The One Where Rubin “Disappears”


The photo above was taken at around about this time last Saturday morning: also known as The Day We Did the Kitchen. And by “we” I mean “Terry and a couple of friends he drafted in to help,” obviously. They spent the day removing and replacing worktops, installing a new sink and hob, and… various other things that are too boring to mention, and also, I wasn’t really listening because, boring.

My role, during all of this, as you can see, was to lie in bed and eat donuts. In my defence, I did OFFER to help, but it turns out the best thing I can do in these situations is stay out of everyone’s way, so I was told to stay upstairs and not come botherin’ the menfolk. Which, in all honesty, was absolutely fine by me, because:

a) My worktop-replacing skills are a little rusty these days.


b) It meant I got to do what I always do on a Saturday morning, which is to laze in bed, drinking coffee and writing blog posts. Because our bedroom is on the top floor of the house, it’s almost like a little self-contained apartment: Terry could probably throw a party in the kitchen, and I’d be completely oblivious, up there in my own little world. (Note to Terry: don’t do this. NO PARTIES.) We don’t have a TV up there, but I have my laptop, the iPad, a nice, comfy bed… what more could I need?

“Coffee!” I thought, when I woke up that morning. “I will need coffee! And I won’t be able to MAKE coffee, because the worktops will be getting ripped out, the kitchen will be in chaos, and the last thing anyone will need will be me wandering around looking for the kettle: damn!”

Terry’s helpers were arriving early that morning, so, not wanting them to catch me in my PJs, I got out of bed, quickly threw on my dressing down, and ran downstairs to make my first coffee of the day. While the kettle was boiling, I got out a tray and gathered up some supplies, including the spare kettle (I have no idea why we have a spare kettle, but I was glad we did, because I couldn’t have deprived the kitchen workers of their tea), some instant coffee, and the Coffeemate milk substitute I keep for just such emergencies. (Yes, I know it tastes kinda horrible, but I was forced to drink it all through my first year at university, on account of REAL milk being stolen the second you put it into the communal fridge, so I got used to it…) Then I headed back upstairs to start my day.

Now, it’s important to note here that I was so keen to make sure I got my coffee sorted out before everyone arrived, that I’d gotten up and gone straight to the kitchen. I hadn’t passed GO, I hadn’t collected $200: hell, I hadn’t even cleaned my teeth. So I got back to the bedroom, put my tray down beside the bed, and was headed for the bathroom to do just that, when Terry appeared at the bedroom door. “That’s the water been switched off now,” he told me. “You’ll get a maximum of two flushes out of each toilet until it comes back on.”

“Aaand, when’s that likely to be?” I asked, trying to remain calm.

“Oh, it’ll be AGES yet,” said Terry cheerfully. “Hours and HOURS! I honestly don’t know why you didn’t just go to your parents’ house, like I told you to!”

As he closed the door, and disappeared to do his kitchen-makeover thing, I found myself wondering the same thing. Why HADN’T I just gone to spend the day at my parents’ house? Well, I’ll tell you why not: I hadn’t gone, because, in my usual state of absent-mindedness, it honestly hadn’t even occurred to me that I’d be without running water all day. I KNOW. But without water I was, and, of course, no water meant no shower, no toilet flush, no coffee (I hadn’t actually FILLED that kettle I’d brought upstairs yet, because that would’ve been too sensible, obviously…), and no clean teeth. GAH.

Determined to make the best of things, I opened up the laptop, drank my single cup of coffee, and ate the jam donut Terry had brought me to cushion the blow of the whole ‘no water’ thing. I waited it out until I’d used the last flush of the toilet, then I got dressed and high-tailed it to my parents’ place – where, you’ll be relieved to know, I keep a spare toothbrush, “just in case”.

