The soothing effects of my spring clean have lasted about as long as the season itself has managed to stick around before bullish Winter came right back and sent her packing.
We have about a week – perhaps a bit more, dependent on when the second delivery of doors, drawers and shelves arrives – in our temporary kitchen before we can smash the old, deformed carcasses which taunt us with their ability to cause injury on a regular basis.
“I’m sick of banging my head on the drawer simply because it sticks to the cupboard I’m opening” said a frustrated S today. “I do it every week without fail”
I’m sick of telling O not to play with the bin, which he can pop open and close and, resting his lips unhygienicly on its rim, extract its filthy contents one by one. I’m sick of trying to think of dinners which require barely any effort as frankly even toast and beans is an effort too much in the workspace we are trying to use. I’m sick of not having a handle on whats in our cupboards…. no pasta to go with the sauce and mozzarella I bought for tonights dinner but enough nuts and seeds to keep an aviary going for a month. The days, we keep telling ourselves, of these irritations are quite literally numbered….we can actually smell our new kitchen, the oak dust as C trims it to fit giving off a most unusual (and I wouldn’t say pleasant…..) fragrance. We just hope our sanity holds for the last push.
The bathroom, on the other hand, still has the power to break our stoic – and it does. The proximity of ours and more importantly our baby’s bare skin to the slimy leak-defying plastic, limescaled taps, dusty ceramic and I don’t even want to know what on the carpet after eleven weeks of builders in residence turns my stomach first thing every morning and last thing every night. So despite the kitchen being the current main focus, though in fairness theres little I can do down there without getting in C’s way, in an attempt to keep us one step ahead of the project rather than several behind, I punctuated this week with tasks in preparation for the not-before-time bathroom refurb which will begin, we hope, as soon as we vacate the spare bedroom and rehouse our pots and pans downstairs.
Its transformation to family friendly bathroom won’t be a small job as the wall between our existing bathroom and temporary kitchen/spare room will need to come down to be replaced by a walk in shower, its retaining wall moving a metre or so into the bedroom. A wipe clean marmoleum floor, crackleglazed metro tiles, freestanding bath and lots of storage in which to hide the tubs, toothpaste and toys will replace the pink sanitaryware, mouldy tiles and blue carpet. A job this weekend is to sit with S and go through my sanitary and brassware shortlist before sending our complete list of requirements to K our plumber and await the £number that pings back by email. I’m not quite sure how much resolve the Chief Negotiator has left in him….right now I think we’d probably pay anything.
Another item on my to-do list which has now been transferred to ‘done’ was to call the ‘fireplace man’ with the suggestion that he refurbish our two fireplaces (the lounge and snug) in return for our bedroom fireplace which is currently chimneyless and sitting like a heavyweight buddha on the landing. The chimneys may also need sweeping which is a job best done, I suspect, before the decorating so he has promised to take a look next week. The Hideous Hearth is another current feature of the house with the capacity to instantaneously flick my hate switch and our solution there is to cover it back over with carpet and perhaps a slate hearth to which I’m hoping Mr Fireplace might advise. A fruitful trip to Bluewater today clutching paint and paper samples to match with the carpet resulted in a haul of little squares which S has now lined up on the kitchen table in his order of preference. Awaiting daylight to make the final choice we are close to being ready to get on in that room too.
Returning home it was a pensive C I found staring at the line of cabinetry, chewing on his pencil.
“Hi” I said, unloading baby, baby bag and shopping as O shot off into the extension with a giggle, me following closely behind to scoop out of his way the saws, nails and electric drills lying within his inquisitive easy reach. “How’s your day been?”
“Er….I think I’ve mucked up” he replied.
I scooped O onto my hip and stood alongside him surveying the run of units.
“Why do you say that?”
“I found this lying around.” C waved the plans in the air, “to be honest I hadn’t looked at it before now.”
Heart thumping, I scanned the run quickly imagining he was referring to an incorrect ordering or worse, a wrong leg irreparably having been chopped off a cabinet (the maker having supplied units with two decorative wooden legs but specifying that only one each end of a complete run is needed meaning amputation has been required). C was referring however to the alignment of our fat American fridge with the remainder of the run and to my mind I agreed with his call. Friday night panic averted, we turned our attention to the island, manoeuvring it into its correct place to get the feel of the kitchen we will have. I moved about the space delightedly.
“Wash wash” I said at the sink, “cook cook…..chop chop…. I love it.”
“Ring ring” I said to S later, and our Chinese was delivered.