well the day has finally arrived, we finished the renovation. It’s been a level lawn weeks of hard work by many people but we finally got the work completed and you know what it looks fantastic. Everybody in the neighbourhood can’t believe what a good job we done at how well we have brought back this old house from the edge of oblivion to being a beautiful old home again. I’m so proud. My friend has been down and stayed in the house for a few days but while was finished but just to get a feel of how is in what is like to sleep in it. He says that night he is as long as a bug in a rug. I guess I’ll take that as a compliment to my building skills although I don’t particularly like his turn of phrase. A few weeks ago we promised ourselves that on the day we finished we would have a big dinner party on the verandah for everybody who worked on the project. So now it’s my job to bring a big old dining tables out from the garage, put it on the deck, and set out everything for all the guests who are arriving later tonight. I’ve got napkins and plates and I’ve even decided to splash out on a special candelabra with lots of candles to make it shine and be bright in the evening light. My wife is bringing down heaps of food she has been cooking all day and my friends wife is bringing desert which I hope will include a key lime party and some fresh whipped cream. It’s been a real adventure and I can’t believe that the day has finally come that it is over. We worked on this house stay a night for 11 weeks and I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself now that this is over. My old job seems boring to me and it’s going to be very difficult to go back to it. I’m actually considering becoming a full-time builder and looking at courses at the local college. Wish me luck.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been putting a real dent in the renovation of my friends house. The original materials cost a lot more money than we thought but in the end we thought it was more worthwhile to do the job properly than spend a lot of time just trying to patch it up and then having lots of problems in a few years time. Because of this we only bought the highest quality materials and of course had real problems when it came to where the store them because there are many people and vandals on the streets who love to steal materials off building sites. Luckily we had a lock-up garage on the property for most of the more valuable material but even so we still lost some things within the house over the last week or two. Because many people had slept in the house and used it as a place to come to get away from the weather, the neighbours around said that they continually heard people crying out at night probably because they were drunk or were having bad dreams. My friend even went to the extent of buying a dream catcher And hanging it in the centre of the house to ensure that nobody who ever slept there again would have a bad dream. I thought it was a bit of a silly idea but I wasn’t going to argue with him because anything that makes somebody like their home is a good idea by me. So now the journey is to keep just ploughing away, to keep working day and night as best we can so that we can complete the project before winter sets in. At this stage we had some six weeks to go and luckily a few friends had joined me on the job so we think we will get it done in time but only just. The plan is that we will have a big dinner the night we finish and everybody will be invited from the to celebrate the resurrection of the house.
As I said before, I’m attempting to renovate a house around the corner from me that my friend owns. I’ve measured everything up and it was obvious that there was lots of roof work and plaster boarding required to make the house waterproof as well as lots of floorboards to be pulled up and replaced with special hard woods to ensure that they wouldn’t break down again like the original ones had. This meant I had to go straight to the hardware store to buy lots of the equipment and materials I needed to start the renovation. Now it just happens that I love hardware stores, in fact my wife says that I treat them like a second church. I’m not sure if that’s true but it certainly is true that I spend lots of time there especially on Sunday. First order of business was clothing. I needed some tough shirts and pants and I especially needed one of those special building aprons that had all those special pockets and the hanging loops to carry things like hammers and chisels. Luckily they have a great one at a cheap price so as far as aprons were concerned I was covered. The next items were a vertical saw as well as a plane and a whole heap of nails, and this was before I even headed off to the roofing department. One of the things I have learnt about hardware stores is to not ask the sales people for their opinion, because before you know it you will leave with three times more materials then you originally wanted to buy I hate to think of how many building budgets are blown out over the years by asking the difference I’ll stick with their opinions on what work I should do and what materials I needed So I switched over to the roofing department and hidden behind some of the supplies from the salespeople as I slowly stocked my basket and tried not to look like a lurker in the aisles.
Normally this blog would be full of technical details about Apache servers and UNIX boxes as well as Microsoft TechNet diagnostic tools. And certainly in the past that would have been the case because as everybody knows I am definitely a geek. But today I want to talk about my renovation rescue project. In the last six months I had taken over the renovation of a small house on the corner block near the ocean which a friend of mine inherited from his parents a few years ago. The house has been long since empty and has been consistently used by people looking for a place to sleep. This being the case we can safely say that it was very rundown and needing a lot of tender loving care to bring it to a standard where anybody would want to sleep in it let alone rent it. When I first saw it I heart sank because I saw how much work there was and my skills as a renovator while reasonable were not up to the standard that would be required to bring this home back to its former glory. The first day I simply sat on the steps looking at it wondering where to even start and thinking it would be nice to perhaps just plant a few shrubs in the front garden and paying some wind chimes on the Veranda and simply call it a day. Of course this wasn’t really an option but I was feeling very downcast at all the work that was in front of me and being a geek or I could see was a project management nightmare. At some point I must have got my courage up because one morning I got up at my trusty tool bag and spent the better part of the day measuring the rooms and trying to figure out a work schedule that would see me be able to finish the work and yet still have time to go to my daily job.
It’s come to my attention that in this increasingly busy world people have really lost the art of giftgiving. Most people these days simply rushed down to the local newspaper shop or even worse an airport lounge and find whenever they came at the last moment to give to somebody special. Perhaps the worst crime of all is when people simply just hand over money is somehow that means more than you taking the time to go and look for a present which will really mean something to the recipient. My wife thankfully doesn’t belong t that group of people and goes out often long-term expedition to find exactly the right gift for her special person. This week she went out to find something for her niece were only just recently returned from Europe after being a nanny to a very well-off couple in Switzerland. Her niece was now suffering from missing Europe and really needed to be reminded how wonderful the stroller was and that there were many things in this country which were at least as good as Switzerland. To this end my wife looked for gifts which would make her feel at home as well as reconnect her to her spiritual side which had family had taken seriously for many years. Being an ardent Catholic herself my wife knew exactly what to get her but had to go to many shops to find the right one. She finally went to a specialist religious supply store and found the perfect set of rosary beads which she hoped would encourage her niece to return to her local church and start going to daily mass. The rosary beads were emeralds stonework and have a beautiful gold and silver crucifix. There is no doubt in my mind that my wife knows exactly the right sort of gift to give and indeed is one of those people who has not lost the art of giftgiving.