As I unlocked the bach on a sizzling evening last week, I couldn’t have been happier; a week alone to write and read.
I turned the pump on and heard it fire up. But as I unpacked the car, I realised the pump was pumping for too long. Bugger. I hadn’t been here five minutes and I already needed help.
‘You’ll have to ring the plumber in Wairoa,’ my eldest son said.
The plumber gave me two options. Either I turn the pump on and off as required, or I could climb into the pump shed, find the switch, and tap it with a piece of wood to release the jammed mechanism.
Fine strands of cobweb had already brushed my arms inside the bach so the idea of climbing into the pump shed didn’t appeal.
The garage door lock was jammed. ‘You’ll need CRC,’ the same son told me. ‘It’s in the garage though so you’ll have to manhandle the lock first.’
Shit, I thought and went for a swim.
When I came back, I got the wooden spoon and marched out to deal to the pump switch. I wore rubber gloves as a spider guard, leaned right in and tapped the first thing I saw. The pump turned off immediately. Huh!
I swapped the rubber gloves for oven mitts so I could get maximum leverage and moved on to attack the garage door. I pulled and wriggled and swore and suddenly, the lock clicked open. Yes!
The next day, I cleaned the bach. There’s no need to elaborate on the work but needless to say I felt the approval of generations of female ancestors as I vacuumed every corner. That night I stared around in a satisfied way at the clean space. Something twitched under the bookcase, and there it was again, under the table.
‘The mouse traps are in the third drawer in the garage,’ my son told me.
How do I put the cheese in? I wanted to ask, and the ancestors approved when I kept quiet.
Traps aren’t easy to operate, especially when you’re wearing oven mitts. The next morning, the traps were empty of mice and cheese. A trail of mouse poo taunted me. So I used finely grated Parmesan, in a crafty, appetizing way. Huh.
I walked past the spare room and saw the dog had messed up a throw. You know your house is pristine when you adjust messed up accessories. No wonder she’d rearranged the damn thing. I washed, soaked and bleached the vomit off the blanket, the duvet, and the heavy white cover. Shit.
I decided to mow the lawns …… I admit to having help starting the mower.
I see now why guys always mow in straight lines because I became very confused as to where I’d already been. I created my own spider’s web on the lawn.
‘How do I turn the mower off?’
‘You’re kidding me right?’ I’d tried a different son this time, and I got the two youngest boys together.
‘There’s no obvious switch,’ I shouted over the fearsome noise. ‘No ‘off’ button.’ They laughed. My tolerance was shot. The day was sweltering; the mower was hot enough to combust. I hung up.
‘Put me on video call’, one of them managed to say when he rang back, and even that took figuring out. ‘Now go up to the mower, and we’ll show you.’
I couldn’t hear them. ‘Get earplugs,’ they spluttered. I’d like to have given them earplugs.
I wandered up the deserted street. Every sensible man had dived for cover, but I found Two Bob tinkering under his car. No one gives Two Bob much credit, but he was very helpful once he’d stopped laughing. SHIT.
‘Let the mower cool down,’ he told me, when it finally shuddered into silence. I can’t bear to mention the garage door disaster as it finally crashed down for the day, and just missed the dog’s hind legs.
I went inside for a cold drink and there in the cupboard I found a poor, soft, little mouse in the trap. It’s becoming less pliable everyday.