Getting on with things

Well, it’s been an eventful couple of weeks in the aftermath of the last post. It should be pretty clear on the graph where the last post sits!

The first few days after the event – and actually, it’s not like it was a single ‘event’ out of the blue, so maybe better phrased as the ‘culmination of events’ – was, let’s say, not a period we’ll have any desire to look back on. There was a lot to take in, and the birth of the new post-Scott (our builder’s name) world (henceforth abbreviated to ‘PS’, in the style of ‘AD’) was a bit rocky.

We got through it, though.

Part of it was essentially letting go of the money that we had lost; some directly, like moneys paid for materials/the kitchen that we had never received, some indirectly like the cost of the replacement labour for the works that we’d already paid for. His company has gone into liquidation, so however that separate legal process ends up we are unlikely to receive any financial recompense. We will pursue it to its reasonable limits, of course, but we need to be real about these things. While I won’t get into specific figures, if you were playing the game of guess where a number was between 0 – 100,000 and you went through the normal sequence you’d get the answers “lower, higher, close enough”.

Anyway, yes, that took a bit of mental reconciliation time.

After that, though, or indeed overlapping with that, we were, by necessity, back into the world of posting ads and direct-contacting builders so that we could get the job finished. I showed seven different builders around one working-from-home afternoon, and another four besides on other days. Three of them came back for more detailed hour-long looks. Busy busy. A week later and we had eleven quotes to evaluate, and now today we’re choosing between the final two on our shortlist after going to see their current projects. Work should hopefully resume on Monday February 8th; in theory (!!!) work should complete approx. 6 weeks after that. There may be an end in sight, but I’m sure you’ll understand if I don’t hold my breath.

However bad this ordeal has been I really can’t imagine how other people in less fortunate circumstances would be expected to get through it. We were paranoid enough to have enough buffer that it looks like we’ll be able to deal with it – barely! – but the alternatives if we were short of the cash to finish it properly are really all very unattractive. We know that there were a couple of other properties in the same state as ours, so it’s easy to imagine that at least one of them could be having to make triaging decisions like “well let’s leave that room entirely a building site, let’s patch up the kitchen so at least it has electrics wired in, and let’s just find a way to live like this for a while”. Luckily that’s not us, but we’ve not cleared that threshold in any greatly comfortable way. The next few months in particular will be a bit tight, especially as of course, as always, there are unknowns in the building works; dinners out will be at a premium, methinks.

I think we’re happy to put January 2016 to bed, cover its face with a pillow and hold until it stops struggling, but there are good reasons that February could prove to be a much more satisfying month!

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