…It feels like a lifetime ago that we got the keys!  I’m still stressing a bit about the fact we’re not doing enough work and Jerome is still convinced that we’re going to come in well before June.  All I can say is – here’s hoping.

I popped over to the flat tonight to put in the obligatory hour a night – except on a Tuesday when I have netball and walked into a different flat…Well, not literally, but Jerome had gone in straight from work, in order to tidy us for Ashley, the Gas Safe Plumber who’ll start work on Wednesday/Thursday and in all honesty I was amazed.  It was, well as previously mentioned, like walking into a different flat.  And because all of the debris from the floor had gone for some reason I was able to see the windows in a different light too – I know, I’m wierd.  Yes, I still want to start work on the back bedroom, but I could also see what I needed to do on the windows to restore them back to their former glory.  Whereas usually, I’m like, ‘Jerome, can you come and have a look at this.  How much more sanding do I need to do?’  Tonight, I just knew and I put it down to working in a tidy work space.  Well, you know what they say, tidy home, tidy mind – or something like that anyway.

So, as I surveyed my surroundings, I took the equally unusual step of turning on the radio, I’m usually more than happy to work in silence and I took great pleasure in getting the sand paper and block out, so I could finish what I started.  Obviously, I didn’t finish what I’d started because I was only there for forty minutes, before I had to be back for dinner, but the point is I really enjoyed it tonight.  No pics I’m afraid as the battery was flat, ’till next time.

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So, with today being Mother’s Day, the little Sis’ and the sprogs paid a visit this coupled with Jerome being the equivalent of a London Tour Guide on the annual Sacred Heart Bridge walk, it was never going to be the most productive day.   However, I would change it for the world, it was great to see Tia and Laila and with Thomas being so good yesterday, it was good for him to be out of the dust and debris and enjoying some fresh air.

How cute are my family?

Thomas and Candy taking a break (yesterday)

Anyway, Jerome came back to fold around midday and after chatting with us girls for a while, got a bit bored, made his excuses and headed back over to the bomb site.  His goal for the day, to make the frame on the ceiling to erect the plaster board and to ‘tidy up’ some of the masses of wiring that seems to be just every where.  I made over around 3pm and although, I know Jerome had been working hard for three hours, to the untrained eye is was difficult to see doing what…I clearly kept that too myself.

I came not only bringing fresh enthusiasm just raring to get going, but I’d also received notification from the lovely Clare Pedersen that she was back from her travels and she was coming over to get stuck in.  Jerome was shocked, I was pleased, the plan was to get her working on the second window.  So, as I cracked on at the window, as if by magic the slowest thing on two wheels – not technically on two wheels as she was pushing her bike up the small incline we call Ladywell Road as she’d overshot the flat – emerged like a glowing, bronzed statuette out of the shadows.  I kid you not, I’ve never seen a tan like it, Clare Pedersen had literally brought the sun from Thailand with her, and what a welcome addition it was.

So, I gave Clare the necessary guided tour, thankfully she made all the right noises…It’s ridiculous after making such a big commitment that both Jerome and I are still looking for confirmation that we’ve done the right thing from outside sources…Even if Clare, Ashley the Gas Safe man, Rosie the Plumber and Winger all thought it was the worst idea in the world – we’re in and we’re stuck with it now!  Sorry, I digress.  Clare made all the right noises and Jerome set her to work immediately.  

Pedersen is no slacker!

No I haven't got your double chin Clare!

After putting a sterling effort in with helping the man, Jerome heading home and left Clare and I to work on the windows.  Which probably wasn’t the best idea, because all of the enthusiasm and energy I’d brought to flat 90 minutes previously had kind of dissipated and I was just happy to have a bit of a catch up with Clare, before wanting to head off myself…Don’t get me wrong, we did do some extra work on the flat – but in all honesty I could have definitely done more.

We did get some work done

However, I’m not going to be too hard on us, Clare did an amazing  job of getting the secondary glazing off the second window and the sanding down of the base of the frame was actually mightily impressive.  I think my problem is, is that I’m a results girl and I need more instant gratification to feel that we’re really getting there.  I feel like we could be doing these windows for a week, Jerome would take one look at them and say, ‘yes, you’re doing well, but they still need a lot of work’.  I mean and that’s just annoying!  I think next time we’re both in the flat together, I would like to empty out the master bedroom, there are a couple of wardrobes and a bed base that the previous owner, so kindly left for us to dispose of.  So, we’ll skip that crap, get the carpet up and I’m going to get the paint brush out.  I think if we could

essentially have one room done – bar the floor obviously by the end of the weekend that would be amazing – a very big ask seen as I will be doing my hypnotherapy course on Saturday and recovering from a party in the Camberwell Castle on Sunday…OK, yes, maybe too big an ask to have it complete by the weekend, so let’s say next Wednesday.  Yes, that’s my goal master bedroom painted by next Wednesday and then I’ll get back to the windows! 

