June 18, 2011
extracted from: sydney morning herald
There is humour in the perilous business of home renovation, here are 25 reno rules to learn and follow.
A friend has announced she is about to renovate her house. I have tried to dissuade her, pointing to the inevitable consequences of rage, bankruptcy and divorce. Unbelievably, she intends to carry on.
Perhaps she – and others who are blithely considering renovating – need to study The Renovator’s Rulebook. The following, anyway, is how it played out at our place.
Rule 1: Any drop of paint, released at ladder height will hit the one gap in your plastic sheeting.
Advertisement: Story continues below Rule 2: Any step made backwards off a ladder will be into an open can of paint.
Rule 3: The only fabric you can bear the sight of will be the most expensive one in the shop. Ordering it will involve a three-month wait.
Rule 4: The marital argument over whether to choose the ”Calypso Blue” or the ”Ocean Breeze” for the kitchen cupboards will rise in intensity according to the degree to which the two colours are indistinguishable.
Rule 5: The marital argument over whether to choose the ”Calico Breeze” or the ”Desert Sands” will be just as astonishing, which is surprising since both are identical shades of what used to be called ”off-white”.
Rule 6: The builder’s initial estimate should be seen as a work of fiction so rich and imaginative that it could be entered in the Booker Prize for Fiction.
Rule 7: It’s not true that the builder will never turn up. In fact, he’ll turn up on day one, at precisely the time promised, whereupon he will disconnect your plumbing, remove a section of your roof, then disappear for six months.
Rule 8: Cans of paint come in quantities of one litre, four litres or 12 litres, while all Australian bedrooms are constructed to require quantities of 1.2 or 4.2 or 12.2 litres. This means there is no Australian shed without a three-metre stack of old paint tins.
Rule 9: Every Australian man, when buying methylated spirits for a cleaning job, is required to say to the guy serving: ”Have you got any cold ones?”
Rule 10: Every Australian man when using a G-clamp, is required to say: ”It’s just one of my many vices.”
Rule 11: Every Australian man when using a stud-finder before drilling a hole for a picture hook, is required to hold the device against his own body and when the bulb lights up say: ”Pretty accurate, eh?”
Rule 12: All hardware items have strange Yorkshire-sounding names such as nondles, blurgins and grogans. This is to provide entertainment to people who work in hardware stores.
Rule 13: The builder will never listen to the radio station you listen to yourself: if you like Alan Jones, he’ll be on Classic FM; if you like Classic FM, he’ll be on Triple M. Oh, and he likes it loud.
Rule 14: Important decisions are always made by the builder during the five minutes you are away from the site, including the decision to knock a hole for a window in the wrong wall and to pebblecrete the heritage-listed sandstone facade.
Rule 15: The height at which you place the door handles will seem a matter of enormous importance for the three days during which it’s an issue but will then never again enter your mind.
Rule 16: Cement dust, released by a builder at the far end of your backyard, will find its way into your underwear drawer by means still not understood by science.
Rule 17: The dollar figure – ”our absolute limit” – mentioned on the first day you walked into the architect’s office will become a shameful secret, never again mentioned by either side.
Rule 18: The tool you need is always missing.
Rule 19: Telephone calls always come when you are atop a ladder with a loaded paint-roller. They are always a wrong number.
Rule 20: When working with electricity it’s crucial to make sure you have everything you need. These comprise: an insulated screwdriver, a pair of wire cutters, life insurance.
Rule 21: The rubbish skip must by law be supplied by a company with a bad pun in its name, such as ”Skip the Tip”, ”Hop, Skip and Dump” or ”Where’syourbin”.
Rule 22: If you live in Paddington or Balmain you are required to paint at least one surface in the colour ”Hog’s Bristle”.
Rule 23: If you live in Turramurra or Haberfield, you are required to paint at least one surface in the colour ”Brunswick Green”.
Rule 24: If the whole room shrinks in hot weather, you’ve used too much wood filler.
Rule 25: Any improvement will make everything else look worse. ”If only we could get a new couch,” you say, but once you heave the glorious purchase into place, your eye will be drawn to the carpet, which used to look fine but now, with a brand-new couch sitting on it, appears to suffer from a medical condition. You then recarpet at which point your eye is attracted to the wall, which used to look fine but now …
Still want to go ahead? Now that’s what I call courage