There's currently a man in my bathroom lying on the floor (and there's no blood covered spanner lying next to him I hasten to add). Pardon me for being excited, but it's been a long time since there's been a man lying on my premises.

He's actually fitting a new bathroom, so I've taken the week off while this feta of modern engineering is carried out (and so I can keep nipping in and annoying him). I thought I would do something useful while he is here, so I am assembling two 'easy-to-assemble-so-easy-even-a-three-toed-sloth-could-do-it' bathroom cabinets. Easy to assemble? How, may I ask, is "insert screw C into slot Q and force large plastic thingy L into tiny miniscule hole W. If you can actually FIND wee plastic thingy L in the box that is. Use third hand to twist twisty thing M and swear loudly using sweary word F" easy? I've called Edinburgh Zoo but the three-toed sloth is out on a job building an MFI chest of drawers.

After about half an hour, the results of my labours were:
Inserted - 10 screws
Removed - 8 screws
Turned Side Piece N correct way up
Turned Side Piece M correct way up
Reinserted - 8 screws
Removed and Reinserted - 2 screws
Blisters - 2
Swear words used - 943

I told the plumber - let's call him John, for that is, indeed, his name - about my blisters and showed him the screwdriver.

"That's a crap screwdriver - where did you get it?"

"Out of a Christmas Cracker."

He just raised his eyebrows.

So, several hours of blood sweat and tears later, one bathroom cabinet is complete. I proudly dragged John from under the bath to show him my handiwork.

"Look, a small cabinet - isn't it lovely? Aren't I clever?"

"I've removed the bath, sink, toilet, taken off all the tiles, removed the old floor, put down plywood ready for the tiles, plumbed in the new bath and shower attachment."

"Yes, yes... whatever...look at my cabinet."

So, before I build the next one I am going to have a wee lie down. Unfortunately, I think I might have broken side panel M of cabinet number 2, as I have just been chased round my living room by a wasp the size of an eagle. Lordy, this DIY thing is tough.

You would think I would learn, Last time I decided to do some, it was a disaster. Easter Weekend. 4 days off. "What shall I do?" I thought. "Go away for the weekend?" "Sit on the sofa and eat bonbons?" "Spend the whole weekend reading?"

"No, let's not do that," said the nasty little sprite on my shoulder. "Let's have fun - let's paint!"

"Paint? You mean - go out into the countryside with an easel and a few oil paints; sit in the middle of a sunny poppy field wearing a big straw hat and a floaty white dress and paint pictures of blue skies and children making daisy chains?"

"Jeez. Hellooooooooooooo. This is Scotland - it's raining. And the children are too busy chain smoking to make daisy chains. And a big straw hat and floaty white dress? Who do you think you are? Kate Winslet? More like Margaret Rutherford. No. I mean - paint the bathroom and the kitchen."

OK, now a couple of pieces of advice here. First, when that nasty little sprite mentions the horrible word 'decorate', shove a paintbrush up his nasty little nose and go and read.

Secondly, don't listen to your father when you ring him up and say "Dad, I'm thinking of painting the kitchen. What do you think?" and he says "Of course dear. It'll be OK. Even an idiot could paint the kitchen."

Instead, listen to your mother when she calls from the other side of the room "Oh for goodness' sake Patrick, you're NOT talking to an idiot - you're talking to Donna. Tell her to get a man in."

Did I listen? No. How hard could it be? I thought. I watch Changing Rooms - I'm not trying to create a Turkish brothel in my kitchen, or make a set of bedroom furniture out of egg boxes - I just want to slap a bit of paint on. An hour or so - that should do it. I've learned valuable lessons from previous experiences doing that decorating and cleaning nonsense that seems to come so easily to everyone else - important scientific stuff like:

Gravity - if you're standing on top of a ladder, you can't just take a step into space.
Biology - a paintbrush up the nose hurts and makes you sneeze blue for weeks afterwards.

So, started painting the kitchen. And, you know it was all going really, really well for...ooooh... about 5 minutes. I stepped back to admire the three square inches of my handiwork up to that point...and stepped in the paint tray. I hopped around dripping paint from my sock, and from the bottom of my leggings...and knocked over the stepladder which was slowly falling towards the window. I reached out and grabbed it, pulling it upright and setting it back down on the floor again...with one leg in the paint tray. So, with me on one leg and the ladder on 3, we did a little foxtrot around the kitchen as we manouvered our way over to the sink to get a cloth to clean ourselves up. I took off my paint covered sock, and my paint covered leggings and screwed them up into a little ball, and went to get some more old stuff to put on.

