Thursday, February 15, 2007

work it*

I admit defeat. I need a builder. I have become a DIY disaster.

The survey when I bought this house said something innocuous (or so I thought) about old and cracked plasterwork. I thought nothing of it, as small cracks in a 100 year old house don't bother me. My bedroom however was covered in purple textured wallpaper which bothered me a great deal. Some time over the summer while I was still attempting to recover from the quote to re-fit my bathroom I decided that it'd be better to take on a simpler job that required much less builder-related input. I'd stood and looked at the walls on the room when lit from certain angles and knew that my walls would probably need skimming. I heard pleasantly low figures, and I wasn't worried.

A few weeks later I invited a plasterer round to quote for skimming. He told me that he couldn't really give me a proper quote until the wallpaper was off and the wardrobes down. Fine, I thought, I can do that. So I set to removing my wallpaper.

The first indication that things were not going to be as simple as I had thought (are they ever?) came when a gentle rain of plaster hit my head as I removed the wallpaper. It seemed that the glue was stronger than the plaster. Slightly bigger job, then, I thought. I can manage that. I called a friend with a background in plastering and he advised me that I might as well pull off the loose skim 'if it wants to come down'. Which it definitely did. Regular readers of this blog (both of you) will recall that this little episode resulted in me finding damp in the corner of my bedroom and the ensuing painful saga of finding a roofer to fix the leak. I now have nice new flashing and my bedroom corner is dry. It cost me twice as much as I expected of course, but I did have twice as much roof fixed as I thought I would, too.

Several months later I finally finished removing the wardrobes. They were big, the screws were tight, and I have an attention span of approximately 20 minutes for boring jobs involving tight screws (fnah). Now it is the holiday and my mother has asked the perennial question 'are you having a productive week?' which as any fule know actually means 'have you sorted out your bedroom yet you wastrel, I want to come and stay'. I (of course) admitted that my productivity mainly involved reading nice comics about Iranian girls, and so felt duty bound this morning to go into the room of doom and survey the damage. Usually I keep the door shut - I mean you would, wouldn't you?

I looked at the big huge bits of wardrobe laying on the floor. I looked at the piles of plaster skim laying on the floor. I looked at the dry yet strangely rotten (oh, fuck) previously damp corner, the ceiling which threatens to come down at any second and the holes in the party wall where the hair of Victorian children has failed to keep even the render on, and I decided that this job was bigger than me.

I rang my builder (who hates me, I swear). He told me that he was 'No longer in the business'. I rang npower, because I am the queen of diversionary activity, and then I got out my yellow pages.

I need a builder.

Is it too early for a gin and tonic?

* honestly the tune on my ipod right now - from 'Under Construction'.

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