We have had the keys for exactly 4 weeks today and I have to say although the novelty most definitely wore off around 18 days ago, both Jerome and I excelled ourselves this even.

Jerome has been doing really well with all the plastering, bearing in mind he’s only done it a couple of times, the wall look exceedingly good!  Well done husband.

Could you do that?

So, not finishing dinner until after 8pm, I can assure you the last thing either of us wanted to do was go over and work on the flat.  However, I don’t know what came over us, but the knowing of what we ‘should’ be doing vs the knowing of what we wanted to be doing, managed to win the battle, forcing me to pull on my grimmer than grim trackie bottoms and head over.  Jerome continuing on the plaster mission and me on the 3rd bloody coat of the bedroom and I have to say once we got in and working, actually it was mightily satisfying, I was very proud of us!  Tomorrow we have helping hands in the shape of Nicola Collett coming up from Brighton and  the kitchen and bathroom tiles are being delivered, so it’s all go!

The bedroom on Saturday

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The phrase, come and have a go, if you think your hard enough springs to mind.  There’s not a huge amount of mileage you can get out of STILL PAINTING THE BLOODY HALL. So I’ll keep it short and snappy.  Gave the bad boy a second coat and after a brief break started on the second bedroom whilst we still had light.

I still haven’t worked out why it takes longer to do the second coat than it does the third, but it definitely does and the fact I managed to get through 9 litres of paint – I started a new tub on Friday night – confirms that although I’m close to poking my own eyeballs out with a blunt pencil through sheer boredom, I am getting there.  It’s probably important to say that despite painting a pretty bleak picture of my state of mind after almost a month of working almost 7 days a week with normal work and the flat – there was one really uplifting moment that occurred whilst painting the bedroom today.  The intermittent rain,  dark grey clouds and lack of artificial light helped to create a really oppressive feeling in the bedroom, each contributing in equal parts to my black mood.  However, in one moment, the clouds broke and rays of sun fought their way through, streaming through the window quite literally lifting the tension and showing me quite literally, the light at the end of the tunnel.  When we’ve got the crap out, the floor down, the skirting boards painted, the window frame glossed, blinds up and a bed in…It’s going to look really lovely! 🙂

So, Ashley has finally finished the work on the boiler and as workman, client etiquette goes, finished work = pay up.  So, following tradition we went through our respective parts with the only problem being, Ashley didn’t seem to want to take his money…Seriously, it was 8 o’clock, I was slightly peeved that despite getting on the earlier train home, it had still taken me an age to get the dinner sorted and I had just watched him count the cash 3 times already.  I knew the money was correct because I’d taken it from the bank and neither Jerome or I had touched it, however, 4 counts later he’s asking me if I want to get in the van whilst he counts it again, which is probably a good thing because at the moment I’m standing on the corner of the road, next to his unmarked van door, whilst he’s counting a wedge of money and in spite of my hideous ‘workman’s’ outfit I know what the scene potentially looks like to the untrained eye…Although, come to think of, me getting in the car and sitting by his side whilst he counts out a wedge of money; is that any  better?  So, he counts it out again for about the 6th time, looks at me and says ‘How much is supposed to be there?’ I’m like ‘£1690’.  He looks at me, looks at the money and counts it out again, putting it into piles of £100 – so there can’t be any mistakes.  He counts out £1770 and starts looking for his little pad: Total cost, minus the discount you asked for + the radiator + parts plus time.  He’s like actually the outstanding you owe me is £1700, I’m like ‘Oh, right’ whilst feeling a little confused.  I’d even used the calculator in the bank to make sure I’d got my maths right, and not only was I £10 out, but the bank seems to have given me an extra £80…Obviously, I’m going to check that to see if they debited £1770 or just miscounted an extra £80, but what ever the scenario, it all seems a bit unusual, I understand that we’ll all experience a bit of human error atit mes, but that’s way out.  I thought bank tellers were like human robots.  I will be investigating further.  The lovely thing is even as I was getting slowly more and more wound up with Ashley’s seeming inability to count, he was just looking out for Jerome and I only looking to take what he was owed rather than a cheeky little bonus and that in my book, needs bigging up.  So, for all your boiler needs please take Ashley the Gas Safe Plumber on my recommendation 07961289878.

When I finally get over to the flat, I’m back in the hall and a flash of negativity runs through my mind.  I’m now bored with painting.  Why does it seem to take longer to do the second coat than it does the first?  I then tell my mind to pull itself together and get on with it, I commit to working until 10 pm.  

