So we're more than half way through July. That struck me this morning, when Richard pointed out that tomorrow is our 26th anniversary. Wow. In the busy-ness of recent weeks, I'd lost track of the date. We'll probably go out to eat in the evening - taking Tim along, if he's doing nothing else. We need to make the most of the time when he's still living at home, as it won't be many more years until he flies the nest. In the morning we thought we might buy a few plants since we have no garden as such - just paved carports and a large front porch. At some point we're considering digging up the paving at one side, but not at this time of year. Of course it's not really a good time to buy new plants but it would be nice to have some to start us off. We'll get more in the Autumn, no doubt.
Yesterday and today I unpacked more boxes in the study. There are built-in cupboards along one of the walls, which are now full of paperwork/magazines/pictures not yet hung. But it does look tidier. Tonight Richard's colleague from Egypt is coming to supper and then helping to paint the study. He's very keen to work on the house, so we're making the most of it.
The downstairs guest flat is still fairly full of boxes, but Richard's put together the two single beds in one of the guest rooms, and the living room of the flat has two sofa-beds, so if necessary we could have four guests (more if they were small children). We need to have a door knocked into what's going to be the master bedroom downstairs, since it was a hairdresser salon, separate from the main house. As it was originally part of the living room, the dividing wall is easy to cut through. But unlike in the UK, we can't buy doors and wood for frames from a DIY store and then put it in place ourselves. We have to employ a carpenter, who will make the door exactly as we want it. This probably won't be too expensive, and we've asked someone to look into this, so we can get the guest flat at least basically organised.
Some friends had considered coming to stay at the start of August, which would have motivated us to get the guest rooms painted and in good condition rapidly - however they're not now coming until next year.
But... a couple of days ago Richard had a phone call about someone who was visiting Lebanon, is currently elsewhere in the region, and now - obviously - strongly advised not to return to Lebanon. So she may be coming to stay. We don't know if there will be other refugees: yesterday a boatload of Italians and French people arrived here, and apparently there will soon be some Brits. There are a significant number of ex-pats in the Christian/mission world in Lebanon, so there may well be a call for temporary accommodation. If so, we'd like to be ready. It's only about six weeks since we were briefly in Beirut; hard to imagine that this busy, European style city is now under siege.
What we still need to do in the main part of the house:
- paint study (this evening, we hope) then hang curtains and one or two pictures
- paint Dan's room and put his cabin bed together
- paint hall/stairs/landing and then put up family photo gallery
- fix ceiling fans and/or light shades for bedrooms
- sort out Dan's and Tim's curtains
- buy mirror and light fitting for loo
- find some kind of mirror for our room
- find some way of fitting a cat door
Which isn't really all that much, certainly compared to all the houses we've lived in before. We might well get all that done by the end of July.
At some point we need to ensure we get a final certificate of approval for the main part of the house. Just in case anyone actually wants to follow the plot - so to speak - and hasn't a clue what I'm talking about, I described the potential problems here, what we learned here, and what transpired here.
In a nutshell: the main part of the house, ie the top two storeys, had planning permission, but the building did not entirely follow the plans. Nor were the plans totally accurate. An architect can sort it all out for us (at a cost) so long as we do it soon. It's not dangerous, or even illegal - but until we have the certificate, we could have problems if we wanted to sell it. Not that we do, of course. But one day we might.
As for the downstairs part of the house, that still needs a LOT of work. Painting everywhere. Light fittings almost everywhere. Curtains - which I shall probably adapt from the curtains we had at our previous house - almost everywhere. The door cut through to the front bedroom. Beds in place. Kitchen equipped with more than the 'spare' stuff we don't use much. And all the remaining boxes need to be unpacked, with homes found for the contents.
It would be much easier if we could leave this until the weather gets cooler, but it's probably best to keep going. A little at a time.