RICHARD ORD: Nowt like a list to beat the daily grind

The 'enjoy your day off' starter kit
The 'enjoy your day off' starter kit
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What’s an ankle grinder?

The question, at any other time may have been funny, but it came at the end of ‘one of those days.’

I had taken the day off work. There was a time when taking a day off work was the signal for a 24 hours of drinking, dancing and debauchery.

These days, any time off simply results in my wife providing me with a To Do list.

The brevity of the list does not indicate the amount of work and time required to complete the tasks laid out.

For example, in the list, the word Spray was there. I had to clean a wall in one of the kids’ rooms with a cleaning spray. No problem. Two minute job.

Next on the list was Shed. “What do you want me to get from the shed?” I asked.

“Nothing,” my wife said, “I want you to paint it.” Ah.

The next word was Garden. One word, but when I asked my wife what she meant by ‘garden’, she said: “I need to you to cut the grass, clean the garden furniture and paint the decking. My dad’s bringing round a pressure washer at 12. You can do the path as well.”

There is, I have found, nothing more irritating to a woman (wife) than to see a man doing nothing.

Even when I offer to make a cup of tea, she’ll pull me up with a “what you doing?”

She’ll throw me a cloth and say “here, clean down the hob while the kettle’s boiling.”

What are they afraid of? A man needs his reflective time. Not in our house.

I decided to get to work early on the To Do list, only to find the lock on the shed had jammed. It is a combination lock that has a mind of its own. The original combination was 1966. Three months in, and the kids revealed that it was now 3966. It wouldn’t budge with either combination. (I was later to discover that it had changed again, as our son Bradley, 15, had discovered to ‘a random set of numbers.’ Needless to say, he didn’t note them down.)

Unable to get into the shed, I had to go out and buy the decking paint and a brush from the local DIY store. They were a great help in solving the lock problem. “Hacksaw through it,” they suggested.

“My hacksaw’s in the shed.”

“Try a crowbar.”

“It’s in the shed.”

“A hammer?”

I could go on…

I got on with painting the decking. Only to find the decking stain getting brighter and brighter the further I went along. It was only after two hours that I realised I hadn’t stirred the tin. The result was a dull brown deck at one end leading through to a vivid Rustic Pine at the other. And my tin had run out.

I raced back to the DIY store to find out the tin of Rustic Pine I bought was the last in the shop. Like I say, it was one of those days.

I had to paint the whole decking again in a darker stain (Dark Teak if you’re asking) before my wife arrived home to berate me for taking so long. As for the shed. “Don’t worry about that,” she said. “I’ve got a pal to come round with an ankle grinder to saw it off. What’s an ankle grinder?”

That’d be an angle grinder.

Laugh? I thought I’d never start.