I’ve never realized how much I value my private space until my home got invaded by a bunch of builders. It was a necessary evil: a 70-year-old roof that’s never been maintained and finally decided that now, shortly after we had bought it, was the time to start acting up. Chicken Little wasn’t kidding when he said the sky was falling. We’d lie awake listening to the resident rat in the roof, hoping he wouldn’t scurry too far up the beams and bring the whole structure crashing down around our ears.
So lots of tears, anger at the previous owners (with their stupid predilection for blue carpeting, wobbly ladders and their apparent lack of maintenance skills, now simply know as Them Damn Germans) and pleading at the feet of various moneylenders later, and we have a new roof.
We also have a cracked ceiling in the lounge, flattened spring flowers (My sweet peas! My jasmine! My pansies!), constant headaches due to hammering and dust (there’s asbestos up there, I’m telling you!) and a disturbing lack of toilet paper. Apparently, builders need to use the toilet many times during a day at regular intervals. In fact, they were so busy using the toilet it’s a wonder the roof got built. They queued, I tell you! I’m thinking they eat too much Special K.
And, of course, we are now also deeper in debt than ever. And not one new curtain, scatter cushion, paint job, decorative cornice, new light fitting, or item of furniture to show for it. Just a roof that won’t fall down in, say, the next three years. How prosaic.
Three years is also how long the warranty on the roof lasts. I’m betting that three years plus one day is how long it takes for Jozi’s first hurricane to come say hi.
It didn’t help that I got knocked down by an infernal monster from hell aka the common cold during this period of building. The fever dreams I had while tossing to the sound of their incessant hammering… And since we’re not big believers in curtains at our place, a builder probably got an eyeful. Well, an eyeful of a moaning, groaning lump of white duvet and loads of snotty tissues, at the very least.
Anyway… I must confess: my kneejerk reaction in times of physical or mental stress is to verbalise lots of negative feelings and lash out at the people closest to me. Ultimately, I get over it, because the gears in my brain start moving into problem-solving mode from the moment I’m faced with a challenge… Only problem is, my mouth also motors into action. It’s like I can’t move on to solve something until I’ve got rid of all the noise in my head. So a few of my people have had a rough time of it… And I’m thinking I’ll need to bake some cupcakes to apologise.
I should probably give the builders some cupcakes too, just to show willing. Hopefully it makes whichever one of them is planning to come rob us in two months’ time think twice. (Stereotype much? Yep.). But I’m not giving them bran muffins. Something tells me they don’t need the extra fiber.