My favourite sandals - Birkenstocks from Germany - had become black from the sweat of the builder's apprentice.
My portable radio/CD player from Singapore no longer worked.
Do I have to stick around to supervise to prevent another blinding disaster?
I returned to a new home today. Instead of repainting just two walls white, my builder had painted all 8 walls white. In the process, he and his apprentice had removed my books and put them back in the wrong order. In the process, my century-old mahogany wood floor was covered with white paint dust.
The brick shed they built in front of my house was a monstrosity from a horror movie. My builder had warned me that it would be high. But he didn't tell me it was going to be big. A week of foundation digging and brick laying all for the sake of giving me the convenience of parking and storing my bicycle!
I walked upstairs. They didn't move the mirror I had requested. My builder told me it was not wise to attach ladder steps to the wall as it would be impossible to climb into the loft. Instead, he fixed a ladder for me to test.
The extra kitchen cabinets were nowhere to be seen.
So what did the builder and his apprentice do? The shed's not finished. The neighbouring fence was not erected. The kitchen cabinets weren't made. The loft stairs and hall mirror...
But they sure did a good job of painting everything blinding white!!!
3 April 2002 Wednesday
The building trade belongs to the category of being judged by what's not done. As a result, it's difficult to please a customer. It's also difficult because the customer usually has something else in mind and the result of what a builder does is either irreversible or highly costly to undo.
I envisioned my downstairs with only two walls painted solid white, so that I could retain the special yellow and white feel of the others. It was also to allow me to test how I would feel in a room that's all white.
I envisioned a working brick shed by the time I returned. Instead I found a big slab of concrete on top of a high brick monstrosity.
I envisioned climbing up vertical wall steps into my loft, the way firemen do. Instead, I found an ugly aluminium ladder fixed on the landing.