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When you are: June 2010

24 June 2010

Home Improvements

A nice family moment to share from last night. We're making some changes at for the benefit of the boys, which they are getting involved with. While the little one fell asleep in his chair and was not taken with the changes going on the big one got stuck right in.

Cost. A very topical subject in the current economic climate. I have calculated how much the guest bedroom will cost over the life of our mortgage and it's not viable to maintain it as such. The rationale behind this has already covered, but to recap - with having the two boys now the guest room has had to go. The first stage of this was completed in August, when the big fella (only fella as he was then) moved bedrooms, from the "nursery" into the "guest bedroom" when his big cabin bed got built. So we lost a bedroom.

There has been a small impact so far. The "nursery" has been mothballed so far, with the futon in there as a temporary guest room. However, the wee fella will be moving in there soon, very soon, so will become a nursery again.

So where to sleep for the wrinklies?

Well, therein lies the cost calculations. Purchase price of the house divided by square footage of public rooms, multiplied up by the real cost when mortgage interest is applied and we're looking at around fifty to sixty thousand pounds for a guest bedroom. Bugger me, that's lavish living. Maybe we should have got a smaller house and just paid for a top hotel every time the wrinklies were up, certainly would have cost less! The point is, it's expensive, and doesn't work for the family. That's what the previous post on this talked about, so that's why we need to make changes. We can't have the boys in together for the sake of a dedicated guest room.

But what to do? The temporary guest room is decommissioned as of this Saturday.

I have compiled a list of local hotels that the wrinklies will have access to, I will try to negotiate special rates for a guaranteed minimum number of visits per year and hope this will keep everybody sweet. A guest room is a luxury of space we can't afford any more. But, unfortunately for the local hoteliers, so is the dining room which could offer the wrinklies a less luxurious offering than the local 4 stars. We eat as a family at the breakfast bar, with the formal dining room used only at Christmas now. Which means the dining room gets used less than the temporary guest room that is facing imminent decommissioning. Easy answer, ditch the dining, guest room in there.

Doesn't that just mean we still have a dedicated guest room, but on the ground floor instead? Good point you made there.

We also lost our lounge 3 years ago. It's a maze of toys getting from the sofa to the TV. Where can we put all this? In the new guest room. And regain our lounge! But two rooms in one? Mezzanine level in there?

So there's the solution. The current temporary guest room gets decommissioned this weekend. The dining room gets converted into a combined play room / guest room, with or without mezzanine level. OK, no mezzanine level. The dining table moves into the kitchen with the breakfast bar removed. We eat in the same physical space, but on different furniture. The boys have somwhere to play during the day, we adults get somewhere to sit without walking through the toy equivalent of the M25, and the wrinklies get shifted downstairs when they take up short term lodgings. Is everybody happy?

The dining room conversion has started, some furniture has been re-homed in other rooms and a general clear-out of piles of post has begun. I hit IKEA this week to buy some tracks for blinds as we have glass on all 4 sides of this room, and curtains on only one at present. For it to work as a guest room some privacy is needed, so we're putting panel curtains in front of all the internal glass doors. The track I started to build last night, and in true IKEA style nothing has written instructions, they are all visual. The big fella said he wanted to help Daddy. He looked at the instructions, and told us we needed a pencil. Off he went, bringing back a pencil. Need ladders. How about using your small chairs instead? OK. Two chairs came in. Before Elfin gets involved they are rock solid, better than the ladders. Hmm, tape measure. That appeared too. Struggled with the spirit level though, work needed on that one. Tomorrow's lesson - how to use the keyless chuck on the power drill!!

That's the first time he's gone out of his way and asked to help, and he did a marvellous job of seeing what was needed and going for them, with no prompting or help at all (chair was a suggestion, spirit level a new concept). All the while his little brother was snoring away just happy to have this done for him.

The next help will be when the big guy gets to choose the colours for the 8 panels we need. I want him to be part of putting all this up, so he can see the changes happening, be part of implementing them, and more importantly be involved in the decisions too. After all, it's going to be mainly his (& brother's) room.

We're not knocking walls down or planning on taking part in Grand designs, but the changes we are making are still quite significant to how we use our space. The dynamics of the house are going through some changes with rooms losing old or acquiring new functions. The dynamics of the home are changing as we make the house work better for our family's current needs. The dynamics of the family changed last night with the big fella actively getting involved with the changes that will affect his use of our space.

20 June 2010

Happy Daddy's Day!

Double the number of cards*, double the fun. A happy Daddy's Day indeed.

* Sets the precedent for Mother's Day next March. Although it was kind of set anyway, I had two cards bought just in case the wee fella arrived before Mother's Day. As it was he was just after so MOTS has to wait almost a full year for her first card and pressie! Hmm, gives me plenty of time to save up for something special I guess.

02 June 2010

[2] Playing with my big bruv

Very short one, but worthy of the mention. At the weekend just past we were all in what is rapidly becoming the family bed (I'm sure it was once termed a marital bed). #1 turns to #2, head in hands:

Peek-a-boo

And there he was, a few repetitions, hand movements and all. And there was the little 'un, happily smiling back at his big bruvver, clearly trying to say "thank you for playing with me".

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