Saturday, March 08, 2008

Plumbing the depths

Recently we decided that we needed some more space and started investigating the possibility of having a loft conversion. We don’t want to move but could do with a little more space. We were told that it would look like someone had dropped a shed on our roof. Casually, Emma looked at a couple of websites to see what else we could get for our money. We had a look round one house and then… our house bit back.

Firstly, the toilet overflowed, inconveniently I was in Belgium on a stag do and Emma, her dad and our nice-bloke-but-terribly-disorganised plumber - “Plumbing’s an art form, not a science” - battled to bring the thing under control.

I was walking around Brussels taking phone calls and texts about the ensuing disaster. First I would get accusatory calls saying that we would have to throw money at the problem in a ‘don’t you fucking dare even challenge me’ kind of way. It was the only practical answer, obviously. Then I would get a text saying “I know it’s not your fault”. Then I would get another text saying “Call me urgently”.

When I asked why I had to call, Emma’s response was “Well I wasn’t going to pay for it”. Which rather suggests that I had to pay and that, ergo, it was considered to be my fault.

On Thursday a pipe started dripping in an awkward-to-get-to place. We calculated that the dripping would fill the only bowl that would fit the space every hour and a half. So, every 90 minutes throughout the night, we took turns to go down stairs and empty the bowl. “It was worse than breast feeding” said Emma, possibly not referring to the incessant dripping.

The dripping pipe was fixed by the plumber and his monkey wrench. This has once again highlighted an apparent failing of mine – my inability to do DIY. It is considered a source of some hilarity that I am no good at DIY. I admit, had I had a bit more time and application, I should have trained to be a master plumber, carpenter and all round builder. It is not so much that I’m not good at DIY, it’s that I chose not to do it. In the same way that people choose not to rear their own cattle for beef.

Instead, I buy it in. Ultimately, it is more expensive than doing it myself, but that’s why I go to work – to make money to pay for things I want (and don’t want e.g. a weekend of DIY). Strangely, however, being male and not doing DIY is, for some reason, considered effete. I say it’s a choice I have taken, it is fundamental to a functioning economy (specialisation and the exchange of monies) and that because I think like that I am the very essence of modern mankind – rational, specialised (and standing upright). It’s not an argument I often win.


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