Extremely tentative drilling

*Apologies for the delay writing this post. I was writing a different post, which was a bit more esoteric, but I’ve decided to come back to that. Then, every spare moment, I’ve been re-touching the sodding woodwork in my bathroom.*

Last weekend, Andrew and I had our first conversation about moving in together.

On Friday, at lunchtime, I sent him a photo of the room I was working in. I’ve started working in a different GP surgery on Fridays, and the room I’ve been allocated is hilariously bad.

If you imagine worst possible room you could have therapy in, you’d still imagine something better than this. It’s a tiny, narrow room, dominated by a big medical couch – the kind of thing you’d normally lie on to have a smear test. There’s just about room for two chairs to be squeezed in, around the couch.

The room has previously been used by other services, including sexual health, but I think it’s just my service that uses it now.

There’s a sink with heavy hole punch perched on it, which I discovered is essential for wedging the tap in the off position.

I had brought in a nice throw and some cushions to put on the couch, to make it feel more like the kind of place you might open up to a therapist about your feelings, and less like somewhere you’d expect someone to come in with a speculum.

Andrew and I have had many conversations about how he would like to come and see me when I’m at work, for something besides therapy. I think he finds it so exciting to imagine because it would be so naughty.

We didn’t speak on Friday night, because he went out and got drunk with a friend, but he called me on Saturday morning (it was the friend whose wedding we recently went to). He was feeling sorry for himself because he was hungover, and feeling guilty for getting drunk.

We had quite a long conversation about how it would be, if we did have sex in that therapy room, or ‘the room of requirement’ as he called it.

“Imagine if you were waiting in the waiting area, and everyone thought you were waiting to see me in a professional capacity, but you knew you weren’t,” I said. “And then I’d come and collect you and we’d go to my room…”

“Oh my god, I’ve got an erection just thinking about it!” he said.

Then we started talking about it in a lot more detail. We talked about how helpful it was having a couch in the room that we could both lie on, but that first he might sit on the edge of my desk and I might do things to him.

We were half-having phone sex as we talked about it. I was enjoying how enthusiastic he was, but I was less into it myself than other scenarios.

I don’t think I’d really want to do it, because I’d be so worried about getting into trouble – especially as I like and respect my managers.

I also don’t feel that sexual at work. My mind does wander onto sex if I’m in a boring meeting or doing some photocopying, but I spend most of my time talking to people about awful things that have happened to them, and it’s just not that sexy.

Anyway, we were both enjoying talking about this fantasy liaison, and then his battery cut out. A bit later on, he phoned me back and said he had finished off the story on his own.

He seemed to be having some post-wank guilt. He always seems to feel guilty about something, especially if he’s hungover.

“I think I can get a bit obsessed with things, and it’s probably not that healthy…” he was saying.

“You’re allowed to think about sexy things and you’re allowed to have fun, if it’s not hurting anyone else. Stop giving yourself such a hard time!”

Ironically, it sounded like he’d already given himself quite a hard time, earlier that morning.

I spent the afternoon painting the woodwork in my bathroom. I’ve been decorating it over the last few weeks, and it’s finally nearly finished.

He came around that evening, looking a bit dishevelled and still feeling sorry for himself.

We had sex shortly after he arrived, although I felt disgusting as I hadn’t showered all day, as the paint in the bathroom was wet.

It was my period, which meant two things:

  • we had to put the Official Period Towel down
  • we could have sex without a condom.

Afterwards, I finally showered, and made us a risotto.

(On Thursday night he had come around after my late shift and we’d planned to have a risotto, but we hadn’t seen much of each other all week, and we just couldn’t tear ourselves out of bed for long enough for me to cook, so we just ate cereal in bed at about 11pm.)

We had a really nice evening, chatting while I cooked, and eating together, and then we went to bed. We had sex again.

Recently we’ve had a lot of quick sex, like in the morning before work, when there isn’t much time for him to concentrate on me. I knew that had been bothering him, and that night he made up for it. He did a lot of oral sex and I had a great orgasm. Then, when I was enjoying the afterglow, he said, “I think you can come again,” and carried on.

I said, “I’m not sure I can!”

But then I did.

The next day, in Sunday, we worked on the new bathroom cabinet I’d bought.

There was already a bathroom cabinet in the flat when I bought it, but for some extraordinary reason, it had been put on the wall in the shower. It was a cheap IKEA cabinet made of cheap wood and metal. The wood was warped from the shower water, and the metal was rusty.

I hadn’t done anything yet with my new, shiny, blue cabinet as I needed a drill to attach it to the wall, and I don’t have a drill. I have lots of tools but no drill, and Andrew has nothing but a drill.

