When Renovations Stage II are the Story


When renovations are the story, I am Admin. I do the maths, the banking and the diary. RH is Project Manager, builder, carpenter and ditch-digger. I have the last word on spending. 

The new-bathroom-job began with RH ripping old lining, floor and ceiling from the veranda storeroom. Re-engineering the support structure. The house is nearly a century old and was built of local timbers. Not all of them have stood the test of time.

When all was revealed, AB, plumber, came in for the underfloor work. He was at first taken aback by the standing water under the house at ground level – it was the month of big rain – but was soon dressed for the operation. He installed a couple of temporarily lidded entry points for sewage and some taped-up outlets for water. He and Admin discussed mixers versus ordinary hot-and-cold taps and the quality of various makes of toilet pedestals.
Afterwards, Admin hared off to the local second-hand building supplies. She inspected various models of vanity basins, ordered one to be sourced with a mixer-sized outlet and put a deposit on a pair of French doors for Stage III.

MM, electrician, came in for the wiring. He left bundles of wire-ends, some of them ‘live’ and attenuated with dire warnings about touching – hanging at exit points where he later will install switches, power points and light fittings.

In between Admin made six trips down the highway to the tile shop at Byron Bay, to choose tiles. The samples she brought back were vetted by who-ever until the day she ordered her choices and organised for them to be delivered.

Admin fields phone calls from trades people and suppliers. The former are slotted into the diary for their site-visits, when they come to look the job over and offer their quotes. RH and Admin discuss the various pros and cons of quotes for the job versus hourly rates.

DM and D arrive one morning at 6.45 AM to repaint the brick garage wall adjacent to the commercial establishment next door, that early to not interfere with staff car parking. The painting is done by 8.45 AM, and in the afternoon, RH and C put in a drainage pipe and stand the fence back up. DM and Admin discuss the paint-job in the bathroom.

Windows have been sourced, quotes compared and they have been ordered. Admin liaises with her opposite at the factory and transfers a deposit. The three-to-four week waiting period flies by. The windows arrive and are installed by RH and his offsider, C. Admin is very excited to get new old-style louvre windows. The brushed aluminium frames match the existing new-style (IE non louvre) windows perfectly.

The tiler, K comes for his site visit, and again the following day to install the first layer of the impermeable membrane. Admin’s cat, Maggie, tests it before it is completely dry and has to be rescued – she leaves three trademark paw-prints on the pristine cream-coloured surface. They’re painted over two days later with the second coat.

The plasterers arrive for their site visit. They’ll return the day before Easter, when the mud is dry enough to stand on.

B, building consultant, comes to inspect the structural integrity of the garage (Stage I of the build). He marks the work in the bathroom as excellent – a feather in RH’s cap – and agrees to invoice Stage II and III together to save Admin the extra costs.

Tiler and mud-man K’s arrival is marked by a bucket being filled at the front yard tap by water rushing into the bucket. Admin will greet.

Admin has been unable to keep up her normal writing schedule. She uses her gappy time to catch up on blogs, such as this one, researching and writing an Expression of Interest for a Landcare funding application and writing critiques for the Online Writers Workshop.

She thinks about the critiques she received for chapters 1-3 of Monster-Moored, how she’ll need to change the W-I-P if she wants to take advantage of the ideas generated. How to rewrite. How to …
Maybe she’ll have time to do something about them over Easter. 

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