Easter bank holiday. Across the nation people will be flicking to their nearest B&Q, slapping paint on walls, refreshing decor and furnishing and trimming the gardens with the determination and focus of a Brazilian waxer. Meanwhile our house sinks further into a (money) pit of despair – at least that’s what I assume all the leaks and slumping are signs of rather than subsidence and damp – as we sit on our backsides out of a mixture of laziness, lack of DIY ability, fear and budget restraints.
Four years ago I wrote a list of ‘Things that need fixing in our house.’ Not including things that needed updating, but were still (in the loosest of terms) functioning. It looked like this:
The list has nagged me since, so I pulled it out today to see how far we’ve (not) got in at least maintaining the stasis of DIY needs. It was scarier than I feared. It’s as though the house has its own bucket list – things that need to happen before it dies on us. The new list looks like this:
Three windows are in such need of replacement the glass is essentially held in place with duct tape. Getting hold of a brochure is the furthest we’ve got in four years. I dread to think how many more years it will take for Husband to part with the cash to go ahead with the job.
The paintwork on the front and back of the house
Yep, it still needs doing. But, because we’ve left it so long now in addition to a ‘simple’ lick of paint:
– the front needs re-rendering;
– the brickwork underneath the windows on the 2nd floor is in danger of falling off.
Scaffolders are going to be needed. And professionals who know what they’re doing. The more desperate and more urgent the job, however, the less likely it is to happen.
I got as far as painting the hall, but only as far as the first landing. I’m no longer so sure I like the colour, so have no motivation to carry on.
The ceiling is also not finished. We had to call on the skills of our next-door neighbour when part of the ceiling fell in. He patched up what was needed and said he’d come back to finish the job. He never did. So we’ve left it.
We’ve been through several laptops since 2010. We’re currently laptopless thanks to yet another virus. Thankfully we all have access to tablets and smartphones, but sometimes the use of a proper computer would be helpful (especially when anything needs printing…or in typing this blog. Smartphone buttons are not so compatible with my fat European thumbs). So the need for a laptop is making a reappearance on the list.
As I’ve noted before, Husband got the Sky cut off. I miss it.
Artex might have been popular due to its ability to hide a multitude of sins. But it’s a swine to get rid of. It’s taken Husband’s plasterer friend two visits to plaster over it in the dining area, but the kitchen itself remains a pean to all things old and hideous.
Ceiling in dining area & utility
Phase 1 of my kitchen improvement plan saw most of the kitchen’s dining area replastered. Except for a patch of ceiling around the skylight. Annoying. And typical.
The utility room ceiling is beyond imaginable. Never let my dad climb on your roof, even if it’s to fix a few loose slates. Falling through isn’t the reserve of slapstick comedy. The slates are still loose and the ceiling is now a patchwork of plasterboard and masking tape. Now there’s something you don’t see featured on Pinterest.
***Miracle alert! The sink area in the kitchen has actually been fixed. Not beautifully, but it functions. The pipework in the bathrooms have also been boxed in and the cistern in the smallest toilet replaced so that it flushes without having to pull on a bit of string. I can’t tell you how impressed my friends were with that one. Thanks, Dad. And (touch wood) the washing machine works fine, although I’d like one that would unload itself and hang up the clothes for me.***
Kitchen pan stands and oven catches
The pan stands are wearing away at a rate of knots. It’s a good job I have cook for a big family as only cauldron-sized pans can be kept aloft from the gas burner. Meanwhile, the temporary measure for holding the cooker doors shut remains: a briefcase filled with bricks! Only in the Gluestick house.
I fell in love with the idea of having a big American-style fridge. Big mistake. We’ve had various repairmen to look at it. None have resolved the problems, so now we live with ice in the fridge and as the freezer doesn’t get cold enough it’s where we chill the white wine and beers. I’d all but forgotten that once upon a time it had a water filter and ice-maker. Oh well, nice ideas in theory, hardly vital in practice.
I fear I shan’t be consulted on the next white goods purchase however.
I’m sure four years our utility room used to contain more utilities too. A tumble drier and dishwasher both died on us and weren’t replaced. I intend to use the same practice with Husband when he breaks down.
I’ve long since given up on the hope of having central heating installed. A home’s far more family-orientated when everyone has to huddle in the one heated room for six months of the year. My only hope is to win the lottery, but in that case I’ll be off somewhere warm and sunny anyway. Somewhere where central heating is a distant memory. Please can I win the lottery?
It got a lick of paint. It also got a new shower when the thermostat broke resulting in a jet of water that fluctuated between icy-cold and hotter-than-Hell without anything in between.
The leak in the bathroom above though means that there’s a hole in the ceiling. Oh and we could really do with a new bath with a working hot tap.
It’s taking longer for me to frame it properly than it did to sew it in the first place. And that’s saying something.
Numbers on the front door
They still need attaching properly. I never have got round to using a drill (the only time I used a hand drill I managed to drill into the table – I could be lethal with something plugged into the mains).
The door also now needs re-painting. As do the iron railings and gate. I may leave the squeaking though. It works as an effective warning system against the postman/Jehovah’s Witnesses/bailiffs.
New to the list for 2014 are also:
– Eve’s bed (how she and the boyfriend manage to sleep for so long in such discomfort is amazing);
– the wardrobe in my room (its doors are either jammed or missing);
– the Home Sweet Home picture that greets visitors, its frame damaged by the leaky bathroom, although it’s a suitable metaphor for the entire house.
I’m still just as despairing as I was four years ago. Our speed-of-a-sloth approach doesn’t seem to be doing the house any favours. I fear it may die on us before we get to tick off its list, may die on us because we didn’t complete it. Or if we do manage to tick everything off, will we just uncover a catalogue if further failings, like a body dysmorphic who has her nose done only to then fixate on her lips?
Either way it has me wanting to rush off to B&Q and learn how to use a drill.