Remember the sticky bandits from Home Alone? Baggy jumpers, scruffy facial hair, sparkly eyes. Well that was what I was presented with when two gentlemen who had been booked to fit my carpet arrived at my back door.
First, there was a gentle knock on the conservatory door, to which I stood up and walked through the lounge in response to. Then came them trying the door handle, wiggling it up and down to try and get in. As I made my way into the conservatory I was presented with one of their faces pressed up against the glass, hands around his eyes cupping out any existential light. I couldn’t make out his features, as he was breathing so heavily he had created a cloud of mist on the glass, perfectly pixelating his face.
“J P Carpets. Are you expecting us?”
Of course I was expecting them. I would have been carefully setting up elaborate and frankly, unrealistic traps consisting of drawing pins viciously placed pin side up, paint cans swinging from the ceilings and tarantulas let loose (even tying the ‘T’ word makes me check over my shoulder, god I hate spiders!!!) if I wasn’t expecting them! I promptly let them in as it is chucking it down and they comment on the weather, the premier league and the traffic all in one swoop. Way to break those stereotypes guys!
Shaking their shoulders and wiping their brows to remove excess rain water, they make their way through my downstairs (don’t be crass) to assess ‘ the situation’ as they put it.
Situation? Surely they know what to expect. A bald stairs and a landing, primed and ready for supple underlay, horrendous carpet grippers and luxurious triple thread whipped carpet in Mystic Graphite.
They quickly disappear and return with rolls of carpet, buckets of tools and kneeling pads taped to their legs. They look surprisingly like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, just less muscular. Whenever workmen come to the house (or estate agents – read Stacey I never spoke to you to find out what I mean) things always get incredibly awkward. I’m sat working from home looking at my emails ,desperately finding something to make me busy so I don’t have to engage in conversation. I don’t know why the situation makes me freeze, I’m usually an absolute chatterbox, but put people of a certain profession in my immediate parameter and I buckle under the pressure. We all get to work and I hear them screwing, banging (not like that) and saying things like “Is it folding over here or just tucking under the fold?”, whatever that means.
I am then summoned by the delightful term ‘sweedart’.
“Yes, did you call me?”
“Sorry to bovver you love, you’ve got 2 and ¾ inches either side on this runner, is that right yeah?”
Well it’s a bit late to be changing my mind isn’t it! The carpet has been cut and whipped to size! What are they expecting me to say? Ooh, actually, no. Can it be 2 and 2/3ds each side? Take it away! AWAY!
“Erm, yeah whatever is there really, it’s all been measured”
“Right you are love”
They carry on and I return to my laptop. At this point I suddenly think, oh god I haven’t offered them a drink! I open my mouth to offer a beverage but suddenly pause. Bugger. What if one of them spills it? I mean the amount of moaning and groaning I’m hearing from them they don’t sound the most coordinated of gentlemen.
I go to the kitchen and evaluate my drinks offering in terms of risk rating.
Tea – 3/5 – hot, they would drop the entire cup if spilled on them, milky = smelly
Coffee – ditto
Blackcurrant juice – 4/5 absolutely not. Would stain.
Merlot – 5/5 – Stain, woozy on the job. Definitely not.
Water – 2/5 – potential of feint stain. Odourless. Looks cheap.
I refrain from offering. I hear the smaller one saying “oof its warm isn’t it”
The larger one confirms it is indeed ‘muggy’ despite it being ‘weather for ducks’.
The huffing and puffing continues, having been working for around 30 minutes now they must be spitting feathers. Too late. Too awkward. AHHHH.
You watch, they’re going to pass out from dehydration and I’ll have to perform emergency first aid, which I assume would be throwing water over them to let the body absorb the moisture. Think of the watermarks! For Gods sake, why can’t they just come in, lay the carpet and bring their own hydration. Before I know it they are getting ready to leave. They do a few trips past me with buckets of carpet grippers, underlay and tools.
“I just need to tighten the bottom running line” the little one says, re-entering the lounge.
Again, no clue but I nod along in agreement to make out I know what he’s on about. He looks at me and lets out a small pocket of laughter. He knows I haven’t got a clue. God I’m so bad at blagging. The amount of times I’ve tried to convince someone I know what they’re on about, resulting in them grimacing and saying ‘you’re not sure are you?’ I didn’t realise I was so transparent! It must be in my eyes. My mouth says ‘yes I understand’ but my eyes say ‘do do do do do do do do do do da da da da de de de de ,what?’
I make my way out to the conservatory as the little one asks for a bin bag. We both hear a SHRIEK and then a singular, but frank “FUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!”
Oh my god he’s cut his finger off. Never mind blackcurrant juice, blood will never come out! The dozy git! I suddenly start wracking my brain to think what’s in the freezer that I can put the finger in to stop it dying. (Does it die? Not sure, will get back to you on that one)
I’m mentally looking through my freezer, drawer by drawer. There’s definitely prawns. And curry. We’ve got lots of Beef Rendang. Submerse it in the sauce? It would be nice and cold, but then I would be condemning a man to an orange stained, curry scented index finger until the end of time. People will forever ask him ‘where’ve you stuck that you filthy animal?’
I snap out of my daydream and the big one has appeared, finger intact, no blood, just a black fingernail from where he walloped it with the chisel. They gather their bits and leave. Now I’m left wondering if it was lack of fluids which made him miss his aim and damage his stubby fingernail. Okay lesson learned. ALWAYS offer a drink to workmen in your home. Things could escalate and you could end up with a rogue finger in your Rendang.