05-Jun-2008

Domestic woes and silver linings

The last month has been a relentless attack from the patron saint of household work. It started of with the tube light in my bedroom conking off. The regular electrician was away on vacation, leading to dark nights, lit only by the gentle, soft glow of the bedside lamp. Pretty, but not enough to do anything other than reading. Then I finally decided to tackle the problem of the wood insects in my clothes cupboard and called in the pestbusters. Who sold me a can of some potent spray and assured me that in under an hour, I would have the cupboard rid of pests. A week later, I had established the schedule. I would spray the magic potion every morning. Every night, I would wonder if it had had any effect, as there wasn’t enough light to investigate. The next morning, I would be disappointed and go back to step one. In the process, my clothes lay bundled on the bed all day and I lay bundled in the sofa all night.

The washing machine’s outlet pipe also began to spring a gorgeous leak, with a torrential stream of water, soaking the passage carpet as it flowed gently upon the tiles. The refrigerator has had issues from day one, as the temperature control does not work. Usually once every fifteen days there is enough ice build up in the freezer to replace melting polar ice caps. Saturday went in defrosting the fridge by the imperfect, but definitely quick method of using a hammer to break down the ice from the freezer walls. However, patron saint had his revenge for using shortcuts. The ice that had remained in the freezer had all melted and soaked everything in and outside the fridge since the fridge door did not close properly on Sunday night.

Monday morning went in wiping clean every single bottle in the fridge and most things outside on the floor. Lunch break on Monday went in having the washing machine repairman fix the leak with a generous application of fevibond. The next Saturday, the neighbourhood electrician fixed the bedroom light, and the hall light which had died out by then.

The pest control problem however looks serious. The remaining insects in the cupboard seem to have developed immunity to the spray. I suspect a genetically modified second generation has already developed. I, on the other hand, am being slowly poisoned from repeated exposure to the spray. Tracking down the pestbuster for a second round of consultation took several, progressively angry calls. Predictably the service man has informed me that the wood is damaged and I have to pay lots to set things right.

The funny thing is when I first began life as a sole householder; I was worried grocery shopping and washing clothes would take over my weekends. Reality had largely been put at bay on account of my parents moving in with me for two long stretches, where they went about fixing all appliances, taking delivery of furniture, getting most electrical and plumbing work done and establishing a routine. How I laugh at my naïve self from then.

This Saturday is the day when I empty every single wooden cupboard, shelf and bedside table of its contents and let the professionals take over. I am not looking forward to it at all, but hopefully if things work out, I should get some respite from domestic work. I am going to ignore the fact that the light in my refrigerator stopped working last week.

I am just tired and I want to spend a Saturday morning either shopping for shoes or going on a long drive somewhere.

On a happier note, the patron saint of books has been kind to me. After many years of unsuccessfully struggling to read Pico Iyer’s ‘Videonights in Kathmandu ’, a friend lent me Iyer’s ‘Falling off the map’. Suddenly I could get his wit, sarcasm and unfailing ability to spot the soul of a place. I also began on the list of must-read sci-fi books a friend had recommended. Deep into Ender’s game, which is a fairly frightening book given that its protagonist starts as a six year old becoming a soldier. In between these, I flipped through Chetan Bhagat’s latest, a Commando comic and Sarnath Banerjee’s Corridor (Decent, Good and Decent). And managed to buy the Thirukural (finally!) and a translation of contemporary Tamil poetry published by Katha Poet’s Cafe (pretty good).

3 comments:

Lekhni said...

What kind of pests are they? I hope they are not bedbugs. If they are, I have bad news - they will not go away with just a spray. Here is the NY Times guide to bedbugs. Those things are scary.

byker7 said...

Ender's Game is just frigging briliant.

Anita said...

Lekhni - some wood insects. Not as serious as the bed bugs in the article (I really hope)

Byker7 - Yup, it has been good so far.