Today was a good good day. It wasn’t really because we got the heating working again, or because the plaster boarding is done and the stairs in, or because the electrician gave me the various documents I need for my FITs claim, or that I found out that we actually do have wiring in for the cooker hood, or even that apparently it isn’t a massive issue to actually get some lighting in the huge cavernous stairwell.
It didn’t even start that well with yet another call to the floor fitter to put him back again*, which made me feel a bit bad. Fortunately I was jogging along the cycle path at beautiful Loch Creran at the time and could spend a little time ripping out baby rhododendrons which are recolonising the oak woodland there, which made me feel much better.
What made it a good day was that I spent a very large part of it filling bin bags with rubbish. Never has clearing up vast quantities of builder-detritus felt so good. Irn bru bottles and cans and crisp packets and wrappers. It’s was like checking under the 12 year-old’s desk after she’s shouted “I ALREADY TIDIED MY ROOM MUM!”. And to add to the joy; plaserboard and half dried out buckets of paint and plaster and boxes of stuff that have been sitting about since the beginning of the build.
And why is that all so good? Well, certainly, it was a chance to clear out the last remnants of Builder#4 **, stick it all in bin bags and drive like a bat-out-of-hell to the dump, slipping in moments before they shut the gate and, with utter abandon, lob it all into a giant skip.
But really I think it was the nature of the task. I’ve been spending pretty much every minute of everyday for the last three months organising myself, organising work, answering questions, making decisions, sorting out problems, organising the build, organising children and, when I’m away at the build or with work, organising the husband to organise the children. It’s pretty exhausting really. Life is usually pretty like that for me. I must like it that way, but this is taking it too far. To be honest, I think I have reached the maximum percentage of one’s brain it is possible to devote to this stuff without tipping right over the edge into a void it’s impossible to climb out of.
So to spend the majority of a day simply sweeping and carrying and shifting, with a bit of singing at top volume to some 80s classics blasting out of the decorator’s very paint-spattered radio, was peace and blessed escapism. While the taper and decorator lunched downstairs conversation on The Jeremy Vine show turned to debilitating period pains and endometriosis. I entertained myself with wondering what the painter would make of it when he came back after lunch.
I loaded the pile of rubbish I had taken out of the house into my car with a great sense of satisfaction and started contemplating whether Builder 1 had been serious when he’d jokingly offered me a job. It was after I’d shown him the deeply unimpressive shed panels I’d built following a bit of a tutorial from his son (during which I looked intently vacant). Well perhaps he was joking. But perhaps he wasn’t.
Yes, it could be a good life being a builder’s labourer. Every now and again anyway (and if you can stand your snot being the consistency of chewing gum…)
* The heating has been off and the floors have had to be put back due to something that happened while I was up at the build last week. The joiners were putting up the small wall in the kitchen and drilling through to affix to floor. It seems an underfloor heating pipe wasn’t in quite the place on the plan and they drilled through it. When I came in Chris was chipping away at the screed floor with hammer and chisel to get at the pipe. Chris put his thumb in the pipe and I was reminded of the story of the dutch boy with his finger in the dam that saved the village. I wondered whether Chris would be staying there until the plumber showed up. He didn’t….The plumber came to fix it but couldn’t turn the heating back on again and forgot to let me or the heating company know of the problem, so the floor is still damp.
**combined with more detritus from the Builder3 joiners and the taper