Thursday, 23 April 2009


On Sunday, a friend who lives a few houses down said: "These old houses used to have really nice wooden parquet flooring in the hall". Or maybe I just heard what I wanted to, she might have said: "Before renovation most of the properties on this road had some really grotty old features, like scrabbly old parquet flooring in the hall." In any case, a lightbulb went on in my head: "Ping!" I rushed home and pulled up the sooty corner of the 25-year-old carpet covering the gleaming intricate pattern of interlocking hardwoods I had laid in my imagination. By the way, I know the carpet's 25 years old because it's exactly the same as the one which was in the 'master' bedroom when we bought the house, which I refused point-blank to keep (it had a label with the date underneath):

Husband (patiently): "I know it's not the best carpet, but considering we've emptied our bank account and nearly bankrupted ourselves buying this house [editor's note: March 2008], and the fact that we AGREED not to waste money doing anything to it 'til we can do our major renovations....can't we just get some rugs to hide it?"

Me (soothingly): "Yes, I understand, and I know we did have an agreement. But..."
Me (vehemently): "...but...There's no bloody way I am going to sleep in this bedroom with that piece of horrible **** on the floor! It's disgusting! I mean, look at it! I'm sorry but NO WAY! I hadn't seen how bad it was when the furniture was all on top of it, but it's almost threadbare! Not forgetting how many horrible cheesy feet have tramped all over it. No! Sorry, but that's final!...."
Me (matter-of-factly) "...anyway, rugs cost money too!"...
Me (sweetly): "...don't they darling? And it IS our bedroom..." (nudge nudge, wink wink)...
Husband (defeatedly): "Well, if you put it like'd better look into it and sort it out yourself, then! I'm too busy at work trying to make ends meet..."

Anyway, back in the hall, I pulled up the corner of the carpet and everything looked rather nice and hunky-dory underneath. I mean, in contrast with the carpet.
Cue following conversation:

Me: "Love, Ummm, take a look at this..."

Husband (sighing): "Oh God. What 'grand designs' have you got now? I thought we agreed we don't have money to do anything to the house at this point in time? I mean that's not a priority...we've got that matting over it!"

Me (all excited): "No, I mean, there's lovely wooden parquet flooring underneath, look! All we need to do is pull this up and bob's your uncle! Immediate renovation!"

Husband (eternally sceptical): "Are you sure? I mean, what about the condition of the rest of it?...and anyway, who's going to do all this?"

Me (resolutely): "I'll do it one morning during the week when the kids are in school. It doesn't take much to pull up a carpet!" [editor's note: I'm the one with the architect/builder father, and used to domestic building-sites, while Husband's the Accountant and, to be polite, more used to accountancy...]

Husband (panicking): "Shouldn't you wait before rushing headlong? And anyway, it'd take you more than a morning!'d take hours to pull all this up and sort it out"

Me (countering): "Rubbish! I know all about this kind of stuff! I can do this little lot in 45 minutes max! including the gripper rods!"

Husband: "What are gripper rods? Oh well, have your own way, you always do...Anyway I'm going out to the barber's with little Mister. We're both going to have a hair cut, we won't be long, they're quiet on Sundays. Listen out for little Miss asleep upstairs...Bye!"

(45 minutes later)

Husband (throwing hands up into the air): "God you ARE THE MOST STUBBORN WOMAN I HAVE EVER MET IN MY LIFE!....what, where did you put the carpet and all the stuff you took off then? Has little Miss not woken up yet? And..[kicking several stray pieces of paper-thin wood sliding around the floor]... this stuff's not in good condition at all! Couldn't you wait?!"

Me: "Well it WAS/IS great around the edges...anyway, anything's better than that grotty old carpet!"

Husband: "I give up! We'll have to put a new carpet down on top now! It'd cost too much to renovate this lot! ...Go and have a shower at least!"

I think my husband is quite long-suffering [really sorry, love!, if you're reading this!]. But then he did sign up for a Type-A-personality wife and a house to do up...


  1. I too just found this blog due to Penelope Trunk - and I just finished reading all your posts. Please keep writing! I am a VERY reluctantly frustrated stay-at-home mom of a 10 yr old girl. I start grad school in the fall, so my situation is somewhat temporary now - but I have been home with her for the past couple years, so I know how you feel. I'm also living in a home that's mid-renovation, so I know how you feel. Are there any small, inexpensive tasks you could handle yourself - like painting a few walls? Even if they'll eventually come down? It's so cheap to do, and it really helps to have a color you like on the walls. Just my two cents. I will be checking back!

  2. OMG it's like peeking into my own mind. Have just stumbled upon your blog and can't wait to read more :)

  3. MtJaM (Not Mt Jam! More than Just a Mother) - thanks! (like the name - just like peeking into MY own mind!) Do come again, would offer virtual cream teas if I could, but there you go...