Sunday, 28 November 2010

Where we're at.

It's been nearly two weeks with no shower...yikes! The whole taps debacle held things up immensely as the builder had other commitments last week so things didn't really move forward at all.

But we have waterproof walls. Nice blue waterproof walls.

And the benchtop has been taken away...

So a bit of a mess, but hopefully we will get things moving again at sparrow's fart tomorrow. Matt is getting tired of washing himself down with the garden hose...

Monday, 22 November 2010

My husband's famous..

On a brighter note (the taps arrived this afternoon - delivered by a sheepish employer in his own car), my husband is now famous.

Appearing on the back page of Home magazine, talking about the Lyttelton tunnel building:

What a hottie.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Young mother totally loses the plot in public place...

Okay, so the first major hiccup (watch out, this is an ultra long worded post, so make a cup of tea and get comfortable). Last Saturday (one week ago) I went into a shop we have here in Christchurch called Smiths City to order some taps. We are simply going to replace the old taps with the latest version of the same thing - by the same company and everything. So, nobody buys shower taps anymore - usually people replace them with mixers, but we figured we'd just take the easy route and stick to taps. Anyways, so nobody stocks taps - they have to be ordered from the manufacturer which is cool, so last Saturday we went into Smiths City to order our taps.

There was a bit of confusion regarding the pricing - something was $130 but no-one was sure if that was for one tap or both the hot and cold. We need two sets - ie four taps. I mentioned to the shop guy that if they were $130 per tap then there was no way we could afford those ones, cos that would be over $500 just for some taps which was just silly. The shop guy laughed and agreed and asked another lady to check that it was the price for two. Which the woman went somewhere to check and came back and said that it was for definitely for two taps. Now, that's still heaps of money - $260 just for some taps. Whoa. Anyway, we went with that and ordered (and paid for) two full sets.

So, they came in on Wednesday which was a bit late, we had to put the plumber and builder on hold cos they couldn't do much without the taps (as we have the huge holes in the wall which need to be sorted before tiling can proceed) so I was a bit stressed. It was also really hot - like nearly 30 degrees, and the baby was unhappy and crying a fair bit cos of all the men and power saws etc.

So I went down on Wednesday, with crying baby on my hip, ultra tired, dirty and smelly (as we have no shower, and incidentally baby had vomitted down my front before I left home and I couldn't be bothered changing - put together this is a great image oui?) to pick up my taps when disaster struck.

Firstly, they only had one set of taps. Okay, this means work will still have to be on hold. Then, they tell me that I've only paid for and ordered one set anyway. Uh, hello? And get this, it's the same lady who went and checked for me on Saturday to make sure the price was for a whole set. Then it gets really screwy - she denies ever having told me this, and tells me it they are always priced per tap and makes it totally sound like my fault. She was so rude - she kept turning her back to me and speaking over me and trying to get rid of me. gets a little messy here. In my head I was trying to work out which part of this was worse - the fact that we can't proceed at all with our bathroom until more taps are ordered, or that we have to fork out another $260 on taps. These thoughts, combined with the heat, crying, sweat, smell and fatigue lead my eyes to well up and me to quietly whine..."but we can't afford more taps"..before breaking down in snotty nosed red-faced tears. In public.


I have never behaved like this in public before. I had to grab my phone and call Matt in order to stop myself actually sitting on the ground and throwing a total tantrum. I wandered around the store, sniffing and sobbing and talking to Matt while he tried to calm me and wisely suggested I just pay for the taps and get out of there.

Returning to the counter, the ladies were obviously a little freaked out by the crazy smelly red-faced crying lady with the confused looking baby on her hip, and although they didn't apologise, they offered me a $50 discount and assured me the taps would be here by the end of the week. Okay, I sniffed, and paid for more taps...

End of unpleasant experience? Why no, it's now Saturday and they still haven't arrived. When I rang this morning I was told to phone them again after 9am on Monday to see what had happened. What the &%*#?

