She didn’t say so, but my kitchen is a bit of a disgrace. What the Goddaughter did say was “Yeah, the doors are all chipped. It looks nasty. I could paint those for you.”
“How difficult is it to paint kitchen doors?”
“Not difficult,” she said. Then she shrugged and stuck out her bottom lip.
I’m not slow on the uptake. “What do you mean by not difficult?” I asked.
“Not difficult,” she shrugged again.
“Let me put it another way, how complicated, how expensive and how long will it take?”

The answer was that it would involve a multiplicity of tasks, trips to the paint shop, Saturday morning early starts, two weeks of having no handles and not being able to touch the paintwork before the sealer was applied, and just as expensive as buying new doors. It wasn’t going to be a paint job then. This would be an uptake of 25% off new kitchen doors if I hurried while stocks lasted, rather than the agony of something that was not difficult but extremely inconvenient.

I sent the builder a text to ask if he might be up for the job of replacing the kitchen cupboard doors. He didn’t reply, which I took to mean he hadn’t received my request, so I called him. He didn’t answer the phone, which I took to mean he was busy just at that moment. When he didn’t respond to my various messages I wondered if he’d ever got round to listening to his voicemails so I text him again.

The next voice I heard was Malcolm, who said I clearly hadn’t listed to the silence. The builder was far too busy and had asked Malcolm if he could do the job. I was delighted. Malcolm and I love a healthy exchange of views. “Is this going to be a ten minute row or a five minute row?” he’ll often ask.
“What’s the point?” I glibly retort. “you’re not listening anyway.”

Then I got a call from the builder. He said that he was really really really busy. Then he yawned, very loudly, just to reinforce the point. “Listen,” he said. I tell you what it is Anna. My sister is gonna send you a text in a minute. Her husband’s cousin’s friend has had a baby and the baby is blind. Can you talk to my sister please. No pressure.”
“Of course,” I said. “Has the baby got any sight or none at all?”
“I don’t know. I wasn’t listening.” Then he yawned again.
“Boy or girl?” I ventured.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t listening.”
“When was the baby born?……” I love a new born.
“My sister knows. I wasn’t listening.” This might have been code for “You’re not listening.”

The text arrived and I picked up the phone and called the builder’s sister. The baby is nearly a year old and she’s a girl. Then I listened.

The baby is a baby is a baby. The parents are the parents are struggling to get their heads round the idea that perfection comes in all kinds of packages. Perfection need not have twenty-twenty vision. She’s statistically unlikely to lament the loss of “taxi driver” as an employment opportunity, but they don’t know that. If only someone would listen to what they are asking for.

In my outrage at this state of affairs, I committed myself to go to see them. When it came to giving location details I wasn’t really listening. That’s how I have committed myself to an eight hour round trip. I’m thinking of offering zoom.

The Goddaughter turned up and said the new doors looked good but then again they would have looked good painted.