So it's New Year resolution time again, and it's pretty clear after many previous unsuccessful iterations that the usual crop consisting of more exercise, better diet, and giving up smoking are a waste of time. Therefore, after several months of playing host to an assortment of builders and tradesmen, this year's resolution is more DIY.
What's annoying is that most tradesmen seem to be in a mad rush to get to the next job, and so don't have time for those little finishing touches (which, as my wife says I'm a perfectionist, are so important). Some days it really did feel like I might as well have done the job myself. For example, over the last several weeks I've been:
- Resealing the edges of the vinyl floor upstairs where it looks like they ran out of clear sealant and used brown instead.
- Repainting the bannister rails where the decorator rushed the last bit and the paint was uneven.
- Refitting the bath panels so that they line up with the edge of the bath.
- Cleaning leftover adhesive and grout from the floor tiles in the hallway.
- Spending several hours sanding down the filler (which sets like concrete) that the plumber used to hide the new central heating pipes.
- Rubbing down and repainting parts of the kitchen ceiling to get rid of the lumps.
- Cementing round the new bathroom waste pipe, discovering after I'd used all the cement and cleaned my trowels that the overflow pipe is now disconnected, and having to cement up that hole the next day.
- Swapping over the fixing brackets on a radiator where the plumber put a top and bottom one at the top and a top and bottom one at the bottom.
- Clearing shovelfuls of rubbish from under the new kitchen units.
- Vacuuming the garage (which doubles as my server room) every week to get rid of the thick layers of tile fragments and sawdust that cover everything.
Meanwhile the people who delivered the rubbish skip and promised to come back for it the next morning left it here for a week so my front lawn now has a square hole that, after all the rain we've had, resembles a small swimming pool.
Realistically, though, many of the jobs they tackled were beyond my level of competence or patience. I can see that my attempts to plaster a ceiling or tile a floor would probably be a disaster, and completely rewiring a kitchen is likely to require some level of theoretical knowledge of the regulations that I don't have.
But, hopefully, it will be another fifteen years before we need to do anything else to the house. And I'll be retired long before then, so I'll have plenty of spare time. However, my wife says we're never going to go through this again - we're going to move house instead. Though I'm not sure that would be any less stressful...