The Secret Tradesmen Does Christmas Flat Pack Assembly
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The Secret Tradesmen Does Christmas Flat Pack Assembly

“Sure there are always a few screws and things left over with this type of stuff” I go.

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m over at my sister Doreen’s. I was lured in by the "Sure, just pop over for a few bevvies" line. I really should have learnt by now. There's no such thing as a free mince pie – even they came from Dealz and have less filling in them than Angelia Jolie’s Chompers. I'm in the door for about 10 minutes with a can of Royal Dutch in my hand when I get asked to put together a doll’s house for the niece. Her husband an accountant, so it's probably for the best.

“For feic sakes Joe, there’s a bleedin mound of it leftover” she goes. “It better not fall down tomorrow morning when Jenny starts playing with it. If it does you’ll have some explaining to do.”

I bail. I’m pretty sure it’ll be Ok as I used some industrial glue to stick the walls together instead of the bits that actually came with it. I was never a big believer in instructions, particularly with dodgy Scandinavian-designed stuff, and the doll’s house will definitely end up much sturdier my way. 

I’m in the jammer heading home thinking about the whole Christmas and being a Tradesman thing. Last year it was assembling a rocking chair for the brothers’ wife. Now she never gets off the thing. The year before we had a plumbing emergency with a toilet at me mothers. I’m no plumber but I still ate Christmas dinner in my work pants about 5 feet away from the rest of the clan with them complaining about the smell of their own shite. Still, it meant that I actually didn’t have to talk with them for long, so it turned out Ok. 


I’m about home when the phone rings.

“Whatssup Joe, you big eejit?”. It’s Jimmy. 

We’re over at his apartment horsing into a few cans with some honeys from next door. Christmas is definitely taking a turn for the better. I’m telling one of them about the supposed construction company that I used to own and she is genuinely lapping it up. I realise that I need to act quick though. She tells me she’s actually heading to Leopardstown races on Stephens day after I let on that one of my supposed racehorses is running there.

Just then Jimmy’s phone rings. It’s not good. The Christmas lights on his mam’s house have died. To be fair it was only a matter of time. There are more bulbs on their roof than in Simon Cowell's dressing room. Their neighbours actually picketed the house last Christmas on account of the brightness coming off it, saying their kids hadn’t slept in weeks. They came to an agreement in the end and his ma turned them off for Christmas Eve last year, but apparently, the neighbour's kids still missed Christmas day altogether. Slept right through. Relations have gone seriously south since, so there's no way Jimmy’s ma is turning them off again this year.     

As the electrician in the family, Jimmy has to bail to fix them. So I do too, but not without getting her number. I’ll work out what to say about the racehorse later.

I wake up on Christmas morning feeling pretty good. No hangover, things looking rosier on the ‘auld romance front. I reach for the blower and freeze. Seven missed calls, fifteen messages. All from the sister.

I don’t need to bore you senseless with all the details. Let’s just say it wasn’t totally my fault. The sister hid the doll’s house in the porch. It was cold. The glue didn’t set properly. Jenny was very excited about the doll’s house, to be fair to her she’s great like that. So excited that she ended up in A&E with her face, both hands and actual shoe stuck to the doll’s house. To be honest, I think the sister was being a bit dramatic including the whole shoe thing in the details, but she was obviously a bit stressed out so fair enough. 

Looks like it’ll be another silent Christmas dinner this year.   

Happy New Year to all! 

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