Thursday, January 25, 2007

plugging away
It started innocently enough; I pointed out to TA that although the pupster widdles on the paper and we are diligent about cleaning up, the carpet tiles around the newspaper were beginning to suffer. I suggested – yet again – that TA turn his mind to training the pup that outside is as good a place as any for widdles.
The next evening I discovered that TA had other plans as he told me about the price of “slate tile” laminate and underlay – he’d gone to three different outlets to enquire. Not one to discourage “Super TA” when he turns up, which is rarely, I readily agreed to ripping up the unhygienic carpet tiles and replacing them with ethically suspect laminate; even though I had previously sworn blind that I wouldn’t use anything other than reclaimed slate and floorboards in the flat and would save up until that was possible. And even though the kitchen carpet was the least offensive floor covering in the entire apartment, the rest of the rooms being covered in a green-grey dirge that I’ve come to loathe.
In fact, I’d been begging TA for some time to think about what we could do to improve the hall, given that Skye punished us for leaving him home alone by trying to tunnel into our bedroom, leaving a gaping hole in the already disgusting carpet. However, if the superhero wanted to fix up our kitchen, I wasn’t going to argue.
On Friday night we pulled up the carpet tiles. Saturday morning dawned and “Super Badgergirl” awoke to the pupster’s tongue up her nose at 5.30am (his affectionate way of telling me he wants his breakfast). Full of beans, I jumped out of bed, turning on the kitchen radio in time to catch Countryfile and Farming Today. Listening avidly, I fed all of us (scrambled eggs on toast for us, on rice cakes for him) and contemplated the carpet tiles. They were obviously nearly new, unlike the terrifying carpet in the other rooms, and actually I rather liked the colour – a smart dark blue. It occurred to me that since the bathroom is very small, we could throw away the pupster-tainted tiles and still have plenty to use to replace the snot carpet.
I ripped up the snot in a matter of over-excited minutes, discovering in the process that the pedestal comes away from the sink very easily. I put a few of the blue tiles in the bathroom to survey the effect and was pleased: it was almost like how I’ve always wanted that room to be (white walls with dark blue ceramic floor tiles) – certainly the closest I was going to get without spending money. TA was up by this point and heading out for his Saturday morning coffee. He took the pupster with him and I was left alone with my imagination – never a good idea.
The paintwork throughout the Sett has wound me up from the beginning, every room has coloured skirting and door frames when I was brought up to believe that woodwork should always be painted white. The bathroom is a case in point: dark green wood trims and mint green walls. In my mind, a light bulb turned itself on as I was sweeping up the underlay debris from the bathroom floor: I may as well paint the skirting and door frame while the carpet was up, hell I may as well paint the walls too – after all, we had white paint leftover from doing the living room alcove last year and matching gloss from the bedroom windowsill. It was then that an omen presented itself: I found the plug for bathroom sink; it had been behind the pedestal the whole time! And to think we had so nearly got around to thinking about buying a plug for that sink since we first moved in!
By the time TA arrived home, the first coats of paint were drying and I had discovered that it is not possible to cut carpet tiles with scissors to any degree of accuracy. TA was not amused: “You always do this! You always start things and then get me to finish them. I’m not a farmer! I’m not moving to Wales.”
Whoa, nelly!
After lunch and a lengthy talk, we started on the kitchen: TA doing all the tricky bits and me sitting or standing on whichever bit of laminate he wanted to keep still. Then I returned to put another coat of paint on the bathroom walls. I went to B&Q later and picked up a carpet knife and sundry other supplies – suddenly this decorating business was becoming expensive.
Sunday, I raced round like a mad thing – applying another coat of gloss before embarking on a ten-mile walk from the Sett to meet friends near Old Street tube then round the East End before heading back over Tower Bridge and home. The pupster behaved himself admirably and the weather was stunning.
Ten miles is a fair stretch of the legs, but I had duties to fulfil on my return home. We fitted the carpet tiles in the bathroom and finished laying the kitchen floor.
On Monday, I gently broke the news to TA that I’m planning to paint the (blue) kitchen skirting and door frame white over the weekend before he fits the edging to the laminate. On Tuesday I discovered that because TA had taken the doorstop off the wall to fit the new floor the kitchen door handle had been able to hit the wall, leaving a hole.
So, what’s the best way to get TA onside for a kitchen wall polyfill-and-paint operation, given that it will mean buying new paint, and what colour would look good in a small kitchen with pale grey units, a “slate” floor, dark grey work surface and grey/white tiles? Please - no more grey! I'd like something light and cheery that, ideally, won't show evidence of mucky pupster behaviour (I've noticed he sometimes spills his food on the wall - I'm not sure how he manages that). Also, what should we do about the hall? (We have enough underlay left over from the kitchen to do the hall...)
In other news, it’s bloody freezing and frankly I wonder just how expensive replacement windows can be – the draft in the bedroom is giving me backache.

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