Jerome also gets a little hacked off when his progress is hampered by one of the work man taking his tape measure, but seen as we have Thomas in tow, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing as small children and paint, just don’t gel!  (Sorry.)  So, as they head off, I get stuck in.  Realising that if I don’t accept that I’m going to have to do a hell of a lot more painting this whole project is going to get a whole lot less appealing, so what I will be taking with me today  is idea that acceptance is key.

Progress – just need the taps…

Yeah!  Good to be back and getting stuck in.  It’s my first evening back at the flat since Monday and although  it didn’t get off to the most promising of starts, my enthusiasm for the task allowed itself to be reignited after a short respite.   The problem lies with there being something wrong with the light in the master bedroom, note how I said something wrong with the light and not the electrics – because if I had said ‘something wrong with the electrics in the master bedroom’ that could have somehow been connected with the work Jerome has been doing in the living room with the electrics….And to connect the two would just be totally left field, out there, definitely wrong.  So, I’m not going to even suggest it…Moving on, so the grand plan to get the second coat on the remaining two walls in the back room was forced onto a bit of a back burner.           Yes, I know it’s starting to become a bit of a habit, speciality even, starting new jobs before I’ve finished the old ones, 1st the windows, then the bedroom and now I’m onto the hall, I refuse to fret though, it will all get done in the end.

So, whilst Jerome got on with glossing the window in the bathroom,  Rosie the plumber has been doing a good job in my absence by the way.  The suite is in and looks pretty good, Jerome has sourced us a new shower and taps which we will hopefully pick up tomorrow from Syd’s down in Brockley and I have finally ordered the floor and wall tiles http://www.floorsofstone.com/tiles/travertine/ the Premium Classics.  I digress.  So, I made a strong start on the passage and we now have a partly painted beautiful white hall.  I’ve got  no idea what possessed the previous owner to go with the yellowy, beigey, non-entity of blahhness  that is slowly getting etched from memory,  but there’s definitely something satisfying about painting over blah, with fresh, crisp white emulsion.  Yes, it makes a small space, feel slightly less claustrophobic and there’s definitely something reassuring about everything feeling just a little bit cleaner, but it’s more than that, that adds to the satisfaction…I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on it, but when I do will definitely share my thoughts on the matter.  Feel free to offer your pennyworth.

Pictures tomorrow.

So, after a quiet week on the flat front from yours truly, it was good to get back in there and see all the progress that had been made in my absence…Now, I use the term ‘see’ in the loosest sense of the word, because although, I don’t really know what Jerome has been doing whilst I’ve been other wise engaged, he’s been telling me that he’s been getting loads done.  He’s saved us at least £2K on doing all the electrics himself….In actual fact I don’t doubt this, but when I get over there tonight, all I can really see is a lot of floor boards that have been taken up and a couple of new plug sockets…Mmmm.

For the electrics apparently

 

However, the boiler is in – thank you Ashley.  And Rosie the plumber has now taken up residence.  And she very kindly let us know, that if we wanted to put in the power shower we’ve purchased (which I actually thought was part of the original quote) http://www.showersos.co.uk/power-showers-c4/mira-event-xs-power-shower-p61  that we’d be looking at an additional £700.  Joy!  It’s too late to send the shower back, so the brand new shower, will be up on Ebay by the end of the week…Motto of the week, ‘don’t get stressed.’

So, the day started off well enough, I go and collect some travertine samples from the post office, I think we’re going to go with:  http://www.floorsofstone.com/tiles/travertine/ in the bathroom the premium classic range.   And I’m almost dancing on the escalator’s up to Kings Cross as I stand there switching between DJ Zinc and Florence and the Machines – I’m feeling good.  Nothing too worthy of note happens until I get a call at approximately 11.15am from Ashley the gas safe plumber.  The conversation goes a little like this:

Ashley: Er Suzy (the lack of hello immediately sets off alarm bells) I think I might of had a little accident.

Me: OK, what’s happened?

Ashley: Well I was flushing the system out (I’ve got no idea what he’s talking about) and one of the pipes must be broken…

Me: Right…

Ashley: And, well I couldn’t work out where the all the water was going (massive alarm bells going off) I probably did two flushes, before I turned the machine off, and realized that they water was going down stairs and the neighbour isn’t in.

Me: in my head – NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!  F***ing great we’ve flooded the downstairs flat. 

In real life – right OK, thanks for letting me know.  Bye.

I try to call Jerome, I can’t get through, not great, but what can you?  Well in my case, I think I’ll just check my bank account to see if the refund I’ve been waiting on from Ikea for the last 7 days…And I log in and I see that no Ikea haven’t paid me my refund and I’m £1473 overdrawn NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   WTF?!!  My day is just getting better and better.  In brief people, what’s happened is the £1500 I negotiated off from the sale of the flat which was given to me in the form of a cheque from the seller has just bloody bounced.  OK, so on a scale of 1 to I am so infuriated I might do or say something so incredibly aggressive it’s probably best I go and sit in a darkened room on my own for about 10 hours – I’m definitely around a 9.5. 

