Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The housewife, the blind and the power drill

Ok, so I’m not exactly busy. Legally I can’t be employed….yet. Legal dossing is the new black for me. That’s fine, right? I’m becoming really adept at doing f*ck all. Well, it would be fine were it not for the half erected blind in the bedroom that talks to me every night as it hangs from the window frame sobbing at its ridiculous and undignified predicament.

Today is Monday. Not normally a day for doing very much but the blind has been pestering me for a week now so it’s time to take action. Affirmative action that is…… i’m in America now. Procrastination, though quite the engaging hobby in my eyes, just isn’t going to cut it if I want to stop dressing in the bathroom.

The most challenging household maintenance task I have ever undertaken was to hang some pictures. The result of said undertaking was singularly unsuccessful. It was particularly disappointing for the alpha who had to re-do the entire job. Last time I painted the hall, stairs and landing I got bored of it so hit the beer and by the time I reached the landing the gobs of wall paint on the ceiling will attested to my state of inebriation upon completion of the job. You can see how hanging blinds is a leap of space traveling proportions, but as I said, I’m tired of using the bathroom as a changing room.

I consume two percolators of coffee and in a dizzy haze of caffeine procure the landladys power drill and associated accoutrements from the basement (I love having a basement!). The cats scrub in to assist. Who says that women and cats are inept at DiY?

To start I rescue the forlorn blind from it’s diagonal sitting position in the window frame. I drop it on the floor behind the bed. A tremendous start. The blind is the venetian variety and gets tangled with the wires from the bedside lamps. Not to worry, I can tackle that problem later. Procrastination is my favourite activity after all. I retrieve the screws from the bedside drawer and the cats immediately set about battering them around the bedroom. Apparently the screws have been transformed into silver mice by some form of secular transubstantiation. I sigh, round up the screws and put them back in the drawer.

Next I tackle the brackets to hold the blinds. They’re small. Small and plastic and not particularly robust looking. There is one already in the window frame from the alphas earlier attempt to erect the blind sans tools. I attempt to remove it using brute strength but to no avail. I have a think. The bracket is at the wrong height to employ the use of what I consider to be the essential METAL support bracket. What to do? I have another think. It has been some 45 minutes since I started the task and all I have achieved is to entertain the felines. I’ve also cursed at length and broken a mild sweat. I decide I need to drill holes in the opposite side of the window frame and hang it that way. It won’t be as sturdy but it will be up, that’s the main thing.

The power drill is primed and ready to bore me some holes! I rev her up and approach the window frame with a mixture of trepidation and gusto. Standing on the bed I’m completely steady. 5 minutes of full throttle drilling later and the hole I’ve made is about 3 mm deep. I’m perplexed. Another think. I examine the power tool as surely this lack of progress is entirely attributable to its general shoddiness. Interestingly the drill bit looks shorter than anything I’ve seen on a drill before and it’s a bit fatter…..kind of like a screwdriver. Very like a screwdriver actually, a Philips one I believe they’re called. The heavens part and a chorus cranks up. It appears I have been trying to drill a hole with a power screwdriver. Who even knew such new fangled tools were available on the open market? I suppose we are in America. I look around to be sure no one has witnessed my erroneous and downright silly activities. We’re clear; no one apart from the felines are around and English isn’t their first language. I retreat to the basement in search of drill bits and inspiration.

I return to the bedroom armed to the gills with various tools and long metal pointy things with grooves in them. I’m supremely confident I’m equipped to crack this problem. That hour of sweating and cursing was just a warm up, I know what I’m doing now. I insert the correct drill bit into the power device and drill holes successfully in the places I think they should be. Recently I’d had my eyes calibrated for measurement. We’re looking good, the holes are made and now all I have to do is hold the small bracket against the wall with one hand and screw in the teeny tiny screws with my other massively clumsy adult hand. It’s a challenge to say the least and fifteen attempts later I drop the screws for the last time and sit down and lament the fact I am a stinky adult in possession of digits with the dexterity of ready-mix.

After a short feeding session on peanuts I feel re-energised and go for it one last time. The use of a small hammer is employed and we have success!!! Well sort of. The blind brackets are up, semi-secured to the wall, one of which hangs in a rather jaunty and somewhat mocking manner. I am not to be deterred by it though. If I wasn’t playing tennis later in the evening I’d have had a few Sam Adams to celebrate this stage of success.

The blind must be retrieved from under the bed. Reluctantly I get down on the floor. I crawl under the bed and bid good evening to the monsters. They’re all in good spirits, apparently highly entertained by my sweaty and seemingly futile escapades with the power tool. To think I thought no one had noticed. Anyway, I extricate the blind from the lamp wire with the help of the monsters (I thank them as I enjoy a good nights sleep) and hang it from the brackets. Looking good! Better test run it, I guess. I pull the cord to raise the blind and amid a cacophony of scraping metal and plastic the blind leaps dramatically from it’s brackets and resumes its original diagonal position halfway down the window frame. It laughs at me. In a diagonal fashion. I am being mocked by a four dollar blind.

I swear, curse, rev the power drill in a menacing manner and eat some more peanuts. There is NO way a 4 dollar blind is getting the better of me and my new found manly DiY skills. I go to the bin and resort to looking at the instructions which I have retrieved from underneath an old pizza box. There are little gates to be inserted before the test run apparently. The felines return the little gates and I re-instate the blind along with the little gates (why is everything so little?) and attempt the raising of the Titanic, sorry, the blind again. Shave the cat it goes up and even more pleasing it stays up!

I have conquered the blind and the power tool. I feel ecstatic, successful and powerful, I feel like I could finally take over the world! The alpha returns from the coal face and admires my “work”. He is congratulatory and delighted I was able to manage to affix it to the window frame in a fully working fashion. He is also hilariously suggesting that I’ll now be able to do the other 11 windows in the house….


  1. Oh.....hilarious fail.....even i know how to work a drill...we learned in TY Wood last week....yes...me doing wood work......and soon engineering...who knew i cud be so manly???

    btw...link me to the cats' blog....they seem to be a funny pair....

  2. Just started reading your blog Leona. Which took you longer, hanging the blind or writing about it?!?!? Great story :-)