Monday, September 15, 2008

House Repair and Raya Cleaning

A couple weeks back when I sat having tea at the back patio of our home, I discovered hairline cracks appearing on the less than a year old walls of the house. Curiosity got into me and I asked Bibik how long those cracks had been there. She said, “Ohh..udah lama, Buk.” And what got me even more heated up was when she took me on a house tour of other cracks that had appeared. Similar hairline cracks were seen in the kitchen and the living room.

View of cracks after workmen enlarged them before putting the cement plaster

Kitchen wall - also view after workmen hacked open the smaller cracks

Ahhh..plaster dah

I was very upset on the discovery that I took pictures of the cracks and MMSed them to ABE. Bibik then told me, “Ohh…Bapak udah tau itu….” She left the statement unfinished. Guess she didn’t want to add salt to my already infuriated nerves. It was obvious to her that the other half of her employer would be in the soup over those godforsaken cracks.

Works on the back patio

Unlike my Mom who has this ever so diligent Ah Kee, the neighborhood favourite handyman cum contractor, who would come running to fix her house when there is a leak in the pipe or a chip on the wooden door of hers, I have ABE, the live in plumber, carpenter, gardener, car mechanic (the 8 in 1 deal, I call it) etc, etc. I must compliment that ABE does excel in some of the tasks he undertakes.

So when your spouse is the handyman, the response rate to your SOS may not be as prompt as Mom’s Ah Kee. Ah Kee gets paid with the crispy blue notes and ABE gets paid in the form of services (ehem…, now, let’s not get ourselves overly excited with this word “services” yah). Occasionally I’d help spice up his power point presentations and make them so canggih that even his IT department folks would gasps for fresh air (bukan susah pun, guna template yang existingly available je). There was also one time when I rescued his notebook from crashing and also wiped out all the trojans, virus and worms which were happily multiplying, result from his innocence, clicking on an inviting link forwarded in the email.

“Services” after “services” rendered and those irritating cracks were still on my walls and some of them have become wider by a few millimeters. I was already talking about structure defects and all the possible worst things that could happen to the house. I even describe as vividly as I could one day, that if one of the walls came crushing down, we would be so close to cars passing by the roadside that I could work at the Road Transport Department doing vehicle registration after that.
Plaster work

The dust....

Finally, after a long process of cajoling and making some emotional blackmails, the repair squad arrived at our home last weekend. The team, consisting of 2 workers and 1 boss, got on to work almost immediately after they set foot into the house. They merrily went on with the hacking of the walls even before we could cover the furniture with old sheets to protect dust from setting on them. The dust, the noise, the whole works, you name it. My two girls refused to leave their room in protest of what was being done to the house. I couldn’t really tell if they were upset with me for making a big fuss over cracks of a few centimeter big or with their dad for not informing them of what’s up ahead of their otherwise quiet and peaceful weekend. My maternal instincts had it that they were upset with the former. But then, I was merely thinking of the family’s safety….

The living room, ultimate horror...

The ever so efficient Bibik

When the work was done, the workmen did help with the cleaning of the bigger mess – debris from the knocked walls, much to my relief. As for the dusty furniture and the getting the house back to how it was the night before, well, it was Bibik and I who took over from then on. I could have just left Bibik to handle the cleaning but she was fasting too and for sure she’d be as tired as everyone else. Pheww…I couldn’t recollect when was the last time I did such a bone breaking chore.
The dust on the piano....tak ke "angin" dibuat nyer ni!!!

Fragments of the hacked wall

One thing good about the unplanned cleaning work created by the crack repairs , was that I got started early on my Raya house cleaning. I dusted, mopped, vacuumed, washed and polished the furniture with all my heart. Even took down the curtains and sent them for washing later that evening. If anyone had sketched me on my knees scrubbing the paint spots left on the floor, I bet I look just like the storybook illustrations of Cinderella in the kitchen on the night before she went to the dance at the palace. ABE lamented that I had the cleaning skills in my bones still and should Bibik leave the household in the near future, rest assured he knew that the house would still be in good care of the Madam. Iyer lah tu…..I’d probably do it for just one day and I’d resort to getting my own cleaning squad to take over the cumbersome tasks.

My curtains will be back from the laundry on Wednesday and I’ll put them up and I am so ready for Raya already. Just need to go collect those cookies and start arranging them on the kitchen top, a good enough indicator that Raya is just round the corner.


tireless mom said...

No wonder lah sonyap je during the weekend. Some tukul berbunyi at the house.

ps I am a blogger now. Check it out. Got nothing to do during weekend at Sban, and decided to start one.

Madam Tai Tai said...

Hi Kay,

Ooo..I hate house repairs yg have anything to do with hacking and breaking. THE DUST!! Puas mop pun susah nak hilang.

kay_leeda said...


Yeah it was CRAZY with the biggest "C" ever!! And you know how it is with that MAN of the house.

Confirm lah I'll be needing the Merry Maid Services this Raya hols to ease my aches.

Yah...I have jenguk yr space. Not bad..not bad ;-)

kay_leeda said...

Tai Tai,

In my case, I have no words in my vocab to describe house repairs and house renovations. The renovations itself took almost a YEAR to complete!!

It's a wonder how we managed to stay sane. No thanks to the builder in the house. But now that the house is ready, even with the hairline cracks,ahhh...santuary.

nurfarihaliah said...

raya is aroung the corner.
PMR too is around the corner.

Waterlily said...

Hi Kay

By now, renovation and repairs at your house have long been completed I guess. So, berseri la rumah untuk Raya nanti ye..

Tak per Kay, sepah nyer sekejap je, berseri nyer lamaaaa....

p/s My worse experience was when I did the dry kitchen (house in KL). It took the contractor 4 freaking months to finish it. Dia amik banyak sangat order, so terlari sana, terlari sini...4 bulan you...kat DAPUR lak tu!

Waterlily said...

..ooopppss, typo error la.."My WORST experience was when I did the dry kitchen..."

kay_leeda said...


Yezza...u guys will be having the exam in a few more weeks. All the best to You, Farah & all the other boys & gurls sitting for the PMR exam.

Aunty Kay

kay_leeda said...

Hi Waterlily,

I know the agony you experienced. Never mind if it was 4 months or 1 year. The mess, the dust can make you go crazy, berserk, "weng" dan semua yg sewaktu dengan nyer lah.

I had the same problem with my contractor as you did. He took too many jobs sampai tak terhandle. It was really a test of family togetherness of the highest order.

Alhamdulillah, siap jugak akhirnya.