I'm appalling at DIY. Appalling. If ever anything breaks in this house the best The Boy can hope for is that his dad will write a very nice letter of complaint to someone. I don't own a toolkit. Somewhere in one of the kitchen cupboards there is a hammer. In the dark recesses of the airing cupboard there might still be a spanner. The screwdriver hasn't been seen since it was used to change a battery at Christmas.
Last year we ordered a new sofa. It arrived. Then I realised I had to get rid of the old sofa. I was going to freecycle it, but a brief encounter with WWE in 2011 where myself and The Boy would re-enact each move, meant it was no longer fit for human use. It was time to send it to the sofa graveyard.
The local council wanted £15 to remove it. Fifteen quid. Two days notice. Looking back now, it seems a reasonable amount. At the time, though, I thought it was a rip-off. I'm not paying that. I would get rid of it for cheaper. I am a man. With a car. It can't be that hard to chop up a sofa small enough to fit into a Toyota Aygo. I would chop it up and take it to the tip myself. Like a real man would.
To keep costs down, I would try and do it all in one car journey. So, I started off by smuggling out the cushions and backs with the other rubbish. I had to do it carefully, so as not to raise suspicion. Like in The Great Escape when they tipped the rubble out of their pockets as they walked, I hid a cushion in each bin bag I left for collection. After just seven weeks, I was only left with the sofa frame standing upright in the lounge. What a winner.
I could still have paid the £15, but that was of course for losers. All I needed was something to chop the frame up with. I went to Argos, where all the top men go for their DIY supplies. I bought a handsaw for £5.99. I came home and started hacking at it. I was shocked to discover that a sofa frame has foam inside it. I never knew. And it turns out you can't cut foam with a handsaw. Or nail scissors. I nipped back out to the shops and picked up a pair of big scissors (I think that's the technical term for them) for £3.99. Oh, and I needed some strong bin bags of course to put the bits of sofa in. I'd need the really strong ones. £4.29. I think I must have ended up putting the big scissors in one of the bin bags too, because they haven't been seen since.
I continued hacking away. Sofas are stronger than you think. After another couple of weeks, I managed to saw it in half, so it now took up double the space in the lounge, but the handsaw was knackered. That's ok, I thought. I'll buy a jigsaw. I reasoned it'll come in handy in the future if I ever need to chop some furniture in half again. I went back to Argos. £17.99. That'll show the council and their extortionate fifteen quid. It cut the wood brilliantly.
I made a shocking discovery a couple of weeks later. Sofas have things inside them called 'springs', and springs are made of metal. My jigsaw wouldn't cut through metal. And I know because I tried. After another few weeks of research, I went to the local hardware store to buy some metal cutters. They cost me £19.99, but that didn't matter, because by now I was a man possessed. I would show the world that I am a real man. A real man capable of chopping his own sofa to pieces if he chooses to.
Today it is nine months since the new sofa was delivered. And as I write the last remaining bin bag of the old sofa sits next to me, ready to be removed. In just two hundred and seventy three days and at a total cost of £56.54 (I needed more bin bags), I have won the battle. I have successfully stuck two fingers up to the council and their rip-off fifteen quid charge.
I'm only telling you this story because sometimes The Boy will act in a certain way and people will say "oh, it's because he's autistic...". Well it isn't. Not always. There will be periods in his life where The Boy will do some really, really stupid things. And sometimes it will be nothing to do with his autism. Sometimes... it's just genetics.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.