It turns out I have the decorating skills of one of The Chuckle Brothers. On Friday night, knowing a friend from college was coming to stay the following day, I decided to gloss the very chipped and tired looking staircase. I set to it with gusto, feeling all GI Jane and a combination of defiant and smug (you don't usually think of cancer patients renovating their homes do you?! Although if I see The Bald and The Beautiful as a programme listing in the near future I know they stole my idea).
I started at the top of the stairs, having set Child 1 and 2 in front of a film, and in no time at all I had painted to the bottom - treads included. It was ok, we were going to camp in the front room. Until I remembered the bedding was upstairs, as was the switch to turn the heating on, as was seemingly everything we now needed. A whole 13 freshly glossed steps away.
I set the girls up to sleep on the sofa, which usually seems a normal size but a two seater does not a bed for three people make, and settled myself in the armchair as the temperature in the house continued to plummet. I swear I saw a penguin try to set up home.
At one point I tried to climb onto the sofa to snuggle with the girls. Big mistake. Child 2 sensed her warmth and blanket were under threat and kicked out like a hobo in a turf war. I gave up and sulkily retreated back to my chair, all the while consoling myself that by the morning the paint would have dried and we would be able to once again access the luxuries of heat and clean clothes. (Thank God for downstairs bathrooms!)
Some hours later, feeling as cold as Kate Winslet on that raft in Titanic, I got up to assess my handiwork. Want to know what happens when you paint wood and then essentially put it in the fridge? That's right, IT DOESN'T DRY! Not one bit and one of my slippers actually got stuck to one of the stairs as I admitted defeat and went to turn the heating on.
I now have 7 footprints to sand down and gloss over again but at least I now see my friends are justified in refusing to lend me power tools.
My college friend arrived, helped the girls and me turn the house around again and laughed at how I haven't really changed that much in ten years. I must say it is nice having a string of adults pop in and lend a hand as i'm more about instigating Taylor Swift dance offs with the girls than I am for housework. Once The Cancer has made its retreat I might look to finally give in and become a bit of a grown up but for now I wouldn't want to miss out on all the fun the three of us have. Plus they're still young enough to think I look, sing and dance just like the real Swifty so I'm milking it for all it's worth.