“The house looks even WORSE now than it did yesterday!” Terry informed me a short while later, when he joined me there for dinner. And yes: yes it did. I’d left the kitchen (and the livingroom, hall and powder room…) looking like a building site. I returned to what looked like a building site which had recently been hit by an earthquake. It was an absolute MESS, and it took the whole day on Sunday, with the help of both of my parents, to get it cleaned up. First, though, this happened:

blurry donut mess

(Don’t worry, your eyes aren’t going funny, this photo is just super-blurry. I suspect Terry was probably laughing when he took it…)

That’s not modern art: it’s the remains of the last jam donut in the box, which Rubin stole, dragged over to our shiny new white worktop, and demolished. Both donut and worktop were on the floor at the time, I should add – as were the rest of the contents of the kitchen, which is why Rubin ALSO managed to steal, open and eat a bag of crisps later that day, too. He thought it was Christmas. I thought it was the seventh circle of hell, as my dad and Terry continued work on the kitchen, while my mum and I begun the tedious clean-up process.

As I said, it took all day, and was the kind of cleaning that you just KNOW will have to be repeated again the next day (And it DID!), because there’s just SO. MUCH. MESS. Every single kitchen cupboard had to be emptied and scrubbed down, and all of the contents had to be carefully sanitised. The floors, walls and even ceilings all had to be similarly cleaned, and every piece of furniture dusted and polished. If that’s the kind of mess a kitchen “facelift” generates, I’d HATE to see what it would be like if we actually decided to remodel. Also: I’m NEVER doing that. EVER.

By dinner-time, though, we had things more-or-less under control. It wasn’t tidy, by any means, and because the work wasn’t quite finished (and STILL isn’t…), the place was still littered with tools, tiles, and various other DIY things. But we could at least walk around without falling over things, and it was looking a whole lot cleaner, which was handy, because at that point a couple of our friends turned up (with their gorgeous new baby girl), and as the place was semi-clean again, we were able to invite them to stay for dinner. Once they’d gone, I started to do another quick sweep of the area, while Terry took a few minutes to relax on the couch, and promptly passed out, his head on one of my fluffy cushions:

sleepy Terry

(Excuse blurry, low-light iPhone photo…)

He was absolutely exhausted – and no wonder – so I let him sleep, and continued what I was doing. After a few minutes, though, it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t seen Rubin for a while, so I had a quick look around the house, checking all of his favourite spots. No Rubin. I went out into the garden, just in case Terry had let him out before falling asleep. No Rubin. I ran through the house again, calling his name, but nope: no Rubin. Starting to panic, and thinking he must have gotten out of the house somehow, probably while we were saying goodbye to our friends, I ran downstairs to wake Terry, only to find…

Terry and Rubin

That was no “fluffy cushion”, people! That was one tired little pup, no doubt worn out from all of the donuts and crisps he’d stolen that day. (If you look very carefully, you can spot him in the photo of Terry: which I took purely to embarrass Terry with later, having absolutely no idea Rubin was in it…) And that wasn’t the first time I’d mistaken him for a cushion, either:


It’s like doggie camouflage!

And that was our weekend. The rest of the week was a little less messy, thankfully. I DID have to spend most of Monday cleaning the ground floor of the house again (the cold light of day highlighted all of the bits I’d missed the night before, and a lot of the dust had re-settled during the night), but Terry’s brother and his fiancée treated us to dinner than night, which was lovely, and got us out of the house for a while. As for the rest of the week, well, it continued in much the same vein as last week: although the kitchen is back in working order, it’s not quite finished – we’re still waiting for some parts to be delivered, which freed Terry up to go back to working on the powder room. Which, yes, we’re STILL not done with. I KNOW. I’m actually starting to wish I hadn’t mentioned it now, because, having spent literally WEEKS renovating one tiny room, you’re all going to be expecting it to be like a PALACE or something when it’s done, aren’t you?

