Sunday, December 02, 2007

Furniture, DIY, Skip bags and bulbs

I've not been online much recently for various reasons, chief among them being exhaustion. Herself has moved to a new job, which has upscuttled our household routine. I am truely commuting now -- a bus each way, instead of the cushy lift each morning, followed by a bus ride home in the evening -- as she is now working in a place which is in the opposite direction to my morning travel.

Morning travellers are a different lot to the evening varieties I have encountered up to now. And the earlier buses have a few surprises as to routes and to the temper of the bus drivers.

"Do you go to the hospital?" a woman asked from a bus stop, stepping up to the driver.
"No," he said.
The woman stepped back down off the bus and awaited the next double decker.

I thought this one over and decided that the driver was giving a very literal answer to her query. No, the bus didn't go to the hospital. Rather it went to The Square, and the hospital was on the route. So while he was being absolutely truthful, he was not being customer friendly. There is a bus stop right outside the hospital gate he could have dropped the woman at.

The past couple of weeks have been eventful in the search for and acquisition of new furniture for the house. A much hated 1970s dining-room unit, the type that holds drinks glasses and had a little cubby hole for bottles of booze, was remaindered. I quite liked it, but Herself said it had to go. We acquired the mammy and daddy of all dining-room tables and a platoon of leather dining-room chairs to go with it. And some matching -- or nearly matching -- smaller units to store the glasses and ornaments in. We shall not be ashamed of our Christmas dinner settings at least.

I have also been trying to complete the kitchen project, which at this stage requires only some final positioning of some units, a swap of two applicances, and the installation of kicker boards (plinths), and some fiddly bits. B&Q has been unusually unhelpful and I haven't helped myself much either. I phoned the Tallaght store and was told that only two of the four items I need are in stock there. The sprout on the phone told me that they didn't sell one of the missing items, even though I had seen it with my own eyes only a few weeks before.

The problem is the length of the last few timbers, which are not convenient to carry by car. I will have to get them ordered and delivered.

The Liffey Valley branch is under major refurbishment at the moment and their kitchen showroom staff are languishing in a large temporary building in the car park. I phoned two weeks ago and the girl on the switchboard was able to confirm that yes, they did have Item 1 and Item 2 in stock, but by Item 3 she was obviously being distacted by the flashing lights on the phone, and when she said:

"Yes we probably have that,"

at Item 4, I was not confident that she was giving me her fullest attention. She took my phone number and said that the kitchen showroom staff would phone me back to address my queries. No call was ever received.

We drove over to the store later that day in a particularly wintery rainstorm and were told by an assistant that:

1. Items 1 and 2 were in stock.
2. Items 3 and 4 were not in stock.
3. Deliveries are made only on Thursdays.
4. No, I could not buy the items in advance, as they were not in stock, but they would be in stock this week, at which stage I could buy them.

I phoned again yesterday to see if they had come in. The girl on the switch warned me that they were "very busy" in the kitchen showroom and may not be answering their phone. However, the phone was picked up. I quoted the barcode numbers of the four items, whereupon the assistant asked me for my mobile phone number as it would take five minutes to look them up and confirm they were available.


I don't know my mobile phone number. Nor does there appear to be a method on my current phone of looking it up while one is on a call. I forgot that I had Herself's phone in my pocket, which contained my mobile phone number in its Contacts list. So I said I would phone back.

When I did, no-one answered at the switch. Ever.

So, it looks like another drive over to Liffey Valley is required. But not this weekend, which has now all but passed. I shall try again next weekend. Wish me luck.

Meanwhile, I have availed of an A1 Waste free skip bag offer and filled a big yellow container with broken up kitchen units and other stuff we have been accumulating in our garden since the never-ending kitchen project and the never-ending preparations for Christmas have begun. I moved about a tonne of plywood and chipboard today and planted around 50 or so daffodil bulbs that had not made it into the ground before now. I containerised them, which is to say I stuffed them into pots and hoped for the best. Herself says they are not house-broken, so I can't experiment with forcing some of them to bloom in time for Christmas. They are outside as I type, possibly wondering what the drop in temperature is all about, since they were rather inadvisedly being stored in a heated cupboards for the past month.

Busy, busy, busy.

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