Everything I touch does not turn to gold.
It doesn’t even turn into the kind of faux-gold-tat that you might drunkenly pay $59.95 for on a late night shopping channel.
All I want for Christmas is literally ANYTHING other than those Mariah
When I touch something…start something…try something…offer to help with something…I invariably make it worse. King Midas, I ain’t.
This talent to screw up the simplest task has its perks. When Baggins and I first moved in together he quickly discovered that almost every time I did the washing up, we’d end up with a delightful piece of modern art – either a smashed plate or wine glass. The perk? I was permanently removed from washing up duties for the foreseeable.
We own a holiday home together that we rent out, and we’re down there this weekend. It’s a beautiful, Grade II listed old school building down in deepest Cornwall which – after we bought it – required quite a lot of work.
I say “we” bought it – I couldn’t tell you who our mortgage was with, or for how much. And I say it “required quite a lot of work” – dearest Baggins, of course, did it all.
We bought the house as a little project right at the beginning of our married life. I’m not going to read anything into it, but – having to do up the property – Baggins spent the first couple of months of our marriage down in Cornwall and I only saw him at weekends. Maybe he prefers to love me from five counties away.
Love me from a distance
Let that distance be far
When the doing-up-the-holiday-house-project was a few weeks in and in full swing, my sister and brother-in-law (hey guys!) kindly offered to come down for a weekend to help.
While the boys chopped, sawed, painted, drove back and forth to the dump and generally just sweated their hearts out, my sister Ruth and I just faffed around like a couple of spare parts. I don’t want to badmouth her so I will admit here that I was definitely the worst work shirker.
Growing up watching old episodes of The Good Life, I desperately wanted to be like Barbara Good.
Adorable, muddy, dungaree-loving, potato-picking, goat-milking Barbara
But physical activity doesn’t come naturally to me. Nor does getting muddy. It pains me to say it, but I’ve always known the truth: I’m not a Barbara. I’m a bloody Margot.
With the practical, domestic skills of a gnat in a coma
So Ruth and I were given suitably patronising jobs to keep us occupied while the gents did the real grafting. We passed tools-n-things to them. And, when we got those tools-n-things wrong, we passed what they actually wanted. We got some tiny paintbrushes and poked around in corners. We asked the boys what they wanted for lunch. At about 10.30am.
DIY is slow business. Especially as a spectator.
In the afternoon we got sent out to buy local photos and paintings to decorate the house. Now THAT’S my kinda job. Clean, civilised and it involved shopping. We made the most of finally being allowed out of the house and walked down to the shops pretty much as slowly as we could. One step forward, two steps back.
Eventually as the day drew to a close – and Baggins & Bro were eventually persuaded to down tools as the sun went down – us girls went to inspect all their hard work in the living room. I took a seat on the wide-ledge window frame to take the weight off my poor, work-shy bones.
It was pretty slippery; as I readjusted my bum firmly onto the sill I noticed that my hands came back glossy white. I jumped up from my seat and Ruth gasped. The seat of my trousers was completely white with three layers of thick gloss paint.
I’ve circled the scene of the crime for you…plus an arrow pointing to the circle, just for good measure
Ruth’s yelps brought the boys running back into the room. They had spent ALL DAY meticulously painting the entire room from top to bottom. I then topped it all off…with my bottom.
“SORRYYYYYY!!” said I, trying to conceal my guilty white ass as they both came over to inspect the butt-shaped damage in their perfect paint job.
Not only had I not helped, I’d actually gone so far as to hinder. Quite a talent if you think about it.
A week or so later I got a photo from my dear sister doing some DIY of her own. She had clearly aced the Disasters of a Thirtysomething School of Extremely Useful Life Hacks: be completely crap at something and hopefully get excused from doing it forevermore.