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News from the home front [May. 20th, 2016|10:29 pm]

The news from the home front is that the front of my home is still covered in scaffolding. It should have been removed on Wednesday, but scaffolding contractors are free spirits, apparently, and not constrained by other people's timetables.

Nonetheless, behind the scaffolding the work has been done, and there is much repaired woodwork and shiny new paint, and this is progress. At the back of the house, the work is almost complete, although we still have a bright orange plastic barrier on the back steps, to stop us falling off while railings are under construction (actually, railings are currently at the conceptual stage, but railings man tells builder he has no problem with our concept; he just doesn't seem able to talk to us about it).

So it's good news that the external work is almost complete. I can't even claim that it's bad news that the builders have come indoors, because I do want the work to be done. Just, there are days when I have to keep reminding myself of that, and today has been one of them. Our almost-resident builder is no trouble, runs on weak coffee (no, not just weak compared to mine, seriously weak), gets on with the job, cleans up after himself, is less messy than I am - and I still feel a weight lifting when he leaves and we have the house to ourselves. But today was special.

I had forgotten that when I last posted on this subject I said: "Meanwhile, I am reluctant to start clearing what remains of my kitchen until I know when redecoration and reinstatement are to start: which probably means it will have to be done in a hideous rush when it does happen." That's not exactly where we are, but it's accurate about the area of conflict.

We've said from the start that we wanted to prioritise work on the kitchen, and that we would prefer to redecorate the three rooms one at a time, so that we always had somewhere that was habitable, and somewhere to put things that had to be moved from the room currently being worked on. We know our limitations, we have a lot of clutter, and this seemed like a workable approach. The boss builder has smiled and nodded and said yes, and yet somehow here we are with the decorator due to arrive on Monday to start work on all three rooms, the kitchen still very much in a state of flux and, for perfectly sound reasons to do with tackling rising damp in the wall common to the kitchen/dining room, builders at work in the dining room as well.

As of yesterday evening, our understanding was that regular builder would be in today to reinstate the skirting board that had been removed in the spare bedroom, and we then had the weekend to clear all movables out of the spare bedroom, ready for the decorator to start stripping wallpaper on Monday morning. We would also need to continue clearing our bedroom and the kitchen, so that by the time we leave for London on Wednesday (had I mentioned that we're off for a week in London?) the builders and decorators would have a free hand.

We returned from the swimming pool this morning to find our builder removing plaster in the dining room while his colleague chipped off the tiles from the wall in the kitchen. And, they informed me, the boss had visited in our absence and cleared much of the stuff out of the spare bedroom. I went up to have a look: he had indeed moved many boxes and random objects, and piled them up on the landing, which was not where I had been planning to put them (and blocking access to the chest containing the clean towels, not to mention a small bag of books for which I had actually negotiated a home).

When the dust in the kitchen had settled sufficiently for us to make coffee, I felt a bit better about this, but still not happy. I'm very uneasy at how little control we have over what happens, and how little we can rely even on what we are told will happen. I can see us returning from London to find no single room in which we can actually sleep, not to mention cook.

Despite which, I think we have to spend the weekend, as we intended, clearing the rooms to be decorated, and finding places to stow the things we remove from them. Then we'll see how things go next week. But I'm seriously considering locking all the doors and taking the keys with us when we go away.

[User Picture]From: klwilliams
2016-05-20 10:22 pm (UTC)
I've tried to impose boundaries on the man we've hired to do improvements around our house, though this mostly involves saying "no". It works about as well as with Mac. OK, not as well as with Mac. Good luck with that.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2016-05-21 10:48 am (UTC)
It is a bit like herding cats, isn't it?
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From: athenais
2016-05-21 12:39 am (UTC)
This is why we will never renovate anything in our house unless it's actually fallen in or off. How tiresome!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2016-05-21 10:50 am (UTC)
This was our strategy, too, and it works - until it doesn't, which is what happened to us.

But I think we have reached an understanding. For the next week, at least...
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