But first, the mundane crap y’all expect and love from this corner of the internet, right? Right?
So, January has come and gone. An entire twelfth of a year, already, and what do I have to show for it apart from the palest attempt at a suntan seen outside of the central belt of Scotland?
Well, re-sealed windows, for one thing. Seriously, if I had had any idea how much warmer the place is with merely the application of a layer of clear silicon round the edges of the glass, I would have done it yonks ago! (and also, done itmyself – I was under the impression one had to pull out all the caulk with a knife and then watch in horror as your double-glazing meets the ground below because you’re a cack-handed moron.) But it turns out: not. Arse. Still, it is done, I can run around the flat in my underwear all the livelong day, [weekends and holidays only], in the winter. And what I lacked in the application of Rugged Independence and Resolution, I showed in the having to pull out every single bit of furniture in the flat to allow access to the windows, and take down all the blinds. For a guy who then turned up with a ladder and said actually it would be easier to do it from the outside. Le sigh.
But! I also have a spanking new bath, which is of sturdier design than the previous bath and also doesn’t throw water out the bathroom door like it’s going out of fashion, so that will be a nice thing to have to stop worrying about. Especially with lodgers and all, who can’t really be expected to give as much of a damn about pissing off Downstairs as I do.
You know, if I had a lodger. Since the Tweedles left, I have been advertising for one, as well as getting the whole place decked out, so that has been an… interesting combination and the month has mostly consisted of belting home from work, (eschewing both the sums and the fighting that I am supposed to be concentrating on, nil points to me), tidying up all the DIY like lightning, tidying up everything else like lightning, and then sitting around aimlessly while they… utterly fail to arrive. Seriously, it’s just like dating, except nobody knows you’ve been stood up! Well, until now.
However, I did enjoy putting up a whole load of new bookshelves to house all the free books Whisky kindly gave me, and getting the curtain rails up, mainly because I got to play with Dieter the DeWalt and he is my second favourite male thing in the whole world, after the Bossman, who is slightly more versatile (i.e. can also undo stuck jar lids).
Still, all that took far too long, so it is time to immediately turn to all the things I should have been doing instead. But first: the wedding!
Being frantically busy at all possible times, I don’t get out much these days. You’d have to be a better person than I am (and there are many of these people, I know, I know) to fit in an actual social life, and also, I can’t afford one, oh how the refrain never changes (yes, San Francisco, and yes, it cleaned me out). However, exceptions must be made, in this case because a mate of mine since uni (and twice ex-flatmate) is getting hitched this weekend to the woman of his dreams, and I was there for the Pitching of Woo, and I got an invite. Which means I have to come up with a Frock (the same Frock as I always wear to weddings. Shhhh, I have totally gotten away with it so far; though it is only a matter of time before the guest lists overlap and I am righteously busted) and a Gift.
For the Gift, I decided to go with another tried-and-tested cheapskate option: the Homemade Gift. Everyone loves those, right? All I have to do is make an ornate and carefully-crafted border on a big sheet of A3, referencing all the happy couple’s favourite things, plonk their names in fancy writing in the middle with the date and venue, and hey presto! a ‘wonderful’ commemorative present!
The only slight problem is when you realise you’ve known someone forever and yet somehow have no idea of their favourite things except ‘computer games’. Which is a rather wide and vague category, and what if they don’t both like computer games? What if you drag in Mario by the heels and it looks crap? Or it turns out they’ve decided, during the four years you haven’t really seen them, that they hate Guitar Hero as passionately as they loved it when you lived with them? What if, you make a lovingly-crafted Theme all about computer games and they look at it askance and tell you this is their Wedding, dammit, what the hell is wrong with you?
So if nothing else, I had a good long look at all the ways in which my friendship is rubbish – most likely ways which are entirely my fault, natch – sobbed quietly and then went with a generic Scottish flavour of Gift.
It had punk angels and pirate angels and family crests and myrtles to symbolise marriage and those trefoily things that are all the rage on marriage websites though. Do not say I pulled my punches with the kitsch! Also, it took, like, the entire month.
As the lesser class of friend who does not know even a few of the groom’s favourite things, I had an invite to the reception only. Which is only right and proper, and besides, that’s the good bit, as far as the audience is concerned, because you get to see more of the happy couple than just the backs of their heads, right? (Plus, there’s a bar).
Unfortunately, due to a myriad of communication screwups on the parts of everyone involved, it turns out I did have an invite to the ceremony as well, which took place five whole hours earlier in the day, only I didn’t find this out until the night before. While I was in the middle of creating a belated and overly-ambitious Valentine’s dinner of fillet steak and fizzy wine and icecream for the Bossman. Which he then spent the next morning… wishing he could sleep off, while driving me to the PO depot and the recycling facilities (or, ‘tip’ as it used to be known) and the shops and… look, I was supposed to be having someone come round and view the flat at short notice, okay?
(No-show, naturally, but c’est la vie.)
We did get to meet up with everyone for dinner, pre-reception, however. As we were sitting in a lovely, and silent, posh restaurant, waiting to make our order, I received my ticket for the reception, which was entitled ‘MARITAL KOMBAT’ and featured lots of pictures of computer-game characters.
I was saved from my despair at being this close to having made something they would have really liked, only to turn away at the last second, by Beer, who had been the bringer of the tickets. In true form for myself and my social circle, this took the form of being embarassing in public (which is in fact the sole purpose of this Chronicle of Nonsense).
‘For those who have not been here before,’ announced Beer, ‘May I suggest you all get… Dumb-fucked!’
‘Um, that’s spelt, Dum pukht. With a P,’ myself and the Bossman murmured to her, after the waiting staff had stopped twitching. ‘But there’s an H in it!’ said Beer. (Yes, we said, But it is nowhere near the P).
I felt bad after that, for I have probably ruined her love of her favourite dish. Ah as always, on opening my gob, I wish I had kept it shut.
I did so with great aplomb at the wedding, at least until the Auld Lang Syne dance at the end where my foot got ripped half out of the unsightly strappy stilts one is obliged to cram one’s feet into for these things and I got hauled back and forth across the dancefloor in that predicament, like a jellyfish caught in a hauser and a high swell. (Note to self: find out what a hauser actually is). Anyway, if you imagine something feeble and in pain, caught in something sharp and being thrown hither and thither, that is what it was like. And I felt obliged to attempt to keep smiling the entire time.
And on with the things one says about weddings and which everyone knows anyway: the bride was beautiful, the band were rockin’, the cake was huge, the parents were (I assume) proud, the hall was reminiscent of Smaug’s tenure in the hall of the mountain dwarves, except with the shiny bits on the roof, my ex’s handlebar moustache is truly the king of moustaches everywhere, and I think I made it home without insulting anyone, please god.
Now let me return to my peaceful hermitude, where I shall weep over the amount of sums that have not been done and the way this place turns into a pit when I am absent for more than two hours, and whether I shall ever avail myself of a lodger and whatever will I do if they turn out to be a right arsehole. So no change there then.
The jury is still out on whether the Gift went down like a lead balloon, however.