Monday, 24 March 2008

Getting A Man In

Despite the snow, icy winds and mini-tornados I think Spring is definitely on the way. How do I know that, apart from the tiny lime green shoots of hope that are begining to unfurl in our weather-worn gardens? I know that Spring is here because, instead of a young man's fancy turning to thoughts of love, my old man's fancy is definitely turning to those of DIY. Now to those of you for whom DIY equates with getting all those niggly jobs done in the house, let me fill you in on the horror of DIY, Swearing Mother style.

First of all, we must identify our project. Cue for a couple of hours' depressing discussion from breakfast till coffee time, where we come up with a list so long we just stare glumly at each other. Husband comes up with some really outlandish ideas, I make a few snidey and sarcastic comments about the last time we took on such a project and just look at it now. We have another coffee, eat a few biscuits and calm down a bit. We start to talk constructively - OK, shall we finish the terrace/deal with the rotten kitchen window/sort out garage? The list seems endless. How to choose? It has to be a new project to capture the imagination of him indoors; bringing up the subject of finishing previously started but abandoned projects is viewed as not playing the game and any mention of them by me is, apparently, nagging. To hell with the fact that my ten year old kitchen still has a piece which was never fitted, that's old news now and therefore those little niggles have long since become invisible. Ditto some ungrouted tiles, the odd unpainted door, a helluva mess in the garage and a new fuseboard which remains stubbornly unfitted, celebrating it's fifteenth birthday under gardlands of cobwebs in the electricity box. I could go on. And, believe me, I do, at length.

So eventually we decide on a task. This usually means a protracted trip to one or more of the hideous DIY sheds along with the rest of the local walking dead who have been drawn out of their crumbling homes to view mass manufactured shit, cunningly got up to look like the really useful stuff you need rather than the total crap that it actually is. This weekend top of the list are some additional kitchen units and worktops because the ten year old (as yet unfinished) kitchen is now sadly needing a refit and a new fridge. I know this doesn't strictly come under the heading of DIY, but the thought of embarking on this kind of disruption fills me with dread, especially as husband thinks he can probably do a lot of the work himself (cue hollow laughter from moi) but I want to get a man in.

Now the phrase "getting a man in" is probably one of the most emotive things it's possible for me to say to my husband. It carries with it all sorts of inferences, i.e., an implied lack of commitment on his part, or lack of ability, lack of drive, confidence, expertise - you name it, "getting a man in" is almost tantamount to infidelity in our house. For a husband who is pretty damned good in the, er, household maintenance department given the time and opportunity, to him my wanting to get a man in is the ultimate betrayal. Like reading maps, bleeding radiators and going to the tip, this is HIS job and he doesn't want another bloke poking his screw-driver in where it isn't wanted.

So we reach an impasse. I don't want the chaos of infinished work bugging the life out of me for aeons, husband doesn't want some strange bloke getting his hands on my hanging units. Guess it's a territorial thing.

So now I'm on to the gentle wheedling campaign. I'm casually mentioning the fact that, really, it's a false economy to do such major work ourselves when we are both so busy, time is precious, we could be doing so many other more enjoyable things and letting someone else do the work. And then as the weather is getting nicer, we could be driving out to country pubs, taking a weekend trip to Barcelona, doing a bit of shopping in London. Whatever. Let's leave the big jobs to the professionals and just do the little leftover tasks ourselves. What do you think? Yes?

But the rot has set in now. I've caused a total distraction from home improvements and now we're doomed, the place will fall about our ears. We will neither get a man in, because husband doesn't trust him, nor DIY because I can't face the fuss. The little niggly jobs can go hang.

Stupidly, I've mentioned weekend trips, pubs, London, fun.

No wonder we never get anything done in our house.


CrazyCath said...

Oh that is too funny! And too true! Why do men feel they have to do everything? What are they proving? and why oh why oh why oh.....


Or clear up. Or get the right tools/ equipment/ materials?

My hubby is the same but does a reasonable job, if I can get him past the "It'll do" attitude!

And dad - well SM don't even go there. Geordie screwdriver ring any bells? My hubby is the same. (Gawd I married my father's clone! lol)

Go to London, secretly get a man in for while you are gone. When you get back, it can be a "surprise" for him so that he does not have to exhaust himself with all that work waiting for him. Changing rooms style. Ish. ;0)

travelling, but not in love said...

The only bit of DIY that I'm willing to consider (and let's face it, the best bit) is the choosing of which man to 'get in'. I'll even phone around myself and talk to said men.

I will pick up tools and do things myself (I'm not bad, quite capable actually) but only at my mother's house, and only when it puts my brother to shame.

Cruel, I know, but making everyone realise that I'm the good one is VERY important to me....ha ha ha

Expatmum said...

