Family boys

Are you a piler or a filer?

Have you ever wished for the ground to open up before you – and to be able to jump in run?

I’ve lost count of such moments. To make matters more exquisitely embarrassing, most have been witnessed by my long-suffering wife who, as I incant a prayer for my escape tunnel to appear, quite reasonably asks, “Why did you have to do/say/insult him/her/them…?” or, “how could you have not read/lost/forgotten/ it/that/them…?”

I have to confess quite a long rap sheet – and it wouldn’t take an FBI profiler to work out a pattern to my misdemeanours. Let’s just say, a combination of chronic forgetfulness and a rather easy-going view of paperwork and filing hasn’t done me any favours. Particularly when your opposite number has total recall and is compulsively tidy.

Where she files, I create piles. And, what she doesn’t file she remembers! I maintain that my system is largely infallible on the basis that the thing I need NOW – THIS MINUTE will definitely be nesting among the teetering pile of bills, statements, invoices, magazines etc, that accumulates over a remarkably short time. Or it might be in the ancient, over-stuffed filing cabinet. Somewhere.

The car remains one of my rapidly diminishing areas of domestic responsibility and every three years, we have the excitement of changing it as it reaches the end of the finance period.

The whole system is predicated on you returning your vehicle after the allotted lease period in reasonably good nick, and with a full service history.

Pleased to have remembered (just) that the time on our car was up for renewal (I later found all five reminders in my file-pile), Lizzy and I went off to the showroom – reasonably confident that we hadn’t exceeded any mileage, retained too many dints or dents, and that all requisite services had been undertaken.

I’d even found the log book and MOT. And, the MOT was only a few days out of date. The handover interview/assessment/ formfilling was all going well – we even got over the MOT hiccup – until it came to the full service history bit. Had I noticed the red warning light urging me that the next service was due? Had I got any paperwork proving that I’d had the car serviced appropriately?

Let’s just say, that those careless administrative errors ended up costing us around £600 because the supplier couldn’t pass the car on in the “normal way” and would have to stick it in an auction which would realise far less “residual value”.

The anticipated joy of driving a brand spanking new car away from the showroom was somewhat tempered by the experience. And, on arriving home, immediately induced a frantic, guilt-laden archaeological dig through my file-pile. And, it must be said, a rather frosty silence.