We are in the process of renovating and redecorating our 120 year old too small mid terrace cottage. It’s eye wateringly expensive and most of the time spent in each room has been on dusty horrible time consuming jobs. The kind of jobs that a make room ‘safe’ or ‘compliant with health & safety requirements’ or mean you can plug more than two electrical appliances at any one time. But none of this necessarily makes the room actually look any better. It’s been a long process, the lounge and kids bedroom have been done and we are now on the bathroom.
Decorating once filled me with excitement and joy, the prospect of transforming a room from dated and dingy to something fresh, clean and new was such an exciting prospect. That and all the beer downed straight from the bottle (so as not to risk ruining and glasses with paint smudges and chips that would, in all likelihood last longer than the new décor). All the music, old and new, listened and sang along to, hours of radio or favourite albums sounding odd and slightly tinny in the new acoustics of a once familiar room. All the take away food that would need to be ordered and eaten out of the boxes sat on covered furniture or the floor. All rubbish stuffed immediately into the endless bin bags strewn around that were once useful but quickly overcome by reams of balled up masking tape, used to tape down pretty much everything. I loved it all. In fact, before we had kids MrP and I had a bit of a reputation for helping people decorate their homes and to move (see earlier comments on new prospects, drinking beer, eating take away listening to music etc etc, what’s not to love?)
Somewhere in between moving into an impossibly small house, having children and acquiring a dog that outgrew the house within the first three months of getting him, things changed. The love has gone. In fact if I’m honest I’m struggling to contain how much I absolutely hate decorating and all the damage and devastation it brings. Whilst we’re being honest about things if one more person tells me that it’ll all ‘be lovely when it’s done’ I’m likely to say something that I’ll regret much later, when the bathrooms all done and looking lovely.
Currently every wall in our bathroom is back to the brickwork, some of the ceiling boards have had to come down so half the rafters are exposed and there’s no sink. The new lovely bath is in, but looks like an afterthought in a squat up against the exposed brickwork. The bath is only in because the window was taken out to get it there (there’s a valuable lesson here about measuring objects, angles and stairwells but I’m too bloody stressed about the state of the bathroom to articulate them at the moment). The window has been Masticked back in, using so much Mastick that from the outside it looks like our window is actually some sort of abstract painting, of a window. The door has had to be hung on the opposite side so it doesn’t come into the bathroom and half the door frame had to be hacked away to allow this to happen. From the hallway when the door is closed it looks like a scene from the Shining and that Jack Torrance is about to come bursting through the door with an axe at any moment.
I like to believe a lot of this is exacerbated by MrP’s insistence he can do every last job himself. It might cost us more but I would definitely worry less about builders getting a bath in through a window than I did about MrP who hauled the bath up a ladder himself. If nothing else I imagine builders would have more equipment for this kind of thing than just a ladder and a rope. I also imagine they would have a lot more time to do everything and wouldn’t try to fit drilling holes for batons and plaster board in at 8pm. I don’t think they’d need to spend quite so long visiting Screwfix either. Also if one of them had to go off sick because they’d damaged their back getting a bath in through a window, then took a week to recover whilst being spaced out on pain killers it wouldn’t impact on me quite so much. I’m pretty sure there would be others that could cover for them and I wouldn’t have found myself shouting ‘what do you mean you haven’t put the sink in yet?’ at a man in so much pain he couldn’t put his own socks on without support. I’m hoping he was taking enough Diazepam he doesn’t have a clear memory of that particular day.
It’s a double edged sword living with some one that can turn their hand to any DIY project. He really is very good at that kind of thing. On the plus side shelves are always straight, nothing falls down after it’s been put up and he can always work out what’s wrong with the heating. On the other hand, he’s refuses to pay anyone to do something he can do. Which is essentially anything but plastering so the speed in which anything in the house gets done is about the same as tectonic plate movement.
But in reality I’d probably be just as stressed if anyone else was doing the work, living without a bathroom is just hard work who ever is doing it. And yes, I know it’s a nice middle class problem to have and I know that the kids don’t notice the disruption too much and that we can wash in the sink downstairs and we’re very lucky that it’s temporary and I KNOW IT’LL LOOK LOVELY WHEN IT’S DONE, just don’t tell me that, not until it’s all done anyway.