So, what do I do?  Instead of waiting until I’m calm and can breathe and can have a constructive conversation with my traditional 72 year old, Nigerian seller, I call him straight away and really irritate him with my tone, my apparent lack of respect and general bullishness…But I assure you, Iirritated him, absolutely no more than he has totally angered me.  I finish my second call in 10 minutes to him, with my traditional Nigerian seller telling me not to call him…He would get back to me when his bank got back to him. 

Just to give you a little taste of what the conversation went like

Me: Do you have any ideas what time your bank will be getting back to you.

Nigerian seller: Look, stop asking me silly questions your starting to annoy me now.

Me: Excuse me, as much as you might find my question annoying, I am currently £1500 overdrawn, because the cheque that you issued has bounced, I am not a large corporation and am getting charged for the funds that should be sitting in there…

Nigerian seller: Are you finished?

Me: Yes.

Nigerian seller: I will call you back when my relationship manager has spoken to me about the payment.

Me: Fine

After I finally get to express my rage to the J Man, I think I might even use the C word as I relay the morning’s events.  Jerome diplomatically says you didn’t call him the C word did you?  I explain that I’ve just reserved that for us during our conversation, he sounds relieved.  And sensibly advises me that getting angry isn’t going to endear our Nigerian seller to me, so to just try and stay calm and he will deal with Ashley the gas safe plumber over the damage…I’m very grateful.

And despite not being on the booze really 2 doubles and a single vodka, soda’s and lime later, I’m unsurprisingly feeling slightly less stressed…Thanks Gus.  We head back to the office after a lovely client lunch and I phone our Nigerian seller once again.  However, this time I take a different tack, well I apologize, for expressing my frustration, and actually it’s appreciated.  He tells me that if I haven’t heard from him by the end of the day then he will have transferred the money into my account.  Diplomacy rules.

The vodka’s starting to wear off a little when Jerome phone’s again and I can tell by the tone in his voice that thing’s aren’t great.  He’s gone home and spoken to Ashley who thinks it literally gallons of water that has gone downstairs….I really can’t bear it.

I’m sitting on the train before the next call comes through, it’s Jerome again, he asks me if I got his message, I say know, I can almost hear a smile, he says he thinks we might have gotten away from it.  I’m like what?  Jerome’s been downstairs into the flat and there doesn’t appear to be any damage at all, he doesn’t understand, I don’t understand it, Ashley definitely doesn’t understand it, but you know what…I couldn’t care less.  Where this water has gone, I will never have any idea, the mystery of the magical, disappearing water will forever remain an unknown…But it really doesn’t matter, it hasn’t cost us a fortune and that is definitely the main thing.

Despite feeling wired, stressed and knackered we go over to the flat to do some work anyway.  I have now filled in all the cracks in the back room with polyfiller and the whole room now has an undercoat.  So the plan is tomorrow I’m back in with the sandpaper and a second coat  of emulsion.  Mmm, shattered!

….Any sympathy or empathy greatly welcomed. xx

I’m definitely not going to say that the honeymoon’s over, but I did almost lose my cool over where we were going to put the boiler tonight…Yes, that’s right, the position of the boiler.

So, after nummerous false starts we didn’t make it over to the flat until just before 9pm, far to late to be honest, but being determined to get over there 9 o’clock it was.  My mission was as previously stated to get the instant gratification I’ve been looking for, it was master bedroom painting night.  Whilst Jerome, measured up in preparation for Ashley the Gas Safe Plumber to arrive tomorrow – and that’s where it all began really.

I’ve always wanted to the boiler tucked into the chimney breast, Jerome has wanted it in line with the rest of the kitchen units.  This I accept on reflection really isn’t a big deal at all, but after a long day at work, serious lack of sleep after being unable to switch off from Guardian.net’s! devastating defeat on the netball court the night before, I have to admit I was feeling a tad ratty.   This rattiness translated into getting quite emotional about the 15cm difference we were talking about, so much so I had to leave the living room to prevent myself from attacking anything other than the bedroom wall with the roller….Which again, not so surprisingly now, actually did quite a lot to help me realise that 15cm, is 15cm.   Enabling me to take the higher ground and let Jerome do what he needed to do.

By the end of the session, I had done two and half walls, tomorrow night, I will be mainly polyfilling in the cracks, painting what’s left of the wall before coming in on Friday to sand down and give the wall a second coat.  I think the master bedroom is going to be the first room to be finished.  I keep forgetting the camera, but will up date with pics tomorrow.