The answer to this question varies from day to day, and depends largely on what I got up to in the preceding days. For example, last Friday I felt positively fortyish, but by Monday, I felt more like late seventies. And the reason? Hubby and I spent most of the weekend on our hands and knees! Ooo! Should the rest of this post come with a content warning? No, not this time. You see, we had a huge DIY job on our hands, well our knees mostly, and we had a very tight deadline to complete our task.
Finally, our building work had reached the stage where the kitchen fitters were booked to come in and work their magic on the vast number of boxes stored in our garage. Due to unforeseen problems with the old plumbing, this day had been delayed for over a week. Much as I love camping, we've been without a kitchen and easily accessible running water since early July. Glamping at home is getting on every one of my frayed nerves.
So, with keen enthusiasm, we started to tile the floor of our newly constructed kitchen-diner in a French Set pattern. It looks a little like crazy paving but with more of a discernible pattern (so I'm told). Cue an additional 5 years to my current tally. Laying out the tiles according to the printout pattern was easy, and covered a large area in one go. "Great!" I thought to myself. "This job is going to be quite quick and easy as long as I can keep up a steady supply of adhesive". However, it was not immediately obvious how the pattern continued in any direction. A vigorous discussion ensued (a.k.a an argument), resulting in about an hour's worth of lost tiling time. In a moment of inspiration and 'outside-the-box' thinking, I treated it like a complicated lacy knitting pattern and wrote out each row, one at a time, and stuck it to the wall. By the end of the first row, the floor was starting to look fabulous but my pink polka-dot kneepads were irritating the back of my knees. Staying with the handcraft theme, I stuck some soft dusters down the back of the straps, protecting my skin, and completing the sexy DIYer look! With a full pattern to work to, and a few bacon sandwiches, we worked steadily until around 8pm.
Congratulating ourselves on our gargantuan efforts in laying nearly 3/4 of the tiles and sealing them, we decided we'd earned a reward or two. In an effort to ease our tired muscles, we treated ourselves to an Epsom salts bath and some liquid muscle relaxant. After all, there's nothing better than an ice cold wine and a candle-lit bath after a hard day's labour, with the additional bonus of wiping out the years gained earlier on.
Or so I thought. The following morning it became clear that either the Epsom salts were defective or we had not used the correct dose of muscle relaxant. Overnight, I'd gained at least fifteen years. My knees refused to bend, making the first walk down stairs a painful challenge. I tried to brace myself on the bannisters but my poor hands had also taken a pounding. This did not bode well for finishing the job. With the remaining tiles to lay, wash and seal, as well as applying grout to the entire floor, all I could see was a long and painful day ahead. What was I thinking when I agreed with hubby to do the tiling ourselves? Ah, yes. I remember now. It went something like this.
Hubby – "How much to lay the tiles? We can do it ourselves."
Me – "I know we did a great job in the bathroom, but that's a much smaller room. This is huge!"
Hubby – "We can save the money and spend it on something else in the project."
Me – "I see what you mean. Ok, let's do it!" In my head I thought "Hubby has no idea how tough this is going to be, but I'll make damned sure to spend the 'savings' on a new patio door!".
Anyway, back to the tiling. To reduce the additional years to a net gain of five, muscle rub and painkillers were deployed. Bolstered by bacon sandwiches, we soldiered on until all the tiles were laid, washed and sealed. By now, it was 8pm again. This time there wasn't even the merest hint of liquid muscle relaxant or any bath. We needed to stay awake to apply the grout. I know what I'd rather do but hubby is determined to finish the job tonight so that the quick dry stuff has time to set hard before the kitchen fitters arrive.
Our knees are bright red circles of pain, our hands tender and blistered. Squeezing the last drops of muscle rub from the tube and applying the meagre rations to our backs, we gritted our teeth for the last part of the job. Back onto our weary hands and knees, we grouted the entire floor, cleaned up, and finally got to bed at 1:30 am.
"Beepety-beep! Beepety-beep! Beepety-Beep!" No way! I've only just laid my head on the pillow! Welcome to Monday morning, and the prospect of a new kitchen at last. Holding onto that joyous thought, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and stood up, ready to head downstairs to admire our handiwork. Obviously, my mind was significantly more agile than my body. It's already downstairs gazing in admiration at the beautiful flooring.
Meanwhile, back in the bedroom, my body is lodging complaints with the management. At the top of the list is the fact that it's too early to be getting up on any day, let alone a Monday. In close second place are my knees. They are refusing to move at all.
"After what you did to us this weekend, there's no way we are bending painlessly for the foreseeable future. As payment for the abuse, we are adding 15 years onto your age, and we're not taking them back until you treat us to some pampering and rest. So there!!".
Well that's me put in my place! I give the knees a placatory hug in the hot shower before staggering downstairs to join hubby. He's not much better. To look at him, I guess his knees are complaining as loudly as mine. Our builder arrives shortly after we unlock the doors, ready for the big day. As I make him a fresh-brewed coffee he tells me the kitchen fitters will be here on tomorrow as they thought we might need an extra day to complete the floor. And in that instant, all the years from the weekend returned!
Is the builder's head still on his shoulders? Did I cry? Did the Kitchen fitters turn up the following day? Tune in on Friday for all the answers.