Houses built: 0.10
Injuries: (1) Major egg on head (and some on face) after scaffold collapsed upon said head. Lesson learnt – don’t adjust scaffold while standing on it. (2) Agonising rib relocation causing much grief and oddly much holding of breast in hand. (3) Wondering when the extreme fatigue and aching muscles thing will subside. And for fat to drop off and transform into jessica biel, say.
Alcohol consumed: One bottle of Dewers, two of Blackheads. Several panachés and a few bottles of vinho verde. Strictly for medicinal purposes, you understand.
I love the sound of a cement mixer in the morning. Not. Bloody neighbours. Renovating. No SEVEN-AM-IN-THE-MORNING starts on my site that’s for sure. Bloody builders. Bloody building.
Things got right dirty this week with The One cutting electrics channels and getting heavily into the zen of the angle grinder. Business electric has taken a lot of research. The Youthful Energetic Electrician with Great Hair knows what he’s doing and is making a mess of the place. Crew person number 3, Mr Youthful Energetic Talented and Unstoppable, and I, got out the cement mixer and slapped up about 6 square metres of capping for the old walls. Loved it. Swimming in the delights of lime am I.
I tell you, it feels remarkably like hard work. I mean like working on a film, work. My brain is not what is was, but planning way ahead, prioritising and arranging the crew and gear is all coming back to me. The others chortle when I compare renovating to shooting but my role is rather the same. And I am the money, I.E. the producer, as usual. I’m at the budget stage where you ignore what’s on paper and just bleed cash: it’s the same as early shooting phase. The only difference is, in this case we keep going until the money actually runs out, rather than the objective being a finished film. It’s terrifying watching what was once €100k dwindle to tens of thousands. And no, I will not get the house finished with the money I have left. Donations welcome. Button below.
Before I leave the film comparisons I’ll just pay service to the fine small crew we have. As a production manager we have some discretion and as one of my mentors Malinda would have it – we chose crew on the basis of looks. “Very important to have a cute crew”, she would say. “Boosts moral”. Thanks to Penfold we get to work with mixed origin, interesting, and motivated people and who, coincidently, would make Malinda proud.
The One and I frequently lament the lack of spirit in young country Portuguese. No ambition, no interest, no hobbies, and no passion. which these boys (in the main, they are Portuguese themselves but with foreign parents) possess in abundance. Portuguese kids grow up to be bad in business, unmotivated and boring – you see them every day in the person the front desk who carries on a 10 minute wag on the phone while you stand there and wait like a dickhead. You see it in the crap building work on Portuguese houses. And you hear it at the neighbour’s dinner table where every night the conversation is the same: Benfica and Portuguese food being the best in the world.
I’m not suggesting Portugal should become possessed by work and wealth and lose its calm, generosity and gentleness. I pray it finds its way down the a third path between consumerism and community. Firstly, this country needs talented teachers to shake little Joâo out of his depressed catatonia. The illiteracy that Salazar wrought on this country continues to corrode it like a bad gene. Parents never read to by grandparents, parents who do not read to their children. Houses with no books nor love of learning.
So, to the bathroom appliances. I know you’re dying to know which range of dunny I have chosen but first I want the reader to appreciate how difficult this part of the building process is. Unless you’ve been down this path yourself you cannot imagine how stressful choosing a toilet can be. For years I have been fixed on The Grecia, tempted by eggshell blue and the rosy pink of The Nanna, and the mustard two-tone of The Gaudy.
The One talked sense. He talked resell and cost. And he hates pink. Hence I am now the proud owner of a perfectly generic but brand new white and shiny bog, bidet and sink and umpteen metres of PVC begging for installation. I even bought Acme tiles. Super standard 15×15 white no funny business tiles. I love them. I’m relishing the plainness of it all. I feel like it’s all come from REMO (sydney people will know what I mean).
God it’s exciting.
On a final unflinching note: I am sick to death of being asked when I am going to breed. I’m not offended, I’m just bored of the unrelenting repetition. The expectation, obligation.
I’m 41, I tell them. (Oh so you should start!).
We have pets. (It’s not the same, you need a baby!).
I am not a COW. (Blank – did she say faca ou vaca?)
I carry two genetic diseases, both potentially fatal which I do not want to give to anyone, except maybe the next person who asks about my fertility. (double blank – didn’t understand a word of that)
There are plenty of children who need better parents and I have always fancied adoption/fostering. (Bu-!)
I have no narcissistic urge to procreate or populate. (Nar-?!)
Oh do fuck off. (ooo offended estrangeira, best run away)