Friday 27 February 2015

Working for a living is tough!

I am currently on an assignment reviewing a project and completing its closure report. It's been a great project by all accounts and reading the documentation and speaking with those involved is a pleasure given how well it has been thought through and conducted.

The thing I am finding though is that it's tiring leaving home at 7am to be in town in plenty of time for the start of the interviews and not getting home till after 5pm! How did I used to do that every day?

It was especially tiring yesterday when I had to take the car in as the previous night a tree had fallen on the railway track and electric cables. Of course I was one of hundreds of extra drivers on the road. So it was a 2 hour journey instead of one hour. And today I caught the train which was restful but I am out of practice for getting up early!

We had Bruce and Gary, Errol and Adrian here for dinner tonight and well before they left I was asleep along the couch stretched out (as much as a short person can be) between David and Bruce ... Good thing Joe, the rock star chef, was on duty - he is so much younger than all of us so he has much more energy!

Tomorrow we are going to B&G's for brekkie and for dinner. Perhaps Sunday will be a rest day?

Sunday 22 February 2015

The bedroom blinds are up!!

Today I fitted the brackets for the bedroom blinds - a job that would take Luke 15 minutes, took me about an hour and a half.
  • Find all the tools required - now that is a challenge ...
  • Measure 100mm up from one end of the window frame, 
  • Then use the level to make sure the blinds will be level rather than just a standard height above the window frames in case they aren't level. I also had to make sure that the blinds that are adjacent to each other were lined up at the top.
  • Then make sure that the brackets will be placed on studs or otherwise be prepared to use rawl plugs
  • Mark where to drill 2 holes for each bracket
  • Drill holes and then screw in the brackets
Then David helped me fit the blinds - the brackets are quite easy once you get the knack of them, but until then they are awkward little suckers.

The fabric is Warwick Wrinkle

Dammit, the pillows aren't straight but the blind is fab!
We are delighted with how they look. Thanks, my lovely sister Dee, for helping choose the fabric. Thank you, darling David, for helping me get them up.

Saturday 21 February 2015

Progress in the garden

I am taking a break from the decoration projects at the moment as my forearms and wrists and my right hand are particularly sore from the unaccustomed exercise they have been getting. Waking up in the morning with my right hand stiff, painful and creaky is too reminiscent of my mum’s lupus symptoms to be comfortable …

So instead I have been working on the section a bit – nowhere near as much as David and Rob have been, but every little bit helps. I do bits of weeding in the herb garden outside the kitchen and sunroom and I keep pulling up quite a bit of wandering jew from outside the bedroom where it is regenerating.

David and Rob between them have knocked down a decrepit piece of fence and a block wall between us and one of our back neighbours. Both of them adjoined an illegal greenhouse/lean-to the neighbour has attached to his workshop. When the fence came down the novaroof walls had nothing to hold them in so they were flapping in the fairly strong breeze we had last week. I suggested to Peter that he probably needed to fasten them before they split. So one day when we were out he came over and did so, using a piece of aluminium strapping to screw them to the uprights. When I saw him a few days later, he apologised for how awful the lean-to looked from our side. He’s right - it’s very crappy. But we are going to build a fence in front of it, so we won’t see it, esp when we espalier some plants and fruit trees along the fence.

When he was here on Monday, Rob removed 4 giant impatiens plants around the front of the section – they were giant by name and giant by stature.  His method was very efficient – he used his short-handled grubber to chop at a bit of the root structure and then pulled out the attached branches, repeated and repeated until the whole thing was gone. He then planted a passionfruit vine next to the fence and used the grubber to dig the hole for it. Much faster and easier than using a spade. He has also planted two hibiscus for me recently – an orange one given to us by Derek, Ted and Vanessa as a housewarming pressie, and a bright pink one that I bought. The orange one has a few buds and I will post some pictures when it flowers.
The pink hibiscus

I love the colour

Rob tells me the hibiscuses will grow as tall as we want them to. They are both looking very healthy so I am keen to see how fast they grow.
Rob is amazingly fast and thorough – on Monday arvo he also completed shaping the edge of the garden beside the dining room – that was no mean feat as the ground is rock hard currently as we’ve only had 1.5 days of rain in the last seven weeks. He chopped away several extremely large lilies and trimmed the silver fern outside the dining room, and pruned two very large rhododendrons so they aren’t drooping on the ground in the front yard, His pruning is very thoughtful – when he has pruned a plant you know it’s been done because of the trimmings and because the plant looks smaller. But when looking at the plant you cannot see the cuts. He helped David get the old stove and dishwasher into the skip and cut a branch off the maple in the front yard so it wasn’t impinging on the rhodo below and beside it. The last task of the day was to plant the mandevilla and tie it to the downpipe on the end wall of the garage – it replaces one of the giant impatiens and will look so much more attractive.

Then it was inside for a glass of wine and nibbles with Jack and Sarah before catching the train home to Paekakariki.

On Sunday I used Bruce and Gary’s waterblaster to clean the green algae/mould off the remaining back fence which bounds our place with Graeme and Joy’s. On their side the fence is painted, but on ours it was scungy – until Luke and Rob cleared the trees and garden respectively, we could not see the fence as it was absolutely masked from view by trees, giant lilies and undergrowth. It was good to get it clean enough to paint on Wet and Forget – I’m not going to spray it on as it’ll get all over G&J’s plants and kill them. Once that has done its job, I’ll give the fence a coat of dark paint to give it a bit more protection. Hopefully then it’ll last for a few more years …

Monday I attacked the backing paper of the wallpaper sheets Jack has removed. I got most of it off, but it was then that I decided that I needed to stop because my forearms, wrists and hands were hurting again – important to take your own advice, don’t you think? I wouldn’t be able to get on my high horse about people not taking care of themselves if I don’t do it myself, eh? So I have been on a self-enforced slow down. It is hard but I have to do it or I won’t be in any fit state for boating or anything that requires arm or wrist strength.

