May 11, 2009



I was dragging myself together to take hellhounds for their first hurtle this morning when the phone rang.  It was my builder.*  About these tiles, he said.  I’ve just rung up the tile company** and they say that their computers are down.  And their computers may be down for several weeks.  And the fellow I spoke to can’t find the ID numbers on the back of the sample tiles you gave me in the database that he can still get to, and he wants me to describe the tiles over the phone.

                        Uh, well, they’re sort of cream coloured–which reminds me, I need a matching plain cream tile too please, I can only afford a single row of the flowered ones–with big fluffy flowers on them.  And there’s some pink and it’s kind of turquoise more than green and . . .

                        Monday morning.

                        My builder suggested I go back on line–the tile company’s web site is supposed still to be working–and see if there are any more identifying numbers for the frelling tiles.  Hellhounds, who had begun leaping over the counters and seizing extraneous human body parts in their teeth in prospective excitement, subsided grumbling when I turned the computer on.  My builder had originally suggested that I simply order the tiles myself–he would give me sizes and quantities–and I said I couldn’t because my frelling credit card has been cancelled again because the bank said it has been compromised.***    My builder laughed.  Well, he said, at least ring them and tell them your name and account number and say they can release details and so on to me, in case there are any further problems.

                        So I went and looked at the web site and there were my tiles with the big fluffy flowers, and my other tiles with the . . . the . . . hmm.   They’re sort of geometric.   And I have eight of them for the splashback to the attic sink, and I’ll take a photo when they’re in.  I’ll take photos of all of it.  Meanwhile . . . I rang the tile company and said, hi, I’m Amelia Earhart, and I ordered some samples from you, and now my builder is trying to order the ones I’ve chosen and the fellow he spoke to said that your computers were down for the next several weeks.

                        And the woman said, weeks?  They were down for about two minutes this morning.  They’re fine.  I don’t know why he would say that.  Whoever he is.

                       So I rang off, cursing, and rang my builder, still cursing, who joined in the cursing chorus.  And then I gave him the additional numbers off the web site, and he said he’d ring them again.  I said, do you want me to hang around another quarter hour in case there’s any more trouble?  And he said, no, no, I’m sure this’ll be fine.

                       I haven’t heard from him again today.  I hope this is good news. 

 * * *

* I don’t think I’ve told you that I went over to Third House Saturday evening . . . and found the outer door–the one with the bolt on it–not merely unlocked but standing wide open.  Fortunately it’s a pretty laid-back neighbourhood and no one had come along in the last twenty-six hours and gone shake rattle TING on the inner door with its wonky latch^ and strolled in to have a look around, not even the *&^%$£”!!!! cat or cats that have Favourite Spots in my garden.^^

                      I did, however, go boiling down to the mews and said to Peter, somebody left the door of Third House standing open and I’m about to ring my builder.  Do you have any advice about how I approach this, other than ‘I want someone’s guts on a plate and I want them NOW’?  –Merrilee and Peter have a lot in common.  Between Merrilee on the business side and Peter on the personal I don’t think I’ve eviscerated anyone in the last twenty years. ^^^   Merrilee likes the word ‘perplexed’.  Saturday night Peter recommended ‘dismayed’. 

^ Since I’ve had every builder-related ‘trade’ in a twenty-mile radius traipsing through Third House in the last two months I’m assuming I’m going to be replacing all the locks when they finally clear off. 

^^ The neighbourhood cats are a sore point.  There’s one in particular that lies in the road down at Third House’s end of the cul de sac and doesn’t move.  I can’t get into my driveway+ because there’s a frelling cat lying in the road.  This is the sort of cat that would know how to use a credit card to jimmy open a bad lock.

 + Right at the moment I can’t get into my driveway anyway

^^^ Maybe once or twice.  On tour or something. 

** Because of course the tiles I want are apparently available only from the one company.  The one company which happens to be in Birmingham.  

*** Saturday was no end of joy.


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