Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A man for all reasons

There are some tasks it's not advisable to delegate

Ma Pants likes to get a man in. You can cease guffawing, it’s all perfectly innocent. I refer, naturally, to the engaging of trades people to carry out tasks one can’t manage or be arsed to do. For reasons best known to themselves, these very useful and highly motivated self-starters are usually men. Then again, perhaps it’s because Ma Pants doesn’t require anyone to do ironing, cleaning or take up her hems. I have previously mentioned Gunther Grass, the lawn mowing man who scrims, chops and boufs the greenery at House of Pants Snr with a tenderness that puts one in mind of Vidal Sassoon coiffing Elizabeth Taylor.

Being a senior citizen, Ma P is entitled to a free man servant to undertake small round the house chores like changing light bulbs and putting a new battery in the smoke alarm. This is a service she delights in accessing. Last week a Rob came to install a new set of door chimes and very charming he was too. Taking both pride and pleasure in his work, he amused himself for rather longer than I would have thought possible testing the functionality of the chimes. Enormous reserves of geniality are required sometimes at HOP Snr when least expected.

There’s a Roy who comes and makes new gardens with boulders and bark and takes away ailing foliage. He whistles very loudly and is partial to tea and biscuits. Ma P manages the aquatic facilities herself but every now and then a head scratching expert breaks off from important Nobel research to study the PH balance of the HOP Snr pool. This morning a Derek came to measure the windows and glass doors for cleaning and, following successful negotiations, he will carry out this important assignment tomorrow. Ma P enjoys having things cleaned. There is barely a surface at HOP Snr that has not been steamed, sanded, polished or buffed at some stage.

Recently she returned from Aldi with a DVD recorder that I think came free with a jumbo packet of Iced Vo-Vos. It was at least my worst nightmare, even more ghoulish than the one where Barney goes feral and mates with a nest of Queensland fire ants causing the worst environmental impact since David Attenborough announced his retirement. The HOP Snr media corner is a terrifying jumble of boxes and leads, the net product of which is the occasional ability to access terrestrial television and watch DVDs from Blockbuster. Or it was until Dave, the TV man Ma P hired after I broke down at the sight of yet another box of baffling technology and declared myself suicidal.

Whilst acquainting us with his entire genealogy, Dave hooked up the DVD recorder, activated the digital set top box so that we can watch repeats of shows we didn’t want to watch first time around and, most importantly, record programmes that come on long after I’ve lost the will to live for the rest of the day (around 7pm usually). After spending four days trying to decode the manual which is apparently written in Kiwi as it is virtually vowel-free, I decided to follow my instincts and last night set it to retrieve a discussion between Peter Carey, Ian McEwan and Paul Auster. This method usually results in a recording of motor racing. One can but hope.

Technology and I are on the edge of permanently parting company. I might get another mobile phone but never again a contract. You would not believe the drama over the last one. I am resigned to doing without television. I have several boxes of favourite films with which I will be perfectly content forever and eighty cartons of books that I am certain will outlive me. I may or may not persevere with the internet. This is where Ma P and I are quite dissimilar. I think I’d prefer to give up on trying to keep up with pointlessly evolving machinery. I’m fairly sure that’s not why I’m here, on the planet I mean. Ma P likes engaging with the world. Me? I want a divorce. I’m totally over it.


Reading the Signs said...

Totally over what, Pants? You're writing novels and things, I mean to say, for people. That's engaging with the world. OK, well, at a distance perhaps.

R.H. said...

Hello you old hen.

Come down south, we'll do the Pride of Erin.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

People did you say?


How the billio are you?



R.H. said...

My parole officer says I'm doing well.

Ann O'Dyne said...

for godssakes RH has surfaced!

The reason that councils are happy to change smoke alarm batteries for older ladies is that
older ladies on ladders is going to cost the community a lot of dosh when they inevitably slip fall and break the first bone that leads to the beginning of
The Expensive Protracted End.

Wisewebwoman said...

Ah Pants, don't let's have you abandoning us internetty tubanoids.
I need your perspective and your living at the casa of HOP Sr. is giving me, for one, a lot of laughs.
Well, not to you, you're living it, but for us out here, we the people, we're enjoying it muchly.
Good writing as always....

JahTeh said...

As Annie will testify, I have solved the problem. Two geriatric TVs, a DVD player hooked up to one and a video player to the other.
It's working out well as long as I don't try to watch both at once.

That's So Pants said...

Hi all

So much more to look forward to.