He had brought his drill around so he could help me.

After I made us breakfast, I found him sitting on my bed, watching YouTube videos about How to Use a Drill.

We started work on the cabinet. It was quite fun assembling it together. He was stronger than me, so he was better at getting stubborn screws into tough wood, whereas I had done more DIY in the past, so I like to think I was better at overseeing the project and figuring out the instructions.

I noticed how patient he was, when tasks got annoying. A few times we had to unscrew things we had already done, because they weren’t quite right, and he never seemed anything less than 100% calm.

I thought about other people I’ve done DIY with, and I think it’s very standard to get frustrated and argue with each other about the best ways of doing things, or whose fault it is when it goes wrong. Even one of the happiest and most well-suited couples I know had an argument when they were helping me put up wallpaper.

Just as the cabinet seemed to be coming together, we hit a road block. It turned out we had to buy screws for attaching the cabinet to the wall separately “depending on the type of wall. Seek professional advice.”

“Fuck sake,” I said.

“OK. We’ll get it sorted!” Andrew said.

We got properly dressed (he had been in a T-shirt and boxer shorts) and went to B&Q.

I found a professional to seek advice from and was given some screws and rawl plugs.

(“What kind of wall is it?”

“It’s like… a bathroom wall?”

“Is it brick or plaster?”

“I mean… it’s pretty solid! Brick I guess!”)

On the drive home from B&Q, Andrew said, “You know when you said you never want to move out of your flat, were you serious?”

This was something I had semi-seriously said after buying my flat. The process had been so laborious and stressful, I thought, Well, I’m not going to do that again.

Also, I really love my flat, so I don’t like the thought of moving out. I have a spare room, and I have thought that even if I had a baby, it could live in the spare room.

I laughed and said, “Kind of! Why?”

“Well, when I saw Nicola yesterday… she asked if we had talked about moving in together. I said we hadn’t, probably because we both bought homes just before we met.”

(Nicola is his friend I had previously thought could be a love rival. I now don’t think that, but do think he probably talked about her too much at the start.)

“Oh. Right!”

At that exact moment, I was coming up to a busy, difficult roundabout where I always seem to end up in the wrong lane.

I was excited he had brought up moving in together, as I’d been thinking about it for ages, but was also concentrating on driving.

“I’m not ruling it out…” I said, non-committally.

“That’s like Labour and the second referendum!” he said, seeming a bit disappointed.

Once we were on a straighter bit of road, I added, “I suppose I had thought, now you have this new job, it could potentially make sense for you to move into my flat, depending how long you’ll be working there.”

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, but Andrew recently got a promotion. He applied for it last year, and I wrote about how he did quite a nauseating level of preparation for the interview and got on my tits a bit.

He then got put on the shortlist to be moved to this more specialist team when they next need new detectives.

It seems like quite a strange process, and he’s been limbo for nearly a year. A few times he has been told he’ll probably be moved to the new team, but then hasn’t, which was disappointing. The new job is investigating a more serious type of crime, in a team with more resources.

The new team is based quite near where I live, which is massive, as up til now, we’ve both lived and worked on opposite sides of London.

He applied for this job when we’d only been together for a few months, and apparently he went for this team, which is miles from where he lives, because he might be able to work with a sergeant he previously worked with and really admires.

However, the whole time I liked the idea of him working much nearer me.

Ironically, I’ve just got an interview for a new job working near where he lives. It would mean working in a more specialist team, with more severely ill patients, but again, with more resources. He has been really enthusiastic about the possibility of me getting this job, as it would mean I could stay at his more.

We also had this text conversation, which I found really sweet.

Anyway, I tried to seem nonchalant as I said things like, “I guess it might’ve crossed my mind that, logistically, my flat is nearer your new office, so you might want to move in at some point.”

He said he would prefer for us to both move somewhere new, rather than one of us move into the others place. I did think it was probably better in some ways, to do it that way.

“So, do you want to move in together then?” I asked.

“Well, at some point, if we stay together, yeah!”

I was really pleased. After L-wordgate, and before that, the fact I had to bring up whether we were in a relationship, I had assumed I would have to initiate any progression through relationship stages. I thought this was because of his lack of relationship experience and hesitance about making any decision, because of his perfectionism.

“You’ve never lived with anyone before, have you?” I said.

“No,” he replied.

“But you would feel OK about living with me?”

“Yeah!”

When we got to my flat, we stayed sitting in the car for ages, talking about living together.

“I suppose it would be a lot cheaper than living alone!” I said.

“I think… I might be earning more than you with the new job, so I could pay more.” He winced as he mentioned earning more than me, as if I’d be annoyed, but I was OK with him paying more.

