Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Sod’s Law

Nine months ago we accepted an estimate for a complete overhaul of the windows on the South side of the house, all eight of them. Ditto the back door, which has been quietly rotting away at the bottom. “Please don’t come during the week before ‘Open Garden’,” I said, "but any other time will be fine.”  ‘Open Garden’ was in June.

“Well, it depends on the weather and the order book,” said Kevin the builder, a very nice chap. He’s a local contractor,  all of his sub-contractors are pleasant chaps; we’ve used them all for one job or another and liked them all. Once you’ve found a good set of traders and workmen you bend over backwards not to lose them.

Three months ago, when Beloved had a small operation to remove a BCC,  the surgeon said :”What’s that on your arm, that doesn’t look good to me. Better make an appointment for a biopsy.” For weeks both Beloved and his GP have been pestering the Dermatology Department at Shrewsbury Hospital for an appointment.
“We are very busy but we'll arrange for a check-up as soon as possible.”

In due course a letter arrived from the hospital with a date: “5th November.

Yesterday we had a phone call from Kevin the builder: “Okay if we come tomorrow, 5th November?”

Purely a rhetorical question, by the way.

Beloved is no longer able to drive, he can’t see well enough. The Licensing
Authority are particularly unwilling
to issue licences for half-blind people.
I can see why, there is a certain kind of logic to that.

What to do? To go or to stay?Hospital or builder?

“I know, I’ll ask the Community Car People for help.” I’m nothing if not quick on my thinking feet.

“Mary (the person who runs the scheme) is away in Shrewsbury,” Keith, her husband said. "I’ll give her the message, when I pick her up. It should be no later than 3 o’clock.”

By six o’clock, when neither Keith nor Mary had got in touch, I became a bit restive. I had to make a decision one way or the other. Keith sounded awfully fuzzy when I rang back. “Mary isn’t back yet, they’ve kept her in.” Kept her in? Kept her in where? It emerged that Mary was in hospital and had made no arrangements for anyone else to take over from her. I gave up on Keith and started ringing round for the names of the volunteers who man the car service. It then emerged that Keith is no longer the man he was, a bit ‘out of it’ as you might say, but that Mary was keeping it quiet. “She doesn’t like it generally known.” Poor Mary.

A former volunteer was able to give me two names of people who might be willing to take Beloved to hospital in the morning. I rang them both. The first number died after four rings and the second number was answered by a machine. “Sorry, we’re out at the moment.”

By now it was eight o’clock and I still had no idea what to do in the morning. Because of the many calls I had made, my plight had become known. Betty said Nigel might do it.  I rang Nigel. Another machine. An hour later I rang Nigel again, just to make sure I had called the right number. Still the machine. Don’t people stay at home anymore on dark and wet November nights?

Beloved and I decided that we would wait for the builders to arrive, and give them free access to the house and windows, while I took him to his appointment. We’d hurry back and would be gone for no more than between three and four hours.

At ten o’clock Nigel’s wife Joan rang. “Nigel won’t mind driving Beloved in the morning. He’s out all evening but tell me what time you want him and I’ll see that he gets to you.”

I like a determined woman, who knows her husband’s mind, don’t you?

The builders will be with us for a few days yet. I’ll be on hand to provide the tea.

43 comments:

  1. Typical, isn't it! Nothing happens for MONTHS, and then everything is supposed to be dealt with at the same time. As for the driving, aren't there any taxi services in your area, or would they just be too unreliable and expensive to use?

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  2. soms gaat alles anders dan je zou willen,veel sterkte.

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  3. It never rains but it pours. I am very glad that you found a way to meet both of these commitments though. And agree (at least one thousand per cent) about the value of trusted tradespeople. Worth their weight in gold - which is just as well, because they also charge it here.

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  4. I wish we had trusted tradespeople. It takes forever to find someone to do a simple job. Everyone has to go to college. Even those who shouldn't.

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  5. Hi Friko - always the way ... but I'm glad you got things sorted ... so that Beloved gets to his appointment and you are at least on hand for the important sustaining role ... I hope the rain stays away and the work is done quite easily ... good luck all round and welcome back from the hospital. Those volunteer services are brilliant aren't they ... my uncle used them quite often, if I wasn't around to help ...

    Cheers Hilary

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  6. Something familiar about all of this. . . . . glad you're working it out in good form, friend

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    =^..^= <3

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  7. You're going to be thrilled with new windows, and I certainly hope your Beloved has good news. You're right about good tradesmen, they are pearls beyond price. When I'm not feeling well, I watch Home & Garden Television, and have learned there are some very poor tradesmen who mean well but can't do the work, as well as scoundrels who take the money and run.
    Do keep us posted on Beloved's progress, and I'm glad he's not driving any more. I recently decided I'm only driving in daylight, not at night, nor dawn, nor dusk. Safer that way, I'm sure.
    Luv, K

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  8. I'm glad you sorted it....husbands need strong minded women to organise them - they'd be bored without us behind them....lolling about reading newspapers....
    I hope all goes well for the appointment and fully appreciate the importance of good tradesmen.....I nearly tore out my hair in France before finding the Turkish builders...

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  9. I am glad you have managed to get both things done today Friko. There is something strangely inevitable about builders' choice of dates, isn't there. It happens so very often!!!!!!!

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  10. Wow -- a perfect storm of events. I'm so glad you could accomplish both -- both seem pretty important although I'd probably tip the hat to Beloved. (And you're right about the driver's license thing!). I have a couple of good people I will call and no others (without desperation). It just makes sense.

