I’m quite happy to fetch and carry for him when he’s working, but on a couple of occasions, this has produced a few laughs, not to mention disbelief and acute embarrassment (for me anyway) . Money has always been tight so we are forever on the lookout for saving a few bob, and DIY for the basics is obviously a lot cheaper than getting the professionals in.
Our first effort was when we decided to revamp the kitchen in our first house. This was not a major task, the room being only 8 feet by 6. We had measured up for the new worktop and just needed to cut a hole for the sink plus a bit of revised plumbing. Everything was going swimmingly, until we came to put the worktop in place. Hubby was on his back on the floor, using his legs to push the damn thing into position as I was putting all my weight against it, but it would not go. He tinkered around for a bit, then told me he needed a left handed right-angle bend for the washing machine pipework, and would I go to the DIY store to get one (it was about 10 miles away, so not exactly down the road) . Like a lamb to the slaughter, I got in the car, and drove off. I found the correct aisle with all the plastic pipe fittings, but could not find a left handed bend, or labelled cubby hole for them, so I had to ask. ‘Dave’ (according to his chest badge) took me to where I’d been looking and held up a right angled bend. I said my husband had specifically said a Left Handed one, and as he looked at it said, ‘Oh, this is right handed. Hang on,’ then turning the damn thing 180 degrees in his palm, added ‘There you go, one left handed right-angle bend, and it’s the same price as the others.’
My face must have been so red, you could toast bread in front of it. I quietly thanked him very much, went up to the counter and paid my 90p, then got in the car and drove home, seething.
Hubby in the meantime was feeling very smug with himself having got me out of the way for half an hour so that he could swear, curse, shout, and scream before he realised that although we had carefully measured the length for the worktop, we had forgotten to allow for the wall tiles, which is why it wouldn’t slide easily into position. Rather than be beaten by less than a quarter of an inch, 90p for a bend we didn’t need and my embarrassment kept his sanity.
You can imagine then how I felt when I had a hole in my car exhaust pipe and he suggested buying a bandage for it. I was sceptical, but he assured me that it was perfectly legit, and I’d be able to get one from the local motor accessory shop. Off I went, and on arrival, approached the counter to be served by another ‘Dave’ (no relation) . I told him what I wanted and what kind of car I had (yes I did say the make, model and year, and not just ‘a red one’) then added that if he went to the first aid kit and got me a plaster, I was going to deck him. He looked confused until I explained about the right left handed thing, and laughed at me. ‘Oh no madam,’ he said. ‘Exhaust bandages are quite common,’ and promptly produced a nice little box with full instructions and description on it and a request for £2.90. Yet another red faced trip home. For the record, this temporary measure lasted precisely 2 days.
Since then, we’ve moved three times and have done a fair bit of DIY. When we moved here, the main B&Q in town got worried if they didn’t see us every day, and when we’d finished, we offered to open our home to their advertising team so that they could see a variety of their products in situ. Sadly they didn’t take us up on it.
However, when I was sent to the village hardware store and promptly produced a scaled drawing of what his nibs wanted this time, they were practically rolling about on the floor and I felt like an under training village idiot. Over the years, we’ve become quite chatty and I can laugh about it now, but if I go up on my own, the first question is ‘Got a picture?’
Oh, and they don’t have anyone called Dave working there.