marcel barang

Household headaches

In English on 10/05/2010 at 3:46 am


Was it really a week ago that I last posted?
In between heavy doses of news monitoring, some decent rice-winning translation work and after-hours reading of mostly third-rate Thai short stories and of the literary magazines I subscribe to, I’ve been going through endless household hassles: faulty house features and ailing electronic gadgets.
Perhaps because of too much recondite trawling to blocked blogs and forbidden websites, the laptop last week suddenly got infected with sundry viruses, from mild to fierce. McAfee had a great time with them, but Explorer never recovered and turned turtle; Firefox came to the rescue for the nonce, but then my guarding angel of things from outer space stated I’d better switch from Vista to Windows 7, and this was done by the both of us and took most of the weekend in instalments: downloading Windows 7 doesn’t take long; what can be dreary are the indispensable complementary programs (the huge Adobe Suite for one, especially when your laptop refuses to read this or that VCD) and the necessary fine tuning that follows.
I’ve already mentioned the freakishness of the TV set: after a power shortage, this decades old Sony box lost most of its yellows and, for days on end, the pictures were so spooky that on Saturday I actually did wilfully commit bodily harm onto myself, my principles and way of life by purchasing a monster television, and in a few hours a savvy team will come and link it to a dish they’ll set up somewhere near the roof and thus connect me to scores of rubbishy channels and perhaps a few I can watch and lose myself into.
If anything, now that the redshirts are seemingly embarking on Act II of their lakhorn narm nao (or rather lakhorn lohit sot), I can watch their antics on a 42’’ screen…
The vexing thing is that, failing to plug in the new set for lack of a three-pronged socket, I plugged back the old set and … the yellows are all back! Indeed, the colours have never been better. Go figure. All right, I’ll have that set in the place where, these days, I sleep and work.
[I feel enormously guilty about living by myself in a three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse and managing to sleep either in the living room where mosquitoes roam or, as now, in the mezzanine office cum library, when I can see those hardy chaps in Ratchaprasong toughing it up on the tarmac.]
The place where I bought the TV set is one of those temples of consumerism that blossom in the suburbs where land is cheaper: Home-Pro in Nonthaburi, north of town, where you can find just about everything that has to do with a house in need of repairs or prettification.
Buying a TV set was actually a sideshow: the idea was to buy what it takes to fix the leaking loo downstairs.
Yes, folks, when those rotters came to fix what needed to be fixed in my house a few months ago (look it up in last year’s archives), they provided me with a few showy items in those places that could be seen but cheap spares in those places that were out of sight, specifically the innards of water tanks in the loos. Ever since, the water pump has been running at odd times. I laughed the matter off, telling one and all that my house had a resident thirsty ghoul. But then, last month, just before I sallied forth to the seaside with my daughter for a well-earned break, the water tank in the downstairs bathroom started to leak big time. The ghoul had got ravenously thirsty. I cut off the water and left.
Right upon my return, I called on ‘Uncle’, an ancient skeleton round the corner – part of the initial gang of house repairs predators –, who came and investigated and said yes, the joint inside is leaking. The next day he put a stopper to the water duct, allowing me to, before he bought a new set for the water tank a couple of days hence, turn the water on and off when using the toilet without interrupting the flow of water throughout the house. The stopper, he said, cost 150 baht. I told him it was obviously second-hand and shouldn’t cost that much, and besides I explained to him at length that he should buy me the best at whatever price so long as he provided me with receipts. Since I had called his bluff and seeing he wasn’t going to charge me fancy prices for recycled junk, he left in a huff and I knew he’d never come back. He hasn’t.
So this Saturday I equipped myself with a toilet flush valve, a new tap for the kitchen sink, and a new rising spray for the defective one in the mid-level bathroom, but the torrid weather has left me dripping so much all day yesterday that I haven’t mustered the courage to undertake these perilous do-it-yourself repairs. Also, I’m not so sure I can manage…
Oh, and did I mention that, when I had Uncle’s friend the electrician come and have a look at the main light in the living room and helped him cut off a piece of the wire which he said had been shot and set a new socket in, the old bulb lit up, but the next day wouldn’t oblige. Ten or twelve times in the following days did I risk my life on a stool on top of a low table to unscrew and screw again the bulb which, as soon as switched off, wouldn’t light up again.
So this, too, needs to be fixed.
Meanwhile, the latest bird’s nest up front is finally empty and I can now give their monthly haircut to the vines before they obstruct the gate and coil around electric wires on the garage roof.
And I should do that also to the creepers at the back, given that the other night, as I closed the louvered windows of the kitchen corner, I caught a green snake’s midriff between glass pane and frame (mosquito nets are useful things as snake and bug nets too).

  1. Thanks for ‘louvered’, I didn’t know ‘persienné’for that matter.
    Nobody’s perfect…

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