Monday, 30 November 2020
Sunday, 29 November 2020
Saturday, 28 November 2020
All my life, I've fixed things instead of paid other people to do it for me, often preferring the chance to do it well than risk a stranger making a mess. I built furniture, fitted kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems, electrics as needed.
As a result of the flood we had, our livingroom needs repainting, therefore the skirting boards (which got wet & damaged) and trunking carrying cables needed replacing, plus some of the sockets and wall boxes had been damaged & should be replaced. No worries, half a day - day at most. For a variety of reasons the job is still not finished after more than 2 days, and I have a couple of hours work remaining.
Somewhere I read that as one ages the number of mitochondria in ones cells decrease, resulting in loss of strength - a man at 65 typically has the same strength as a 20 year old woman (so the article said). Apart from reminding me why men and women can never be the same (equality is something different) I'm developing a lot more sympathy for those who are not 'naturally' strong and able. This has been a weird experience, where I've not had the strength needed in hands and wrists, sometimes not in main core, for doing the required tasks. Much time has been spent on hands and knees, to the point where my the skin of my knees actually stung when getting into a warm bath this morning, and various parts of me hurt at different times, the skin under thumbnails especially where it's pulled away from the nail. And this was just a small job.
Worst of all, my inate ability to just 'do stuff' seemed to have evaporated, though it has begun to return. Previously, when fixing things, as I began working the way to repair or build something would be 'obvious' even though when I started I didn't know what would be needed or have more than a rough idea in my head.
So when it came to fitting trunking, I'd offer it up to the job, and where previously my brain would simply say "cut here, taper there etc" instead I have had to consciously figure out what to do.
I have become DIY senile.
The lack of strength and clear (optical) vision has also been an issue, and one that would be funny if it weren't frustrating. The original trunking was fitted by my father almost 30 years ago (when he was 51 - I'm 59) when he saw how ugly wires had been run along the top of skirting boards, and being methodical he carefully attached it using plain steel screws and rawlplugs at regular intervals just like he'd do in a regular modern house. So 30 years on, steel screws in damp walls have mostly rusted in place and are EXTREMELY reluctant to see daylight again. I can't be so weak, because I did manage to snap one or two through rotational force, but mostly I found it really hard to put enough strength into the screwdriver to start them moving without noodling the head.
So I'm over DIY. If I can afford to pay someone to fix stuff, from now on I will.
Day four of DIY - the brain is starting to work again, or at least I managed to find a way to address the piece of work in my hands so that it fit as it was supposed to, and I'd re-learned enough that I could make some decent progress. That part of the job is now complete - hope the painters, carpet people (thanks TerryP) and flooring fitter make a decent job.
The adhesive material No More Nails was utterly underwhelming in performance, although it did eventually live up to its name. Two of the skirting boards just fell off after 2 days, but not having any masonry nails around, I was forced to use screws. I think the product name should be lengthened to No More Nails - you'll be screwed if you use this.
And just one more addition - how is it that bitumen remains sticky and soft after >20 years? When we last had the wall replastered the guys doing the work pained it with a bitumen compound to hold back the damp (ha ha) first, some of whichj was dripped into the trunking I removed. It was still liquid-sticky, thick & black, and once it was on the hands it became transferred to everything and anything that I touched. My hands are still black/brown in places despite scrubbing with white spirit.