"Smiths City Has It All" reads their slogan. Should be "Smiths City brings young mothers to tears" or "Smiths City hasn't got what you want in stock and will break you down by stuffing up your order, taking ages to get things in and being rude to you in the process".

I'm stepping aside now and passing it over the Matt - I'm sure he will be much more rational and demanding when he speaks to them on Monday. This has pushed the whole project back by a week. A whole extra week with no shower! Don't worry though, we have been driving across town and showering at my folk's place every other day. And the baby is happy enough if we fill up his toy bucket with water and dunk him in that.

ps. see that tap up in the photo - $130 right there. Wham.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

We're on!

Things started with a hiss and a roar yesterday - the plumber and builder arrived and by the end of the morning we were meant to have the taps sorted and the walls prepped for the first stage of tiling.

Neither of those things was achieved.

Firstly, we found we needed to cut giant holes in the wall to expose the taps fully. After a heap of noise with some sort of power saw and a massive cloud of grouty dustiness we had holes:

Note to self: baby does not sleep through the noise of power tools, loud men, and debris crashing into a enamel bath.

Unfortunately we then concluded that the whole taps need to be re-plumbed which the plumber couldn't do without the new taps present. I ordered the new taps on Saturday but they hadn't arrived so Mr Plumber had to leave and can't come back until Friday, which brought things to a grinding halt. Grmph.

Well, not a total grinding halt - the plan had previously been to tile over the existing tiles, but after the mess created above we realised that the old ones peel off quite nicely so I worked away at getting them off but that didn't really work out (note to self: baby doesn't sleep through noise of hammer and chisel) .. so we spent the night elsewhere and Matt came back after dark to finish it off.

This morning we had buckets of old tiles and a skanky shower door ready to be thrown away.

And lovely (!) bare walls.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Bye bye bathroom!

After weeks of inaction following the Big Quake, our mate Gary got back to us last week with a quote to sort the bathroom (re-tile the walls, resurface the bath, replumb the taps and replace the formica benchtop) and to build new skylights. We said ok, he said he'd be round to measure at 3pm the following afternoon....but never showed. Grmph. We threw our hands in the air - tradesmen!

No more contact, brief one-word responses to emails...then, I popped out for a coffee this morning and when I got back there wasn't one, but three vehicles parked on our driveway! With men everywhere - what was going on?

Turns out Gary rescheduled the measure-up to this morning, but didn't feel the need to tell me - heck, they just found an unlocked door round the back and let themselves in! True! Oh well, he is not a bad guy, and so I let him get away with it. I am a pushover.

So we are all on. Today I need to scrub the existing tiles with my old friend the sugar soap and then the tiler will apparently come and prime the walls tomorrow. So no more showers for some time (don't worry, we will be driving across town and showering at my parent's place so we shouldn't stink too bad).

So here's a few bye-bye photos of the bathroom:

Bye-bye icky lime-scaled grout and grotty shower door...

Bye-bye recessed soap dish and old worn out taps...

Bye-bye faded benchtop...

Bye-bye brown tiles (but I'll miss you)...

Bye-bye dark dark bathroom...

...we were wanting to replace the tiles with white ones of a similar size, but the cost was horrendous - it would have cost about $3500 just for the tiles!! We are not that rich. We are not actually rich at all. So we are going with a larger simple glossy white tile (there's one on the bench in the photo above but you can hardly see it as the room is so dark). We did consider a dark blue/grey too, to match the bedroom cupboards, but thought it might make things a bit dark, and neither of us is particularly good at committing to colour choices. So we went with boring.

However, we are sticking to the original with the benchtop and replacing it with another Valencia Orange one... ooh la la.

So watch this space for a flurry of excited, frustrated, despairing and entertaining posts over the next couple of weeks. For the record, we were told that all the work would be finished by mid-December....not feeling very hopeful of that, but we'll see.