Are you good at home improvements? Can you stand on a ladder with a pencil behind your ear and a drill in your hand and make something stay on the wall? If so, can I just bow down before you. (Imagine deep bow.) I’m pretty handy with a paintbrush, which led me to think I would be good at home maintenance generally. The small, quiet, pretty house is in need of some cosmetic assistance and I’m planning to do it myself. But after this weekend I might have to rethink that. Here’s the story of how I put up curtains…

Measure very large windows by stretching up on tiptoes and wrangling with bendy tape measure. Tape measure flips all over place like metal serpent, threatening to take out eye. Manage to save eye. Write down dodgy measurements on scrap of paper and shove into handbag.

One month later, discover scrap of crumpled paper in handbag. Resolve to go to IKEA to buy curtain rods and curtains all at same time.

Another month later, find time to go to IKEA. Walk into IKEA clutching scrap of paper with measurements on. Look up directions to curtain section. Become instantly distracted by discovery of shortcut to cafe. Follow shortcut to cafe. Buy coffee and gluten free cake and feel very pleased with self.

Set off again for curtain section. Pick up coffee pot and mason jars on way. Arrive at curtain section with hands full. Temporarily detour to find large bag. Return to curtain section. Discover have misplaced important scrap of paper. Backtrack to find paper. Return to curtain section.

Realise must also buy brackets and ends for curtain rods. Feel relieved at in-store realisation, resulting in no need for second visit to IKEA. Stare for long period at measurements on curtain rods. Sigh at own mathematical and spatial awareness inadequacies.

Decide on curtain rods. Clank over to curtains, carrying rods, mason jars and coffee pot. Discover that curtains in shop aren’t same as curtains online. Touch curtain in shop and recoil from nasty nylon material snagging fingernails.

Clank through remaining sections of IKEA without curtains. Become distracted by nice mirror. Attempt to look up number and price of nice mirror on warehouse computer. Wonder why touchscreen not working. Try another computer. Touchscreen also not working. Give up and go to checkout. En route, realise computers were mouse operated.

Steer self across windy car park with curtain rods acting as rudders. Attempt to fit rods in small car. Try from several angles. Fold down back seats and retry. Success!

Two weeks later, feel icy wind blow through sliding doors in bedroom and living room. Read in paper about snowfalls in national park. Decide today is thermal curtain day. Remove old, broken wooden blinds from windows by standing on chair and sliding knife into various metal parts until blinds give way. Discover big blinds very heavy. Call friend to come over and help.

Meanwhile, carry small blinds across golf course in freezing wind to dump in skip. Bump into neighbour. Go to neighbour’s house to look at double glazing. Marvel at warmth and quiet of neighbour’s house. Plan to save bazillion dollars and buy double glazing.

Friend arrives. Drive to nearby town to good curtain shop. Friend disappears in curtain section. Decide on curtains. Friend reappears carrying exact same curtains. Laugh. Both stand in front of curtains trying to do maths. Realise measurements on crumpled piece of paper are inaccurate. Use phone calculator to do more maths. Purchase curtains and hope for the best.

Back at home, friend helps carry large blinds across golf course, through sleeting rain, to skip. Both scurry back inside, put fire on, have tea and chat.

Several hours later, stand on chair to fix curtain rods to bedroom wall. Realise part of wall is hardwood beam. Peer at various drill bits and wonder which bits work on hardwood. Get lucky and choose right bit. Drill holes. Almost step back to admire handiwork then remember standing on chair with drill in hand.

Attempt to screw in brackets. Realise have wrong screws. Notice that sun is setting and temperature dropping and have no curtains at windows. Hang bedroom curtains anyway, with brackets only half screwed in. Realise brackets are too high. Curtains look like boy with too short trousers. Briefly consider making embroidered bottoms for curtains. Acknowledge to self that winter will be over by time finish embroidery. Decide to re-do brackets and re-hang bedroom curtains another day when have right screws.

Go into living room and temporarily pin bits of material up at windows like in student days. Spill drawing pins all over floor. Glance at packaging of living room curtains and wonder why bought extra wide curtain for smaller window. Feel suddenly very tired. Resolve to deal with it tomorrow.

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Post script: Next day buy right screws, install brackets lower down and successfully hang curtains. But only in living room. Bedroom windows still have too short trousers.