My heart sinks whenever my hubby heads off to the DIY place. He always, but always, comes back with something the wrong size, which he rips open, thus meaning that we can't take it back. This can be anything from a packet of screws to a door handle or a replacement part. And the language!!!
However, he would sooner have someone come in, which means that it falls to ME to find the someone, keep ringing till they call me back, stay at home when they eventually turn up, deal with whatever goes wrong etc. etc.
Oh - my stomach is churning just thinking of it all!

Journey of Truth said...

I just told my husband that I wanted lightbulbs replaced in the light above the stairs. I followed directions according to a book called "The Surrendered Wife". You just tell them exactly what you want. No badgering. No reminding.

It didn't work. I know he knows I want the lightbulbs replaced. So, now I'm angry and still tripping up/down the stairs at night! The bastard! Ha!

We "rent" as we are military. Perhaps I'll just get a man in as well, because well, we do have a maintanence team. Of course, the man in will look at me and ask, "Do you have a ladder? Do you have a husband?" Bugger!

Casdok said...

Going out and having fun sounds so much more appealing!!

DogLover said...

Speaking as a man, I think there are a lot of us who start jobs, but never get round to finishing them. Here's an idea. Amongst your many friends there are certain to be husbands like yours. Why not meet up with a husband and his wife and plan a swop of the outstanding jobs - your hubby will do theirs, the other hubby yours.

Manly pride will make them complete the jobs to a high standard.

As for jobs to be done, can't you hold out some inducement? A super-dooper meal or for some larger task a holiday, provided the jobs are finished. Didn't Lysistrata also have some interesting idea?

Anonymous said...

Oh my heart strings tug.
My man will start anything as long as he gets a new tool, can have open access to B and Q,and i dont go near him.
Suits me sir.He clears up, no bother, but finish anything ---no way. But i have found a way to get over that. I get his sister to say that the family are going to visit;magic all jobs get done. But I can only use this about three times a year ,sadly as they are Danish.

Tina said...

SM, would you like me to ring up & nominate you (secretly) for Ground Force, or DIY SOS?

Just say the word, and it shall be done.

Sweet Irene said...

Mu heart aches for you and I am so glad we live in a rented apartment in which we only have to paint to keep the place looking good and do no other major work, I shudder to think in which circumstances I would live then if we had to do all the other work too. I suppose I would end up doing a lot it myself.

I am spoiled by a father who had two very handy right hands and could do anything and I always assume other people, including spouses, will have the same. Never thought it would be me who inherited my father's two right hands and would be assumed to put them to work.

I certainly don't like men who pretend to know what they are doing when they get close to a tool kit and are too stubborn to admit that they don't know a thing about what to do with it. Or only know enough to do the job halfway and then chicken out the rest of the way. Don't get me started! Such men ought to be put on bread and water and never touch another tool again.

They just don't realize they break women's hearts this way and make them selves look foolish.

the mother of this lot said...

You see, this is where the Father of This Lot's exceptional knowledge of pubs comes in handy. What can you find in any pub? Tradesmen. Agree a deal with them when you're both legless and you can end up getting an extension built for about twenty quid. Or thereabouts.

Manic Mother Of Five said...

I have the perfect solution! Grow one yourself...... husband isn't known for his DIY prowess - this is the man who fused the whole house whilst changing a light bulb. Consequently I realised that either I was always going to have to get "someone in" even for the most minor of tasks or I could train number one son...... He's 17 now and a complete angel when it comes to all those irritating jobs that need doing about the house and he can even do flat pack!!!

Winchester whisperer said...

Men are so sensitive...You could always buy a day's/week's work from a DIY man as a b'day present/anniversary present for your hubby and leave your hubby to give instructions to the man...or perhaps that would be too dangerous?

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Tell us when you get your man in and for what purpose.

Maggie May said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean! It is the same problem in our house. I've had years of alterations & disruption & have so many half finished jobs that I can't count them.
Get a man in, & when you've finished with him send him over to me!
You are lucky in one sense, you DON'T have a rat!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Now you see I have some sympathy with the man of the house. I know that their genitals shrink at the the very thought of another mantypething around their house sporting knob off tools and looking like Sylvester Stallone in a string vest, rippling muscles with a drill bit belt looking like bullets for a gun over one shoulder. It can't be good for the old ego to have another man perform well where he perhaps fails dismally. Too much of a metaphore for the old chap so to speak.

Y'see if my darling hubby brought in a 'woman who does' instead of leaving me his good wifie to do it I would be forced to run him through with my best and largest carving knife! It's a rocky road we travel when it comes to traditional stereotypical male and female gender roles in the household. Cross those boundaries if you dare but for God's sake don't bring in a replacement to do the dirtywork for you - it could lead to the early demise of one or t'other!

Swearing Mother said...

Crazycath: That is a darned good idea, getting someone in to sort the whole lot out while we're away. Genius!

Travelling: If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing very well if it's going to get up a sibling's nose.

Expatmum, so glad you share my anxiety.

Hi Journey of Truth, nice to read you. Men are definitely selectively blind to stuff that doesn't bother them, but we women can't see anything other than what needs doing unfortunately. Ain't life cruel?

