It was Mom. In the conservatory. With the idiot.

By Tiber

On the list of phrases women do not want to hear, it’s probably not as high as, “No, no, honey, she’s a linen buyer and she just wanted to check out our sheets.” Still up there, however, is the dreaded, “There’s no reason to spend good money on a professional when I can easily fix this myself.”

Mom was alone and watering plants in the conservatory. (And yes, when you’re in a house this big, it does often sound as if you’re living in a game of “Clue.”)

She was using that long metal pole thing, with the grip on the end, to take down a high-hanging plant, when she accidentally shattered one of the panes of glass in the roof. Dad now always instantly thinks of cost so my brother, Duncan, said we should just cover the hole with plastic and at least that would keep the rain out.

Mom said it wouldn’t keep a neighborhood burglar out.

“No burglar could fit through that hole,” Dad pointed out.

Uncomforted, Mom went on, “Well, a raccoon could get in!”

Dad rolled his eyes.

“Only if he was airlifted and dropped. And frankly, if we have a neighbor who is airlifting and dropping raccoons, we have a bigger problem than a hole in the conservatory roof.”

In any event, Dad said, to save money, he would fix the window himself and you knew right then you could title the next chapter “and let the expenses begin!”

Dad bought the replacement glass, got the size off and had to replace it. He then bought the wrong kind of adhesive and had to go back once more. Once at home, he realized he’d forgotten one of his new tools and he had to return for that, So already he’d paid for six trips in his car.

Then he had to get the two security guys to quit work to come and spot him, in case he fell off the ladder and when he inevitably cut himself on the glass, my sister, Vanessa, had to take time off of her own work because she was the only one here who knew how to bandage.

By the time Dad had finally installed the new pane and then slipped and smashed this glass too, skidding down the outside of the conservatory wall, catching his coat on a rain pipe, inverting himself and finally ending up hanging there enclosed in a cloth ball, Mom had had enough.

The security guys sprang to help but Mom said to leave Dad right where he was.

She went inside, gave the each of the triplets a pool cue and told them, “Hurry outside, children, and join in the fun! Up on the side of the conservatory, Granddad’s hung a giant pinata!”

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