Non Ducor, Duco…
So I have a list of things that I never want to do again:
1. Ketamine – I was at a party and someone told me it was coke. I got greedy. My own fault.
2. Carpet fitting.
I’ll admit it’s not a very long list.
There’s a lot of stuff that I don’t like, but these two are banned- permenantly.
Carpet fitting is one of those completely useless skills that I have acquired and hope to never use again- ever.
Just like my level 2 in contact centre operations, ‘complaint management’ or my sandwich artist grade 2.0 and 2.1 – an absolutely pointless training program ran by Sub -something.
Sandwich artistry- yeah it’s a thing.
Anyway, apart from the aching limbs caused by painting walls, the white splattered hair and face from painting ceilings or the hours of painstakingly having to remove wallpaper.
There I was at the precipice- thinking I have done all I have to do, and then comes the horror of realising that I should have taken out a small mortgage just to pay for Carpets.
I mean answer me this in the comments below because it just blows my mind- why are carpets so flipping expensive? It makes me think that I might be lost in a different dimension somewhere- it just doesn’t make any sense.
I went to see Stewart Lee’s Carpet Remnant World a few years ago, never did I think it would become my reality. Unjustified extortion and ageing, I miss the simpler days.
They really are the blandest of stores. Giant rolls of carpet everywhere, with a huge shop floor to show off all the boring varieties available- who cares?
I mean, I’m a writer, the only time I notice the carpet is when I spill my red wine on it and curse at it in a different language.
There’s never anyone in there-apart from you, unfortunately, at that moment.
Ten shops I visited and all with the same pressing sales techniques. Most are pretty similar. Helpful. Indifferent. They tell you the special offers.
‘Prices are skyrocketing’, ‘They’ve gone through the roof’, ‘You won’t get that on a budget’ and never, ever will you get off cuts. No time to browse them- without being pounced on by a sales man, disapproving looks if you do- and don’t get me started on the fitting costs…
Every money saving corner I suggested they already had an answer for it.
Was I going to be thwarted by astronomical prices for alcohol floor sponges? No I was not!
So that’s when I had this bright idea. I’ll do it myself…
Cutting corners was actually satisfying. I slayed the fitting in my front room first. A lovey big room with alcoves and a bay window. I neatly cut into the corners, slow and steady wins the race- I had this in the bag.
I kept picturing those greedy salesman rubbing their hands together. Ha! I thought. I’ve more than halved the price I was quoted.
The thing is when you buy underlay you have to work it out in square meters. Had I used maths since School? No, but some quick research and I was on my way again.
Carpets on the other hand they’re measured in Meters- nice and straightforward except when you buy off cuts. They’re always a meter too short.
So then there’s the dynamic of moving them around to see which way will involve less cutting and VCL (visible carpet line).
Knee stretchers? Yep, an hour long conversation in B & Q which nearly made me part with £120.
It turns out that you don’t need one. Gripper rods and a wallpaper scraper to tuck in the ends work just fine. Also wish I hadn’t wasted money on carpet adhesive- the staple gun was way more therapeutic.
“Bang Bang- that awful sound”
…And then I got to the stairs. Oh my. I almost wish I’d filmed myself.
Go ask Alice
I think she’ll know.
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead,
I made many, many mistakes but some handy tips I learned on the way are as follows:
• Start from the bottom. Not the top.
• Don’t hold a craft knife sharp enough to cut carpets in your hand whilst descending the stairs in a flighty and untamed fashion.
• Don’t expect perfection because it’s not going to happen.
• Work in sections.
• Absolutely be generous with the size of the carpet.
• Once you’ve worked sufficient creases into the carpet- which takes a phenomenal amount of time. Leave them there for a few days before attempting to hammer them in place with carpet tacks.
• Stock up on wine. Lots and lots of wine- Possibly vodka.
Panem et circenses
Okay so it wasn’t all bad. I must admit when I look around my new home I feel kind of proud by how much physical labour I pulled off in just under two weeks.
Not bad for a 5ft 2 single mother. However, it did make me ponder life a little. I realised at one point that the life of a creative is notoriously difficult.
Most people have wealth, so they can create abundance for others- such as paying for carpet fitters. Seriously guys, you’re worth every penny.
However creatives often struggle to make ends meet. Maybe I swallowed the red pill and that’s why things are tough, but it seems to me that so many creatives struggle with finances, mental health issues and addictions- to name a few.
The fact that I took on this mammoth task kind of makes me feel happy in a way.
I could have given up and lay down in a slump on the floor and cried. I could have just walked around on the floor boards for years, avoiding gripper rods and could have given guests strange glances when they asked where my carpets were.
But I didn’t. I did it myself instead.
If I could do it all again – Say I took that level 2 in contact centre operations and got myself a desk job. Say I’d never listened to Bjork, or got experimental in my teens. Say I’d never visited an art gallery or hadn’t grown up around wild parties.
Instead I had a completely boring life with an abundance of wealth that I could share with others and pay other people to fit carpets instead. Would I be happy? Truly?
I think not. If I’m honest I wouldn’t have life any other way.
And who knows? One day I might have an abundance of wealth to share with others. Maybe I never will have to fit carpets again.
Carpet fitting might be on my never again list but the circumstances that got me in this predicament are not.
Veni, Vidi, Vici
I believe that’s what you call the power of positive thinking – And more money leftover for wine.
I came, I saw, I carpeted the fucking stairs.
Would I recommend carpet fitting yourself? No, I would absolutely not. It’s not for the faint of heart.