Between Heaven and Hell

This page written circa 10 October, 2007.

I feel as if we have turned a corner. Although the ensuite is still stalled for a stupidity that any decent tradesman would fix with simple tools in 60 minutes, my study is finished, and Kay and I awake each day in our glorious bedroom with light and leafy views. Edwin already sleeps in his new room, our old bedroom, and it will be painted and finished this week. Merinda will move into her room, almost finished, now Jane and Sebastian have departed. Bywater Grange is starting to feel fantastic, just heaven on a stick.

This is a contrast to a few weeks ago when I could come home to Kay crying over the mess. She has been documenting the pathetic progress, accumulating pages of handwritten notes, in case we end up in court and have to justify refusing to pay for the costs of incompetence. There is a whole unlinked story of woe. The builder originally said, in response to our asking about his late start, that he would finish by August, then later he promised September, then he promised that someone would be on site every day until it was finsihed, and yet here we are. This week sees Kay's birthday.

As an aside, Andrew responded to my portrayal of antipodean tradesmen by saying that it was our perceptions, and that American service irked him. He is right that the fawning of US waiters can be annoying, but that is far from universal, in CA at least, and he is vastly wrong when it comes to the quality of trades people: They are much better in the US. I am afraid I was rather short with him, in the light of last month's mood, but there is plenty of evidence, sadly a lot of it is first hand (from both sides of the Pacific). There is also the stream of people here who agree, even the ones who have not lived with America's can-do attitude or the British jobsworth mentality. There are national reasons beyond the attitude thing: The elimination of government support of apprenticeships, an unemployment rate that is reckoned too low, the acknowledged skill shortage, etc.

Nevertheless I feel as if we are ascendent. The hell part of renovation is behind us. Daylight saving is with us, lifting the spirit. Of course, NZ decided at short notice to change the date that the clocks advanced, causing havoc with computer timekeeping, but so what if half the country goes into chaos for a week, it is quite consistent with how seriously progress is taken here for this event to pass with little comment.

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