I had this great idea for a present-tense description of the past few weeks, taking you with me through the highs and lows, but I am absolutely exhausted – again – and have neither the time nor the energy to be creative or funny. Not that I ever am, etc, yeah, the door’s that way, don’t let it hit yer arse on the way out, and all that.
So here’s what happened:
Several unmitigated DIY disasters, including putting in waste pipe, re-laying floor, stink comes from waste pipe, pull up floor to find problem, discover problem lies elsewhere and is completely unrelated to the work I’d been doing, re-lay floor AGAIN – two weeks wasted.
Ancient stop cock = burst water main and no way to turn it off. Had to hammer the pipe in half to stop the mains-pressure cascade through the house. No access from the road to turn it off, had to buy a pipe freezing kit to help replace the stopcock. Pipe freezing kit promised 45 minutes of hold, lasted ten. Result: More high-pressure hilarity, and I no longer have a mobile phone. Here’s a learning I made: unlike the many hundreds of women I have slept with, mobile phones don’t like to get wet. Now I have to buy a new one.
Several disasters, none of which I claim responsibility for. I used to enjoy doing this stuff, you know. Knowing how my house is put together, there’s a comfort in it. This shit from the last few weeks though, it’s put me off for life.
It was Jack’s first birthday, that’s why I was under pressure to get the job done. Each evening I’d get home from work then do kitchen stuff until after midnight. Up again at seven and repeat the process. Zombification.
In the end it didn’t matter. We had no sink on the day of the party, and we survived. Water’s overrated anyway. You become very frugal when you don’t have running water. There was a day or two of whore’s bathing going on in our house – we went through some amount of Johnson’s baby wipes.
Jack’s birthday meant family visiting, which butted up against Linzi’s friends from Ireland visiting, and today her sister arrived up, because she’s looking after the kids for us when we go back to Ireland on Thursday for this wedding. You can see now why the blogging side of things has been a bit slack lately.
After we get back from Ireland, we have another wedding, followed by a christening, before the end of August. You’d swear we had a social life, the way we’ve been carrying on lately. I can’t wait for it all to be over. All this shite is only about half of it, but I’ll only want to hang myself if I go over everything. The main thing is, Linzi and I are still friends in spite of all the muck that we’ve churned up over the last month. Better still, we’re friends who have sex with each other, which is good news for me, and even better news for her.
I’ve been swimming too. I’m up to 30 lengths now. Not bad considering that a month ago it took me half an hour to swim six lengths and I was the closest to death I’ve been since ‘Nam. (Not that ‘Nam. I’m talking about Cornamona, that time with my dad and the fishing rod and the grease. It’s a long story, but you’ve probably already read about it in the papers.) I’m still shit though. If you can imagine tying Stephen Hawking to Christy Brown‘s left leg with a stout length of rope, then firing them both into a pool and saying off with ye lads, a pint if ye can make it to the other side, that’s the kind of flailing you get from me most days.
This wedding next Saturday: did I mention that I’m best man? Well listen: I’m best man at this wedding next Saturday. 300 guests or something mental like that. I’ve never done anything on this scale before, so I’m kind of shitting it. No – I’m fucking petrified. I haven’t even started on the speech (see above, no explanation required), and it’s only now that you’ve read this far that you realise I had an ulterior motive for updating the blog: I need help.
Give me your humour, people. I need to be hilarious without being offensive, risqué without being crude. I sometimes struggle with subtlety, as you’ll know just by reading this. You cunt.
Seriously, any wise words, good lines, or advice of any sort as I hurriedly prepare this speech would be an absolute godsend.
In other news, thank you all for your “what the fuck are you up to?” emails, and I apologise for not replying individually, but…you know. All that stuff. Some of you got Facebook stuff from me too – no, I haven’t abandoned blogging in favour of it, I just had a fit of adding shit to it, like I did with Bebo a few months back. I’ve been on Facebook since Christ was a cub scout, but I never did anything with my profile. Over the last couple of months, a few people asked me to be their friends, so I had a fit of activity the other night and put a bit on my profile. Nowt sinister, like. Sin é. It’s always there if I need it, but I won’t be making much more use of it at the moment, I don’t think.
Public speaking terrifies me. This is not a good attribute to have when it’s your job, but I like a challenge.
