Monday, 27 September 2010

And then chaos reigned

On the morning of the move I prayed that there would be no rain. God answered this prayer, providing an unexpectedly warm, sunny day - except for one hour of magnificent thunderstorm whilst we were at a school meeting about our daughter's progress (Doesn't everyone squeeze in important educational meetings on the same day they move house? Really? It's another post altogether, I'm afraid.)

Yet God must have been laughing. "OK, I'll keep the rain off the move, but the payback is (a) no running water in the house by morning and (b) rain, rain, rain all night."

The running water meant we couldn't flush the loo. Again, this might have been all right if it weren't that our en suite bathroom has no door between it and our bedroom. A gentle aroma wafted through ... It also meant the children were unable to wash before the morning, so the next day started with a dash to school to use their toilets and washbasins to rinse off the previous evening's dirt.

The storms through the night would also have been fun if the builders had completed the guttering and downpipes. I was woken about 3am to the sound of dripping water and couldn't sleep for hours until it stopped. I now have an understanding of the terrors of water torture: I would have sworn to anything in order to make it cease.

Exhausted, I started the working day with a meeting about parts for the heat recovery system. In its wisdom our suppliers had decided (between our ordering and installation) not to issue certain switches any more, resulting in a bunch of useless electrical wires hanging out around the house and a cross client. Whilst the representative was explaining the alternative options to me and the architect, my architect got a phone call. The building company had decided to sack my site manager.

The day was a bit of a whirl after that. The site manager had gone off sick the day before, but came back to collect his things and say goodbye. I'd always had a good relationship with him, although I cannot deny that I was cross that the house was not completed on time. Was that his fault? I don't know. Some blame must also lie with his supervisors, who should have been monitoring and pushing in a more timely fashion. Was that a sackable offence? Perhaps. But during the day all sorts of other stories come out of the woodwork. I still don't know the truth. All I know is that I was left in the lurch.

What doesn't magically appear is a completed house. Around 3pm I asked the joiners who was in charge on site. They looked at each other and around themselves, then looked at me. "You," seemed to be the reply. No managers from the building company showed their faces all day. My architect was excellent and stayed until lunchtime, but after that I was on my own, trying to encourage the joiners, electricians, plumbers, decorators and external diggers to complete everything in some sort of logical fashion.

The kids and I ended up going for fish and chips for tea. It was a lovely, warm evening so we sat outside the shop to eat them. I dreaded going back to the chaos inside our home. At least the water problem was solved: the electrician put the pump back on. But all I could foresee was me organising the rest of the build, and I wasn't sure I'd paid all that money to a supposedly reputable building company for that to be my job.

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