Friday, 4 April 2008

Do It Himself

Himself has long been bemoaning how much rubbish there is on television, so a friend very kindly lent us a digital box to try out. As the analogue signal is being turned off soon, we have to do something.

I brought the box home and that night Himself spent two hours crouched over the television, swearing. From past experience, I kept out of the way, but did poke my head round the door at intervals to see if any help was needed in the form of liquid sustenance or hands on aid. From past experience, he accepted the former but vehemently refused the latter.

At one point, I noticed that the picture had disappeared, leaving a black and white screen like a window frame. When I looked again, it was still there and the muttering from Himself was getting louder.

An hour later he gulped down some stew and returned to the box. The black and white screen was now a permanent fixture and Himself grew more and more incensed, particularly as I’d just got a video out.

Two hours later he had to admit defeat, and retired to bed with vile grace. This is a man whose motto is “I will not be beaten”. You can imagine the mood in the bedroom that night.

When I told a friend, she asked why I hadn’t just rung a TV engineer. “It’d be a lot easier and save all that hassle,” she said innocently.

“You forget about Male Pride,” I explained. “Outside Help is a No No.”

The following evening he managed to eliminate the window frame and retune the television so we were able to watch the video through a gentle but persistent snowstorm. From what I could see, the video was rubbish anyway.

The following day he decided to go up on the roof and turn the aerial round so we could use the digibox, the video and DVD player. As there was a force eight blowing I wasn’t too keen on this idea, but he had that I-will-not-be-beaten-look.

So while he swayed on the roof in that easterly gale, I held the bottom of the ladder and prayed to the god of roofs that my husband would return in one piece. And that we might be able to get the digibox to work.

This saga continued for the rest of that week, with increased ill humour, and by Saturday morning Himself was back on the roof, out of sight, and didn’t respond to my increasingly hysterical calls. After what felt like an hour, I was convinced he was dead and started panicking. Given that he was working on the far side of the roof, I’d have to let go of the ladder and go round to the front to see if he’d fallen off the other side. Why hadn’t I made him take his phone? But then, if he was lying on the pavement with a broken back, he wouldn’t be able to phone anyway. The other alternative was to get up on that roof with him, and with my vertigo that was my last resort.

I was so caught up in his impending demise that I was relieved and astonished when he appeared about half an hour later. Unfortunately his high wire antics didn’t result in being able to get digital or Channel 5, and that night there were wobbly lines all the way through Have I Got News for You. Still, I decided to keep quiet. My nerves couldn’t stand another of his jaunts on the rooftops.

The next day, our upstairs neighbour came down to say that since Himself went up on the roof, they’d had no picture at all. I grovelled profusely and hesitantly explained this to Himself when he came home.

He’d altered the wrong aerial. But rather than call out a TV expert, he insisted on yet another voyage to the top of the world, in the pitch dark, with more gale force winds and – an added hazard - rain. I knew the roof would be slippery as a banana skin, and was once more convinced that husband was going to depart this life pronto.

While the tenant held the ladder this time (he has no head for heights either) I skulked down in the kitchen and drank a glass of wine, trembling fingers all ready to ring 999.

Finally, Himself reappeared white with cold and dripping with rain, but otherwise unscathed. The neighbour reported that his TV was now working so I guided Himself towards a hot shower, lit the fire and opened a bottle of wine.

The trouble is … there’s now something the matter with our video channel so I can’t record anything. But I daren’t mention that.

21 comments:

Miss Understood said...

Oh God. I was practically hanging on to that ladder myself!

What is it with men and their inability to ask for help? It's beyond me! I'm so glad he made it back in one piece though.

Akelamalu said...

Get the TV engineer out pronto to save your sanity and himself's life! They won't even ask for directions will they????? :(

Flowerpot said...

MissU - god knows. Male Pride I think.

Ak - I keep meaning to, but I have to get him out of the house for long enough! When i did mention it the other day he was mortified...

Rebecca Taunton said...

Oh dear FP. I didn't know DIY could be so stressful!

I agree with akelamalu...it might be a good idea to get a tv engineer out!

Lane said...

Cripes, I could feel your tension. Glad Himself made it down in one piece. Anything to do with ladders and heights makes my palms sweat:-(

Flowerpot said...

RT - well it would but it will take some explaining. And given the bills for the car, I might wait a few weeks!

BreadBox said...

Perhaps a visit from a tv engineer on the sly while himself is sent on an errand to the shops is called for?

Good luck..
N.

Flowerpot said...

lane - no I have vertigo too.

Breadbox - Yes I'd thought of something along those lines too!

Julia Smith said...

You must really get a sinking feeling in your stomach when Himself says he's going to work on something...

Ellee Seymour said...

I'm useless at this kind of thing too. Men never ask for help or admit they are stuck.We had real problems when I bought an HD flatscreen TV for our bedroom which is superb. Anyone would have thought it was rocket science.

Sweet Irene said...

I do think that digital TV's and antennas have nothing to do with each other. At least, they don't in the Netherlands.

Mopsa said...

Oh no! I absolutely hate heights and ladders.

Flowerpot said...

julia - well as long as its not TVs he brilliant. But electronics and him are not suited!

ellee - what is it with men not wanting to ask for advice? Hello?!

Flowerpot said...

sweet irene - it could be the aerial or it could be teh connectors - God knows!

Mopsa - so do I!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Had me laughing out loud this one! Not at your husbands possible demise but at the way you told it. Male pride is so ridiculous isn't it!

CJ xx

Debs said...

Hysterical. Why do they do it?

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

Oh dear - if himself thinks that there's a lot of rubbish on television, the last thing you should do is to go digital!!

Flowerpot said...

Crystal - it certainly is!

Debs - I do wonder...

Graham - well there have been things I watn to watch on BBC4 - that recent series of people playing well known comedians. but not a lot else!

Philipa said...

Cripes! Do you remember the days of holding the aerial up around the house? Every TV moment was preceeded by at least half an hour of waving the damn thing around and as the youngest in the family I was often given the job of being the aerial tree (as if it was a prize) and you watched every prog through a veil of snow? Ahh those were the days - thank cripes they're gone! Get digital and a TV engineer and fluff his pride by flattering his project management skills when he delegates :-)

Philipa said...

I meant fluffing Himself's pride, not the TV engineer.

Flowerpot said...

P - yes I do remember those days. Things havent changed all that much in some parts of Cornwall.... good idea about project management skills though.