I know plenty of people who don’t like public speaking, and avoid it like you’d avoid Mary Harney in a thong. I’ve inadvertently gone the other route and always seem to end up being the one nominated to do the presentation or whatever other shite is going on.
To all those cunts who say it gets easier the more you do it: fuck off. It does not. I’m best man at a wedding coming up in August. There are 300 – that’s right, three hundred! – guests, and already I’m giving birth to a faeces-foal every time I think about doing a speech in front of them. It has legs, I’m telling you.
Most people I speak to about it can’t tell why they don’t like public speaking. You get vague responses like “I’m too shy” or “I’ve never been any good at that sort of thing”. I, on the other hand, can remember exactly why I feel like a loose-limbed leper when I stand up in front of a load of people…
*cue strumming harp music and screen going blurry to signify I’m taking you back in time*
Picture an 11-year-old Kav. A shy, dorky little bastard, skinny and small for my age. Hand-me-down clothes. Hasn’t had a haircut in two months. Poor social skills. Thinks friends are those two guys, one of whom kneels behind you while the other shoves you over him and sends you flying into the muck. A little gobshite, in other words. Here’s a handy visual reference:
Sixth class, the final year of primary school. Our teacher decides to put on a class play in “An Taibhdhearc” – you say it “thyve-yark” – a local theatre that specialises in plays in Irish. He seeks out volunteers. After the multi-talented gays and the neglected attention-seekers have been selected, there are still half a dozen places to fill, one of which I am unwillingly drafted into.
I forget what the play was about, for the most part. Mine was a relatively small role – I was on-stage for one key scene and the rest was mostly me in the background, which suited me fine. Myself and a big lummox of a lad called Jimmy played a classic little and large duo – I was the clever conniving little fecker constantly up to mischief, and Jimmy was my lumbering sidekick, easily tricked into carrying out my devilish deeds.
My big scene involved the use of a tape recorder. My plan (in the play) was to record our voices – we made loads of spooky sounds and such – then press play and hide when everyone else came into the room. Cue much hilarity as they are all terrified by the sounds of beings from beyond the grave! WooooOOOOooooOOOOoooooo.
That was the theory. It isn’t what happened.
The tape recorder was one of those children’s Fisher-Price types – all chunky buttons and garish colours – and was powered by a whopping eight size C batteries. Remember this detail, it’s important.
In an audience of a few dozen (mostly kids my age, which somehow made it worse), I stood up and did my scene with Jimmy. It went fantastically well. An odd feeling stirred within me – I was too young and stupid to realise that it was confidence and pride in my abilities. Besides, that was soon to be snuffed out, replaced by the well-worn jacket of fooly-eyed inadequacy I was accustomed to.
The tape recorder sat on a table in the middle of the stage. On our cue to run and hide from the others, Jimmy pressed play on the tape recorder to start the spookiness and then hid behind a chair. I joined him, running across the stage, overjoyed that the biggest thing I had ever done at that age had gone off without a hitch.
As I ran past the table, in front of dozens of my peers (girls! there were girls watching me!), I kicked one of its legs and sprawled oblong across the stage floor. The tape recorder teetered, tottered, then crashed to the stage, ejecting its enormous cache of batteries upon impact.
I froze. The silence was horrific. Time stopped, then started again in time to the audience’s laughter. They were laughing at me, I’m almost sure of it! I could not move. I was burning up. I looked at my teacher over on stage left. He fixed me a look of utter malevolence and snapped his fingers “Pick the fucking thing up!”. I couldn’t do it. The laughter dried up and was replaced by pity, as thick and tangible as toffee.
Since the tape recorder was critical to the following scene, I essentially destroyed the entire play single-handed. I was so rooted to the spot that eventually the rest of the cast had to come out, tidy up the mess, and pretend to ignore me (since I was supposed to be hiding and playing a trick on them). Sweet irony, pretending to be a ghost and then being treated as one.
I’ve never gotten on a stage since. Not even when the lads were begging me to play bass in their band back in college. These days I just force myself to be the one to do the presentations, as a kind of penance.
After all the talk about how great the blog awards were on Saturday night, I was almost tempted to go next year. I know deep down that I’m full of shit, though. You can blame Mr. McInerney from St Michael’s BNS for my warped social skills. The cunt mocked me mercilessly for the rest of the year after that debacle.