I can show you the way to BBombay

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Nanny saga still being written. (Promise, Kim and Kerri and Dee and Ensurt!)

While all three FOUR! of you wait with baited breath (yeah, right) until the day I finish that (and the travelogue AND the host of other things I still have in draft form. Yes, it's getting awfully drafty and cluttered here in the back corridors at Redsaid's! Can anyone say "Short attention span?"), here's something else for you to gnaw on.

(In case someone stumbles across this blog, reads this entry and immediately sees a resemblance to him-/herself, a quick disclaimer: I know you may find this hard to believe, but this story has been so exaggerated that it's almost a complete work of fiction.)

A while ago, the boy bought a beautiful world map to put up in the office. Because when I saw it online, I swore to him that I would never lack the inspiration to write with something like that on the wall. I have a feeling that I'm going to be gently reminded of that impassioned vow several times in the future! Like when days go by without this blog being updated...

Anyway, since it's a mural, we had to hire a wallpaper installer to put it up. I really wanted to have it done before my sister gets here next week, so we found a woman and she came a few weeks ago to look at the map, check the wall space and give us a quotation on price.

That initial consulation went without a hitch. We liked her (you have to love someone whose business card so irresistibly proclaims: "You name it, I hang it!") and she seemed to like us (which should've been the first warning sign, but never mind!) and so a date was made for the big installation.

The happy event occurred last week. I was so excited! I have always adored maps - few things captivate my imagination in quite the same way a map does - and so I couldn't wait for the precious map to finally be out of the box and on the wall. I even got up early so that I could watch her work, but she very apologetically told me that she prefers to work alone.

Fair enough... So some hours go by and she's working away and all's quiet and peaceful until I suddenly hear: "Oops!"

Thinking that perhaps she had accidentally dropped a glob of glue or something on the floor (which was covered with an old cloth anyway) and then just spoken out loud (as one sometimes does when one performs a minor mishap), I only mildly perked up. She's a professional after all, so I didn't think there was any reason to be alarmed.

Until she said, in a voice slightly tinged with hysteria: "Red, I'd like your opinion about something!"

This from the same woman who had so clearly insisted on working alone! I couldn't imagine what she could possibly want my opinion about, because the job was very straight-forward. Especially for a woman who has so much experience in the wall-hanging industry, that she confidently offers the challenge "you name it, I hang it!"

So I was more curious than worried when I walked into the office. My eyes first went to the map. Two of the three panels of the mural were already on the wall.

At first glance everything looked wonderful... until I took a closer look at her.

She had a coloured pencil in her hand and it looked as if she was scratching on the map with it!

I stifled a scream. "What's up?" I asked in the calmest, coolest and most collected tone I could muster.

It came out as a strangled squeak.

"Well," she said. "I don't know quite HOW this happened, but after I had put up the second panel and lined it up with the first, it somehow moved. So I've been trying to colour the bit of wall..."

I uttered something which I hoped resembled "Oh, I see." Call me crazy (oh, right... you already do), but I was so relieved to learn that she wasn't actually colouring on our precious map, I wasn't even all that upset about the gap between the map's panels.

I told her to please not worry about trying to colour the wall. Really.

But she insisted and her knuckles grew steadily whiter as she gripped the pencil even tighter and coloured with all of her might.

The proverbial writing was already on the wall. (Forgive me. Of course I wasn't able to resist working that one in somewhere!)

Not wanting to seem pushy or worried, I gently asked if we shouldn't perhaps phone the boy at work and get his opinion.

Much to my relief, she not only agreed, but even, at last, lay the pencil down!

As I stood there with the phone, praying for the boy to pick up, she began to try and bridge the gap with her fingers. After her pushing gave the map an ever so slight tear, she realised that it wasn't going to work, so she mercifully stopped, and turned to me instead.

By this time, I already had the boy on the line and I was trying to figure out how to retain my newly recovered normal tone of voice while conveying "MAYDAY! MAYDAY! PRECIOUS MAP BEING MUTILATED! COME HOME IMMEDIATELY. I REPEAT: COME HOME IMMEDIATELY!"

The best code I could come up with was: "Sweetie! Hi! I think you should come home for lunch today!"

"It's three o'clock. I already had lunch," he said. Why do men have to take everything so literally?!?

"Really?" I said, trying my utmost to send out one final MAYDAY.

"Really." HIS tone clearly conveyed the coded message: "Are you daft, woman?"

"In that case the Wallpaper Lady wants to ask you a question." I said, which is so clearly code for: I GIVE UP TRYING TO SEND YOU A VEILED MAYDAY. OUR MAP IS GOING TO BE DESTROYED AND I WILL REMAIN UTTERLY UNINSPIRED FOREVER BECAUSE YOU COULDN'T COME HOME AND SAVE IT.

Wallpaper Lady took the phone and in a happy tone explained how the map makers had printed the map in such a way that it overlapped a bit and how their instructions had said to cut it and how she had cut it exactly and how she had lined it up carefully and how she had pasted it to the wall and how she had looked away for a minute and how the two panels had then mysteriously moved away from each other, creating a gap where the wall was now visible.

