Here Ends the 11th Commandment

I work at home most of the time, which means K-man will happily arrange delivery-people or tradesmen to call at the house.  These people are rarely reliable, are always disruptive, and K-man has always gone to work.  I am glimpsing a tiny part of what it must be like to be the parent of a baby who manages to get her child to finally go to sleep 30 seconds before her partner arrives home to comment (in tones that imply judgment about the ease of parenthood) on how cute it is.  Only it’s the noise and disruption of tradesman, and K-man waltzes through the door at 7pm to examine how great everything will look.

I need a fucking break from this shit, I said.  I am not getting anything done because every half hour I have to get up to answer the door, show someone around for the purposes of yet another quote for work, make a cup of tea for a worker, or answer some question about how exactly I would like something done.

Part of the problem is the nature of my work, which requires hours of close reading and deep thought about public policy processes, the relative merits of different methodologies for researching the answer to a question I haven’t thought of yet, and whether and how I know what I think I know.  Having someone liberally cursing at their machinery interrupts the train of thought, and trying to get that thought back is like clutching at fog.

I’m pretty sure I said thou shalt engage no more tradesmen until 2012.  Several times.  I’ve taken to calling it the 11th Commandment, but I should have known better because like many a religious dictat it’s being enthusiastically ignored.

Latching on to my statement that perhaps certain improvements to the outside would not be as disruptive, K-man arranged for a man to move our garden shed and build us a patio in the sunny spot of our garden.

The shed was built at least 25 years ago in the stupidest place available, right in the centre of the garden.  Visually it cuts the garden in half, and it takes up valuable sun-lounging space during our four annual seconds of sunshine.  It’s ugly, and there are now enough gaps in its structural integrity to enable squirrels to get in and cause havoc.

Cross-reference the astonishing size of the dump section of our garden, which is in the perfect place for a garden shed since it is in the back left corner which never sees the sun.  Every garden – am I right? – has a dump section.  Ours is the size of Tokelau.  I tried to clear it myself but stopped when after six inches of digging, I uncovered a bin-liner potentially containing my worst nightmares.  Always one to take the easiest way out, I pretended the dump section’s dark secrets didn’t exist, so we dumped more crap on it (the smashed up fireplace, the 1970s kitchen unit we ripped out of the garage, the fence we pulled down and replaced) and walked away brushing down our clothing.

Work began yesterday.  Sixteen cups of tea and a wheel-barrow of biscuits later, this is the view from the upstairs window:

Considerable consternation was caused upon the inevitable tradesman discovery that in relation to the dump section, more clearance work would be involved than he initially estimated.  I tried to tell you, I said, for all I know it’s filled with concrete and human remains to a depth of 20 feet.  I am paying you so that I don’t have to think about it.  Now deal with it!  Yes.  Tradesmen adore me.

The skip on our driveway is full already, and neither the shed nor that huge heap of soil will fit in it.  The tradesman is taking the shed away himself after we have stripped useful firewood from it.  We will have to get rid of the huge heap of earth by chucking it over our skeevy neighbour’s fence gradually putting it in our wheelie bin for the council to take away.  Some of it can probably go on my vegetable patch, which is already full of topsoil from under the original shed.

Our house is gradually evolving, and with it I believe my approach to home improvements has matured.  I have informed K-man that should there be any further works scheduled during 2011, his costing should factor in my hotel bill.

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3 Responses to “Here Ends the 11th Commandment”


  1. 1 Jen August 31, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    If body parts are found in the dump corner, please tell me all about it. :-)

    I like the new patio!

  2. 2 Jenn @ Juggling Life September 1, 2011 at 4:11 am

    The only thing to do at a time like this is to focus on the end-product. You’ll get there.

  3. 3 Mrs. G. September 6, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I really do see the evolvement and as a new homeowner with beds that haven’t been cared for in a decade and trees branches that hover precariously over our roof, it gives me encouragement. Baby steps and baby checks.


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