This ole house

A few years ago, like many other people who bought property during the last property boom, my husband and I became ‘accidental landlords’. So far, thankfully, we have been lucky, with excellent tenants for the past five years. Unfortunately for us, they’ve just moved out.

Just as I’d like to be knee-deep in studying, I am, instead, knee-deep in grease, grime, bleach, and carpet and paint samples. I don’t expect to get much studying done over the next few weeks, but as usual, I’ll find a way to link my personal life to studying.

The carpets. They’re no longer fit-for-purpose. They’re old, worn, and pretty mucky. We knew, when we bought the place ten years ago that they weren’t ideal (cream carpets + dog = mess). They may have looked good when the previous owners were putting the place on the market, but as soon as the house became a home, the carpets looked messy.

How do these carpets resemble my studies? Well, you might remember that a few months ago I was piling words onto paper for my literature review. I was confused, I was disorganised, and I was desperate to get something ‘down’, something to make me feel I’d made progress. Those words were like cream carpet. They did the job at the time, but now what do I do with them? Do I dig out the old carpet shampooer and try to breathe life back into them when they’re fairly obviously a bit past their best, or do I rip them out and start again. I already know the answer. It’s more costly in the meantime but should pay dividends in future.

The kitchen worktops. They’re cracked. The cracks are barely noticeable, but if left, they’re likely to soak up water any time the tenants do the dishes, and eventually, they’ll swell and become ugly, not to mention potentially dangerous.

The worktops can’t possibly remind me of my studies, can they? Of course, they can. The kitchen worktops are the methodology chapter. If the worktops are cracked, letting in liquid, and eventually becoming unsteady, then whoever is using them as the basis for any preparations, is likely to find themselves in a dangerous situation. One small movement of a badly-fitted or broken worktop could result in cut fingers, as the foundations begin to move and whatever is going on up top is unsupported. I might not need to rip out all the worktops completely, but the bits that are cracked need to be replaced, and they need to fit with the pieces that remain.

I could go on, but I might keep the links between tile grouting and studying until nearer the end of the PhD.

While I’ve not done any work on my literature review over the past week, I did spend two days this week at an IPA conference (IPA is my methodology). Listening to talks from various presenters, both novice and seasoned IPA researchers, I know I’ve learned a lot. I’ve presented a poster, met fellow IPA researchers with whom I’ll stay in contact and from whom I have no doubt I’ll continue to learn, and had a coffee and chat with the ‘inventor’ of IPA. Who cares if my literature review is suffering for a while if the kitchen worktops of my PhD are benefitting from a few days away from the books?

This coming week, amidst carpet ordering and paint selecting…I’ll be attempting to catch up on last week’s reading.

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