gracefulI think I need to qualify the title here. Firstly let me explain that my husband’s office was shutting down and he was planning to work from home. They were providing furniture – desk and wireless internet. My mother-in-law joked that the only furniture he really needed was two big cushions. Obviously, she had as much faith as me that he was going to get out of bed.

His company had been selling off pieces of furniture, this included a large (bloody large as it turned out) white board. We decided that’d be great to put in the playhouse for the boys.

I arrived at my husband’s work just as the lady security guard watched him leave the building carrying the giant board. I could immediately tell from her face that she knew what I knew, and what my husband was soon about to realise. It was never going to fit in the damn car!

So abandoning the lift home, my husband decided to carry it. He set off down the pedestrian alleyway with it on his back (much like a flattened, modern day Atlas.) I was instructed by him to go home, but felt I ought to, at the very least, drive to the end of the alleyway and see how he was getting on. If only for my own amusement.

He emerged with his head at a very funny angle. I drove slowly past the other end of the alleyway, shouting out of the window, “Keep going, you’re doing really well!” (So common to shout in the street!)

From his prone position, he beckoned me over and stated that he couldn’t do this all the way home – about another mile. So we went to plan B.

We placed the giant board on the roof of the car. The flippin’ thing almost hung over the edge, so how he’d ever thought it was going to fit IN the car is still beyond me. (And men say we have no spatial awareness!)

We then wound down the windows and using some old rope from the boot; we tied it to the top of the car through the doorframes. Once tied I asked, “Can I get in now?” No. We discovered that, of course, we’d tied the doors shut!

My husband simply climbed into the car through the open window – ‘Dukes of Hazard’ style – both feet first, bend your back and the rest will follow. I decided it was best not to do it that way. Not with my dodgy back! I went for the ‘Emma Peel from the Avengers’ style entrance. One leg in, duck head and other leg in. Being reasonably tall this was actually possible.

My husband was very impressed and for a long time afterwards kept telling everyone how ‘fluid’ I was, and how effortlessly I’d climbed into the car. It was, you realise, a complete fluke. It could have gone either way – I really had no idea of the outcome when I began the manoeuvre.

Once back at home we realised that we now couldn’t open the doors to get out either. I refused to climb back out through the window; for fear that I would totally mess it up and lose all this new-found admiration from him. So we untied the board from inside the car and threw the rope over the roof to each other until it was free.

As soon as the children saw it, the eldest immediately wrote ‘Happy Birthday Mum’ and the youngest drew a picture of me – with a giant head (it’s ok though – all his drawings of people had giant heads at that time.)

Then we sat down to fish and chips and birthday cake. It was a very happy birthday and I was, for once at least, a very graceful birthday girl.

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