Friday, 23 August 2013

building mayhem

Our renovations are now in full swing and by the gods, I am stressed. It's the mess, the demolition dust that hangs in the air and sticks to my lungs, and the lack of privacy when I'm at home during the day. It's not appreciating that we would be pretty much without a usable kitchen many weeks in advance of the new kitchen fitting. It's having to lift off dust sheets, trying to remember where we've stored things, and brushing a layer of plaster off the kettle just to make a cup of tea. It's chaos. I'm grumpy and I've got constant heartburn.

"It'll all be worth it in the end," everyone and their dog tells me. Of course it will but for the moment, it's NOT FUN. I've got a hideous cold today and all I want to do is curl up under the duvet. Instead, I had to get up early this morning to let the plasterers in and take Isla to nursery. Then I had to go forage for food because I can't make anything in my kitchen while they are scraping the walls and slapping plaster up. At this very moment, I'm sitting on my bed with a bag of food next to me so I don't have to go down to the kitchen. This cannot possibly be normal.

They've put the new concrete floor down in the extension and have been plastering over the hideous Artex on all the ceilings downstairs. When I went down this morning, everything was covered in a layer of condensation. All the pictures, cards, and drawings on our fridge were soaking wet. I am breathing in this damp horrible smelling air while dealing with a chest cold. Thankfully today it's hot and sunny outside so with all the windows and doors open, this should get rid of most of the moisture. It's also letting a few wasps in, but I'm willing to compromise.

Our bedroom is my haven. Our other upstairs rooms are full of mess and clutter from the other rooms downstairs (sorry kids), so this is the one place I feel like I can escape the insanity. Paul has taken Jack and Mia camping for a couple of nights, so it's just Isla and I at the moment. Last night, we sat on my big bed watching movies and fell asleep together. I had a terrible night's sleep from my cold and the stress (I can't lie down without suffering from heartburn/reflux. It's like being pregnant again.) Isla snored away all night long, cheerfully telling me "I slept very well!" when she woke up this morning. Bless her. She is going to be so pissed off when she has to sleep in her own room.

The kids have been great, I have to admit. They've mostly stayed out of the rubble and away from all the tools and debris. Jack's been so excited since day one ("I really like our house! I can't wait until our new room is done!") and Mia...well, she's Mia. Happy but generally doesn't really quite grasp what's going on and doesn't seem to care that much. Isla seems to have regressed a bit - acting up, talking "babyish", and getting very clingy when I leave her at nursery. There's been a lot of change for her with all the renovations and with starting school next month. She's been enjoying the extra attention from us (when Jack and Mia went to their grandparents' last week) and from me this week. Mostly, she's been enjoying having total control over the television.

I am stressed out the wazoo. I don't deal well with unpredictability and a lack of control, but that's what you get when you renovate. Thankfully the building company we're using (Ambury Developments) are fantastic and very reliable, but things are still beyond our control as it's the nature of the business. Like today for example, when the plasterer told us that we should wait around 6 weeks before we paint the walls in the extension. SIX MORE WEEKS. That's bloody October. I had no idea we wouldn't be able to properly finish that room for so long. Then there's the kitchen - I didn't think about the fact that knocking down walls would mean losing quite a few cupboards/storage space. I hadn't planned on packing up the kitchen until the new fit, but we ended up having to pack up about half the kitchen the day before we left on holiday. That was a hoot. And then there will be a lag of up to one week between having our old kitchen completely ripped out and the new one getting started, and then another couple of weeks before the new one is finished. The kids are all like "Yay Dominos every night!" No. No we won't.

I am eternally grateful for the kindness of friends and family who have given us a sympathetic ear and have offered to have us over for meals to give us a break from the mess. I know that it sounds shallow and selfish to be complaining about doing renovations when there are families struggling with much bigger issues every day of their lives. I am also grateful for the fact that we're in a position to do things like this. But for now, please, I need to moan. I need to vent and get it out. I need a good cry, a large glass of wine, and a hug. I need to make it through deadline time at work. I need this cold to bugger off. I need to take a deep breath.

For now, I'll just hide up here with my mug of tea and pot of yoghurt.

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