The electrics in the kitchen were condemned and Wickes were having a 4 years interest free deal on kitchens, how could we resist? The kitchen was falling apart when we moved in, I think there was only one door still hanging in the end, but with limited finances it got put on the list of things to do- in time. Now with this deal and our new budget drawn up we could look at getting a kitchen, as the electrics would need doing it could all get ripped out rewired and fitted. Hooray!
We had a man come round to plan it with us, extra tall cupboards, pull out corner cupboard things, a pull out spice rack drawer and the sink of my husbands dreams (not very exciting dreams admittedly). In the old coal shed we could put the washer and drier and other sundry items thus leaving the kitchen as just a kitchen. We booked it after tweaking it to fit in our budget and got an installation date. Everything going well so far. As it was a full refit, with electrics, everything had to pulled out and that’s where the chaos started. The conservatory was packed with stuff we wouldn’t need til after the fitting, the living room contained 2 freezers, a fridge, a tumble dryer, kettle, toaster, crockery, cutlery- you get the picture. Any other bits were put in bedrooms in boxes. Kids couldn’t get their toys, we wouldn’t have a working oven for up to 8 working days, no sink for at least 3, no washer. Fortunately my parents live not far away and would let us eat there and wash the clothes. So I seem organised and have tried to explain to the kids what’s happening, showing pictures of the new kitchen and moving things while they watch.
Day one- the workmen turn up at 7 on the dot and rip out the kitchen, I say rip out, they probably give it a kick and it collapsed! “I don’t like these mens mummy” says Popples but we seem to cope with the change ok. We go for tea, do a wash and when we come home the “mens” have gone which makes Popples happy. Oliver struggles as there is no space for him to play, or lounge with his teddies after a hard day at school. Then comes the next blow, the pipes have been waggled so a connection to the bath has come lose and started leaked. The husband caps it off and I text mum asking if we can have baths there too. He plans to fix it at weekend. At this point we have one working tap, the bathroom sink.
Behaviours get worse as the week goes on, by all of us. I’m running around dropping kids off, picking them up, going to the folks, bathing them, washing clothes, packing the clothes in the car to bring home to dry, wrestling three kids back in the car. It’s chaos. And for my 2 boys, it’s particularly hard as the routine is gone. Oliver starts playing up at school. I end up getting a phone call Thursday to come get him as he has stripped off and won’t get dressed.
The weekend comes and he gets all the plumbing supplies, spends 2 days working on the bathroom, moving the bath and sink as planned to give us more room. I’d asked 3 times if we should just get a plumber- “no I can do it, it’s just some pipes” turns the water back on at 9pm Sunday night and theres now fountains in the bathroom. My one tap, my one source of water has gone. My husband is very upset at this point, clearly it’s more than “just pipes” when it comes to plumbing. I knock on my neighbours door with 2 jugs begging for water, and I get more than water, I get a 20 minute gossip session too with some very juicy stuff.
The mens fit my sink the next day and I could have kissed him, he also emergency repairs the main pipe upstairs and caps off the rest so we have the water back on. I get the number for a plumber but Leon knows a friend of a friend (I know, I can see whats coming too). By this point I’m exhausted and stressed and can’t remember when I last slept and still have to do the school run, cope with three displaced kids and my dad feeding me mega portions as I’m “looking too thin and ill”. The plumber comes, doesn’t fit the waste pipe properly into the outside waste pipe so when I empty the bath it comes down the newly plastered walls (it’s still drying out). He also managed to take a tape measure, spirit level, screw driver, saw and other items that had been in the tool box.
I cry. For hours. My house is not my home, my kids are stressed, I’m stressed, bits are missing from the kitchen, and then someone says to me “it can’t get any worse, it’ll be great when it’s done” and then they listen to me rant for half an hour. Leon manages to fix the drainage pipe so the bath works, the kitchen men plumb in my washer and cooker.
On Thursday (a week and a half after it started) I move the living room back into the kitchen, I clean non stop, and organise the toys and rug and teddies and I bring the little ones back from school to a home cooked meal. Oliver’s face was a picture, wreathed in smiles, teddies on the floor, lying down and covering himself in stickle bricks. Popples not so happy “I need to go to my nana’s”.
The kitchen is done, the bathroom no longer leaks, Oliver is now keeping his clothes on- at school at least, the odd pencil pot stills goes flying but he has calmed down in school, Max is trying to find his way around the kitchen but knows where the coke and crisps are so isn’t overly bothered about much else. My husband has agreed in future not to attempt plumbing. I knew it would be hard but this hard? Although what eejit attempts a bathroom whilst kitchen is being done?
All settled? Not a chance, with the severe weather Max’s ceiling has a major leak- think we will leave that to the insurance!