If one was inclined to believe in parallel universes, it would be nice to imagine the one that branched off a decade or two ago where I am a productive individual. The one where I work hard and find motivation in the least appealing situations. This morning for instance you’d have seen me waking early (having gone to bed at a reasonable hour) and moving purposefully around the house eating breakfast and picking up a bag of rowing kit (packed and sorted yesterday evening) before setting out with a smile on my face and a determined resolve to achieve all that was possible in a single training session.
If you’d actually been watching me this morning (in a somewhat bizarre set of circumstances), what you would have seen was me hitting snooze and rolling over. 20 minutes later I stumbled out of bed and saw that it was pissing down. Already wondering if I wanted to be going out, I had a leisurely breakfast and meandered around picking up pieces of assorted lycra from wherever they happened to be scattered. Drying racks over radiators, the floor, a couple from another kit bag from last weekend. Everything goes past a smell test before it’s accepted. Even freshly washed stuff is liable to start smelling of mildew. The house is undergoing ‘minor adjustments’ and as such is lacking central heating. Things don’t dry quickly.
The thought of rowing on my own on a high/fast river in a single 20 miles away was already starting to beat the motivated part of me into submission when the final straw arrived. It started snowing. This was taking it too far. I’ve rowed in the snow before, raced even, but when you know you have no one else relying on you being there, the whole scenario just screams of unpleasant.
Reading the news this evening, I’d like to think it was a good choice, “Police said several vehicles became stuck in snow near [boat club town]”.
So what did I do instead. I joined in the excitement of the aforementioned ‘minor adjustments’. I’m sure for most sensible people, DIY means putting up shelves and takes an afternoon or two. This house has been in chaos for the last three months. Walls have been demolished, floorboards ripped up and chimneys torn down. I currently have a hole in the floor of my room that I’m getting used to walking around.
Today was a concrete day. So I pushed a wheelbarrow backwards and forwards from one side of the house, where my father was manning a cement mixer, to the other, where my mother was paddling it into a recognisable phrase or saying (or floor to be more precise).
This went on for several hours and may have been a fairly mundane task but did make me feel at least slightly productive. We now have almost the same number of floors in our house as we did to start with. It’s all getting rather exciting. Maybe one day soon we’ll have ceilings too.