Janet Christie: Zen and the art of carpet maintenance

“CAN I borrow £20 please?” texts Middle Child.

Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015 New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie

“Yes, course,” I say. I’m at work so don’t give it much thought. Maybe he’s looking at trainers for work. Yes, I know, £20? Delusional, but I was distracted.

Later he texts me. “I got it. The buddha.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I text back: “What buddha?”

“A white one, weighs two stone.”

“What for?”

“My bedroom.”

“Of course.”

If I’d known it was for a stone buddha I’d never have lent him the money. Still, if it helps towards Operation Bedroom Tidy Up, I’m happy. We’re currently in the middle of my plan to clear out his room so I can get rid of the fetid carpet and lay some new easy-clean flooring – no-one apart from me believes this will ever happen but Eldest Child would commend my positivity and attempts to effect change by connecting with the universe, or whatever it is he bangs on about.

Middle Child merely says things like: “I like my carpet” and “I don’t want new flooring”. I ignore him.

Stage one of the clear up has revealed a patch of floor. Obviously Middle Child feels compelled to cover it up again. And what better than a two-stone buddha?

That night, as I lie staring at the bedroom ceiling, I wonder if I should overcome my phobia of the boys’ rooms and go up and check. What if the buddha is above my head and comes crashing through? I summon Middle Child for inquiries instead.

“Nah, it’s in the corner, you’re all right,” he confirms.

“Hmmm. It’s going to look really cool sitting on the new flooring,” I say.

“New flooring? Aw, we can’t do that now. The buddha’s far too heavy to move. Shame. Oh well.” He disappears.

This isn’t over. It went up, it can come down. And buddha’s often pictured under a bodhi branch isn’t he? He’ll be just as happy outside under the cherry tree.