Saturday, 31 May 2008

Agile restyling

Whilst my wife and son are away I took few days off at work and started to mess with the floor and the walls in the corridor of my house.
I am a brave man... with the help of a DIY book, some imagination and memories of a decorator who worked in my parents' house 20 odd years ago, I started taking off the horrible green carpet I found when I moved in. Surprise! Under the carpet there was an even more horrible black and red vinyl tiles floor stuck on the floor boards. Three days of hammering off the tiles inch by inch with a chisel didn't do the job: I had to hire a floor sander and use 7 P24 - amongst the coarsest - sand paper disks to get rid of the mixture of plastic and glue stuck in the 6 square mt area I am working on.
I took off the skirting boards and a portion of the wall plaster and redid all the necessary fixes to modernise the look and feel. I started four days ago and am now at the stage of painting all the surfaces i can pass a brush on.
Plenty to do and little time! No new news then.

I am learning though... a lot of things! I am practicing day by day (and mistake by mistake) new manual skills: lying undercoat and plaster, sanding, varnishing, painting and I haven't even started with the wood. But I am (re)discovering how to relax by doing manual activities: I am on my own, I am not under pressure to finish (yet!) and I can take my time whilst listening to my music. I am also fooling around by trying to apply agile techniques to my day to day activities. Ok, there's a conflict of interest (I am the customer and the development team) but I avoided a big upfront design and I am organising my activities to best respond to changing circumstances - this in fact has helped: I found on Friday that I have a meeting in London on Monday that I don't want to miss and this has forced a re-org of my activities.
In practice, I have a list of things I need to do and it's comprehensive to the best of my knowledge to date. I keep adding (or removing) to-do items as and when they come and re-prioritise the list every day: I pick the next to-do item from the list and do it, depending on what makes sense doing (I am the customer after all), what I fancy doing (as I am the developer too). I tend also to organise the list to minimise waste (of time mainly) taking into account task dependencies (take off the carpet before lying the new floor) and minimise the risks (paint the wall before lying the floor, because the paint may drip on it!)
The only visible side effect is that I need to go frequently to the nearby DIY shop to buy stuff. Not a big deal though, it's only 2 miles away, and it's also an excuse to see the cloudy sky.

PS: amazingly, when I took one of the skirting board off the wall, I found a little book published by Lloyds Bank with the list of cash points in the whole UK - all in 6 pages, mind you - and a 2p coin. Respectively dated 1973 and 1974.

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