I often think how useful it would be in life to have an ‘undo’ button. It would work much in the same way as ‘control z’ – whatever you have just done, becomes undone. Think how useful it would be! That thing you just said that started an argument – undone. The cheese and mushroom toasty definitely not burnt, and that banister that you decided to bash out at 8pm on a Tuesday night with a hammer and a large boot – definitely reinstated. It would happen in a flash and whatever you had done that was a disaster was instantly corrected. Obviously there are moral issues surrounding the concept of this magical button and, reading this, my father is whirling through all of the ways it just isn’t physically possible given time travel and all of that… but imagine.
Particularly in the instance of the great banister battle.
You see it was definitely a Tuesday night at 8pm. James was tucked up in bed with a touch of man flu and I was twitching for excitement in the living room. That’s the problem with having an irregularly spontaneous personality. I don’t even have the luxury of knowing that I am spontaneous all the time and thus should anticipate when these random acts of activity will burst through the gates. Instead, my spontaneity comes in waves and usually at the most inconvenient times possible.
This Tuesday night was one such burst. See, I felt the banister jutted into the room beyond reason – it took up loads of space in a room that needs all the space it can get. I needed a solution.
And this is how it went…
In my mind I see it toppling over with a single blow of my lady hammer. It’s not quite one of those hammers you get at the gardening centre with the floral plastic handles but it might as well be. James is in the bedroom, curled up with a sore throat and a headache and thus it’s the perfect time to bludgeon a banister to the death. At first I make sheepish taps, the careful dentist. The first tooth doesn’t budge. I tap harder. Then pause and listen for my name to be called out with a groan from the bedroom. Nothing. He’s a sleep or feigning so as not to get involved in the procedure. I push my back up against the rail – one leg on the wall opposite in a comical and rather trouser-splitting stance. The rail doesn’t budge. I whack the hammer against one little post and it wiggles, a subservient tooth. I bash it again and again; careful not to destroy the post as if I may have the chance to put it back in if all goes to hell. The first rail pops out after a few extra hits and I begin to think this whole thing will actually be easy. Done in the flashes of flashes. I line up the hammer with the second rail. One swing, I tell myself. One passionate sw– the wood barely moves. I take a good hard look at my hammer and tell it that I’m going to buy a proper man hammer to take its place if it doesn’t buck up. The second post is out, nails stubbornly sticking into the wood floor. After I manage to sweat through hammering out the third rail I head to the bedroom, sheepishly crack the door and peer into the darkness.
‘Darling? I may have started taking out the banister.’ James squints at the blaring light from the doorway; his head is partially covered by a pillow. He grunts.‘Is that ok? I should have said, but then I just thought I’d do it anyway.’ He says something like ‘ok’ and that he isn’t too bothered at this particular moment.
The following day – gone 7 o’clock – I begin again, this time aiming for the last post, the God post, the one that had held all of the others in a line. I whack with my everything – whatever that means. The thing doesn’t budge, like, at all. Not a wiggle or a sigh, it hits the hammer back with just as much force but doesn’t move a millimeter. For ten minutes I smack this post with my almighty lady hammer and it just leaves perfectly round dents in the wood and the stubborn post doesn’t budge.
After some time, and a little advice from my father, I realise the post goes through the floor several feet. I have bashed and battered the post, splinters everywhere, but it isn’t ever going to shift. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a DIY cock-up.
As I’m writing this, I’m staring at the banister wishing I had that ‘undo’ button. Do I saw off the protruding post with a Japanese bear pull saw? Or go to the DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself) shop and buy new posts to replace the battered ones? Either way, it would be so much easier to have that ‘undo’ button and just give the original old banister a lick of paint instead of a hammering.Have you had any DIY disasters? Get in touch on twitter @HomeLittleHome and send me your stories! 🙂 x

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