Out of 81 steps (some big, some small) there are apparently just 15 left. They are the cosmetic things – like putting the seats and the carpet it. Right now, the car will steer, the gears will change and the brakes, including the handbrake, will work. The engine hasn’t yet been switched on and the wheels aren’t on. But it’s very nearly done.
The process hasn’t been quite how I imagined it. We’ve had hardly any male visitors at all. Apart from my husband’s friend travelling 100+ miles right at the start and my brother putting the engine in, it has been a largely solitary activity.
Just my husband, in overalls and a hat, shut in the garage to keep what little warmth there is inside, with the radio on. He’s cut his hands a lot. And even his head a couple of times. But he’s been very happy.
Sometimes it’s been hard and a little bit frustrating for him. Some jobs that look easy have been difficult. He’s put the wrong part on – or the put the right part on wrongly. His new best friend is a guy at Caterham whose job it is to deal with men (I’m sure it IS only men) building their own cars. He phones him and emails him with his problems and this guy responds immediately – with detailed photos, or new nuts and bolts in the post if something has been lost or damaged.
Before the car arrived, all my husband could think about was driving it. Then he got excited about building it. Now he is excited because the end is in sight, but also sad that he will no longer have his hobby. He wants to get on with it, but it’s like eating all your pudding at once – once it’s gone, it’s gone. What will he do next?
But while he’s happy in his garage, someone else is quietly having a mini mid-life crisis of their own. ME.
Our family doesn’t get much time together and I like us to spend whatever free time we do have (basically Saturday and Sunday afternoons) doing things together. But Saturday and Sunday afternoons, he is in the garage. Until he strolls in at 4pm and switches the telly on for a Man Utd match. (WHY ARE THEY ON EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND?!)
In the evenings, you know, the time when he fiddles with his phone and I single-handedly put the kids to bed, he’s not fiddling with his phone, he is in the garage. And I am dealing with shouting and fighting and endless trails of clothes.
I want to scream and shout and cry and have a tantrum like the kids. I want to throw stuff and break stuff and smash stuff. But instead I go and put some washing away.
I am frustrated. Frustrated with home and frustrated with work. Right now, there is nowhere that I am happy. The only time I have been happy recently has been half-term. Me at home with the kids. No work. No school. No pressure.
Why can’t life always be like that?