Yesterday the firemen phoned back and set up an appointment for 3.15 today. Perfect timing; home time for both girls so no chance whatsoever of me forgetting to be at home. Always useful.
A domestically busy day today - new cleaner, so a couple of hours of frantic tidying so she could see the floors I needed her to mop, and find the toilets beyond the towels. As I gathered up the tattered remains of a Charlie and Lola magazine, and stuffed it behind the toaster, I found myself surveying the kitchen scene and thinking, with a sense of satisfaction "that's not too bad". Which begs the question, at what point did "it isn't terrible" become the housekeeping standard to which I aspire?
A phone call, and I went to meet our newest cleaner at the bus stop. Having left a nicely pleasantly scented not terrible house behind me, it was somewhat disappointing to step back into a house reeking with the acrid odour of feline urine. Gotcha's got the hang of things now, but Grolly prefers to look at the litter tray and pee elsewhere whilst staring closely at it - presumably to check it doesn't move, I'm not quite sure on the finer points of her logic.
I cleaned the wee, apologised to the cleaner, and introduced her to the delights of our cleaning cupboard. Last month's cleaner requested a new mop and endless disposable wipes. This new cleaner prefers our old dusters and the more natural cleaning fluids in our range. If we keep swapping cleaners at this rate, and if they keep requesting alternative cleaning products, it is entirely possible that by the New Year I'll be building a shed just to store the supplies. I suppose we could leave the supplies in the house and move into the shed; there'd be less to clean and it would probably be very clean. Apart from the spiders.
The cleaner settled in, and spent the next hour scrubbing the bathroom. I have shiny taps! And the next hour polishing my stove - I have shiny hobs too! And then she ran out of time, and I have a crumb-ridden floor and a dust-strewn hall, but I have a gleaming and glistening bathtub and so I don't actually care.
Meanwhile I spent her hours making a start on cardigan number two. Two hours, two inches. This could take a while.
Next stop Waitrose; spaghetti and supplies for the Guides. A failed quest for some black food colouring; hopefully plain chocolate will be an acceptable alternative. Driving home listening to an unbearably poignant episode of the Archers, and then unload the shopping and admire the clean and fresh smells emanating from the bathroom.
Very clean and fresh smelling, and a clear hour before the girls get home from school. I could knit another inch, I could check emails, or I could climb into the bath and make the most of it. Readers; I took a bath.
And a very nice one it was too, and I soaked and I soaped and I scrubbed, and I shampooed my hair, and just as I was completely covered head to toe in bubbles, there was a mighty hammering on the door, and then the doorbell rang several times. Not the postman; I'd had a parcel earlier. Not the chemist; we only put the prescription request in on Saturday. Too early for the end of school, and we haven't ordered pizza. So, I dragged on my dressing gown and squeezed out the worst of the soap, and poked half my head around the front door.
To be greeted by two firemen.
"Sorry we're a little early" apologised the first, offering to go away and come back another day. As he spoke, the alarm warbled it's CHIRP, and I hastily invited them both in.
"What the @!$@£$%^ did you do to your hair?" asked the second, which didn't earn him many brownie points. Pointing them towards the noisy alarm, I fled to the bathroom where I threw on the only clothes in the room; my Guiders' Uniform. No matter; it's Guides tonight. I don't usually put the uniform on until just before I leave, but it's got to be better than a dressing gown. Oh, and I rinse the shampoo out too.
The two firemen disassemble the first smoke alarm, but fail to stop it chirping. I ask them about the 3rd one (the 1st having done the same thing six months ago), and they decide to change that one for me too, and leave me, hoping that we don't need to meet again for another ten years. Neither of them can meet me in the eye at this point; I suspect it's not just the dodgy smoke alarms they're having difficulty with at this point.
But, they close the door leaving me with two new smoke alarms. And the rest IS silence. Beautiful, blissful, restful silence. For around ten minutes until the girls get home from school, the cats start fighting, the washing machine dings, a feed pump beeps, and life resumes its normal chaotic beat. But a beat no longer measured by the smoke alarm chirping every sixtyseven seconds. I can live with that.