The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Thursday, 1 May 2008

As Handy As They Come...

It is always been my firm belief that the gene for “handiness” resides firmly on the Y chromosome. This belief probably stems from my childhood observations. My father was the ultimate handyman. He could frame, string electrical work and drywall. Carpentry and plumbing were second nature to him. With the right tools he could build anything. I’d always hoped that this handiness gene had been passed along but 41 years of experience has taught me differently (for the sake of my son, I hope it has skipped a generation). All of this leads into my recent misadventures.

It is been a rather chaotic week around the Beynon household. For a long time now we’ve needed to replace the enclosure surrounding our bathtub. With peeling grout and more than a hint of mold, it could be put off no longer. To begin we tore out the strips of this laminated board product with dubious water-resistant properties. It was this board that had become moldy. As I tore out the drywall it soon became abundantly clear that our lovely old house was completely off square. It also became clear that the plumbing side of the job (the challenge I was looking forward to) was very much beyond my meager abilities. After swallowing my pride and making sure that I still had some manhood left, I picked up the phone and call the plumber.

The plumber stopped by, took a look at the pipes and the tub, and drew my attention to something I had been doing my best to ignore. The edges of the existing tub and the brackets underneath were very rusty. Chewing my lip and nodding my head, it was agreed that a new tub would be needed. A soaker tub was ordered and delivered. The plumber and his helper showed up a few days later and set to work.

I, emasculated, could only watch.

It was much later in the day, after hours of straining and reaching and fiddling on the part of the plumber and his assistant, that I knew the right decision had been made. It would have taken me a week of messing around and at the end of it all I would have had to pick up the phone and call the guy anyway.

Next came the drywalling and the tub surround. As I said before, our old house is not square. That meant I had to build up the corner of the bathroom in order to have a square corner for the tub surround. The correct term is apparently “shimming the studs”. To me it sounds like something that might happen at a singles bar in Spain – kind of like the “running of the bulls”. The drywall in itself was an adventure with many a swearword aiding in adjusting the fit. I’m really glad the kids were at school while all this was going on. The tub surround is a five piece marvel of modern engineering. We chose the five piece model because it’s more forgiving for uneven walls. After a lot of measuring, measuring, measuring again and finally cutting, all five pieces were mounted to the wall.

I have discovered a job I really, really hate. The application of silicon sealant is a chore devised by the Devil, I say. After a failed initial attempt, I ended up with a crooked snail trail along each and every seam. I am far from satisfied with the job I’ve done but there comes a time when you need your damn bath tub back. In a couple of weeks I will revisit the silicon on the tub surround but for now I have other things to do.

Those other things include doing a final polish on a total of five short stories that I aim to have sent out by the end of tomorrow. Once those are out in the world next week will be dedicated to a final edit of Loremaster.