In signing off, I should just say another massive thank you to the gorgeous Clare Peddersen for coming over and lending a helping hand, you’re always welcome!  Many hands make light work and if you’re a whizz with a paint brush…?

I woke up this morning feeling stressed.  After spending the whole of yesterday in bed – women’s things – and having far too much time to think about how little we have done over the last week and how much it has all cost us…I hadn’t woken up in the best of places.  So as I forced myself out of bed into the freezing cold – our boiler has broken – and headed off to do the weekly shop, leaving Jerome, Thomas and Candy to get on with the job of sorting out the flat, I wasn’t in the best of sorts.

Two and half hours later, I’m back, more skint, but ready to put in some hard graft.  Whilst I’ve been out Jerome has been sorting out the electric cables so as not to shock ourselves and thought about how to approach plastering the wall.  After a considerable time sizing up this conundrum I suggested that the best plan of attack was to get on with it…Jerome agreed. 

My main job today was to start on the wreck of the windows, step one, remove secondary glazing.  Now from a heating the room and noise perspective, I am totally anti this, however, from day one Jerome was like ‘ that secondary glazing has got to go, it’s hideous’.  I obviously put all the arguments up for not removing it, although, I clearly concede that aesthetically it’s all wrong.  However, after taking my time to carefully unscrew the surround and then even more carefully remove the glazing, only to see the whole thing more or less fall to pieces in seconds, I know without a shadow of a doubt will that glazing be going back on the window.  Jerome is secretly ecstatic – I can tell.

Secondary Glazing

In Tatters

So, now for dealing with the quite literally rotten window, first I have to scrape off any loose paint, then sand everything dow, then fill it with Ronseal Wood Filler, sand and repeat all phases until the window stops looking like it’s about to go the same way as the secondary glazing…I think this is going to take some time.  The great thing about this job, is although, it’s all quite boring the sanding is actually having extremely positive effects on me.  I’m actually able to stop thinking about time and money and just focus on the window seal, which has a highly desirable calming, relaxing – yes I’d go as far to say therapeutic effect.  It’s all going to be OK. 

Filling In

It’s only week 2, but it’s been quite a quiet week on the old flat front, with Jerome away doing the Duke of Edinburgh on Monday and Tuesday, I took a well earned rest too.  However, that rest turned into 3 days off and tonight is the first night I’ve been in the flat since the weekend.  Urgh – did we say we’ve got a 3 month deadline?

So, flying solo I filled in a hole that Jerome had created to see if we could expose some brick work and measured up all the rooms so we can order the flooring.  However, I have been told in no uncertain terms that floors and walls are definitely the last things we should be sorting out – so frustrating!  Although, on a more positive note, the kitchen has been ordered and will (hopefully) be arriving on the 30th and the bathroom will be arriving next Tuesday…So work has been going on, it’s just that it’s been more behind the scene.  Anyhow, until the weekend.

The one thing I’m really amazed about is after finally getting the keys 7 days ago, Jerome and I have worked on it together every day (bar Friday night, obviously). And so far there has not been one argument! Now this is shocking for a number of reasons:

1) I hate being told what to do
2) Jerome has dominated all the good jobs
2) I hate being told what to do

However, 1 week in and we’re still smiling…Just.

Today was definitely a test. We started off well, I’m still having to fit the girly requirements of the weekly shop and the like, so whilst I made my way to Asda (yes we shop in Asda) Jerome made head way on the flat. And I don’t mind saying did a mighty good job. By the time I made it back to the flat, the skip that I thought had already been filled – by moi – was more full and unless my eyes deceived me, I could definitely see a toilet neatly positioned at the end.

When I stepped inside, Jerome had completely removed all the laminate from the living room floor, and gutted the bathroom. So, now it’s really possible to see where we’re going with things…I’m still a little bit nervous about there being enough room for the new kitchen, but I’m sure it’ll be fine – yes, I know famous last words!

So as Jerome pops off for lunch, I take the big chisel, lump hammer and begin on the tiles in the old bathroom and after an enthusiastic start, my shoulder and wrist are killing me and I want to give up…Will I give up? Of course not, there’s Suzy Pride to play for and I’m not a quitter. However, there is one slight obstacle that let’s me down, I find it very difficult to work for three and a half hours, without any praise…And the problem is, that Jerome is really crap at giving me ANY, tiny, tiny, weeny bit of praise without prompting, which then makes the praise null and void. You know what I mean. Anyway, once the J Man gets back from lunch he starts on the getting rid of the rest of the kitchen, pops his head around the side says hi, and gets straight to it…Would it have hurt to say, ‘Good job babe,’ or ‘you’re doing well’. No, it wouldn’t, but I’m not going to ask, I know I’m doing a good job!

It gets to 3.45, I’m 9 10ths of the way through, I want to cry, I’ve had enough; Jerome comes through, to do what I’m not sure, but I can’t contain it…’Yes, well i think I’ve done a good job anyway,’ J: ‘Yes babe, you’ve done really well.’ Null and void!!!