    I love the way you tell your stories, Friko. There you have this stress thing going on and yet you still managed to find the humour in it (even it it might not have felt that way at the time!)

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  11. smiles...well a bit frazzled but hey you got it squared...hope all goes well with the builders....everything happening at once, oy!

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  12. Friko, I was with you all the way through your telling of how fixed, or sort of fixed, appointments seem to be drawn to the same place and time.

    Hoping that your Beloved's check won't result in much aftermath. I realize now that I totally forgot to show you my gradually disappearing scar left over from last December's BCC Mohs surgery. I forget about it because it really is vanishing.

    I am glad to report that yesterday's dentist visit resulted in an all clear signal. My next appointment will not be until May of 2014. A long time away. Brush and floss. Repeat.

    May I say again what a pleasure it was to actually meet you! xo

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  13. You have described many of our lives. No one answers, some call back in three days, you can't depend on anyone or anything, crap happens, but in the end, people come through for you.

    It is so frustrating, but strong women prevail.

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  14. Hello there
    Do hope everything fell into place for all of you - the builders, your Beloved and most of all you. I once found a great handy man / fixer of all things and then he retired. I keep seeing things I'd like altered and am so not looking forward to trying to get a new one again.
    My first visit to your blog- definitely won't be my last
    Take care
    Cathy

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  15. What an ordeal. I am beginning to see this situation shared by other bloggers. It seems many of us need rides to the doctor and not everyone has a spouse or family member or close friend who can provide the ride. I think your idea sounds like it will work.

    You are right. Strong women prevail. Best to Beloved...

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  16. I hope and wish for you all will be well, with the windows and with your husband! Alles Gute! :-)

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  17. Everything happens at the same time it seems. I am going to bet you will be so happy with the new windows, though. they should be more energy efficient.

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  18. Isn't there an expression for things like this? Something like... when it rains, it pours.

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  19. When it rains, it pours all right - what a story, glad it worked out for your after all that telephone time and now you are serving tea to the workers. You are a gem Friko :0)

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  20. I agree with Jeanie - a perfect storm of events indeed! Luckily you persevered though :)

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  21. Whew! I got lost in all the comments... but I'm hoping it all turns out well for Beloved. Sounds like all is humming along now, after that unfortunate beginning. You're such a good writer, I was right there. :-)

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  22. Sounds as if you deal with many of the same thingsI do. My (our) schedule is filled with repairs of one kind or another..on our bodies or our aging house. And then there's dogs and parrots. This week includes a beak trim for Bella, my macaw; physical therapy for me; blood extraction for both of us for an upcoming visit with our GP and David's heart guy; repairs to electrical outlets; the seasonal inspection of our heating system…etc. etc.

    And we thought retirement would be restful… Dianne

    PS, yes you are clever to balance it all (David is 12.5 years older than me, so I understand the limits of spousal support).

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  23. I love how your garden spills onto your patio. New windows make such a difference - we couldn't believe how snug we were after we replaced a few in our previous house. (Good ol' Nigel … and I hope your husband's appointment goes well.)

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  24. I am so glad it worked out in the end. Even if you kind of know those guys, I know I would feel much better being home when people are in my place. I hope your hubby is going to be okay and all goes smoothly. :)

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  25. isn't that always the way it is.

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  26. So glad things got sorted, but what frustration beforehand. Hoping all goes well with the builders and the biopsy.

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  27. and it takes weeks if not months to get a new appointment at the hospital, so you were right not to cancel the one you had. You'll be so happy with your new windows and door. I bet they will make a lot of difference over the winter months. I hope the biopsy turns out negative for anything, so I wish your beloved good luck with that.

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  28. My project was finished today and yours has just begun. I hope that there are no unexpected headaches and that Beloved is back home and feeling fine. I agree about good craftspeople - they must be accommodated no matter what! Hopefully, you baked cookies to go with the tea.

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  29. Good luck that work goes smooth without any distractions...

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  30. Phew! And don't forget to make yourself some tea and have a rest after all that!

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  31. Oh lord, it never rains but it pours, does it? Good luck at the doctor, and with the new windows. A few years ago, our windows had to be replaced, and I couldn't believe how quickly the new ones went in and how tidy the workmen left the house. It was absolutely amazing. Pity they only do windows, I'd love to have someone that quietly efficient to take care of a few other problems around the house. xoxo

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  32. Glad that things sorted themselves out Friko. Do so hope Beloved is okay.
    Anna :o]

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  33. Hope everything went well with Beloved and that your enjoy your new windows. We need to do ours, too.

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  34. I'm glad your dilemma was finally solved. Both appointments were too important to miss, but of course it's the cussedness of things which put them both on the same day. I do hope you got some answers at the hospital.

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  35. All's well that ends well but still - how frustrating for you to have to wait till the last minute to see how it ends!

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  36. That's life, ain't it. Calm for months, then bang crash wallop; it all happens at once.

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  37. Sod's Law for sure. Hope Beloved is OK.

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  38. Wow! This looks like hard working! I hope you'll succeed your goal in this! ;-)

    Salute from the Netherlands,
    http://dzjiedzjee.blogspot.com

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  39. When it rains it pours. Had to laugh at your friend offering up her husband. I've been known to do the same.

    Hope all is well with your hubby.

    =)

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  40. Thinking of Beloved, and who doesn't like a determined woman who knows her husbands mind?! Brilliant.

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