He said something. She said: "No, it doesn't look THAT bad."

He said something else. Something quick, like "Oh, okay!" To which she smiled with relief.

Then he continued saying something else. She said: "Oh, yes! I still have it." She walked towards the trash can, pinched the cordless phone between her ear and her shoulder, and with both arms free she started rummaging through the garbage.

She pulled a long strip of paper from the trash. It was the piece of overlapping map that she had cut off earlier.

"Oh, yes!" she exclaimed. "That will DEFINITELY work. And then instead of cutting the third panel, I'll just leave it as it is and overlap it with the second panel when I paste it onto the wall."

"Never again," she huffed, "Will I pay any attention to instructions again!"

(Never mind that she had already ignored the instructions earlier by using a different glue than the one that had been recommended.)

She hung up the phone. "Right, time to hang the third panel and then the boy wants me to insert the strip over the gap between the first two panels."

I was tempted to ask if she'd hang me instead, but I just quietly nodded.

Besides, she was getting back to the task at hand, which was my cue to leave her alone.

As I stepped out of the room again, I figured that things couldn't get that much worse anymore anyway.

Of course, since it's our precious map, things decided that they could very well go wrong some more, thank you very much!

Here's what I found when I was allowed back in to see the finished work.

The overlapped third panel, although successful in the sense that there was no wall visible between the third and second panels, wasn't properly aligned.

Erm... I mean, it mysteriously moved about half an inch from where she had lined it up "so perfectly!" earlier, causing the Virgin Islands to be seperated from their virginity and creating a whole new area called the Virgi gin Islands (Is that what would originate if the Italians and Irish should decide to colonise a cluster of Carribean islands together?) The "v"in Bolivia ended up looking like a crooked "w" and so, just like that, the new country Boliwia came to be! Olé!

The renaming of countries did not stop there. Where she had inserted the strip to cover up the wall between the first and second panels, I discovered Mauuritius, BBombay, Russsia and, my favourite, Afghanistain, a new country with its renamed capital city of Kabull.

The Wallpaper Lady has since most courteously agreed to purchase a new map, to remove the old one and redo the job for free. (Because when she hangs things, she likes to execute it until she gets it right!)

And you know what? I'm rather sad about it, because I was growing quite fond of BBombay...

13 Comments

Greg said:

Make that 5. I'm waiting for the next part of your story too.

"(Because when she hangs things, she likes to execute it until she gets it right!)"

I know a thing or two about execution....

What's her number?

Annika said:

Oh, not your lovely map!

Wait, I was painfully envious of that map.

But still! Map!

kerri said:

I always did think Russia needed another "s."

And of course the breath in waiting is baited! :)

ensurt said:

sorry about your map... but I was happy to know you won't leave us before telling the whole saga...! ok, get your story together, Red! and have a nice weekend

TimT said:

Maybe that's how Australia Came To Be ... it was originally Austria, but then someone came in and added another A?

Also: eagerly awaiting Nanny Saga, part 3 ...

Red Dahling,
The woman is a MORON. But that's just my opinion.
How dare she. The directions were provided for a reason.

Miss Lisa said:

good grief!!!! Congratulations on holding back and not sayiing (or doing) something that would have adequately expressed your feelings!

kyknoord said:

Your story reminds me of the time I was at the dentist. I had a mouth full of exciting instruments and a chin shiny with drool when he frowned in a puzzled way and said, "Hmm...."

kim said:

you name it, she destroys it... ;) btw, still waiting...

kerri said:

Look at how patient we all can be! Not choking at the bit here, no, not at all. ;) Hope your Monday is going splendidly. And that perhaps your map is now correctly assembled.

kerri said:

I actually meant "chomping" at the bit. Chomping. I need to get my cliche catch phrases based on farm animal allusions straight. Chomp, chomp.

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about
is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)

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comments
  • kerri : I actually meant "chomping" at the bit. Chomping. I need to get my cliche catch phrases based on far... [go]
  • kerri : Look at how patient we all can be! Not choking at the bit here, no, not at all. ;) Hope your Monday ... [go]
  • kim : you name it, she destroys it... ;) btw, still waiting...... [go]
  • kyknoord : Your story reminds me of the time I was at the dentist. I had a mouth full of exciting instruments ... [go]
  • Miss Lisa : good grief!!!! Congratulations on holding back and not sayiing (or doing) something that would have... [go]
  • bookstorediva : Red Dahling, The woman is a MORON. But that's just my opinion. How dare she. The directions were pro... [go]
  • TimT : Maybe that's how Australia Came To Be ... it was originally Austria, but then someone came in and ad... [go]
  • ensurt : sorry about your map... but I was happy to know you won't leave us before telling the whole saga...!... [go]
  • kerri : I always did think Russia needed another "s." And of course the breath in waiting is baited! :)... [go]
  • Annika : Oh, not your lovely map! Wait, I was painfully envious of that map. But still! Map!... [go]
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