So Tuesday’s lone task was to plant Caitlin’s rose. Caitlin is the darling wee grand-daughter we lost to cot death at age 6 months, 6 years ago now. Friends gave us a rose and they had a brass plaque made for our garden. As we were originally going to move into an apartment we had given the rose to Luke and Diane who are friends of Tim and Marta’s. Now they have shifted from their Tawa house and we have moved into this lovely place, Luke asked if we’d like the rose back. Diane brought it out yesterday morning. So I planted it along from the passionfruit vine, against the fence. I also have a yellow daisy bush that was a seedling from the original that we had in Caitlin’s garden at Cherswud. When we settle on a place for that (probably in the cottage garden area we have planned) we will also put the plaque up again, most likely on the to-be-erected fence.

Over the week, David has filled a skip with stuff from around the section – the piles of detritus from the giant impatiens, the stacks of rotting planks behind the garden shed, the contents and framing of a couple of pretty useless compost bins, Rob’s recent prunings, concrete blocks from the wall David demolished, and the old stove and dishwasher, plus a heap of stuff he found up in the attic. 

So, in go Rob and David to rearrange the stove they've just heaved in the skip.

Man-handling appliances

The rear view ...


A few days later - no evidence there's a stove and washing machine at the bottom.

The place is starting to look less like a deforested area and more like a work in progress. We have even started some planting, although there is still a number of plants sitting waiting for their turn ...

New leaves

The new leaf shoots

It’s lovely to see the that the severely trimmed camellias almost all have new shoots making their way through the bark of the remaining branches. At this rate, by next spring they’ll be looking like no trimming ever took place!  Survival is in their DNA.

Monday 9 February 2015

Busy, busy, busy

I have been too busy to post recently and am still flat out with the final bits of the kitchen redecoration. I have yet to complete the final topcoat on the doors (4), frames and window surrounds and I'm not doing it today because the weight of the roller is making my right hand and wrist sore.

The last things to do, apart from the above, are:
  • take delivery of the new dishwasher (selected, paid for yesterday - due to be delivered and fitted tomorrow or Thursday)
  • receive and fit the splashback - I'm going to glue it on the wall myself (selected, ordered and paid for this morning - due to arrive in 10 working days)
  • receive and have fitted the tiles to go above the up-stands (selected yesterday, ordered this morning - due to arrive sometime in Feb/March ...)
  • decide whether to fit a blind and, if yes, what kind.
We love the new kitchen cupboard doors and the new benchtop and the new paint job - I have painted the kitchen walls the same colour as we had at Cherswud: Resene's Melting Moment which is a lovely soft warm yellow which we think looks great with the dark black/grey benchtop, white t&g-look cupboard doors and grey floor. It is all certainly a great improvement on the formica cupboard doors, pale blue/lavender benchtop and door handles ... Judge for yourselves in the following photos from original to now:
Even tho I started at 6am I was still working when the guys arrived after 9am.

Old style but new paint

David emptying the under sink cupboard
Evan the electrician and David contemplate the fitting of the new rangehood

Dave the worker splits the bench into manageable chunks for removal
Builder's crack ...

Benchtop off and sink out

These are temporarily easier to access ... and had to be moved out for safety's sake ...

The new stove needed a new carcass to sit in as it's not freestanding
Stove carcass in,  drawers coming out for old fronts to be removed

Hugh gets the new cupboard doors on
Ready for hinge adjustment by Dave and new handles by Hugh

Dave gets up close and personal

The first section of the benchtop goes in

Nearly there - up and over so the sink goes in over the framing

In! Only two more sections to go!

Second one waiting
And the third one is going in

A hive of activity - Hamish is refitting all the plumbing stuff - taps, dishwasher, waste disposal
Evan wiring up the new stove, Hugh finishing the undersink cupboard doors. You can see Hugh needs a new pair of trousers!

Hugh cleaning up, Evan is still going - he was first in and last out that day.
So all of that work took place last Thursday - pretty amazing what was accomplished in a day! I started at 6am, Evan was with us for a couple of hours from 8am and came back about 4.30pm and left at about 5.30pm. Hugh and Dave were with us from about 9.30am till about 5pm and Hamish the plumber came in first thing to unhook all taps and remove the dishwasher and then came back about 4 to hook everything up again.

Our friends Jack and Sarah are homeless at the moment (moving in to a new home in Richmond, Nelson in April) and are staying with us for a few days. Yesterday while Sarah and I went to select a dishwasher and tiles, Jack started stripping the wallpaper in the dining room using Janneke and Nico's machine. It is still a very slow job.

I have advertised the job on Student Job Search and included the painting of the ceiling, the painting of the walls ready for papering, painting of all the woodwork. I will hang the wallpaper when all the hard messy stuff is done ...

In the meantime, I need to get the kitchen painting finished - hopefully tomorrow my wrist will be less painful and I will get it over and done with!

EDITED WED AM - painting finished - started at 6 and finished at 9 this morning. Thank heavens for that - I am over painting for the minute! It looks good tho, if I do say so myself.