07 December 2009

'As Is'

As mentioned yesterday, we're rather stressed about all the jobs we have to do before Sunday.

Stu is trying to finish shutter doors which will provide security for two french doors we have in the loungeroom in the house. He has been putting the biggest bolts and hinges I've ever seen in the stones around the doors. This involves picking out the stones, then lodging a bolt in the space, along with a heap of reinforcing and cement.

Unfortunately, he ran out of cement.

So we had an emergency dash to the hardware shop.

Dare I say it, but I went 'as is'.

Now 'as is' on this rural property in winter is not a pleasant sight.

My tracksuit pants had its own knees which bulged and swayed out the front. They made me look like I walk with my knees permanently bent. They are also too big so I have to keep hitching them up lest they fall to an inappropriate level.

My four upper layers can be politely defined as 'practical'.

First, I wore an old black polypropylene undergarment. Next, I wore an equally old brown woollen jumper that sagged under the weight of its own shapelessness. Bobbles of wool hung off its oft-rubbed areas. Next, I wore an old grey fleece that is normally my top layer on warmer days and therefore carries a layer of dirt and dust on its sleeves. Finally, I wore a bright blue polarfleece that I used when I backpacked around Europe 15 years ago. It is also too big, which is probably a blessing since it has to contain all the other layers!

Depending on the type of people my readers are, some of you will be thinking 'How could she possibly go out in public like that!?' while others will be thinking 'Why does she keep clothes that are that old!?'.

My whole 'look' was capped off by a blue polarfleece beany that tends to grip my head, flattening what little hair I have left. I suspect that I looked like a boy. I felt like an undercover agent.

With a partner like this, it was a credit to Stu that he was prepared to have me follow him around the hardware shop. I could have been his son or his trades assistant.

He was even prepared to discuss hinge sizes with me, although I suspect the conversation was adjusted slightly in consideration of my appearance.

'What size do you reckon, mate?', he would say.

Despite this seemingly cosy acceptance, he must have had a few too many strange looks from other customers because after about half an hour he suggested I wait with the trolley while he went in search of the things he needed.

We'd been piling our trolley up with objects of varying shapes and sizes so it had become rather ungainly. So, while his suggestion was a pragmatic solution, I had a niggling suspicion that I'd pushed my luck a bit too far on the 'as is'.

He left me in the timber aisle. With the trolley.

Now, the timber aisle is not the most exciting of aisles to be in. I longed for the gardening aisle, the handicraft aisle or even the paint aisle.

However, I'm not one to complain about one's circumstances so I made the most of the timber aisle. I went right through the 40cm wide panels to find the best ones for our shutter doors. I looked for twists in the lengths and knots in the wrong places. My carpenter father would have been proud of me.

But one can only amuse oneself for so long in the timber aisle.

Before long, I ventured out. Without the trolley.

Soon I found myself in the flooring aisle. I was on my way to the tiles when I was dumbstruck by the parquetry. Neat boxes of laminated wooden panels were piled on a pallet in the middle of the aisle. My eyes twinkled. My hands reached out compulsively. They were smooth. There were different colour options. They were 'interlockable'.

My curiousity was instantly aroused.

I reached for the four display panels, wondering just how difficult it could be to interlock them.

I lined them up, I twisted, I pulled and I pushed.

Within seconds I'd made a perfect square metre of flooring, which now balanced precariously across the top of the palleted boxes.

Immensely satisfied, I returned to my trolley. It hadn't moved.

I waited.

Eventually Stu returned with an armful of bolts, hinges and little plastic things.

'I've made a floor!' I burst out.

'Good, mate. Are you ready to go?', he said.

I felt wonderful, probably like a truant child who'd had a secret adventure. I hitched my tracksuit pants up, held my head high and proceeded to the cash register with him and our trolley.

As is.

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