A piece of info worth knowing is that a crack appearing in your walls will need to be almost wide enough for you to put a finger inside to be a sign of structural problems. We have some hairline cracks appearing in our temporary kitchen upstairs but the foreman is unconcerned…in fact he appears to be really very pleased with them as they prove there has been minimal movement and he expected much worse. Good news indeed. However, what does seem to have moved are the floors. Doors no longer close and floorboards are sitting an inch or so below the skirting. We are reassured by the grid of steel supporting upstairs from below so know the floors aren’t going anywhere (else). The issue is that O will. With the house being as it is he is forced to spend most of his time either strapped in his highchair, car seat or pushchair or contained in his cot or the bath (though an attempt to exit by pulling himself up and out by the sink would probably have been successful if not aborted by his parents, torn between enjoying watching him think his escape plan through, his little toes feeling for footholds and his mini biceps straining against the ceramic ….and needing to make sure he knows its dangerous). Being able to let him run free in the kitchen and his bedroom is pretty essential for both his sanity as well as ours.
However, we weren’t inconvenienced too long. O and I had a restorative trip to the seaside planned for our Friday together so we were out of the door before 9.30am. I flew back in it again at 9.35 to grab the sat nav and saw one of the builders already making a start on planing the door. What I didn’t see though, apparently in full view S informed me later, was the crucial piece of equipment which would have ensured I got to where I was going by the time I had promised to be there. I had perfectly good instructions delivered in the old fashioned way…on paper rather than read out by a woman with no intonation who always manages to sound irritated at me, but I panicked and turned off too early. A huge detour later and we arrived an hour late but coffee, beautiful food, lots of love and attention for O and a walk on the beach soon sorted us both out. The journey home undid most of the good work of the sea air however as I crawled back up the A2 in heavy traffic and missed our appointment with the kitchen company where we had planned to finalise all details and put down our deposit. Luckily S managed to make it in time and so we finally have a kitchen delivery date booked in. Very exciting indeed.
Returning home was a bit like following a trail left by Hansel and Gretal…you can easily find our house if you follow the scatterings of coiled wallpaper shavings and brick dust blown out of the skip which starts from down the road and continues on throughout the house. In our absence the builders had removed the carpet from the hallway downstairs which will greatly improve the ability to sweep the shavings up and I think a job for this weekend is to pull up the rest. The carpets have been down so long that one we removed in the bedroom had luminous green dust replacing the underlay where it had disintegrated over time.
All in all this week has been an uphill struggle but with a phone call from the builders asking if they can work Saturday I get the feeling we wont be like this for much longer. My conclusion, therefore, is to pen this week down to a ‘mid project’ as opposed to ‘mid-life’ crisis. I’m not yet losing my marbles, only everything else in the house. I must admit though that despite my short temper and bad mood this week, I can see the potential beauty of the house starting to peek out from behind its cloak of bumpy yellow paint-covered-paper and filthy carpets. Details such as the tall skirtings, the rounded corners of the walls and the carving on the banister are starting to be revealed. The feeling that this is someone else’s unloved home is starting to neutralise, the previous owners taste (and in some cases, smell) being stripped away to reveal its true identity. It may have sinking floors but it feels to me as if its standing a bit taller…