Wednesday, January 25, 2006

DIY be damned

I've been meaning to paint the outside of my house for years. About six years ago when I was single my father said he'd help me, so we prepped and sanded, and I trialled a few colour patches... and that is as far as it went. There was always some reason or another why we never finished the job. One reason was my dad confessing to me after a few Christmas drinks a couple of years ago that he hated house painting! So poor little Private Jetty* has been sitting in all the elements with no protection, and now it looks really really shabby, in the way that only ex-govie houses in Canberra can look. When the grass is long I feel that it just needs a couple of broken down cars on the verge to complete the picture.

Best Beloved is not a home handyman. He is a jam-maker. I am the home handy-woman, but I'm not very diligent because I happen to be fairly lazy and prefer to read than be up a ladder. I do like a power drill, and I do have my favorite screwdriver set. I've come to terms with the fact that I will never paint the house on my own, so my New Year's resolution this year was to bloody well just pay someone to do it. And so I have.

I looked in the local community paper and picked out two nice-looking ads. One turned out to be an older Scottish man who has been painting for years, and gave me a whole book of references, most of which were written in old-lady handwriting proclaiming how much of a godsend he was and how nice he was to their disabled husbands. He gave me lots of free advice, warned me against young guns with cheaper quotes, then gave me a horrendously expensive quote and said he couldn't start for 8 weeks.

The other was a young gun with a brand-new van, his name on the personalised number-plate, and a buff physique. A new Australian (Turkish), he was very keen and puppy-like. We liked each other immediately, and even though BB was wary, I thought he deserved a chance. And he gave a reasonable quote and could start the next week. BB wanted me to get a third quote, but something about R just appealed to me (and it wasn't the thought of muscles on a ladder!).

Two days into the job, I know my instinct was right. The older guy would have been very irritating, with constant 'Dearie's and free advice. R is very friendly, much more savvy than I originally thought, and we have fun chats about his wife and two small girls. He's been in Australia for 5 years, had his own business for 3 years, and is very grateful to Australia for the opportunities it has offered him. although he finds Canberra a bit boring (heh)! He then said that Canberra was a good place to save money. I don't think so. I spend all mine on movies and house repairs! Mind you, I haven't seen a movie made for adults for ages, thanks to the school holidays.

Ooh, have run out of time, and must dash. Sorry, wanted to wind this up in some funny, interesting way, but never mind. I'll try harder next time.

*Most people refer to my house by the street it lives on, but I hung on the front verandah an old sign I found on a beach saying 'Private Jetty', so thats how I think of it. A lot of people walk past and ask where the boats are. Be patient, my creatures. I plan to find or make a few quirky garden feature boats to snuggle into my projected sea of blue-flowered plants! Once Bumblebee has grown out of the swing set.

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