It’s been a while. Unusual for me. Unless I’m without Internet access, I’m pretty religious about posting. Somehow more than a week has passed without one, something that’s been pointed out to me a few times, most recently by a mate in Australia currently who is winging his way to Thailand and was short of reading material (thanks, JS, for the prompt).
Life has taken over. Work has taken over. And my plan to have a month free to paint chairs and put up pictures and try my hand at making Swedish blinds has come to nowt. And somewhere, in there, I’ve promised to work on two book projects and contracted to start my own.
No – don’t get excited. The publishers haven’t finally tracked me down. It’s more like a nudge agreement – all signed though, so somewhat binding – to deliver a ‘sizeable’ portion of a manuscript by my next workshop gig in September. The things I agree too when sat before a full Irish breakfast, complete with black and white pudding.
It’s the usual catch 22 of a freelancer’s lot. I need the work to pay the bills but then the work interferes with what I want to do because I have yet to master the concept of having a weekend or making my workday fit between the confines of 9 and 5. And as I’m haemorrhaging money at the minute, I can’t afford to be anything but pragmatic.
The builders are in. One room that currently serves as a pass-through between the old house and the extension has a bathroom (with WC) and a loo attached to it. The plan is to break down the walls and remove the conveniences (done) and then to build in a new bathroom.
As am sure happens with all renovations, I found myself wondering who could have thought that a shower with green fibreglass against a blue floor would be attractive. Mind you, it is offset nicely by the green diamond in the mirror. But I draw the line at fish (even if the blue floor now makes sense). In my design world, fish work in bathrooms in Hawaii or the like – places where there are tropical fish. The fish in Kis-Balaton are far from tropical. The tile motif had to go. I had to defish.
The estimate we got for the work was very reasonable by Irish or US standards, but more expensive than if we went the route of separate deals with each tradesman. We’d need to be here all the time and would be very much at the mercy of their schedules. The painter was due Monday to finish off the exterior painting – he’s only three days late. And surprisingly, I’m not that put out. But to have to pick my way through a work in progress every time I wanted to make a coffee for anything longer than a week or 10 days would do my head in. My lack of patience, my wanting everything done yesterday, that costs money.
I went shopping with the builder – for the fittings and the tiles. We’d cased the joint a couple of weeks ago so I knew what I wanted. Thankfully, my luck with Hungarian builders is still in. MP, like his Budapest counterpart, VL, spends my money as if it were his own. He reined in my more extravagant wants and steered me in the right direction re brands and such. My plans changed only three times in the space of the 2.5 hours it took us (and an hour of that was paying!). Not bad.
So, the boys are in. They arrived on Monday to demolish walls. (I was tempted to ask for a go of the sledgehammer but didn’t have anything but sandals with me.) There was one almighty crash and then nothing – not a sound. I had visions of the headlines – Wall falls, man dies. Thankfully though, they’d have been a more mundane – Wall falls, man takes celebratory cigarette break.
The lovely old blue door is gone. The archway is now high enough that tall people can now walk through it without banging their heads (something people only usually did once). And the work continues. The plasterer is plastering. The electrician is working wires. And the builders are putting up new walls. Every now and then I’m called upon to make a decision (I didn’t know that your average sink is 80 cm off the ground or that a bathroom plug is usually 180 cm high (that always bothered me – but it’s something to do with distance from water). And I’m winging it. Patience isn’t one of my strengths and I need to get a grip as I’m in danger of doing to get done rather than doing it as I want it.
No matter. This week, I’m grateful that they’re here. That it’s happening. That there’s an end in sight. And next week, I hope to be even more grateful that it’s all been done.