A March Update (in April!)

We’ve been so busy on the house that there’s been hardly any time to post! It has moved so fast in the last three weeks, it’s just amazing! When I last left you we were putting down insulation and getting ready to put back the floorboards. We spent a week tiptoeing from joint to joint, trying not to fall down through our downstairs neighbour’s ceiling!! That would not be a fun way to start our relationship…

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Once the floorboards were back in place it was time to give them the first heavy sanding. The paint job is so old and so caked in, it took Joseph three days to get it all off. But look how pretty they are!!! We’ll do another fine sanding job and then will coat them with varnish to seal them and warm up the colour a little. I’m in love with these floorboards! I’m so glad we went to the trouble of keeping them.

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Once they were back down we could start again on the heavy work, such as tidying up the holes we made for doors and creating proper frames. We also started putting in the partition in the large back room to make a bathroom and a smaller second bedroom. I was really anxious about this bit. I drew all of the plans myself and I’m no architect, so I was worried we’d find the bathroom was really poky, or that the kids room was impossibly small for anything bigger than a 6 month old baby! But in fact, it works. Somehow, the weird tall doorway makes a fun second room, with a separate play area and a cosy sleeping space that now has natural light. Phew!

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Here’s a tough memory for the Ryan family – how many of you remember scraping the wallpaper off Nanny’s kitchen in Holycross during the summers? Wet arms and sticky wallpaper that would come off in tiny pieces!! Well, that’s how we’ve been spending the last few weeks! It’s driving me bananas! There’s an awesome French verb in Belgium for this kind of work – chipoter. It translates literally as “pick at” but can mean a million things in French. I continued to chipote at the wallpaper for a few weeks now, as did Joseph and The Belgian.

R2D2 was on site to help out

R2D2 was on site to help out

Somewhere in the middle of the process of making the holes neat, and plastering over the bumps, my mother-in-law Agnes came up with the a sweet phrase – “plastering a house is like putting on a new dress.” She said this to me over the phone before I saw the finished plaster job, and she was dead right. I nearly cried when I saw how lovely it looked! Sooooo smooth!!

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Unfortunately, just as things were beginning to heat up for the work as we reached the end of our contract for our old apartment and had to move out. It was total chaos. We had amazing support from family and friends and moved all of our stuff over two weekends. A lot of it is in boxes, in storage for a few months but the furniture was too big so we had to make space for it in the new place. It was a little tough because the work is still going on all around, but we had little choice…

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So we have a pile of furniture, covered by plastic sheets in the middle of the mess! Happily, the plants stayed where they were for the moment, as my generous colleague offered to look after them for a while when they took over our old place. And Shep the monster is ensconced in his holiday home, so he won’t trouble us for a few weeks! This would all be way too much for him, the silly thing… We settled down in a friend’s basement and are camping out there for a few weeks, until such time as we can get into the new place. We’re really grateful to friends for hosting us indefinitely, it’s a real luxury. But I’m so impatient. Seriously impatient. It’s so exciting, I just want to be there all the time and it’s frustrating going home to somewhere else when we have a house almost ready!! But soon… Here are a few miscellaneous pics from the last few weeks!

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Soon…

a x

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