Sunday, December 4, 2011

Go Slow

This is pretty much the face I've been seeing in the mirror since Friday. Having miscalculated the number of tiles we needed for both bathrooms, our tiler has been struck down with some little-known 'slowing down' disease which has left him unable to finish our job. I like him a lot, but he's spinning too many plates and it's beginning to stress me out. The extra tiles for the en-suite had to come from Spain and we'd been making frantic calls about them all week. On Friday morning they were on a ferry but still managed to arrive in Altrincham by tea time, which left Dr B scooting over there to retrieve them in time for the tiler to finish the job this weekend.

Except our tiler had other ideas because the uncertainty over our tiles arriving (which would have been here on time if he'd calculated them right) meant he'd been promised on another job for Saturday, though as our project manager told us, all was not lost because he was coming to finish the en-suite on Sunday and 'wouldn't be leaving until the job was finished.'

On Saturday night I found him at the said 'other job' where I handed him the keys and he confirmed he was due on site in the morning but that he'd only be staying until 6pm because he had to go and screed somebody's floor. The latter comment led to two large gins and a lie down because by now I'm just a teeny bit stressed about the carpets arriving on Friday next week and 'leaving when it's finished' was starting to sound like a bit of a fib designed to keep me sweet. He could tell I wasn't happy because he used the line he always uses when I don't look happy, the line that goes 'we'll have a good day at it tomorrow.' He's promised several 'good days at it' in the last few weeks but none of these 'good days' has finished any of the work off.

This morning I arrived on site to finish some bits of painting that have been hanging over - patches of walls where the plaster hadn't dried in time; a bedroom wall that needed a third coat. It was 10am when I arrived and the tiler had just started work, only he hadn't started work because he'd forgotten to bring any tile spacers to work, which is a bit like turning up at work without your actual head if you're a tiler, so he'd sent his son off to get some and he was having a brew and a fag instead, complaining that somebody had made off with the plywood he'd ordered to tile our mosaic splashback. I suggested he would have to get some more plywood if he was going to finish the mosiacs but I'm not sure he heard me because no plywood was sent for and in the time it took his son to get back with the tile spacers I'd managed to touch up two rooms and wash the brushes.

By 11.30 still no work had been done and his son got back with the tile spacers, at which point I heard him complain that he'd been on site for two hours without doing any work. And then it was time for a fag break.

As soon as work commenced, there was a problem with the spacing of the aluminium brackets holding up the quartz. I didn't understand the logistics (or the measurements) because this was a part of the project that Dr B had been involved in and Dr B was incommunicado because I'd despatched him to the local swimming pool with the children so I could get on with painting some walls.

So Dr B was duly bleeped and turned up with two wet-haired children at lunchtime, at which point we swapped cars and I drove the children home while he worked out what the problem with the brackets was (later reported as 'nothing') and went off to get some plywood so the tiler could get on with the mosaics. By two o'clock he was back home reporting that the room seemed mainly finished with just the floor and mosaics to do - the tiler would drop the keys off to us around 7pm and the job would be ready for the plumbers to finish tomorrow.

The keys were dropped at 7pm as arranged. Our tiler had that look on his face that said he hadn't finished the job (I have come to recognise this face because he's pulled the same one every time he's promised to 'have it finished by the end of the day' and he's been on the job for about 3 weeks now). 'We've not had a good day,' he said as he stood in the porch. I can't honestly tell you why they hadn't had a good day because I couldn't hear a word he was saying with all the shouting and swearing going on in my head, much of which ended with 'sake'. Suffice too say, they yet again haven't managed to get the job finished. He looks almost as stressed as I do. I'm not totally confident I don't need to look for somebody who can 'stay until it's finished.'

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