I think it’s often easier to do stuff yourself than pay for it to be done. The last fortnight has been quite difficult for us, having the plumbers in: it’s a week after the expected finish date for their work, and we still have no hot water or heating (which would be off anyway, but that’s beside the point.)
It could be so much worse, but travelling across town on two buses after nursery with two tired boys is an adventure for the first twenty minute (“I can see EVEERYTHIIING Daddy! I can see EVERYTHING!”) but after that dissolves into sleeping on me and wailing when it’s time to change to the number 3… and dinner when they get home is pretty touch and go, being an hour and a half later than usual. Jennie has the other side of the day, with a lot more driving and figuring out what to do away from our usual haunts. We’re really fortunate to be able to stay here at my parents’ house, and it’s really good to have somewhere nice to come back to from this post-apocalyptic scene which is our kitchen… but it’s still not easy!
The plumbing’s had several setbacks, since the boiler delay at the beginning which I mentioned in my last post: a couple of days when they had other jobs, a day when the van broke down and kept the plumber away from the job for the whole day, and they cored the flue hole in the outside wall too low down, so had to redo it, which took another day. It’s been hard not to get frustrated, and I was really upset when I realised that the hole was in the wrong place. The flue has to have a fall of almost 20cm as it crosses the room to the new kitchen, so will be 20cm lower where it goes through the wall on the other side. Where it is in the image above would have meant the stud ceiling we’re putting in below it would have been at a lower level than the top of the window, which would have obviously been pretty damn bad. It’s sorted now, but there are still 2 more cores to drill for the extraction vents.
They’re back on Monday and have said they will stay as long as it takes to get the flue installed, everything connected up, and the water all working again, so we shall see.
In the meantime, the electricians came for two and a half days last week and put in all the wiring for the kitchen, and the start of the rewiring of the back 2/3rds of the flat- really efficient, proper length days, good communication and no drama. A big contrast, but the plumbers I did go with we’re not the cheapest and are some of the best reviewed in the area, going back years, so what can you do?
Well, we’ll be back to things we can do ourselves without risk of explosion soon, and today Felix (my youngest brother) is putting up the plasterboard on the ceiling in the new kitchen, along with some other jobs to make it ready for the plasterer to skim on Friday. With all that done, it’s flooring, painting, fitting the cabinets, tiling, and finishing everything else off, so despite the last couple of weeks, we can feel pretty optimistic about getting it done for Christmas. I think.
This will probably be one of the hardest phases of this whole project for you all, you do realise ? Yes, the bathroom will be another challenge, but it will not be as complex and multi-phased as this, nor for as long – though I fear it will still rely on bought in trades, which I realise is the thesis of this current post. You are doing so well through it all : you are right – you are well on the way and I agree, there is cautious cause for optimism over your Christmas deadline.
You are showing kindness and immense patience in sticking with those plumbers and working around them. I have no idea how they got such good reviews if they plan and run their work as badly as they have for your job. They will need a somewhat more honest and real-world review from you at the end of all of this.
I cannot commend you enough, though Josh – and Jennie : you are – ALL of you, and those happy-chappies not the least – being so patient and so constructive as you support and work with one another through all of this. It is going to be so good when it is done, I just know it !
Get Chumbawamba “Tub-thumping” on Spotify as you work – okay ? And keep going …