Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Crisis management

My friend (and one-time Pregnancy Buddy) Rosie has no hot water and no heating in her house near Peckham Rye Common. She describes this as “annoying, a blip” – I would describe it as “catastrophic bordering on cataclysmic” but then she’s always been calm in a crisis. During our respective labours, whilst I was screaming and yelling and generally making myself heard she was enquiring after the health of the midwife and reading Prima. “It was fine right up until I wanted to do the washing up after Sunday lunch” she mused to me on the phone this morning. “No hot water, no heating – we all spent the Sunday night huddled together in one bed wearing jim jams and robes and last night we kept our slippers on!” she went on, hooting with laughter at the memory. I was open mouthed at this point, cosy and warm as I was in front of the radiator in the kitchen having just supervised Mac washing up the breakfast things. The Man with a Spanner is due to visit at some point today but the boiler may need parts “that they don’t always carry. It’s all very annoying but what can you do?” she added.

I know what I’d do: I’d be on the phone demanding the immediate presence of a plumber with a selection of spare parts already on the van. “It’s poor Ben I feel sorry for, we’ve just been out in the garden feeding the birds – it’s warmer out there than in my kitchen at the moment.” she went on. Rosie’s “blip” has come at the right time however, Ben is due at any minute for a sleepover tonight. And to ensure that they do actually sleep during the sleepover, am taking both boys and all three dogs to Keston Lakes for the afternoon. Mac is very disappointed at this: he wants to go and be miserable in Ben’s cold house and wait for “the plumby man” – my son loves a good crisis, he’s just like his father.

During a black out a couple of years ago David secured the house (from marauding looters no doubt), lit candles (making sure they couldn’t be knocked over/blown out), found torches and put them on the stairs to illuminate our way upstairs and down again, wrapped eight month old Mac up in a blanket and popped a thermometer in with him (to “check his core temperature doesn’t go down”) and spent half an hour outside comparing notes with the neighbours “Bill Opposite reckons it’ll be hours before it’s back” he said gleefully on his return “we’ve checked, they’re in darkness up to six streets away!”. It wouldn’t be a lie or an exaggeration to state that at this point he was hopping from foot to foot and rubbing his hands together. He was quite disappointed when everything came back on just before half past ten.

In the summer, when all three dogs decided to go leaping into the sea from the causeway at the same time and then rushed round our rented cottage at speed, scattering water, sand and the odd crab they’d found and decided to bring back, I was the one standing in the middle of the street outside, clutching my head and muttering. David and Mac, on the other hand, were marshalling the dogs into order, fetching “all the towels in the house son” and getting ready for the crab hunt. I skulked in once the crisis had blown over and spent the rest of the day saying wonderfully helpful things like “how the hell am I going to get fifteen towels dry? We go home tomorrow!”

“Never mind” I reassure my pouting son as we pump up the inflatible mattress “who knows what’ll happen while we’re out”.
Why do I now feel like I’ve tempted fate?


aims said...

I'm sure I would have done the same thing and complained...guys just don't think about laundry.

Kelly said...

I have in the past ranted on the subject of plumbers and a lack of heating, so I think you know which camp I'd fall into....


Potty Mummy said...

Funny how that reference to drying towels hit a nerve; maybe it's a woman thing? Because it made my blood run cold too.

Nunhead Mum of One said...

Aims - they do when they haven't got any clean pants!

Kelly - Oh, I think I do, yes!

Potty Mummy - I was so worried that we'd be fined for leaving slightly damp towels for "that nice family from Basingstoke" who had the cottage the week immediately after us!

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Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.