Thursday, 11 December 2014

Thursday 11th December - Another typical little project

We moved into this house over 30 years ago.

It very quickly became clear that NOTHING would be straight forward. How quickly? Like, the minute we wanted to hang the curtains - the previous occupants had taken all the curtain hooks with them. All the curtain tracks are different, so getting new curtain hooks was a bit of a challenge.We could have replaced all the tracks, of course, but we had pretty much busticated the budget buying the house (£46,000 was a terrifying amount of money back then, and interest rates were MUCH higher).

Anyway, that's all history now. Except when it comes back to bite us.

So, neighbours across the road have installed a bright, motion sensitive security light, which just catches our bedroom window. Our cheap unlined curtains that we hung on the second night of moving in (because, or course, we had no hooks on the first night) have coped with the street light and people driving up and down the road in the middle of the night, but this security light is another matter.

Step 1 - order black-out curtains from John Lewis. We ordered them yesterday, and collected them from Waitrose at 2pm today. Brilliant! Buy new curtain hooks while we are at it, as the plastic is bound to have gone brittle by now. Shop helps us choose matching hooks.

Step 2 - open the box - they have delivered red instead of blue. Hmm. Okay. We'll go with red. Red is fine.

Step 3 - Start hanging the curtains. They won't slide on the rail. Turns out that the hooks are slightly too roomy for the rail.Looks like the hooks we've been using all these years were wrong too, which explains why the curtains have never run smoothly.

Step 3 - It is late night shopping. Zoom into town and buy the other hooks. And buy a cheap curtain rail while we are at it. Why not. Perhaps the curtain track is worn out - could be, after all these decades. Belt and braces time.

Step 4 - Try the new hooks. Still not right. Replace the old curtains for tonight. Tomorrow is another day.

There's no use being irritated. Every job in this house throws up unforseen problems. That's another blog post all on its own.

You learn to adopt important life skills, when you tackle any kind of decorating, repairs, improvements in this house. Like....

1 Do your research. And then check the facts. And then go over all the figures again.
2 Research it all some more. Ponder. Think it through.Revise time and budget estimates upwards and then double them.
3 Never start any job, however small, without having at least twice the "book time" for the job free.
4 Never start any job without having every single conceivable bit of equipment ready, fully charged, tested and available for use.
5 Always be able to reverse engineer your work so that you can regain some kind of functionality in the event of total catastrophic failure.
6 Set your expectations low, and be prepared to revise your success criteria downwards as you proceed.
7 Be happy to have survived the experience. Don't examine the finished result too closely. Good enough will do.  



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