Posts Tagged ‘spiders’

On… Reflection

Hello, thanks for coming back.

lofty heights of disgrace

You last saw me feeling thoroughly sorry for myself, and berating myself as a failure and a worthless human being. If you recall, it was because I had not been able to clear, board and insulate our loft to a standard that I was happy with.

Looking back to how I felt, how I wrote, and how I tweeted on Sunday, I feel, quite frankly, embarrassed. Embarrassed that I allowed my emotions and my inner rage to consume me so completely.


This can be done in a weekend with £50 of chipboard, right?

I had, it is clear, set myself an impossible standard. With the time, budget and experience available to me, there is no way on earth I could have ended up with a finish that matched my mental (in all senses of the word!) projection.

I imagined a perfectly fitted loft-board floor. Insulation board that would tile flawlessly around the rafters. I imagined a space that I would be so proud of, visitors would be hauled upstairs to inspect the attic as soon as they rang my doorbell.

In short, I imagined something along the lines of small-scale loft conversion, just for storing my toolbox, a tent and some old tennis racquets.

down to earth

I slept badly on Sunday night, and woke early, early enough to be in the office well before 7am. It was Monday morning when my mindset began to change.

I reviewed the work that I had done the previous week, and actually, my designs for a partner organisation were pretty good. My draft proposals for developing User Interface standards and implementing Design Patterns are actually sound and will deliver real value to the business. Work began to suck less than it had when I’d finished on Friday.

On Monday, I was also able to help one of my very best friends who was having a tough day. Readers of this blog will know that I write at length about the value I bring to my friends, the worry that I only take and give nothing in return. Now, I’m not feeling fulfilled or glad that my friend was feeling sad and frustrated – I’m not some sick monster who takes pleasure in and validates themselves by someone else’s pain. But, I felt a sense of calm and detachment from my own trivial worries as I was able to focus on something far more important. Namely, the well-being of someone I care about.

Tuesday, and a day’s leave to see my Grandfather, who I’ve not seen since January when I attended the funeral of my Grandmother. Not the nicest of circumstances for a reunion, so I was really pleased to be able to spend time with him yesterday. He looked really, really well. I believe the term ‘rude health’ was invented to describe how active, alert, fit and strong that my Grandfather looked. At 84 years old, he is a real inspiration.

Oh, and I cleaned the house. Proper, thorough clean from 8am-2pm. I love cleaning and tidying, and I love even more doing it to a deadline – the pressure is a real boost to me getting my cleaning “freak on”!

the only way is up

Today, I am struck by the benefit and fresh viewpoint that both distance and other events can bring.

Things I have learnt (I feel a list coming on, make some space):

  • I’m never going to make a business out of converting lofts. So what? I don’t really want to spend the rest of my days crawling around in attics, breathing in fibreglass and being coated in thick black cobwebs and spiders’ eggs.
  • Things go wrong at work:
    • Sometimes it’s your fault, and you try to fix it.
    • Sometimes it’s someone else’s fault, and you hope they do same.
    • Sometimes you work together.
    • Sometimes you have disagreements and are unable to forge a common path.
  • The fact is, you put a bunch of people together with their own skills and abilities, their own goals and aims, fears and wishes – and you create an environment for error. You gotta just accept that it’s not perfect, and move on.
  • That’s not to say that we shouldn’t continue to work towards perfection, but if the environment is such that perfection is unattainable, don’t be surprised if you don’t achieve it.
  • Sometimes, good enough is pretty damn fine.

But the most important thing the last few days have taught me is simply this:

  • Love, family and friendship.

Attic monkeys

…or “I bet that you look good on the loft boards”.

Our loft is the filthiest place I have ever had the misfortune to spend a weekend. Filthier than a Thai ladyboy ping-pong tournament. Filthier than Sid James’ laugh. Filthy.

Those that know me will know I’ve never been one for hard work, getting grubby or carrying out macho tasks. That’s not to say I’m lazy, I can graft when required, I’d just rather being doing something else. Sitting, for instance.

So, on hands and knees in a dimly lit attic, cutting, drilling and boarding the loft while being brushed delicately with thick, black cobwebs* – not gonna make it onto my top ten best things ever! list.

That being said, I’ve boarded over half the available space, and have only the tricky edges and neatening up to do now. Insulation board will help box and tidy the edges of the space, and I can now fit Henry up there to vacuum with his cheery, snorty nose.

A nourishing breakfast (something warm as it’s really cold today) and I’ll venture back up. Wish me luck, and I may return with pictures…

*A lot like being kissed by the thin, dessicated lips of a Mummy. I imagine.**

** Not that I imagine that kind of thing, it’s creepy and weird.***

*** If however, Mummies are your thing, I meant no offence.

the “Spare Oom”

There exists, beyond the confines of ‘suburban living’, beyond the order and sanity of your IKEA shelving and Habitat storage baskets, a world far more terrifying than our own. A world where the laws of physics and nature no longer apply. A world where to merely look upon it’s limitless depths and staggering heights, would drive men to weep and gouge their eyes out so they may never again see such insanity.

You may call it “A-tic”, or “Stare Cub Oord”, we call it “Spare Oom”(*)

How, in just 3 years, have we managed to fill an entire room with junk? How have we managed to fill a room with junk we don’t even want or need?

  • The airbed with the umpteen punctures;
  • The printer that hasn’t worked in years;
  • 2 (!) old mattresses;
  • The giant bag of unknown cables (that of course holds the very cable we need, after we throw it away);
  • And, of course, the Foot Spa.

a small rant

Ah yes, the Foot Spa. Has ever a gadget existed that more succinctly encapsulates the excess of the modern day consumer?

Do they save time? Can you share them with others (would you want to?)? The box is huge, you have to fill them and empty them of water, you need a towel when you use it. Is it meant to be something to use while watching the TV? Who knows! But I know I don’t want someone soaking and wet-sanding their feet while I’m in the same room as them. Feet are gross enough as it is (that’s why we invented lovely shoes) without inventing giant gadgets to blow bubbles around them.

I dislike feet, I dislike Foot Spas.

back on track

So, venturing into Spare Oom, the task has been to clear it, de-junk it and sort it. Have you ever tried lifting a super-deep double mattress on your own? It hurts, but not as much as being trapped between two mattresses and having to slide out the side like a worm, being birthed from between two mattress ‘lips’.

Of course, if only it was as simple as throwing away rubbish and tidying what’s left. No, we want to put the stuff in our loft so we can decorate the room and make a nicer guest bedroom. This means boarding the loft. Which means insulating the loft. Which means clearing the loft.

So, this Bank Holiday weekend, think of me and wish me well, as I not only become a DIY cliché, but I also get covered in spiders the size of my hand, and cry, and squeal.

(*) Okay, so C.S. Lewis got there first, but he was onto something…