The EXIF data of the photo below says it was taken on February 16, 2006. That’s how long we have been planning on giving the house a complete paint job inside and out, tear down two walls to replace the windows with French doors that will open to the front and back gardens, do something about the crappy ceiling and the quicky paint job it was given days before we moved here in 2001.
February, 2006 was one year and four months since we had an extension constructed because the original kitchen was no bigger than a closet. When the new kitchen was built, the foundations were laid out to hold additional rooms above it. We figured that with a couple of more posts, we could have an entire second floor built later on. That was really the intention.
But the construction of the kitchen in 2004 was a traumatic experience. The mess, the dust, the comings and goings of the workers and delivery men… shucks, it’s easy to have a house remodelled if you are not living in it. But we were living in the house then and we had no house helper. Not much different from our situation today. Living here. No house helper.
As unbelievable as it may seem, for the last year and a half, the farthest we’ve gone with the remodelling project was to agree on what the color of the house and rooms should be. It’s not even total agreement because Sam wants murals and frescoes inside the bedroom instead of flat paint. Where we’ll find a Michaelangelo, I have no idea. Alex, on the other hand, wants vinyl wallpaper because she misses their wallpapered bedroom in our old house in the city.
What we’d really like right now is to move elsewhere. But even if we do, we’d still need to fix this house so that we can sell it at a good price. Of course, if it were up to Sam, this house will never be sold. It will be transformed into a shelter for unwanted dogs and cats a la PAWS. I don’t know if it’s her love for animals that gave her the idea or whether it’s the history of the house itself — we have adopted far too many stray cats in the six-and-a-half years that we have been living here.
Anyway, I’m at that point when I’m getting depressed over not being able to have the house fixed. That’s what we really ought to get done. It’s the house that needs new everything, not the layout of this blog.
I have a thing about aesthetics — colors, proportions, dimensions, textures and space. When we were living in the city, in the house I grew up in which we had to ourselves, it was a never ending interior design project. Not a whim, mind you, but because my mother never fixed the house for something like two decades. She just wasn’t into that kind of thing. When we moved in, the paint was peeling and Alex, a crawler at the time, would take the dry paint that fell off the walls and put it in her mouth. That was what made me decide that it was time to do something.
Renovating that house was done in stages. First, the ground floor. Then, about two years later, the entire second floor and the exterior. Those were fun times for me. Sure, I hated the mess but, you know, when the results started to show, the feeling of accomplishment was tremendous. I was saving a 30-year old house from over 20 years of neglect. The bonus was that I could re-define the house according to my taste. And the girls, around 5 and 4 at the time the second floor was remodelled, had as much fun because they chose their room’s wallpaper, curtains, their bedsheets and even some of the furniture.
That was a big house — almost thrice as large as this one. There was a lot of space and I could re-arrange the furniture every few weeks. Speedy and I had fun doing that — we called it rigodon, moving and re-arranging furniture in the dead of night. Well, there are too many things that we can’t do here because there isn’t as much space. But we can still do something to ease the shitty feeling I get every time I look up and see the dry thin paint on the ceiling.
It’s no secret. In the Philippines, construction laborers are not licensed professionals. A lot of men market themselves as plumbers, electricians, painters, carpenters… but, shit, the quality of their work can be, at best, a trial-and-error system. I guess the painters hired by the developer of the subdivision fall into the lowest level of semi-professionals. I did specify what colors I wanted but when we saw the house after the paint had dried, the colors were all wrong. What’s worse, it was obvious that the ceiling had only ONE coat of paint. After a few weeks, the joints and the grain of the plywood were already visible through the non-existent plaster. You should see the difference between the original house and the kitchen extension we built in 2004. It makes a lot of difference when you’re there and able to supervise the work at every stage every single day.
Oh, well, I can’t keep staring at the photo of paint swatches. The colors won’t transfer to the walls and ceilings if I just looked at them. If we can get the work started soon, I just know that I’ll stop re-designing this blog.