We had reached the end of week three of the school term and there had been no mention of the ‘c’ word, so I figured I’d dodged a bullet. That they’d taken pity on us first-time kindergarten mums and given us a reprieve. No such luck. At parent-teacher night, as we were talked through such joys as home readers and sight word log books, it was casually dropped into the conversation.
‘So, if you could just take these books home and cover them with contact over the weekend, that would be great…’
Contact. The very word filled me with dread. I distinctly remember having a ‘contact covering bee’ at a friend’s place as an impressionable tween one year and doing such a botch job that my friend’s mother openly mocked me. Yes, you, Mrs Jones. I haven’t forgotten.
But now it was my chance to redeem myself. I was going to get this right. My son was depending on me! Despite feeling a bit dusty after a few too many champagnes at the parent-teacher night afterparty, the family went on a special contact-buying mission and I sat at the dining table, ready to begin.
But where to begin? Ok, I knew it was important to snip triangles off the edges, so I started with that. Now what, pull the backing off halfway and put the spine there and then drop it to one side? That wouldn’t work, surely. Just thinking about that thin film of stickiness was causing a thin film of sweatiness to form on my top lip. I needed help. I needed guidance. I needed… YouTube!
Sure enough, there was a video from a helpful faceless lass who demonstrated that it’s all about folding a little section back, sticking it on the end, turning it all over, then peeling the contact off slowly while hacking at it from the other side with a ruler. Sounded complex, but after a few rewinds I had it sussed. I was pulling, hacking, pulling, hacking. It felt good. Then I turned it over, only to discover that my premature triangle snipping, coupled with some over-enthusiastic hacking, had caused the contact to completely split open halfway across the top. I had to peel off the rest separately and try to get it to join up. It didn’t, really. To add insult to injury, I then discovered a large hair in the bit to be turned up.
Refusing to give up, I reached for the next book. And in a move that can only be blamed on the champagne dustiness, I measured and cut out the contact without opening the book first. Which meant it would only cover half the book. Did I have enough contact to recut another piece? No, of course not.
I sent my husband out for reinforcements and told the children to please stop bothering mummy because she needed to go and rock in the corner for a little while.
Later, with a new roll in hand, I regrouped, focused, pulled, hacked (delicately) and am proud to say I produced a perfect, bubble free covered book. It was so pristine that I could have looked at it for hours at a time. In fact, I believe I did.
But then I got cocky. I thought I had this contact thing licked. On my third book, I produced a perfect back and was halfway through the pull/hack process at the front when I noticed it. Not just an air bubble, which could potentially be squeezed out, but a dirty, great crumply crease. How? Why? I tried retreating gently. Not only did I get some torn cover for my troubles, the crease refused to die. I was stuck in limbo land, half the cover done, unable to move backwards but too scared to proceed forwards. After five minutes of indecision (in which time the thin film of sweat was now a full-blown trickle), I bit the bullet and just did a frenzied pull/hack motion. The book was covered. The ugly jagged crease stretched all the way across the front. I went and had a lie down.
How have your attempts at contacting gone? Please tell me it gets better!