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Thursday, March 8

Adjusting The Scope For Completion

I don't know exactly what I thought I'd be doing in the house when I got home last night. I mean, I don't know what my exact plan was before the point when I started. I know what I'd prepared for. I'd prepared to do some sanding and I'd bought some flexible filler, which I assume I was planning to use. I have two rooms in the downstairs of my house which required the attention of the sander, both having been reskirting-boarded this weekend past. Both rooms need painting, lining papering, and painting some more.

I knew that I wasn't planning to do any painting.

I think I was planning to sand everything and do some filling. I don't know. I don't think I was expecting to complete anything.

The two rooms in question are the living room and what will be a downstairs bedroom in the rented version of this house. The living room also contains a bunch of tools at the moment. The other big room only really had a radiator in it, a few offcuts of skirting board, and the tools I'd been using to sand things or attach skirting boards. I realised, as I was about to get started, that I should try to turn the overall process of making these room less undecorated, into a series of steps. I also realised that I could get a greater sense of success if I focused my efforts on one of the rooms and tried to progress that one room towards decoration.

In the long road to success, steps included - 1. Sand everything, 2. Apply the flexible filler. The "sand everything" step, included using coarse-grade sandpaper on recently filled screw holes, then using medium and fine grade on everything else. I have an orbital sander (I had two, but the older one finally broke apart under the strain of use), which I could use for flat surfaces, and I have my hands for the sculpted bits of architrave and skirting board. I also wanted to do some light sanding to the walls as a way of scrubbing off any detritus that was left after wallpaper stripping - this isn't necessarily the right way to do things, but I reckoned it had a fair old chance of success.

At just after 6pm I started work in the non-living room. I focused on task after task, with the radio playing and my energy levels staying reasonably high. I sanded, I scrubbed, I swept, I sanded some more, I swept some more and the time went by. I only heard James Blunt once on the local radio station, and that wasn't even during the DIY-athon. A couple of hours in, all the sanding was pretty much done in that room. I hadn't used the flexible filler yet, so I decided to do that too. I did the flexible filling, and a reasonable job I made of it, if I do say so myself.

So, by the end of the session, I had managed to get one room from where it was into a condition where I could, theoretically, start decorating it. I think I may still want to look at whether the walls need some further scrubbing before lining paper goes on them. I also need to deal with the quantity of dust that is probably still adherent to the wood in the room. I hate getting dust into the paint. I also hate paintbrush hairs in my paintwork.

Tonight, I get the choice of either doing the same trick in the living room, or putting some paint on in the room I did last night. I think the first thing I need to do is sort out the tools that are cluttering up the living room. If I can get control over my workspace, then perhaps I'll be a lot more effective. If I can do another 4 hour DIY session in the house tonight, then I will have really pushed myself this week, and that will be good.

This weekend I'm off up North, so there'll be no progress in the house without me. Unless you count the fact that the shower room is presently being worked on by the builder, which means that I'll get something nice to look at tonight, and also means that, when I return to the house on Sunday night, there will appear to have been progress over the weekend (even though it will have happened while I'm out at work tomorrow).

Given the amount of footfall through the living room, it may make sense not to decorate it as early as this month. The other downstairs room might tolerate being decorated this early on. Perhaps next week. The advantage of decorating the room will be that it brushes up on my painting skills (yuk yuk) and also gives me a chance to learn wallpapering in anticipation of Easter Weekend, where I'll be up in Newcastle redecorating a room which needs re-wallpapering. So I need to learn the skills sometime soon.

This weekend, up North, I don't know exactly what manner of house-maintenance I'll be helping with, but I expect to learn or at least perfect some skill or other in the process.

Then I can retire from computers and become a joiner.

Or painter.

Or comedian.

Or probably not retire from computers, and just stay a dabbler.



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