathers who, without the proper skills, have nonetheless forged ahead with projects only our daughters could get us to attempt. A father’s love for his daughter is a force that holds sway over even the most hardened of us. And thank goodness for it.


  11. I know I couldn’t live without my mother. And it has nothing to do with me needing her to do something for me.. I just would feel lost if I didn’t hear her voice. Even when she’s annoying lol.. shes the best


  12. Kirri White says:

    Are you really that calm or is there some poetic license involved? The reason I ask is that the type of day you described is one that would prove quite stressful for most people and yet you seem to be so zen-master about it all….I want some more of that in my life! Thats really why Im asking 🙂


    • I don’t tend to take things personally if that’s what you mean. Apart from the clouds, of course, whch were clearly personally motivated. The lock and the door not closing were just one of those things, Both happening on the same day was unfortunate but just a coincidence.


  13. ElizOF says:

    Oh, the rain showers were showers of grace… You had a perfect day after all.. 🙂


  14. You deserve some sort of medal for managing to keep the builders there without 18 mugs of tea each (all with three sugars) plus chocolate biscuits. This is a lovely gently humorous, understated post. It reminded me of the scrapes my dad gets in with his daughters (I am daughter number two – also referred to numerically).


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