Actually, though, we’re not that much further forward with it, although those of you who made it through last week’s Morning Coffee will be pleased – or possibly indifferent – to hear that Toilet # 3 IS, in fact, working, and did not have to be replaced. So at least that’s something. It is, however, more or less the ONLY thing that’s changed in that room this week, and the main reason it’s taking so long is purely because, in our infinite stupidity, we decided to do the kitchen at the same time, and, seriously folks, if you learn one thing from this blog, let it be to NEVER DO THAT. Just… don’t. Stick to one room at a time, or you’ll just end up going back and forth between them all, and feeling like you’re not making any progress on either of them. Of course, the powder room project was also held up by the constant replacing of toilets: if that hadn’t happened, it might have been done by now, but … it probably wouldn’t have. Because that’s not the way we roll, is it?

Anyway, it’s taken weeks, and some of the budget we’d set aside for it has had to be diverted to other things, so if any of you are on the edge of your seat, waiting for the big reveal, I’m going to once again have to ask you to dial down your expectations quite a bit. I mean, I know the floating toilet SOUNDS exciting, but it really isn’t. And we STILL haven’t sourced that low-profile toilet brush holder, yet…

Oh, and Terry also almost cut his hand off. No biggie.

How was your week?

books by Amber Eve
  • Fran


    I love how you have a really close relationship with your parents! It’s expected where I come from (Italy) but in England people seem to expect growing up means only seeing the family for Christmas. Nicer Scottish traditions? 😛

    Congrats on getting so much done. I know house improvement is a mess, but it’ll all be worth it…down the line, once the dust is cleared. That picture of Terry and Rubin at least is adorable.

    My week was really long…I have just started a PhD and it feels like I have more compulsory workshops and inductions than actual research for now, but I am kicking in some serious time for it this afternoon while the boyfriend has a friend over. It helps that here in Leeds it’s an absolutely miserable day, so it’s not like I could be doing something else, like for example finish my novel in the park. -.- Oh British weather…

    November 8, 2014
  • Fran


    Or maybe it’s just me who knows all the cagey English people on the island :p

    November 8, 2014
  • Rachel


    I wondered where you’d get your water to fill up your spare kettle, but then thought, bathroom! It didn’t occur to me you’d have no water!! Where I live we have a few powercuts regularly (hope I’ve not jinxed tonight now) and there’s always something I forget needs electricity and can’t use.
    I’m moving soon so I’m selling my old vintage dining table, great condition, then my dog jumps on it! Claw scratches!! My parents came up and fixed it though phew. I’m not looking forward to them going travelling for months at a time

    November 8, 2014
  • Oh Amber – I laughed so much as this post. I have 2 little pups a lot like Rubin at home and one of mine is constantly blending in with furry pillows, rugs, and blankets. Last night I almost spilled her right off the couch because I didn’t see that she was curled up next to me on a white furry blanket! Love your blog doll! 🙂 It always makes me smile!!

    November 8, 2014
  • I have the same problem with Howl. I “loose” him all the time only to discover he’s at my feet. However my couch is brown so I do not have the doggy camouflage excuse.

    I hope you get your house back to normal soon!

    Fashion and Happy Things

    November 8, 2014
  • Sarah V


    Rubin wins the day. His stalker teddy bear eyes over the top of the computer are so perfect. I would have loved to see a picture of his little smiling face covered in jam! l lose my white dog in blankets all the time, if the nose is hidden and the eyes are closed she just disappears.

    November 8, 2014
  • I think I have my own Ruben at home, except his name is Zeke! I still remember the time he had somehow knocked 8 (yes 8!) of my fresh made blueberry muffins off the plate on the counter and devoured them. I only found out in time because I went to get a glass of water and saw him licking the last scrap of blueberry off the floor. Oh what we put up with for our dogs!

    November 9, 2014
  • Uh, I totally sympathise with how dreadful having no water is. Been there, done that, and there is nothing worse than that unbrushed teeth feeling. Rubin however made me laugh like crazy with his camouflage act!
    I’m relieved this week I haven’t injured myself or had any small animals steal my underthings. It’s positively boring, actually!
    P.S. Are you still doing In Your Shoes on Shoeperwoman, I keep meaning to send you pictures for it, but I haven’t seen one in ages…

    November 10, 2014