When you go up you must come down so they say, and thats where I was today. Not helped, I think, by another little taste of that assertiveness.
Last night our plumber suggested to me that I might want to let the builders know where our toilet waste needed to be so that the new plumbing can accomodate not just the existing layout but any planned future layout. I have a bathroom floorplan, as I said, though I’m having the same jitters about it as I had with the kitchen. S isn’t as bothered. “Pet…its just a bathroom” he said last night with a reassuring hug trying to ease my stress. Anyhow, this morning I called the site foreman upstairs and talked the toilet positioning through with him.
“We’ll have to box in the waste – we can’t move it” he said.
“You can’t?” I asked “Or won’t?”
“Well I don’t have a plumber here and today we are doing the roof” he said.
“You have a schedule and you’re sticking to it, right?”
He shrugged. “I dont have to… but it costs.”
I sighed. “You must tell me” I said “When things like this arise that have implications elsewhere. I didn’t know the waste would have any affect on the bathroom, my fault I know. But I need you to bring my attention to it”
“How did I know you were planning to move the toilet?” he asked.
He did actually. The plans are pinned on the noticeboard I put on the wall next to the front door for exactly this reason…but in all honesty I didnt really know if the waste needed to be moved or not. I don’t truly understand the language – its all just Buildish to me. He took me outside and showed me why it couldn’t be moved and I nodded blankly. So be it.
Later that morning Mr A arrived with his tape measure and his cousin to see about this boundary. They had been let in by the builders and the only way outside is climbing through the old kitchen window so they were already outside and none to pleased by the time I was called to join them. Our builder’s measurements stacked up as I had already been convinced they would- apparently the two houses taper towards eachother and he had taken a central line between the two. At some point in the past next door’s terrace had been laid and their builders had squared it off to their property, in effect encroaching a bit in our garden. Either way, as my Dad put it, its hardly land grab, we are talking a few inches. After some huffing and puffing I stepped in.
“It seems to me that we are discussing an area of land which is really very small, its just this corner” I said. “If we put the fence post back to pretty much where it was…we aren’t planning to shave off a section of your garden all the way along, how would that sit with you?”
It sat well. We shook on it and pleasantries were then exchanged with Mr A admiring the space we are creating. All was nearly lost when he apologised for holding us up and his cousin pointed out that he hadn’t, we had continued regardless. I quickly invited him to come over once it is finished so he can take a proper look and I mentioned the written agreement again. He promised to email it over.
In the spirit of me asking to be consulted on elements which have an impact on other things, the foreman and I talked through a couple of other issues coming up, namely a gas meter which needs to be moved and the size of the downstairs WC. Whilst I respect his knowledge of constructing things, I’m always amazed by many builders inability to consider functionality and how spaces will eventually be used.
“You could put the door here and the loo here” he said.
“I can’t do that, you’d open the door and have to sit on the loo immediately.” I countered. “If we put it there” gesturing to the other end “you can walk in and there’s some floor space, so you can turn around and bend and…” I stopped short as I realised that I was doing the actions and was embarrassingly just about to simulate going to the toilet.
“You could” he said unconvinced. His eyes said his head was shaking in disbelief at the pernickertiness of women but he held my gaze, and his head, still.
“Excellent” I said “So thats what we’ll do.” and retreated to my hideaway upstairs.
Later that day our plumber arrived to continue work on the boiler and I asked him, as an aside, what it would cost to move a radiator in the lounge to free up a wall. I also pointed out that the heating in the playroom/office – what was previously the dining room – would be non existant after the builders take the wall down so we discussed the positioning of a new radiator. “We need to do this now really” he said “as you don’t want to be draining the boiler down again and again”. Another near miss but luckily not too late so I asked him to have a think and give us a quote and I sighed again inwardly. More unsexy expense.
The builders were packing up to go, so before handing over this weeks cheque I asked a favour. “Would you help me get the tumble dryer upstairs?” I asked, and then checked myself. “Actually, Ill rephrase that as I’m not intending to help. Would YOU move the tumble dryer upstairs?”
It took three of them to move it, one each side of the appliance and one holding the plug. “You alright with that?” one of them asked him.
After they left our lovely plumber plugged it all in – it needed an extension lead threaded through a hole in the wall but its working now. So not only do we have a temporary kitchen – admittedly the little oven and two ring unit we have bought is so useless last nights stir fry became a stew fry and I have given up trying to boil water with our stove top kettle and now need to buy an electric one – but we have a temporary utility room too. We were expecting to wash up in the bath for 8 weeks and visit the laundrette so its a result but today it didn’t really feel like it.
Our plumber is a longstanding friend of S’s…. so we sat and chatted for a little more about the progress of the work and the outcome of my conversations about the waste with the builder that morning. He was annoyed.
“Its bad plumbing practice” he said.
I pointed to my bathroom design and remarked on the new positioning of the loo, and the plumber caught sight of the sink and shower. “Have you talked to him about this?” he asked.
“No” I said. “Well…” and he proceeded to talk Buildish about how the waste would need to be run, and pipes, and fall….and I realised another problem was about to raise its head which we hadn’t previously considered. I made a mental note to let S deal with this one. Our plumber offered to come by tomorrow to help sort it out and I waved him off.
“Get a kettle” he called out from halfway down the path. “Thats a long time for me to be working with no brew”.