When I tell people I work for my builder friend, they raise an eyebrow, look me up and down and say, ‘Oh, really?’ They might have visions of me driving a large white van, chucking plasterboard around and fitting worktops in my spare time.
Years ago when I helped my friend set up his company, this was probably true. He taught me how to use a drill and I became an excellent tiler. Those days are long gone, although I can still tile if I sit on a bench and the boss applies the adhesive for me first. It’s a bit like mosaic craft work. Until the tiles fall off.
My boss is the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes and reluctantly agreed to let me work with him after I was sacked from my job. I begged, cajoled and consented to listening to commercial radio all day long. Obviously MS has put paid to most of the things I used to do, so we have ‘adapted and overcome’. Well, I have. The boss may well disagree.
So now, my duties consist of – making tea and coffee, putting the radio on, tidying up the boss’s toolbox (not very well, as you can see from my picture), sweeping things in to little piles everywhere, gossiping, yelling out a countdown to lunchtime, making more tea and coffee and spending hours nattering to the owners of whichever house we are working on (or ‘skiving’, as the boss calls it). I call it good PR. If there’s a job where my presence is more of a hindrance, I work from home, writing up quotes, sourcing materials and helping him with his website, so I’m not completely useless.
When I asked the boss if he had missed me when I was off, he looked bemused and paused mid-way through drilling. ‘Missed what?’ I flounced (limped and stumbled) off, but he has a point, I suppose. He rattled off the facts – ‘you keep dropping the nails, you trip over everything, I find you dozing off in quiet corners, you can’t lift anything heavier than a hammer, and you talk non-stop. What’s to miss?’