Beloved by banks and builders

03:18, May 28 2012

There are many things in this world that scare me. Big spiders with hairy legs, high mortgage rates, being boring and growing old are all up there. This week I added renovating to the list.

Thinking about renovating makes me stare at the ceiling for good portions of the time that I am usually asleep for.

I firmly believe renovating has the potential to financially ruin me in just a few short weeks. I'm sure the Greeks started out redoing their kitchen and before you know it the whole European Union is in the hole for trillions.

Westpac is doing much the same job for the Jones family. Our bank manager laughed the other day when we asked for more money. She admitted that when we first mentioned the word renovation she knew we would be back for more.

Banks must love people who do up old houses.

Builders must love banks for bailing out people who can't really afford to do it.


I'm not sure why my wife and I bought a do-up. I failed year 9 woodwork and haven't been near a hammer since. Until a few short weeks ago I was not aware of what a dwang or nog was or that they were even the same thing.

When builders talk to me I smile and nod a lot. I look around with hands on hips, I kick at the dirt and then look skyward at where our new roof will be and make sighing noises like I'm contemplating a design change.

I have no idea what I am doing. The builders know this, they have seen me in action. I have dug holes for them and filled them back in. I felt like I was working for the council. I hastily got promoted to the roof to install insulation.

The roof is where the spiders and rats live.

I have come to appreciate very quickly what a great occupation journalism is.

The cost of our renovations has gone up. This is normal, apparently.

I feel like giving every tradesman who walks in our house the pin to my eftpos card. It would save the paperwork of invoicing and cheque writing.

Perhaps I am being unfair.

When you fix an old house you never know what you are going to find and how long it's going to take to fix it until you do it.

It's a bit like winning the lottery in reverse. You never know the grand total until right at the end. And, unlike the lottery, you hope it's not a big number.

After four weeks on the job, I'm finding building baffling, bewildering and on occasions not that bad.

My wife is excited about the radiators we are getting and, as our little house expands into our new backyard, I admit I have a feeling of accomplishment - even though I, personally, have accomplished little.

Our builders are proving to be good guys. They tell my daughter her baking is the best in the world even though this is yet to be proved.

They work hard and I hope when they finish I won't be bankrupt.

I'd tell you more about them but I must go. The hole I dug and filled back in needs redigging and I'm the right man for the job.

Everyone else on our building site has a tool belt. I have a spade. It's safer that way . . . for everyone.

The Dominion Post