“I wouldn’t like the idea of selling my flat, but it would be really exciting to move somewhere new with you,” I said.

Eventually my neighbours came and parked next to us, so we got out the car.

When we got back into the flat, I made a cup of tea and found him crouched down on all fours, reading the cabinet instructions.

I went and lay on top of the instructions, underneath him. I hugged him and said, “So you’re gagging to live with me?! OK. I guess I’ll split the bills with you!”

We agreed we’d leave it for a few months and see how we feel then, and see what’s happening with each of our jobs.

There are some logistical problems we will have to get around. He is on a five year mortgage (what the fuck!) so will probably have to pay a big fee to leave his mortgage early. He’s also in a shared ownership flat, so he can’t sub-let it.

When it came to drilling the holes in the wall, to put the professionally chosen screws in, he was so sweet and serious about it.

He flicked through the instructions one last time before earnestly climbing up the ladder. Every time he handed me the drill for a moment, he told me some convoluted information about the safety catch which I didn’t understand.

“This feels very dangerous!” he said, in between bursts of drilling.

At first, he couldn’t get the drill to go more than a centimetre into the wall. We guessed maybe we were trying an unusually tough bit of wall and tried repositioning where the cabinet would go. Later on, I realised he’d had the drill on the wrong setting.

Eventually, we got the cabinet onto the wall. The last step was to put the doors on.

He seemed to know what he was doing, so I went off to make a sausage sandwich.

When I came back in, he showed me what he’d done.

“Hmm. They’re not quite straight, are they?” I said.

The two cabinet doors weren’t properly aligned – one was slightly higher than the other.

I wanted to say “doesn’t matter though, does it!” so he didn’t feel bad.

But I did want the doors to be properly aligned.

We investigated and realised the hinges on one side were higher than the other.

He went up the ladder and was trying to do something with the hinges and a screwdriver, while I stood and solemnly held the doors in place.

Whatever he was doing seemed so hard that he had sweat pouring off his face. If I was him, I would’ve been really annoyed, but he just occasionally asked if my arms were hurting from holding up the doors.

Eventually, he came down the ladder and said, “OK. How’s that!” closing the cabinet doors.

We both stared at the two doors and thought They’re exactly the same as before.

“Can I have a go?” I said, and went up the ladder.

I slightly loosened each screw in the hinges on one side, then pushed the door was too low upwards slightly, the re-tightened them.

When I’d finished, I climbed down the ladder and closed the doors.

“They line up!” I said.

I explained what I’d done, and Andrew grabbed me and gave me a long kiss.

I couldn’t believe it – he didn’t seem emasculated. He didn’t look for a reason that my way was wrong, he just seemed impressed and pleased.

“It looks good! And I feel more confident using the drill now.”

After he’d gone, I texted my friend who has done a lot of DIY since buying a house with asbestos. We often compare notes on both DIY and relationship experiences.

I wrote, “Never mind moving in together – based on his DIY temperament, I want to marry him.”

11 thoughts on “Extremely tentative drilling

  1. I am sooo happy for you! Moving in together is a big, important step but you and Andrew are a great match and seem well-sure for each other. ❤️

    Moving together into a new place is smart. I didn’t do that when I married Mars (I moved into his house because he owned and I didn’t… even though I know it wasn’t a good idea) and it created a lot of problems.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. One of our biggest ‘issues’ for us is the constant crap that accumulates and covers the tools required to maintain a house. If I want to fix something, or have him fix it, it first requires decluttering to find the stupid tools. Homeownership is not for wimps.! 😛

    I like minimalism, less is more, we don’t need two dozen screwdrivers, he is more of the sort ‘they were on sale, they’re a good brand’….lol. (not really lol). It’s a big stress and reading about how you managed to work together and be polite and helpful with each other is kind of fascinating. I’m actually glad to hear that this sort of thing exists in some relationships. 🙂 Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh gosh I love this about getting older (I’m 30 now) – that I’ve come to appreciate the value of attributes like patience and willingness to help in DIY!! It’s the seemingly ordinary stuff that reveals so much! Congrats on the new and perfectly aligned cabinet.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree that how you work together on this type of thing is so important. I was used to a partner who shouted at me, belittled me, grumped continuously and generally made me feel like an idiot when we worked ‘together’ on anything. I so appreciate my man now, who is so much more mature, pleasant and calm. I have seen him flustered and annoyed with DIY though, but it was still a lot better than the standard crap I was used to dealing with – plus he never makes me feel like it’s all my fault. He does probably feel slightly emasculated though when I can do something better than he can (like start a fire or some other small aspect of DIY). Happy days for you x

    Liked by 1 person

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