There’s nothing like a domestic disturbance to test your patience.
Well, mine anyway.
After seemingly having a blocked drain, resulting in the toilet not fully flushing away the very stuff toilets are meant to flush away, I decided not to bother lifting the outside manhole cover to check whilst it was still light (because it was raining – a lot!).
As the rather impressive, gurgling noises from the bathroom sink and bath subsided and the flush appeared to be functioning again, I thought it must have been a small obstruction that had now cleared.
So I made the most of the house, all warm and cosy with the heating on continuous to counter the icy winds outside..
Classic mistake as later that evening when it had become a lot winder, wetter and darker, the build up of “chocolate logs” had once again rendered the toilets out of action.
So not for the first time out I went with my limited array of tools to lift the manhole cover to confirm the location of the problem.
The sight and smell that hit me as I removed the cover told me all I needed to know – the water was full of floaters and so I knew I had to call someone out to unblock it.
The choice was either try and find someone to come out that evening which would mean paying over the odds or book someone for the following day and disrupt my work plans.
As it happens no one was able to come out that evening and it seemed we could get through another day if we limited the number of times we flushed the toilets and had quick showers instead of bathing the boys to reduce the volume of water going down the drains.
So I booked someone we’d used before and he agreed to come out at 2pm the following day which suited me as I had a meeting in Manchester until that time so having made sure someone could pick up the boys from school I thought at least it would have been sorted the next day.
In the end I left my meeting later than planned and I was slightly conflicted as to my most pressing priority in that I needed to use the toilet (yes a number two), would always prefer to go at home rather than any public loo, but hadn’t been to the bank to withdraw the cash for the contractor plus I had some business cheques to pay in, all the while I was conscious if I were to arrive late he may have left to go to another job.
I actually arrived at home a full 45 minutes later than planned (combination of deciding to take the Metro to my meeting and leaving my car in the office car park, needlessly delaying me plus I always underestimate how long it actually takes to arrive anyway) but I figured the contractor had my number as we had exchanged numerous calls and text messages confirming the appointment so he could always have called me if he arrived and was wondering where I was. Plus he didn’t actually need anyone to be in as access was via the outside manhole cover. He just preferred me to be there so he could show me what he could see on the camera.
I reasoned that had I called him to say I was running late, whether or not he was already there waiting at my house, he might ditch me for another job.
So I chose to do nothing but then thought perhaps he had arrived on time and given it a few minutes decided to leave and it occurred to me it’s possible he received numerous calls and texts that he hadn’t actually got my number.
I waited longer not daring to tell my wife when she rang for a progress update that I might have missed our meeting, simply telling her I was still waiting to hear from him.
As it happens the toilet appeared to be flushing perfectly well by this time but we agreed it was still worth him checking and putting a camera down to investigate so we could establish the cause once and for all.
And she did at least give me the go-ahead to proceed and “test out” the toilet with my impending Forrest Gump.
As time ticked on I decided to give him a quick call and to my relief he was profusely apologetic in that he had been caught up on only his first job of the day which was taking longer than he expected and that he would be in touch as soon as he was on his way to me.
I next heard from him a few hours later to ask if he could come back the following day as he was particularly tired from that one job.
Having already messed up that afternoon for me from a work perspective plus there was the added commitments of any number of activities (football, youth club etc) I wasn’t prepared to waste another day waiting in but offered him a few alternatives over the next few days.
I actually became quite paranoid as I didn’t hear back for a couple of days (yes he didn’t answer my call or respond to the one text I sent) but there was no immediate rush as the toilet was working and quite frankly I was busy and was still slightly behind schedule with some work commitments.
Eventually he texted back and we agreed Friday afternoon, which whilst not perfect at least proved he wasn’t ignoring me and would ensure it was sorted for the weekend.
All the while, and of course none of this was related to my boys, did little to eradicate the feelings of frustration and annoyance at me missing time I should have been working along with the inconvenience of blocked drains and having to pay for it to be unblocked and investigated.
It’s just unfortunate that when you are in that sort of mood, the behaviour (the bad stuff) of your children is more noticeable and vexing.
That same few days we had the first snow of the winter and it was by no means heavy, thick or long-lasting but it was enough to make the roads closest to our house dangerous and the traffic overall worse.
So that morning when Josh was particularly slow (slow is actually a speed far greater than the pace he actually dressed himself and come downstairs!), knowing that if we didn’t leave early we would almost certainly be late for school.
Josh actually had the cheek to turn his nose up at the croissant I had made for his breakfast, preferring to go to school without eating any breakfast because “it was cold”.
A few days have passed and I could easily convince myself I didn’t shout but the reality is I couldn’t believe on the first day there has been any snow for a year, Josh repeatedly went back to sleep instead of getting ready.
It wasn’t just one or two reminders but at least eight occasions when I had to actually run up the stairs (both sets as his room is a loft conversion) to make sure he was sitting upright and putting his clothes on.
But it was a build up of the blocked drain and the snow – always someone else’s fault you see!