Casdok, you are so very right. If we go out enough we won't notice the state of the house maybe!

Hi Doglover, unfortunately I've tried bribery and it doesn't work. I am so weak, I always give in.

Valleys Mam, that is one sneaky strategy. Can I borrow your sister-in-law?

Tina, get them all round at the same time. That should be fun.

Sweet Irene, I'm so glad you understand my plight.

I like your style Mother of This Lot, going down to the pub right now to pick up a builder.

MMOF, hello chick. Sounds like you've got a good little apprentice there. Well done.

Hi Winchester Whisperer, that would be really interesting. Bet they'd spend the day leaning on spades and drinking tea.

James, will be doing a victory roll of delight if I ever manage to get a man in.

Maggie May, it's really annoying isn't it? Just finish one job is all I ask. And then another, and another.....

MOB, I do so understand your point, although if we got another woman in to do some of my tasks I'd probably just let her get on with it whilst I did something more fun. Like blogging, of course!

GoneBackSouth said...

Oh I know how that all feels. It's a bit like, when lost somwhere, saying "shall we stop and ask that local person for directions?" He'd prefer to drive around maplessly and aimlessly for another hour than suffer the indignity of getting help. Uuurgh.

CrazyCath said...

Hi SM!
Got an award for you - pop over to mine and pick it up. :0)

david mcmahon said...

You hit the nail right on the head, but do forgive my use of that phrase on a DIY post!!

Swearing Mother said...

Gonebacksouth, hello! It's definitely a man thing, asking for help seems to threaten the old masculinity or something.

OK Cath, be over in a mo.

Hello David, how are you? Nice to read you again.

Mean Mom said...

The DIY industry leads us to believe that DIY is simple, quick and cheap. It says 'Bring us your money!' and we do.

My husband tends to stick his head in a bucket of sand. He doesn't see anything that needs to be done in the house. Sometimes, I wish I'd married a plumber or a carpenter. Sometimes, I think he wishes he'd married a cook.

I could send you my spare bucket of sand.

Momma said... must have seen my kitchen with its half-torn-off wallpaper, my garage with its multiple unfinished projects, and my duct-taped attic access door. I know all about having a man who doesn't particularly do well at DIY but hates to admit when he's beat.

Perhaps we should "have a man in" while hubby's at work? ;-)

Peace -D

Suburbia said...

Thank goodness it's not just my husband! We have a downstairs loo which he 'gutted' about 6 years ago (he's good at demolision but not the re-fit that's necessary afterwards) and only last year did we finally agree 'to get a man in'to complete the job!
It looks lovely now, the only finished room in the house!

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Do not get me started. Seriously.

Is there a vaccine against this? Can we all buy it in bulk??

San said...

Bless your heart. Having the house eviscerated makes me all squeamish.

Love your screwdriver metaphor. Getting a man in--it does resonate at that.

Congratulations on being top dog over at David's.

Swearing Mother said...

Mean Mom, hi. Yes I definitely need to borrow your spare bucket of sand, we've worn ours out.

Oh Momma, you have it in one. Can't be beat at anything. That's men for you.

Suburbia, I feel for you. Sometimes I fantacise about featuring in one of those DIY SOS programmes.

RC: If only!

Hello San, nice to read you and thanks for the congrats. That's so great.

Angel... said...

Thats so funny and true as it is..

What man think what they are? what they want to prove...

my hubby is quite different ahahaa

elizabethm said...

"Getting a man in", the very phrase brings on near divorce round here. I think you may have been a fly on the wall here, or perhaps my husband is a bigamist and you are his other life.

merry weather said...

My husband is brilliant at electrics and decorating etc but, er, scary around plumbing. Having spent one Xmas recently outside the airing cupboard, with him in it, swearing and getting soaked and me chanting - plumber, plumber - silently, I can sympathise here.

There is only so much DIY a man can do, that his wife can bear...

girl with the mask said...

Perhaps you could just re-decorate the kitchen with the great memories of fun times had instead...?

Just a thought.

G.I.M x

Mopsa said...

Get a woman in perhaps?

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

My hubby thinks he's really good at DIY because he enjoys it. But he's not as good as he thinks he is. So then we get the panicked shouting when he's pierced a water pipe, and somehow it all ends up being our fault because we were doing something else at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night instead of helping him. Helping him consists of standing next to him bored to death because he does all the work but we're there to hand him the tools. Yes, get a man in.

Swearing Mother said...

Angel, it's all about proving something, but I'm not sure what!

Hi ElizabethM, it seems to be verging on unfaithfullness and can't be tolerated, I know.

Merry, hello! Yes, a chap who's handy with plumbing is definitely a rarity.

Mopsa, that's a genius plan. Don't expect there would be any objection to hubby then.

G.I.M., that sounds like a good plan indeed.

Hi Wakeup, sure your husband isn't a surgeon? Having someone hover ready to hand him a wrench sounds a bit "forceps" and "scalpel".