Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Big Build for Hugh - The Half Way Point

Considering that the building work has been going on since July, I think it's quite impressive that yesterday was the first day that it all just felt a bit too much and I had to resist the urge to cry. Without heating or hot water, with nowhere to sit and the air still pretty dusty, I gave up and decided to sit in Morrisons where I could have a cup of tea in the warmth before I summoned up the energy to face the mess. You'll be pleased to know I didn't burst into tears and now with the heating and water back on, the house (relatively) clean and sat in bed with a glass of wine (there really is nowhere else to sit) it doesn't seem so bad after all. So I thought I'd take the time to update you on how the #BigBuild4Hugh has gone so far. 
I'm sure there was a wall here last week

Our friends have continued to amaze me, turning up weekend after weekend and/or evening after evening to help out. I'm fairly certain some of them are spending more time at my house than their own. The actual structure of the house went up in less than the 9 days that I joked about (I suggested that since Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team could do it in 9 days then there was no reason these guys couldn't). It wasn't consecutive days, but counting full days worked, I think it was up in about 7 days- from digging footings to laying the last bricks. Pretty impressive. Although it left just 2 days for the rest of the work of my 9-day target was to be met.

The roof was next. From where I stood (at the kettle making tea mostly/or on the settee drinking it perhaps) it looked like a rather soul destroying job: a lot of hard work and pain staking effort went into that roof. It's up, it has two of the four roof lanterns in and it is watertight. (Bar the big holes for the roof lanterns of course). The windows are in, the external doors are nearly in and the scaffolding is down. 

It's all looking pretty exciting

Last weekend was all about knocking down the walls and this was the bit I was dreading from the start. The existing kitchen was knocked down along with most of one side of the house. I hid away for that bit- we spent the day with my cousin and the night at my mums. I figured the dust would be no good for Hugh's chest or my asthma. They've cleverly boarded up the section of the house we're living in so that we're not really exposed to the dust on the building site side of the house. There was some, of course, but it hasn't taken me too long to clear it up. 

We're currently living in our bedrooms, with the bathroom and a tiny makeshift kitchen with a sink, a fridge, a microwave and a washing machine. This was more than I expected to be honest- I'm pretty chuffed to still have access to my washing machine. I've no cooker though so I'm having to make meals using a slow cooker and an electric steamer, which isn't too difficult but means I have to be organised. There's been the odd takeaway or 10 of course too. Storage is an issue and it's a bit like a game of Tetris trying to find space for everything. Hugh's many chairs being the biggest obstacles to work around. To take a shower you need to move one of them into the hall, which invariably means moving two others into bedrooms. Honestly... the boy has a LOT of chairs. We eat our dinner on the bottom bunk of Sean's bed and can watch TV there but once he's in bed at 730 there's nowhere else to sit. Friends popped over at the weekend and with the lack of seating and the lack of heating, we ended up having to light a fire in the garden and sit around that instead! 

Leaking pipes can make attractive water features ...
There's been a few low points- the rain coming into the kitchen at 2am, discovering a burst water pipe, the heating packing up. But actually we've been pretty lucky. It would have been much worse to find the water leak when the job was finished. And any time it feels a bit too cold or a bit too messy or a bit too cluttered, I remind myself that it will all be worth it in the end. And it really, really will. 

The things I can't wait for…
*Having somewhere to store all of Hugh's chairs,
*Being able to wheel him up a ramp rather than dragging him up the front step,
*Having storage for all of his feeding equipment,
*Having a fancy new kitchen (not really for Hugh that bit is it?),
*Having access into the garden for Hugh,
*Having enough space in the kitchen that me and the two boys can all be in there at the same time,
*Throwing a massive party to celebrate its completion!!!


Speaking of which, to celebrate the half-way-ish stage and to say a big thank you to everyone that has worked so hard on the build, we decided to throw a bit of a party. Through amazing good fortune, this coincided with a marketing campaign Magners were running locally where they turn up at parties with a load of cider. A few tweets later and the van arrived.  Not only they did bring enough cider to keep a lot of builders very happy but they brought an Xbox with FIFA and set that up in the garden along with a photo booth, a football table and a table for playing 'beer pong' as well. To borrow a saying from another well-known alcoholic beverage 'if Magners did parties...' It really was brilliant, there was a great atmosphere and it was such a funny day- the highlights being the dizzy penalties and watching the kids playing beer pong - with cherryade!!  The completion party has a lot to live up to!
L-R: The family looking silly, Just some of the people responsible for the mess the fabulous extension, With Henry & Chris (the party men from Magners) and the very last case of cider!