The Madis touch.

I’m sure you’ve heard of King Midas, everything he touched turned to gold, a bit like Bill Gates.

It is a little known fact that he had a brother, Madis, (for the one lot of of school name labels, obviously: M.Poppodoppolopolous.) When he grasped the handle and lifted, the jug fell off.  When he loaded the bow the string broke and the arrow fell down and wedged between his toes.  When he collapsed in despair on the couch the springs went twang and the leg crumbled, chucking him into the Aegean in a dry-clean-only Chiton.

Today the OH had a Madis day and the lift engineer and I both belatedly discovered it was catching and joined in.

The new, expensive pine staircase is going to be varnished by the decorators and carpeted eventually.  Before we get to eventually, numerous tradesmen, all in filthy boots, have ascended and descended the unprotected wood until it no longer looks like something that cost a lot of money, it looks filthy, tatty and naff.  So I decided that, even though it will be invisible under carpet, that I would sand the treads and risers and varnish them today.

Accordingly I requested that the OH, who has been loud in his scorn of my use of the new platform lift, predicting loss of use of legs and worse, should utilise the lift hitherto mentioned. leaving me in peace to varnish the staircase.

So the OH got in the lift, which has worked perfectly for two months, pressed the button, and for lo!

Nothing happened.

Well we got in and out, pressed and didn’t, were surprised and not and every other combination of let’s make the lift work that you could imagine.

In the end it was decided that the OH should call the manufacturers whilst I got on with the staircase.

So we moved essential stuff downstairs, I sanded the stairs, got a coat of varnish on, which I assured the OH would be dry enough to walk on in two hours, no summoned tradesman ever having arrived earlier than two hours after the phone call, and we had lunch.

Half an hour later the lift engineer arrived and walked up the stairs, sticking at every step.

So the lift engineer got on with engineering the lift while the OH went outside to mow the lawn, breaking the lawn mover handle in the process.

The lift engineer said he was done, therefore I got in the lift as the lift engineer was shouldering his back pack and the lift didn’t work. 

So the engineer got on some more while I washed the footprints on the stairs, which were hardening.

Next I asked the OH to help me with the task which subsequently occupied me, which was scraping the sticky off the plastic window surrounds.

Some years ago when the S&H came home with two cats, Cleo thought it would be nice to sit on the outside window sill upstairs and I didn’t.  So I put Velcro round the window and attached a net.  The net is long gone but the sticky backing is left and can be removed a millimetre at a time with a fingernail but I couldn’t reach the top ones. So I asked the OH for assistance.

Being unable to access patience, because he has none, the OH brought upstairs a gallon bottle of solvent alcohol.  This, it turns out, was not ideal for removing sticky from the window but utterly perfect, when spilled, like a fountain, down every tread, for re-stickying the varnish on the stairs, which more people had walked up and down than had been traipsed since they were installed.

So now we had: a lift in bits, a sticky staircase, which everyone needed to use every five minutes and a broken lawnmower.

After three and a half hours the engineer gave up and left.

The dirt in no longer resting on the stair treads because it is permanently varnished into them and I have thrown the lawn mower handle in the bin.

If I get up at crack of dawn the new engineer will not arrive until the afternoon, if I lie in bed until eight he’ll be banging on the door exactly as I step out of the shower.  And I don’t want to get up early tomorrow because I have to get up early the following day to let the decorators in so they can pour scorn on the stairs and paint blobs on the corridor.

Oh why is nothing easy?*


* It’s the Madis touch – poke, break, drop off and sticky sticky sticky every one of thirteen steps+

+So magically touchy, it even works with feet.

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