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Monday, May 19

Finally Some Progress

I managed to break various degrees of inertia and do something productive in the house tonight. After a fairly demanding day in the office, it seemed like the perfect end to the day was to nip to Tesco for some food, and then promise myself that I'd do about 3 hours of DIY before getting to eat it. I arrived home at 7ish, and after I'd prepared myself for the work ahead, it was 7.30.

Sign Here
I started out easy. I painted the board that I have attached to my garage with another coat of white paint. The purpose of this board is to be the backdrop to a sign that reads something like:

Stay away from my house you bastards


Though I suspect that I need to write something more friendly in order to encourage people to avoid parking across my drive and garage. I think that it can't be negative like:

Please don't block the drive


Negative doesn't really work. Though, I like the "please". The secret to these signs is simplicity. Never use the word "would". Example:

Would you please stop blocking my drive


It sounds like a school marm complaining that there's marmalade in her petticoats again. So, the key has to be something in the positive which hasn't got too many words and sounds friendly, direct, and gives the message that the drive and garage entrance should be kept clear.

Please stick your car up your arse


Possible... though I think it may be misunderstood and not adhered to. It also need to have few words, so it can be written in large without requiring the whole garage door in place of the nice 400 x 400 board I've got up there.

Please keep clear


Perhaps too short - and keep what clear?

Please keep entrance clear


Something like that. The jury is still out. Answers on a postcard to "Would you please think of a better sign you bastard. PO Boxed in by cars. Reading".

Patching
On a roll, like a nice slice of cheese, I then progressed to some light painting in the kitchen. This took only a few seconds in total. All I had to do was paint a small section of wall where the paint had started to bubble and put a little paint on a bit of a patch to the plastering which I'd needed to do after the radiator was fitted. There'll be a second coat to both of those required, but they already look a lot nicer.

This is what you need to do when you've got a massive job like "oh my god, the house is nowhere near done" - focus on manageable discrete and achievable tasks.

Filling
Then I went onto the "gun of the brown poo". This is the name I give to a special wood filler that I find very effective for... erm... filling wood. It's brown in colour, but don't be racist. Equipped with this, I went round making small patches to various bits of door frame and also the big framing that I've constructed upstairs to hide my central heating system.

Sanding
I'll be honest with you, I don't like sanding. I keep pretending that it's fun, especially with the various machines I've enlisted into the service of sanding. It's not. It's a pain in the arse. It creates lots of nasty dust. Doing it by hand is too much like hard work and ends up giving me rough skin. Doing it by machine is more effective, but noisy and tiresome, especially as one has to change the sheets. One day I'll invent something better.

Anyway, I've been realising that a lot of the work on progressing my house is contingent on completing sanding tasks. So, I set about the sanding in my second bedroom. I used my new random orbital sander, which is deeply effective and can strip wood down completely if given half the chance. I coupled this with another sander and a little action by hand. The process took long enough that I even ended up sanding some of the filling I'd done previously.

Other prep
In no particular order there was also the removal of about 3 inches of carpet around the border of the second bedroom, to allow access to the skirting board (the carpet is knackered, so it's no loss) and there was various bits of vacuuming - mainly to reduce dust levels and prepare for painting.

Primed and ready
Then there was the bit where I whacked some primer on bits of bare wood that I'd either gotten ready through sanding, or had accidentally laid bare through sanding. A certain amount of joy was derived from painting over the bits of door frame I'd filled. The architrave of the door had, in the past, been cut in various places to allow random bits of door furniture to be attached. I've painstakingly cut spare bits of architrave into the shape of the holes and glued them back into place to make the architrave continuous again - the result of painting it is that I can now appreciate how close to a good job that achieves. Not bad.

Food
I rewarded myself with some fat-reducing grilled food. Note to self, the underside metal bits get hot too. Still, I've managed to reduce some of the fat in one of my fingers, so that's nice.

Big Train
I finished watching series one of Big Train. I then proceeded to look at the DVD extras. With TV on demand, it looks like DVDs are starting to seem an unnecessary, but then the DVD extras will probably not be included in the on demand, so perhaps they are worth buying the disc for? Right?

Have you ever really enjoyed the DVD extras? Are they really worth it?

In the case of Big Train, I watched the deleted scenes, expecting to feel like it was a few minutes of my life I wouldn't get back. As it happens, what I effectively got was an episode's worth of sketches that were of a similar quality to those in the broadcast show. Some of the production was a little roug around the edges as they'd been cut and not quite finished. There was no laughter track. In some cases, the reason for the cut was that the sketch was just too damn dark for TV. Good. I like dark humour.

So, well worth watching if you're a fan.

Oh what a night
My first proper night in the house in a while and I did loads, then. I even managed to do some washing up and a couple of loads of laundry... ironing didn't happen. I had planned to write some music, but that didn't happen. There are only so many hours in the day, apparently.

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