Although we signed the rental papers in early February, until recently we were still living with The Outlaws. The female component of our landlords, Ingrid, was sympathetic to our request to paint the house, so we intended to do so while waiting for our shipment.
At this stage, I was having second thoughts about the whole painting proposal. The yellow and pink had grown on me – admittedly, in similar manner to mould or fungus – but I had adjusted to the colour scheme. However, Husband was adamant.
“I’m not living in a yellow and pink house,” he announced.
“But Husband, we’re only renting; we have no idea how long we’ll live there. And have you any idea what paint costs? Well no, me neither; but we should probably look into it. And it’s a huge job – how long will it take?”
“Eh, few days. Hey! – do you think we should get a spray gun?”
Ingrid donated NZ$ 750 towards paint, which eliminated one argument. The Bro and the dog came to help the first day of painting. Kayla was of limited assistance – in fact, six weeks later we’re still picking dog hair out of the paint. The Bro was impressed with the laundry chute extending from the top of the house to the washing machine in the garage.
“There’s an access door on the floor below as well,” I said.
“Hey – is Husband in the garage?” The Bro stuck his head in the chute opening and breathed: “I’m watching you!”, accompanied by several variations of evil laugh.
It was pretty funny – but not half as much as when his retro Top Gun style limited edition Ray Bans flew off his head and straight down the chute.
For the rest of the day, The Bro rollered the ceilings. When he wasn’t splattering the carpet, he dripped paint in his eyes:
“If you did it properly, there wouldn’t be drips,” I said; then, after a pause: “Did you just roll your eyes at me?”
“Not much wrong with them then, is there? . . . See? Perfect working condition.”
At the time I was on crutches – oh, the crutches? Right, yes. I pulled a calf muscle playing squash with The Bro. My mother had warned me about him:- “Niamh, that boy is too young for you!” and I could hear her mouth pursing down the phone.
“Mum, I’m playing squash with him, not DATING him,” I said. “And by the way, you do know I’m married to his BROTHER?”
“You know what I mean,” she said darkly. “He’s half your age-“
“I thought he was 17?”
“Still. He’ll run the arse off you. It’ll come to no good.”
I think she put a maternal hex on me, because the next time I played The Bro I pulled a muscle one game in. It was severe enough to make me think, “Oh, shite” at full mental volume – when I wasn’t thinking: “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! OW! OW! OW! DID I SAY OOOOOWWWWW!”
The Bro felt sufficiently guilty to get me an ice pack and compression bandage, and lectured me at length about RICE and how my leg wasn’t above my head in that position and how talking was liable to impair recovery. Unfortunately, he didn’t feel guilty enough to provide on-call margharita.
Three days later I still couldn’t put weight on my left leg, and was getting by with a grunt-powered hop. This was fine for short distances eg from the sofa to the TV or the living room to the fridge. However, it was impossible to perform an effective headless chicken routine on one leg. I leased a pair of crutches for a week since Husband was completely unsupportive.
“Come on – what’s keeping you?” he’d say, five paces ahead.
“I’m ON! CRUTCHES!”
“Oh, yes. Can’t you go any faster?”
“Why don’t you come over here and I’ll show you another use for a crutch.”
So, that’s how I came to be crippled. As lunchtime approached, I was sent to hunt and gather for The Painting Men. Spotting a Subway outlet halfway to Henderson, I figured that would take care of half the lunch menu. I ordered Husband a 6” Meatball Marinara Sub.
“Excuse me,” I said as the attendant put away his ladle. “Would you mind adding another meatball?”
“That will cost $1.50.”
“You what? For one ball?”
“If you want more meatballs, there’s an additional charge.”
“I see. Let me make sure I understand: the number of meatballs per 6” Meatball Sub is four, is it?”
“Er, I suppose so.”
“Not three meatballs?”
“Not five meatballs?”
“No,” he said, more confident now he was on firmer ground. “If you want more meatballs, there is an additional charge-”
“Yes, I got it. Ok, I won’t take the additional meatballs, but can you remove those two half meatballs and replace them with big balls please?”
“Well, if I understand you correctly, a 6” Meatball Sub should feature 4 meatballs. Presently there are two full meatballs and two half balls, which adds up to three meatballs. I want my fourth meatball.”
“Please remove those tragically pathetic excuses for meatballs, and show me balls the Subway franchise can be proud of.”
It’s been a while since I patronised Subway, and I can’t say I was impressed with the service – or the produce.
“You know, I’m not sure those can technically be called ‘meatballs’,” I said, as the attendant slapped another meatball in the sandwich (at least he couldn’t spit in it since I was watching). “Really, they’re better described as large pieces of mince. Does Subway have a complaints procedure?”
Afterwards, I spent three hours driving around Henderson trying to hunt down some booze. When I first arrived, I was under the impression you could buy alcohol everywhere here: grocery shops, doctor’s waiting rooms, school canteens, the local AA centre. Free bottle of wine with every packet of peanuts purchased! Beer vending machines on every street corner!
Apparently, not so much. Eventually, I stumbled across King Dick’s Liquor up a shady alley. After all that effort – and time – The Men were disgusted when I arrived back with a six-pack of Steinlager Light. The Bro threatened to go on strike. It took all my diplomatic skill, three lowfat turkey Subs and half my sushi to persuade him to stay