Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ben will need a Burqa

Well I finally caught up with my ironing yesterday – but I still haven’t hemmed those damned pants.

I have been searching for a ‘Stair Climbing Hand Truck’ (SCHT) which is known by various names throughout the universe.

I need this because when I buy wood (and the season is approaching) it is a enormous task (because of the stairs involved) to move it from the garage to the basement or to the apartment.

I quote from an earlier blog to illustrate the problem:

“When I get to the wood department I load the trolley – as I did today – with 18 packets of wood.

Each contains 5 ‘logs’ and each weighs 10 kilos.When I get back to Billy I load this in the back of the car and in the back seat.When I get home and drive into the garage I have to unload Billy before I park him so I put Billy on the turntable and the 18 packets into the alcove near the door.
Then I park Billy and go down to the basement to get the trolley.Then I use the trolley to take the wood, six packets at a time, into the foyer. I then have to take 4 of them off the trolley and carry them up 14 steps to the landing – load them back onto the trolley and take them to the elevator.

I go up four levels in the elevator and then take 4 of them off the trolley and carry them up four steps and load them back on the trolley. Then I take them into the apartment and unload them.

Why doesn’t he take them all up the stairs on the trolley I hear you ask? Because they are too heavy – I can only take two at a time up the stairs.”

So having a SCHT will enable me to move wood up or down stairs without having to unload it and reload it. At least that is the theory – but as my overall enfeeblement increases with age I am struggling to pick up my toothbrush let alone packets of wood and may have to look for one (toothbrush) made out of Kevlar – but I hope this SCHT will get me through this winter season.

I found one at Bauhaus and after serious negotiations with the man there was able to take it home. He had no idea what I wanted and I still don’t know the name of the thing I bought. I tried using the name that was on the label and this meant nothing to him so I reverted to my old favourite – Charades. After we determined that I did not want to buy a pram I led him outside to where a big pile of SCHTs were chained up (they are clearly dangerous).

There was a minor problem when I could not work out (again) how to put the back seats of Billy down so that I could get the SCHT in there.

I have had this problem before (and had forgotten the solution) and it is a difficult one to resolve in situ because the diagram in the Mercedes handbook bears no resemblance to reality. The release catches are so well hidden that it requires exceptional observational powers to find them.

Unfortunately I do not possess powers of this type so I spent some time at Bauhaus with my head in the Boot (Trunk for American readers).

I know – you think that the release catches for the back seats should be in the car – near the seats. Not so – this is a German car and they do things differently. They are masters in camouflage.

Perhaps the instructions for the Mercedes Engineers were ‘we don’t like these release catches much – make them invisible’. They have succeeded admirably.

For many years I have had trouble with my knees and – with all the bike riding – they are on the way out. To the extent that I have trouble sometimes walking up steps. It is time to see a Knee Doctor and Rozalin is sourcing one for me.

This will be a problem as I will have to be on crutches for a while and this will make it noisy and difficult for me to get up and down stairs to Cate’s study to deliver coffee, wine and the other essentials of life. Indeed – how do I use crutches and carry a cup of coffee. I will need a cunning device that enables me to carry things without using my hands. I will email Mercedes Benz immediately.

I may ask Cate if I can use some of the housekeeping money to put carpet on the stairs so that my clumping does not disturb her while she is doing whatever it is she does in there.

I try not to go in there too often (other than to make deliveries) as it is a bit scary. She brings big piles of paper home from work and places them all over her desk. Some of them are now so tall the cats can’t see over them.

I don’t know why she does this and assume she doesn’t have any filing cabinets at work. The piles never move – they are just added to. I get Nadia Poponova to dust them occasionally but soon she is going to need a stepladder to reach the top of some of the piles.

However, they do provide a home to countless small creatures so are doing some good.

Ben is back. Remember he was left behind in the Far East. He has spent the last month or so upside down in a plastic bag but has now been returned to his rightful place.

He is off again next week as Cate is going somewhere (perhaps Egypt?) And this will be his first trip there. He is also scheduled for a trip to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries so I have to go looking for a very small Burqa.
(Well the MEs aren’t going to know that he is a boy – there is no visible evidence of this) and without dangly bits they will assume he is a girl and therefore must be hidden from view.

I may make one of out Cate’s pants. This will solve the hemming problem.


  1. Here in the States they're called "dollies" -- such a sissy name for such a butch piece of equipment.

    Poor Ben... Poor you!

  2. is there someone that does wood delivery?? surely at the start of the season you could fill up one of your 16 bedrooms with wood and have enough to get you through?? i know, i know, it may not arrive till next winter though.....

  3. Well hello Dollie
    You're such a swell trolley
    It's so nice to have you back where you belong.

    They do deliver - but only to the street outside the apartment - so it doesn't really help me.

  4. When I was growing up we had a very fat pony named Dolly, so the song always makes me smile when it gets to the line:
    Find her an empty lap, fellas...

    I think it's such a shame that you're worrying about wood for winter in August :(

    Still, may need to look into getting air-conditioning installed as it will be 28 Celsius on Sunday!