The next half an hour went like a dream. Unfortunately my washing machine, which I'd turned on before I started, went into its spin cycle and went a little bit manic. I was so shocked that I jumped forward. Unfortunately, at the time, I was on the top of the stepladder and 'forward' meant 'into the wall'. The left side of me was covered in Palest Primrose. The wall had a left-side-of-me shaped splodge - face to hip. I hurriedly got down from the ladder. Too hurriedly. I stepped backwards, remembering JUST in time that the paint tray was behind me.

So instead of a little step I took a huge step and ended up with my foot on one side of the paint tray rather than in it. However, before you congratulate me on my mongoose-like reactions, I feel duty bound to say that the taking of the extra big step caused me to overbalance and fall, bottom first, into the paint tray. I scrambled out of the paint tray and onto my feet, then promptly fell OFF my feet and onto the floor. Bottom first. I jumped up to be faced with a bottom shaped splodge in Palest Primrose on the kitchen floor.

My first thought was not "Where's the cloth?" Instead it was "My God, what an enormous bottom I have." Ladies, take it from me, Palest Primrose is NOT an attractive look if your bottom is less like J-Lo and more like Jum-Bo.

Off with another set of clothes before I left the kitchen. It's as though my kitchen is one of those radioactive areas where you need to strip off and hose down before leaving or you'll glow in the dark. Instead, I was Palest Primrose for the next 6 weeks. Oh, and to add insult to injury - they put the wrong damn paint in the tin. What looks like Palest Primrose when it goes on the walls actually dries to Cat Vomit Yellow.

Tata,
Donna DaVinci

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Comment by Kathryn Lilley on August 24, 2007 at 8:28am
Oh. My. God. Too funny! I laughed out loud at these descriptions. Keep writing, Donna!
Comment by Mary Reagan on August 16, 2007 at 2:07pm
Been away from Crimespace for a while (damn day job). Was thrilled to find this on my first visit back. Classic Donna story.
Comment by LC Fraser on August 4, 2007 at 8:59am
Did you try any of them twice?
Comment by Donna Moore on August 3, 2007 at 7:07pm
LOL Lynne - they are words that strike fear to my heart!

Vincent - shhhhhhhhh. LOL. All I will say is that I tried ALL the cocktail recipes.
Comment by Vincent Holland-Keen on August 1, 2007 at 6:57pm
Coming to this after reading a chapter of Helena Handbasket last night makes me think that maybe that book wasn't actually fiction after all.
Comment by LC Fraser on August 1, 2007 at 2:53pm
I will send ear plugs with him. He put together a green house the other day (how many ten year olds get excited about *some assembly required*?)
Comment by Donna Moore on August 1, 2007 at 7:05am
Thank you Lynne - I will take you up on that!
Comment by LC Fraser on July 31, 2007 at 9:04am
Donna, honey, next time tell me in advance and I will send my ten year old over. He can assemble anything and he talks non-stop so he can fix your stuff and give my ears a rest at the same time.
Comment by Donna Moore on July 31, 2007 at 2:40am
Ha bloody ha :o) Actually, I shall have to paint it because of the time the bathroom light exploded. There are black streaks on the ceiling. I should have done it before but...I didn't :o)

I am now half ay through cabinet number two and going like a wee house on fire. Oh, better not say that - I might be tempting fate. The only mishap I've had this afternoon is tipping a wasp on my next door neighbour's head out of my kitchen window. Unfortunately, the wasp was swimming in a full mug of tea at the time. Whoops.
Comment by Julie Morrigan on July 31, 2007 at 2:32am
Oh, poor you! At least John sounds capable. What's he like at bathroom cabinets?

I have to say, though, it depends on the cabinet. Many moons ago when we first moved in here, I assembled an entire kitchen's worth of cabinets for Noel to fit, then was stopped in my tracks by an MFI bedside cabinet. Couldn't get it together for love nor money.

Are you painting the bathroom when John's finished?

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