Sunday, February 5, 2012
The news was broken to me by Mr8. "Take this Mum," he said, handing me his school bag in the pouring rain. "It's really heavy."
I picked it up, wondering how a lunchbox, a water bottle and an empty reader bag had suddenly gained weight.
"Good grief!" I said. "What's in here?"
"All my books," he said, nonchalantly. "They need to be covered. In contact. Can we get some with pictures on it?"
My mind flashed back to our last experience with contact. Two textbooks in kindy. Two textbooks that had taken The Builder about three hours (and not a small amount of swearing) to cover in contact. Without pictures.
"Sure," I said. "I'll give them to Dad."
It must be said that The Builder is often lumbered with any task that requires precision. Mostly because he is a precise kind of guy. Who likes things done precisely. I, on the other hand, tend to take the 'they're not marking us down for air bubbles' approach, which may, in unkind terms, be described as, er, slapdash.
"There are books to cover," I mentioned that night over a glass of wine. "Nine, to be precise." He rolled his eyes. "I'll start tomorrow," he said. "No point in leaving it to the last minute."
"Er, you'll have to wait until I buy the contact. With pictures," I responded. He rolled his eyes.
The next afternoon, as he sat at one end of the dining table armed with four rolls of contact (yes, pictures, see above), scissors, a ruler and a teatowel (for 'smoothing'), I asked him if he wanted me to Google a You Tube tutorial on how to cover books. He rolled his eyes (seriously, can't wait for the teenage years around here), muttered something about not needing instructions, and proceeded.
Ninety minutes later, he went out for a bike ride. Having covered three books. He had tried many methods during that period. The hanging-book-off-side-of-table method. The call-in-the-wife-to-hold-contact method (I was banished soon after for not preventing air bubbles). The call-the-wife-in-to-hold-the-book method (I was banished soon after for not preventing air bubbles). Every time I looked over, he was in a new position, trying something new.
It wasn't pretty.
This afternoon, while he was otherwise engaged, I thought I'd have a go. I knew that I ran the risk of, gasp, air bubbles, but I also wanted to go to the beach that afternoon and figured that any progress I made got us closer. Being a girl who likes instructions, I Googled 'How to cover a book in contact' and found my saviour.
Grace at Living Footprints has created a seven minute video on how to do the job. Seven minutes? If she could manage the whole process in that time, then, even allowing for the fact that Jamie Oliver's 30-Minute Meals take me at least one hour, I was going to knock the books over before The Builder got home. I watched her video and loved her even more for the fact that the first two minutes and thirty seconds are taken up with gathering tools, cutting out paper, and trying to separate the damn contact from the backing paper.
Video complete, I sat down at the table and had a book covered in 15 minutes. Yes, there was a crease (tiny, really, hardly noticeable at all), but by the time I'd done my second, I was air-bubble-free! Yes!
When The Builder came home, I was still in my pyjamas at 2.30pm, but I had a neat pile of books ready to go. And two little boys ready to go to the beach.
The only downside of the whole arrangement? It appears that I have created myself a job. The Builder is so far resisting efforts to watch Grace's excellent how-to video... and so the book covering role is now mine. Unlike Grace, however, I will not be inviting you all to send your books round to the Fibro for me to cover. My love affair with her method does not extend that far.
Have you covered school books this year? Which method do you favour?
*I was going to call this The Woman Who Saved My Sunday (and my marriage), but I thought that might be overly dramatic.