The sun shines lavishly on the white sand of the beach that sparkles with the brilliance of countless tiny diamonds. The crystal clear water holds a myriad of coloured fish that float past me like butterflies. They wave out greetings as I swim past them; the ultimate vacation — I hope it never ends. Then the door bell rings! I clutch at the water which has now turned into a bed sheet and pull it over my head. I unashamedly continue to feign sleep and wait for someone else to answer the door; whoever is out there will have to be patient. Serves them right for ringing the door bell at this ungodly hour of 8am during the summer vacations.

(Yeah, yeah, I know what you are thinking: you are driving to the office at that time. Don’t hate me, because I freelance.) I am about to fall asleep, I can hear the seagulls…and the sound of a sledgehammer as it breaks cruelly into what used to be our staircase. The brilliant blue sky shatters above and falls soundlessly on my bed.

“Get up!! Mazdoors need tea!” My husband calls out the most annoying instruction of the day. Make tea for the labourers …several times a day. They are being paid by the day, which is why they keep getting sick and disappear for at least three days at a time. Today they are here, because I wasn’t expecting them and slept in. Yesterday they didn’t come because I was up early. Very early. And I had their tea ready. My husband and I ended up drinking three extra cups each because we felt bad about throwing a whole kettle full of perfectly brewed tea down the drain.

The door bell rings again and I persistently disregard it. Let the husband deal with it; if I go to check who it is, all work will immediately stop. All eyes and ears will be on me and the intruder at the door because whatever we are discussing is as important as a world cup final. And anyways it is probably the electrician so I have to make another cup of tea. Tea companies stay in business thanks to the people renovating your house. I bet they take a commission.

Husband is in heated discussion with the electrician because the “China maal” brand of electrical ‘thingamajigs’ he insisted on buying have all blown whatever it is they blow and stopped working. And he just put them in yesterday. More money out of poverty stricken wallet and another trip to the shop and all electrical work is put on hold until “China maal” gets back and fixes everything that he screwed up yesterday. Every fuse in the house has blown and I wait for illumination and my blender to be brought back to life.

We have all gotten used to the constant hammering and thunderous crashing sounds as chunks of our house fall to join the large amount of debris lying everywhere in the garage. So when there is a sudden silence it sounds surreal. I strain my ears to hear the latest drama unfold. So do the labourers who are butchering my staircase. They need some entertainment and they know they are going to get it. This time it is the bricklayer who is putting up the beautiful grey stones on the exterior walls.

We had spent (read: wasted) an enormous amount of time planning a pattern that used the minimum amount of bricks and ordered the quantity of stones accordingly; but of course this was our biggest mistake. We should have left it up to the bricklayer; after all he is doing us a favour putting up the bricks — this gives him the right to decide where to put them and how many to use.

And boy is he generous. He has put them up — everywhere! Now we are out of bricks and he has nothing to do. Except complain that his time is being wasted as he has to wait for my husband to go out and order more bricks. I think hubby will rob a bank on the way to finance this new project. In the meantime everyone else has decided they need a much deserved tea break. A small piece of advice, never get your house renovated. Just walk around with your eyes closed and imagine you live in a palace.

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