Monday, 10 November 2014

Traffic

So it was a slightly unusually journey to work this morning… I encountered traffic.  I know, to most people that really doesn’t sound that unusual, but given the time I drive to work, there really isn’t that much traffic on the roads that that point.  Most sane people are still tucked up in their beds, many probably not even contemplating getting up for another hour.

Typically I see around 20 cars on my journey, often less.  This morning, while waiting to turn right into the office car park I encountered more traffic than I see along the entire route to work.  The incessant tick-tick, tick-tick of my indicator was starting to grate on my nerves as I waited for a seemingly endless line of traffic to pass.

Had it not been for the fact it was completely dark outside, other than the street lights, and of course the blinding headlights of the oncoming line of traffic, I would have been tempted to double check my clock, on the assumption that maybe I had overslept and inadvertently found myself in the midst of rush hour traffic.

Eventually, there was a gap large enough for me to wiz through before I got stuck there indefinitely.  The empty car park greeted me, reassuring me that whilst the rest of the country may have suddenly decided to get up early, normalcy remained present and well at my office, and I continued to be the only insane commuter to arrive at work before 7am.   I’m not entirely sure why I find that so comforting…

Friday, 7 November 2014

Kitchen Chaos

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my kitchen has for the last eight weeks been undergoing a bit of a face lift.  Yes, I did say eight weeks.  No, my kitchen really isn’t that big, or the refurbishment that drastic.  So why did it take eight weeks?  To be honest I still haven’t quite figured that one out, but the bad news is, it’s not finished yet.

It had seemed like such a good idea at the time.  Of course having the kitchen out of action for any length of time was going to be inconvenient, but it would only be for two weeks…. Or at least that’s what the designer claimed. 

It started off alright.  The fitter turned up bright and early one Monday to rip out the old appliances, break apart the old cupboards and completely fill the skip, which was so attractively sitting on my lawn.  So far so good.

Then the electrics had to be rewired.  I know it’s all for my own safety, and the sensible side of me is completely on board with this.  However, the impatient and cost saving side of me can’t help but have the nagging doubt of, is it really necessary?  Common sense fortunately does however prevail, usually, so the rewiring went ahead, not that I actually really had a say in the matter. 

The next snag was when the sink arrived.  Seriously, I’m supposed to actually wash up in that?  It was so small I’m not even sure my frying pan would fit in it.  Perhaps it would have looked bigger when it was installed, but thankfully I didn’t get that far.  A larger, more practically sink was ordered.  The only downside was, they had to wait for the part.

Never mind right?  Onwards and upwards as the saying goes.  So I’d have to put up with no sink for a little longer, I could cope with that.  Of course that also meant they couldn’t fit the worktop, but still it wasn’t the end of the world.  I focused on the exciting fact that the next day my appliances would be delivered.

Yep, the next day the appliances were delivered.  Sadly they weren’t my appliances.  Or at least not the ones I had ordered.  I walked into the kitchen, just as the fitter had proudly installed the oven.  “Doesn’t it look great?” he asked.  Er, yes but not as great as the one I wanted would have looked.

A somewhat fraught phone call later he had confirmed that I was right (told you so) and the oven was not the one I ordered.  With that, we decided it was best to check the rest of the appliances.  Guess what, the dishwasher was wrong too.  By the end of the day the fitter left me with one working appliance… the extractor fan. 

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a very nice extractor fan, and I really appreciated that it worked, but it really wasn’t all that much help to me.  I mean an extractor fan’s sole purpose in life is to extract the steam when you cook (well, that and have a pretty little light as well).  When you have no hob on which to actually do any cooking, it makes a working extractor fan a little superfluous.  Fortunately my trusty microwave stepped in to the rescue.  What would I do without microwave meals?

So a week passed with no progress while I waited, I would like to say patiently but let’s be honest it was definitely impatiently, for the new sink and the new appliances to arrive.  The company was kind enough to lend me a temporary oven in the meantime, so my microwave was given a reprieve.  Or was that me that was given a reprieve from microwave meals?

Finally, the correct appliances were fitted, (after they had been inspected by me just to make sure), and then the sink was installed.  Still no plumbing in place, but washing up’s overrated anyway. 
Then the guys came to measure up for the worktop.  It arrived the following week, by which point I was beginning to get excited.  To be fair, I’d been quite excited when the whole thing started, I mean the prospect of having a kitchen that worked instead of one where nothing did, was quite appealing. 

My old dishwasher had been purely ornamental for at least a year, and the oven, obviously jealous of the dishwasher’s lazy days, was trying its hardest to achieve the same goal.  The ignition on the hobs was the first to go.  But it wasn’t smart enough to outwit me and a box of matches. 

It was persistent though, and decided that the oven itself didn’t want to light either.  Technically a box of matches can resolve that too, however it wasn’t so easy.   Cooking dinner each night became a ritual of crawling on the floor, lighting a match, struggling to reach the back of the oven without getting burned when it did light, then clambering back up and shutting the door, which was also trying my patience by refusing to shut unless it was slammed.  Unfortunately this was then often followed by cursing, as the breeze from slamming the door blew the oven out and I had to start the whole process all over again. 

Needless to say a new kitchen with working appliances was very tempting.  However, given all the problems I was encountering, I was beginning to think that temperamental appliances were better than none.  But as the worktop was finally fitted and the new appliances were installed, optimism was restored.

That was three weeks ago now.  So why isn’t my kitchen finished?  Well, simple answer, timing.  The delays threw out my carefully timetabled plan for getting things done.  The decorator filled my slot with other appointments as I wasn’t ready.  That delayed the flooring.  Then I had inspiration and decided I wanted tiles around part of the kitchen, yes I know I should have thought of that earlier, but it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.

Next issue, my decorator doesn’t do tiling.  The hunt for a tiler began.  Or was it a race?  Anyway, I found one, who had a space in his diary a couple of weeks later.  Perfect.  So now I have tiles. 


The decorator is scheduled to come this month, with the guy fitting the new blind and the flooring fitters following up closely behind.  If all goes according to plan, I should have a completed kitchen before Christmas.  I’m really looking forward to it, maybe then I’ll remember why I ever thought this was a good idea.