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Becoming a Nag Hag

Friends of mine were chatting the other night (also known as sobbing into their third Mojito) about the fact that their men will rarely do anything around the house without being asked. At least six times. And I have to admit that I was stunned. How on earth could we have been friends for so long without my having imparted my surefire method of getting men to "do stuff"?

I first stumbled across this foolproof method about seven years ago after having lived with a ginormous hole in my bathroom ceiling for over six months. How the hole happened to be there in the first place is another story, one I suddenly feel compelled to tell you...

Picture it. Blairgowrie 2006. It was the height of summer when Stephen and his brother Pete (for some strange reason) decided to install Think Pink Insulation in the roof. True to form, instead of being careful and mature and adult about the whole thing - they ended up playing silly buggers, racing up and down the ladder to look at their bright red faces in the bathroom mirror before weighing themselves to see how much weight they had lost due to the sauna-like conditions in the roof.

After about two hours of laying insulation in a roof that now measured 48 degrees (Pete had kidnapped Kayla's room thermometer so that they could accurately measure the temperature), Stephen rushed up into the roof to tell Pete he had lost nearly 2kgs and promptly fell through the roof into the bathroom. 

I kid you not. 

Now, I must admit that I was not all that surprised because Stephen is nothing if not consistent. In the three years prior to "Roofgate" Stephen had knocked himself unconscious with a hammer, fallen through the roof of the carport, and had now gone and fallen through the bathroom ceiling. 

To be honest, I was also not that concerned (about either Stephen or the ceiling). After all, I had seen adverts in the local newspaper for a service that offers to fit a new ceiling in a number of hours. How hard could it be? Except for the fact that my husband has a morbid fear of paying anybody to do anything that he thinks he is able to do himself. Which would be fine, if he actually DID the said task, if you know what I mean… 

And so followed three months of begging, pleading, cajoling, bribing, reminding and nagging; and three months of promising that it would be fixed by Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday/ Saturday/ Sunday at the VERY latest. 

I was at my wits end. 

Well, almost. 

Because I still had that one final piece of ammunition left up my sleeve that every man fears with every fibre of his being… 

PMS. 

Also known as Punish My Spouse. 

Or Permissable Man Slaughter. 

And I was actually quite restrained. After about the hundredth promise that it would get done, I calmly walked past Stephen who was offering to make me some coffee, strolled out of the kitchen and into the laundry where I began looking for the latest copy of the Randburg Sun. I carefully paged through the paper until I found the phone number for the Ceiling Repair Guru, walked past Stephen (who was starting to look a little nervous) and back into the kitchen. I then called the number and very sweetly requested that a representative come through and fix the ceiling, no quotation required whatsoever.

"Um, did they say how much it would cost?" asked Stephen nervously, seeing his savings for a new Triathlon bike being flushed down the toilet. 

"Oh, about four thousand rand," I replied, sucking some arbitrary figure out of my thumb. "Which is SO worth it, don't you think?" 

"I could probably fix it for less…" Stephen murmured still not sure as to exactly how cross I was and whether or not it would be safer for him to just be quiet. 

"Oh, NO!" I said, vehemently shaking my head while quietly getting in touch with my inner bitch. "You are SO busy - it is better just to call in the experts and get it done, once and for all! Don't you think?' 

"Well," Stephen replied. "Give me until the end of tomorrow. If I haven't managed to fix it, we can get those guys to fix it on Monday. Okay?" 

"Sure," I shrugged. "Whatever…" 

The ceiling was fixed the next afternoon! 

I was completely and utterly gob-smacked. Why, after months of being sweet and kind and nice, did I have to throw a passive-aggressive temper tantrum to get things done? 

My friend Annabel calls it "Reverse Perfectionism" - if a man thinks he can't do something perfectly, he'd rather not do it at all… 

My friend Paula calls it "Bloody Laziness" - a man will postpone doing something until the last possible second. Get used to it. 

My friend Richard calls it "False Pride" - that a man will be spurred into action at the thought of another man being brought in to fix something in HIS house. Something he figures is tantamount to paying another man to shag your wife. It is just NOT acceptable.

Stephen calls it "Sheer and utter terror" - that I am so flippin' scary when I am cross that he will do anything. 

Go figure. 

Ever since that lightbulb moment, I have refrained from sending Stephen any sweet SMS's or emails reminding him to fix/ buy/ do something, and have resigned myself to the fact that things will only get done about once a month. 

Thank God for PMS - it might have saved my marriage!

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