Daily Archives: July 21, 2009

LMC – The 5 Minute Job

Due to an editing stuff up, this article appeared last Monday under someone elses name and photo.  Also they changed the title to: “Beware of the cost of those small jobs.”  I received some interesting feedback from several different folk which basically ran along the lines of “I saw it was someone else, so I didn’t read it.”  Which is a pity, because this article was one of my better efforts to date… well, that’s my opinion anyway!  And, included for the first time here on the Gladbloke Blog, is the colour photo that a nice lady from The Observer took, and is usually placed alongside 500 – 700 of my carefully written words.  Old Jungle Saying:  He’s got a good look for radio.

Observer Photo Large

Recently someone, who will remain nameless, slapped me on the back of the head while I was ‘working’ on the computer and asked me to hang a picture.  “Hardly a challenge my dear,” I replied, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” 

Minutes later I was winging my way out to the shed, whimpering nervously as I went.  It wasn’t the extra slaps to my head that was causing my distress, it was the words, “… and anyway, it’ll only take 5 minutes of your precious time!”  

Success is virtually guaranteed on any little task unless someone utters that dreaded mantra, “It’s just a 5 minute job,” at which point a horrible little beast appears, and disaster looms.  The blood drained from my face as I heard a small popping noise behind me and a minuscule cry of glee as the tiny fiend materialised.  Previous experience has taught me that this was going to be anything but a five minute job. 

First I discovered that my battery drill was flat, ‘Not a problem,’ I thought inserting the spare battery, which also turned out to be flatter than a slow toad at the Philip Street roundabout.  Reaching for the electric drill, I noted that the beasts’ partner in crime, “The Chuck-Key Fairy”, was also in attendance.  The missing key will only re-appear at a later date, once the fairy knows you don’t need it.  One time it popped up on the lawn while I was mowing, generating a stack of 5 minute jobs in one startling split second. 

So, tossing the drill aside, I returned to the house with a look of determination on my face.  Opening the toolbox revealed that Mr. Nobody had borrowed the tape measure and had failed to put it back.  Using the fine art of Guesstimation to work out where to place the hook, I marked the spot with a broken pencil, wondering, not for the first time, where my sharpener had got to.    

Searching through my box of goodies, I was unable to locate a single picture hook.  I upended the tool box onto the carpet and scrabbled through the pile of odds and ends in a desperate search for just one lousy hook.      

The best part of any 5 minute job, is the drive to the hardware store, singing along with the radio as you wait at all the red lights, and listening gravely to the numerous nasal spray commercials.  Eventually I was walking zombie-like through countless aisles in a desperate search for some picture hooks.  I finally discovered the box containing the necessary hooks, and was not surprised to see that it was empty.  Sighing, I returned to the car, carting a pile of stuff that I hadn’t intended buying, before driving to the other side of town to my old hardware store, where I immediately found what I needed.

Back home, I tossed my purchases through the shed door and strode purposefully back into the house for the final assault.  My enthusiasm had waned to the point of giving up, but I’d come too far to turn back now.  After hammering the picture hook into the wall, thankfully missing any hidden wiring, as well as any sort of solid beam which would have been a major help, I then hung the picture.  Total time taken:  86 minutes.   

As I packed up my stuff, I stepped on a picture hook which had buried itself into the carpet during my initial search of the toolbox.  Hopping on one leg to avoid leaving a trail of blood through the house, I returned to the shed, and decided it was time for another one of my famous clean outs.  The first thing I saw upon opening a cupboard door was an unopened box of picture hooks, with my chuck key and an unbroken pencil resting on top of it.  The little monster was sniggering with delight.       

I was telling God all about it, when a voice called out, “While you’re at it, could you have a quick look at this leaking tap, the knob on the stove, and straighten the pantry door?”  Locating a solid beam I started banging my head against it; personally I thought it was a better option than tackling another batch of 5 minute jobs.


Filed under Columns, Writing