Like a tame domestic version of “The Perfect Storm”, there is a convergence of sorts as the triggers for all final tasks on the house start setting themselves off. Upstairs wooden floor, downstairs quartz stone floor, fireplace and heating system, electrical system, doors and windows …
Nothing, of course is straightforward. The guys laying the wooden floor didn’t come when we thought they would, they came a week later, and have yet to finish. Now the quartz stone floor guy has arrived from
- The wood floor guys generate a tremendous amount of dust from their sawing and cutting … an unwelcome embellishment for the drying resin on the floor below
- The quartz stone fellow decided to lay the stairs first … thereby taking away the wooden floor team’s access to their workspace, since the only outside door upstairs can’t open with the new way the floor is being laid
This, naturally, is not all:
- The guy who delivered the quartz stone floor material decided to come down the driveway forwards with his big truck before checking to see if he could get out. Needless to say, he got stuck, and destroyed some newly-laid concrete walkways, a terra cotta brick wall, and the recently-laid pebble garden patch in his failed attempts to leave the premises. Our farmer neighbours had to come with their tractor to pull him out. When I asked him if it was the first time this had happened to him (expecting a “yes” answer from this professional driver), he said that it was the third or fourth.
- The guy installing the camino (wood-burning stove to provide hot water and heating) is a week late, meaning the big, cast-iron brute of a thing still isn’t installed … a necessity before the quartz stone chap can lay the floor in that room.
- The bathroom upstairs still has a big hole in it (not to mention a very shabbily-concreted corner) … presenting something of a minor challenge for the laying of the quartz stone, since it doesn’t naturally sit well on a layer of air.
- The doors leading to the outside open (inwards) away from the wall, into the middle of the room, instead of against the wall … and the door guys say that we’ll just have to adjust the furniture to accommodate it, since changing it to the logical way would require making a new door.
- The mix-up of two very different types of window between the bathroom and the kitchen – making an obvious and ugly mismatch in both places – has been vehemently defended by the carpenters as being “what was decided upon”.
- The people who were meant to order the special resin paint for the bathrooms didn’t order it because “they couldn’t reach us” (but never left a message, an Italian habit, it seems) … and so now the 4-layer, one-layer-per-day process will have to wait until the bathrooms floors are laid and dry (a 4-day process in itself), further extending our move-in date.
- Our decision to back up our water and house heating with a gas solution (primary source is the camino – see above) has not been factored into anyone’s plans … meaning that we’ll have to light a fire every time we want a shower or want to wash the dishes.
I imagine I’ll be able to add to this list in time.
Of course, Maria decided to add to the challenges by not liking the partially exposed walls, and asking for them to be filled in. This has left a noticeable line and bump where the old and new cement meet, requiring a search for a solution, and – needless to say – repainting after the quartz stone floor has been laid, an eventuality I had striven with some effort to avoid.
There is, happily, some good news. The electrician moved the floor lights from their mid-room position to a more “ambient” locale, after some (German) insistence by Maria. I will hold my breath that the electrician (the fellow responsible for the sloppy concrete floor in the bathroom upstairs) did not pierce one of the buried water-carrying heating tubes in his endeavours.
It’s starting to get cold. The farmhouse (our current digs) is not very well insulated, and the other day Maria returned home to find a rat on the kitchen table, merrily helping itself to whatever leftovers and other foodstuffs it could find.
We need to move. Our spirits require it, our tired bodies require it, our family unity requires it. I had targeted October 20th, but I now think, with all the recent developments, that’s ambitious.
Believe it or not, I’m not despondent – I think we will move in soon. It’s what we’re moving into that I’m now concerned about.