Anyway, I finish up, which is accompanied, by a few small whoops and a lap around the room, Jerome like nice one and I can see he’s preparing to go. I’m looking at him through slightly squinty eyes, just thinking to myself – you dare! I pick up the shovel and rather pathetically start trying to put some of the debris into the cement bucket, Jerome looks at me and decides he’s got something else to do in the kitchen. I don’t say anything, put the shovel down and start filling the bucket with my hands. As Jerome re-enters he asks me, why I’m not using the shovel, I make some comment about it being too hard and he picks it up. Result! He sees it’s slightly harder to negotiate than it looks, double result! After a couple of shovels, the bucket is full and he takes it down to the skip…How could I even think about complaining, my husband is a saint….Jerome then comes back upstairs, dumps the bucket and decides that the skanky boards that are currently sitting in the hall need to be moved as they’re in the way, so I’m left to deal with the tiles on my own, which is fair enough really as they are in the way. However, Jerome’s light weight job is over in about 5 minutes and what does my saintly like husband do, go and take a seat in the arm chair, whilst watching me fill up the cement bucket. On the interior I’m close to combustion, on the outside, I’m cool, calm and collected. I can do this, I’m capable, I don’t need help. Jerome gets up every now again to take a full bucket down to the skip and then on return takes to the arm chair. After 3/4 bucket fulls, I look over at my saint like husband, thinking to myself I wonder how much damage I can do with a shovel to the forehead, the answer flashes in front of my eyes – serious. ‘Babe,’ I say…’this would be a lot quicker if two of us were doing the clearing up’ J Man’s response ‘I’m having a rest Suze I’ve been at it all day!!!!!!’ It takes every morsel of strength to not lift the shovel…I mean every morsel. I say not a word and continue on my not so merry way. Approximately 2 minutes later, Jerome jumps up, takes the shovel out of my hand – good move and makes more than quick work out the remainder…Inner balance restored, we turn the lights off and go back to Arthurdon – home, sweet home.

Ok, so we were going to be in the flat from 9.00am and rock on until dusk, so we were slightly later than planned, but to be expeted right? It was Friday night last night. Things got off to a good start Jerome had already started on the living room wall when I had arrived, ready to get going on the kitchen floor tiles; when Mr Sunday the former tennant arrived to pick up the bunk beds.

Now, I don’t really know how to put this, despite only having just read a chapter on the benefits of charity, and the value of giving, I was quite p’eed off with Mr Sunday. In my eyes the bunk bed’s should have left when him and his family finally left – which was way after when they had said they would be out for various reasons that were apparantly way beyond their control. Anyway he was due to pick them up today. Mr Sunday arrived 20 minutes late, with his own Alan Key…On arrival Mr Sunday announced that dismantling bunk beds was not his area of expertise and it would probably better if I could tell him when the work men were going to be there so that they could help him take it down. Which is when my much kinder and nicer than me, husband stepped in, took the alan key out of his hand and set to work taking it down. This I was fine with, I just wanted them out. After about half an hour, I’m working on the kitchen during this time, I see Jerom walk out towards the car with tape measure and I’m like ‘what are you doing?’ Jerome’s says, oh I’m just measuring up, because he hasn’t got a car ( or a van, or any mode of transport). I’m like – you ARE joking me. Can somebody tell me, who comes to collect bunk beds, without really having any idea, or assistance to get them down and then no means of transport to get them anywhere…???!!!!!!!!!!! So, off my kind, caring and giving husband rides off into the mid morning sun with Mr Sunday, leaving me with the lump hammer are big chisel – I’m not sure what it’s called to continue my work in the kitchen floor.
It’s only when it get’s to around 12.30 when I’m thirsty and thinking, where the hell is Jerome that I call to say, ‘I’m thirsty and where are you?’ that he says he’s just leaving…He’s been helping Mr Sunday reconstruct these flaming bunk beds! I was not impressed…However, I was being a twat. Actually, after having a right old moan about the time Jerome had been dedicating to this ill equipped man, Mr Sunday had sent me a text telling me how both Jerome and I had suprised him greatly with our generosity and how we would both be blessed…Could I feel any more selfish? Probably not. And then as if the text wasn’t enough, he felt the need to call and reiterate how amazing we both were. Bad Suzy, amazing Jerome…Must try harder next time.
When I was able to welcome Jerome back into the fold he took lump hammer, saw and big chisel to work on knocking down the stud wall…Exciting stuff. A sterling job was done.

Jerome then, once back in the fold, started on the fun job of smashing down the stud wall…And what a good job he did.

I think the best thing about today, was feeling like with the wall down that actually we have the potential to create an amazing space…So, I hope we don’t mess it up!

We were not in for long tonight, but the deal is, if we can try to least do a minimum of around an hour on average during the week, we’ll hopefully make good progress…I don’t exactly know what we’re basing it on, but it’s making us feel OK about not doing much which is the main thing.

So, more of the same tonight, back in the kitchen chipping off the tiles, reach my goal of getting the remainder of the tiles off the kitchen wall…Feeling very proud of the my work…Who says this is a man’s world?