There’s a big difference between buying a house and owning a house. When you’re buying a house, all the things that aren’t quite right are whitewashed in this glamorous idea of how you could fix them up. When you own a house, all those things suddenly become a reality, and not only do you have to decide what you want, but you have to know how to do it. I am good at many things, but fixing things is not one of them. I’m the kind of person that when a light bulb goes out, I will very happily use a candle for the next two months until some kind person happens to be there with a light bulb and changes it. These things just aren’t within my frame of reference. I can organise an international youth conference, but I really have no idea where the milk aisle is.
Now I own a house, and it’s a big house. And it’s a beautiful house that inspires all sorts of wild ideas, and at night I have visions of myself dressed up as a hippy GI Jane using a hand drill and hanging up my Sudanese camel skin, fastening hooks and bolts, and knocking out a space in my roof to put a shower over my bath. It’s just not going to happen. Firstly because it’s too cold, and this type of weather inspires wool slippers and my favourite hooded purple jersey, sometimes a hot water bottle. Secondly, because who am I kidding. I tried hammering a nail into a metal doorframe cunningly disguised as wood.
So I called someone. I thought my proposal was pretty good. Ultimately I wanted someone who could look at all the things I wanted to do in the house, tell me what I would need, take me to the hardware store to buy everything, and then show me how to do it. Surely, if you know how to do these things, that wouldn’t be too much to ask?
The handyman named Chris came round. He listened to my tale, looked at my strange hangings and bat skulls, measured my window frames and said, “Well. What you really need is a husband.” Also, just not going to happen. I never heard from Chris again. I left him a couple voice mails but decided I probably shouldn’t pursue it further than that.
So my carvings remain unhung and the light bulb in my bedroom is still not changed. I did, however, go to the hardware store and looked at all the interesting screws and bolts and drill bits, and I do feel somewhat inspired to figure it out. Of course, I was distracted by the paint, and ended up leaving with a variety of cans and brushes and gold metal lining on the endless possibilities of what to create. Owning a house? Yeah, I got this.