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Wednesday, January 2

Hitting The Ground Running

There's no time. The walls are not closing in, but they do need painting. I own two houses, both of which I need to get rented out in order to pay for themselves. The house in Newcastle is to be 100% rented. The house in Reading should have a few tenants in it, alongside my good self. At the moment, the Reading house is still quite a way off being ready for tenants - it's not even ready for the fridge to be put in the kitchen, yet. The Newcastle house currently has 2, soon to be 1 tenant.


So, this week is about doing some sorting out. I've no gigs to do, which is handy, since they would definitely get in the way. The plan is this. I'm driving up North after work tomorrow night. This should be a hell of a laugh, since the Newcastle house would appear to be some 5 or so hours up the road, the wrong side of a lot of snowy weather. The plan will leave me waking up in Newcastle on Friday morning to do a day's work from "home". That's the benefit of teleworking. I think.

I have an estate agent visiting on Friday to discuss helping me out with the rental of the property. That's, at least, something reasonably helpful.

Once the weekend arrives, I get out my tools and brushes and start redecorating the one room in the house which has never been decorated ever (in the years I've owned it - coming up to 10 at the end of this year). I would also like to give the kitchen (and possibly the utility room) a fresh coat of walls and ceiling paint. Freshening up the house is good for its future as a rental property and is also good for keeping it looking good for any possible valuations that may be required.

It sounds like a good plan, but the Reading house also needs attention. So, I emailed myself a plan this afternoon. I chose 4 "hour long" tasks. I didn't know that they would each take an hour, but I knew that they wouldn't take 2 hours each, nor would they take 10 minutes each. So, I chose 4 tasks. These were:
  • Preparing the kitchen skirting boards and other woodwork for painting by applying filler
  • Refitting the bathroom toilet roll holder which I'd done incorrectly first time - filling in the holes I'd leave, and then, as an encore, filling a few similar holes
  • Sorting out some bits of ceiling and wall where either damp penetration or holes are making a mess of the paintwork - requiring the use of filler and a special sealant for protecting paint from damp
  • Fitting an architrave and creating a nice frontage for the windowsill in the top bedroom
These tasks were themed according to the nature of the tool or materials required. As a result of these tasks, and the catalogue of painting tasks planned for Newcastle, I had a B&Q trip to make between work and home. While in B&Q I managed to add a fifth impromptu task to my list.

In general, I'm trying to get to a stage where I don't stock up too much stuff from B&Q that I buy and then don't use for ages. This means that if I buy a fitting, I have to be prepared to fit it right away.

This leads me onto the difference in my attitude between living with a man housemate as landlord and when I've lived with a lady friend as a couple. As a couple, you might look at an empty section of wall and say "mm - you could put a shelf there". Then there would be a lot of deliberation, vacillation and other messing about, probably culminating in an argument in Asda, of all places. At some point in the last couple of days, while we were using the kitchen, my housemate and I agreed that a shelf might be useful above the back door, on which to put the cookery books. I like floating shelves. I was in B&Q. I bought a floating shelf of "about the right colour". I went home. I put the shelf up. When my housemate returned, there was a shelf. One two three done. That's the difference. It's a good difference. Perhaps it's a difference in my attitude, rather than anything about gender roles.

My housemate helped me with the architrave and windowsill task, mainly because I promised him we'd be using "the most dangerous machine in the house" - the mitre-cutting circular saw. It's a beauty. We also cut bevels. There was much in the way of hammering and swearing at particular misbehaving nails. Oval nails are more sympathetic to the grain of the wood, but they bend like bastards!

After working until late, I packed my car with a whole bunch of materials and tools. That was the end of a very busy day back at the grindstone.


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