It’s hard to know where to start when you’ve been away from something for a while. I find lists are often useful for organising my thoughts so I thought I’d produce a list of things that we’ve done in the last 10 or so days.
1. Made a list of things to be done.
2. Had many cups of coffee to help assimilate the reality of the task.
3. Tried to think of a place for my mother to stay as the promised spare room wasn’t yet ready (ever valiant and up for things, she slept on the office floor).
4. I removed lino from toilet and landing floor, sanded with orbital sander (yes that was fun), sealed with first coat of polyurethane, fine sanded and am about to add additional layers.
5. Mr. Blithe installed battens and side pieces for living room ceiling.
6. The builder installed metal struts to support the beam that we had earlier lifted in the living room.
7. Mr Blithe and I sheeted the living room ceiling with MDF “fake vj” sheeting. This only took until 1.30am one fine night or should I say morning? In the end the new ceiling is 52 cm higher than previously.
8. The builder cut a large hole in our bedroom wall to install a wardrobe (currently awaiting doors).
9. Mr. Blithe replaced a large hole in the old kitchen wall with vjs taken from the bedroom wall.
10. Mr. Blithe and I sheeted what will eventually be the ensuite walls.
11. We replaced all the broken or missing window panes.
12. The builder cut through the wall of our current house to make an archway leading to the joining hallway and the former bathroom.
13. The laundry was wet-sealed and certified as per council regulations.
14. We discovered (painfully) that tiling is not our natural metier and have asked a friend to help.
15. For the only time (I hope) in my life, I was out of bed at 6.15am to shift dirt to cover our new plumbing work so that we could have our final plumbing inspection.
16. We had the inspection. The inspector was to come “after lunch” which he did by arriving at 5pm. It took about five minutes and we passed.
17. The electricians rewired the entire house, installed plugs, ceiling fans, lights, smoke detector, fixed up our phone connections and provided us with the required form saying that they had done so.
18. I spent an anxious half hour reconnecting us to the internet.
19. Various walls were scraped back and sugar soaped.
20. The painter sanded back the outside walls, primed them and has started painting them daffodil yellow.
21. We discovered the house removers had not done a required structural inspection, hounded them for close to a week and got them to arrange and pay for it. The engineer popped in today for five minutes and completed the forms.
In the midst of all this, and I’m sure there are things that we did that have disappeared into the mists of physical exhaustion, Mr Blithe received and accepted a new job offer. We also had a sad burial of Clara the Guinea Pig who was killed by what we think was a wild dog. It broke into the cage and got her but not her sister. It was a sad introduction to the realities of life for Blithe and Merry Girl. Clara now lies surrounded by native Bailey’s cypresses in a beautiful resting spot. I only hope not too many family pets will join her.
What I haven’t done is any writing, or much thinking. I have done things in the last week that I never imagined myself capable of doing, but I don’t think the builder’s life is meant for me. In fact, I’d rather not even tackle another renovation. Right now I wouldn’t mind a long beach vacation with a good library close to hand.