Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The 'S-H' word

She-Who-Worships-Pink-but-not-so-much-blue-since-Frozen-has-been-surpassed-by-Narnia was in the bath.
I was on the phone.
Pinkster whispered to me "I have to tell you something terrible" and she gave a little sniff. A sure sign of oncoming tears.

I said a quick goodbye to her Auntie, put the phone down and squatted next to the bath. I rested my arms along its edge with my face close to hers and said; "tell me, sweetie".

"Well, I did something so terrible I'll have to go to the principals office and.. sit in the punishment corner."
I smiled gently, "Darling I don't think you could have done anything so terrible."

She whispered "I said the 's-h word!" and she gave a little sob.
She explained that two older girls had heard her say something and when asked, the little friend with Pinkster had dobbed her in for saying the S-H word.  She said in horror; "they STARED at me, mummy!'
They also apparently said they would tell their teacher.

I stroked her face, tried not to register my shock and said "remind me again what is the S-H word?"
She whispered even more fervently: "Shut-Up".  The look of abject shame on her face and suddenly I'm almost laughing.

But you cannot laugh in these situations; this is serious and dramatic stuff to a 6-year-old.  My rule is, she must laugh first or things will go very badly.

So I explained about the ‘other SH word that means pooh’,and that gave her pause.
And I explained about swear words. I explained about older kids who have older brothers and sisters who use real swear words. One of these kids she'd mentioned, I know has older brothers and I also know for a fact their mother uses that ‘other’ S-H word (I’ve heard that first hand).

“So sweetie, there is a very bad word that is an S-H word. ‘Shut-up’ is actually two words anyway, and if you did get sent to the principal’s office, which I don’t think will happen because those older girls didn’t hear you for themselves, he would ask you what S-H word you said and you would say ‘Shut – up’ and he would probably laugh, because he was expecting the other real swear word…” 

It was a long sentence but that often works with her. Build up the suspense with a long narrative and the punch-line works better.

She laughed then, and I knew we were back in safe territory. She whispered; “is pooh a bad swear-word?”
“No darling doctors often ask you about your pooh and they don’t use swear words, do they?”
“But the teachers say that: (and she whispers again) ‘shut-up’ is bad.”

I explained: “Well it is a very rude thing to tell someone when they’re talking, and your teachers are trying to teach you not to be rude to others – that’s a good thing.”
“But it is definitely not a proper swear word.”  I elaborated; “I say it all the time don’t I? I tell it to the dog next door, to people honking their car horns; I tell it to my phone when it rings a lot and also to the TV whenever our prime minister is on it…”

That really got her giggling.  I shrugged, "Well everyone knows he's an idiot so that really doesnt count", I said.
"Mummy!' she gasped, 'you said the eee-word!"
"idiot!" she whispered and she bit her lip.

linking with Mummy Monday
laughing linky too

Friday, July 18, 2014

Busting My Botox Budget

Did I ever tell you  about the time my Botox budget was blown on a plumbing bill?

No? Well, our hot water heater - a mammoth 400 litre tank housed precariously in an upstairs cupboard - truly an accident waiting to happen, one day just coughed, spluttered and then died.

Naturally this happened on the weekend, between Christmas and New Year. It cost a bomb and almost  the plumber's apprentice his life during it's removal. OK maybe he would have just broken several necessary limbs..

I forget how much they said it weighed empty, (perhaps as much as Arnold Schwarzenegger; definitely as bulky), but be assured it was a lot, and being two meters tall it couldn't go down our narrow stair case.

So they had to remove the lacework balustrade on the balcony and lower the empty tank on ropes to the ground. Which is where it almost took a life, being too heavy for the man upstairs.  Fortunately Mr Frenchie saw his sneakers sliding toward the balcony edge and quickly grabbed him around the waist, thus saving him from an untimely end.

Well if we thought our tank was heavy, the invoice was weightier, and I was forced to empty my slush-fund: the one where I'd been saving up for Botox.

So I enjoy warm showers again but I have more crows feet than Alfred Hitchcock's other shocker; The Birds.

there are more crows feet around my eyes than in this playground...
My crows' feet would give  Tippi Hedren nightmares.

But this story is not about my crows' feet, or Alfred Hitchock or even the exhorbitant cost of holiday plumbing emergencies.

This is actually about the hole that was left behind and what I have done with it.

So in the aftermath, I was left with a two meter tall by one meter wide box behind doors.

What to do?

I thought, how about the Mother, Father and Fairy-God-Mother's of all linen cupboards?

My next thought was of the wobbly ironing board I have on the back of the downstairs powder-room door where the iron's cord only just reaches from the laundry..

So, what if I could have a linen cupboard with a hidden ironing board? seeing as how there was the electrical outlet just below the old water heater cupboard ....


My genius cabinet makers, piano-hinged my existing doors to become bi-folds to the wall and built a drawer that pulls down and into a fold-out ironing board.

Now I have more cupboard space, and I can get rid of the wobbly back-of-door-ironing-board- eye-sore in the powder room.

But I still have terrible crows feet. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Flat Out

The past three months have been some of the busiest and most stressful in my life. I've been busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest, but today is Friday- Finish Up Friday - I finished a Flat.

Yes there has been much blogging on the subject; the whirl-winds of activity followed by weeks of waiting just to have blinds hung. Then the bloody upstairs neighbor complained about the noise from the hammer drill and we had to down-tools and wait another week.

But anyway it's done:

Er this is the before shot you know...
Dated, dirty and unhygienic with meters of dirty jagged silicone around the sink and food preparation areas. The back corner of the bench was also collapsing due water damage.
This bathroom was a shocker; dated, dark, scruffy and dirty with no storage and even less sex appeal.

This was as bad as it gets: the plumbing and waste (circa 1950’s) were incompatible with most modern fixtures. It also had also a history of leaks which had been patched with limited success. The ceiling had to be replaced due to age and water damage... Truly a nasty piece of work- I'm sure my plumber is still having nightmares about it..

again.. Ta-Dah!
What followed was a very long, and messy, total strip out, re-plumb, new waterproof skin, re-tiling of the  floor and walls (to ceiling), installation of an exhaust fan and down lights –frameless shower screen – bespoke cabinetry and a built-in cistern. 

The living room, like the rest, was dated and scruffy with walls painted in a colour that gobbled up light rather than reflecting it.  The carpet was well worn, patchy and lifting at the edges. .

 Now it has new carpet, new paint, a cosy fire and somewhere to toss your keys as you come in the door.

Then I really went to town on some extras, my cabinet designer was like a happy puppy with a bone when I told him what I wanted and this is what we came up with:

With the kitchen so short on storage space, this ‘Smart Sideboard’ offers two large cupboards with ample storage, deep enough for dinner plates. The centre panel has space for larger platters and tall vases and the clever little thing folds out into a dining table.

Everyone needs a place to work so we retro fitted an in-home workspace with an internal electrical outlet and pull out keyboard or laptop table.

So it's done - I can get my life back, enjoy morning coffees with friends, get pedicures, go back to the gym get back to the novel..  and look for the next building project. :0)

Special thanks to Creative Space Constructions - for truly creative solutions and quality work.