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Saturday, November 13, 2010

House Construction 5: Making A Dirty Video

A minor public sewer runs through our property. The PUB requires that a pre-condition video to be taken of the inside walls of the sewer. Any damage that pre-exists the construction of the new house will not be our accountability. It seemed quite straightforward at first. I thought someone would simply crawl into the sewer with a video cam and voilĂ ... done!

But noooooooo... Life happens and life ain't simple. Not by a long shot. When the sewer was opened, an entire Singapore population (inclusive of foreigners and PRs) of cockroaches spilled over onto the floor in a black writhing mass before they regrouped and came rushing at me.

I ran.

Understandably, no human can crawl down there. A mobile remote controlled CCTV is put in instead. That looked quite simple still. What can't technology do these days eh?

But well... It turned out that it was absolutely necessary to open my neighbour's manhole to put in the camera. Due to some fate of layout design, my neighbour's manhole is found in her kitchen. The good woman gave my contractor a good piece of her mind. Poor Mr Grizzly Bear stood there uncomfortably and waved PUB's letter ineffectually at her. Instead of the intended effect of calming her, the letter waving made things worse. My neighbor thought he was threatening her with an official looking letter when all Mr Grizzly was trying to do was to assure her that he was not some robber trying to enter her house. The whole situation kind of went up in flames.

He was told, "You WILL not enter my house and let loose those cockroaches into my kitchen. How dare you peek over my back wall you lout!? How DARE you talk to my maid when I am not looking... you cur... you skirt chaser... you maniac!?" or some words to that effect.

"But... but... but Mrs Lee!" The Grizzly explained helplessly, waving his big paws at me. "Mrs Lee, she has no doorbell! The only way to get her attention is to wave at her over the garden wall... What did I do wrong?!"

It was hard to explain. I quite understood my neighbour's fears. I mean, no woman would take kindly to being peeked at over the garden wall, and no woman would embrace the thought of a few million cockroaches in her kitchen. But Mr Grizzly Bear was just doing his job and trying his best to be reassuring using a piece of paper with PUB's logo on it.

Nonetheless, when you look like a grizzly, even gentle growls of peace can be misconstrued. Between Mr Grizzly Bear and my neighbour there was a HUGE gender gap, and The Grizzly was deathly afraid of the damsel.

Eventually, one thing led to another and I ended up having cardamom flavoured milk tea (yummy) in my neighbour's kitchen. I had smoothed things over nicely. The damsel was no longer looking daggers at The Grizzly. The Grizzly was looking distinctly happier as he guided his workers through the process of sealing the manhole in such a way that not one cockroach would escape when the camera was put inside. He's a smart one, The Grizzly.

Things were looking good. But the camera team never arrived that day because the camera had chosen just then, to break down. I volunteered to send my antique video cam down but was told that with all the filth down in the sewer, my camera wouldn't survive the trip. Robust specialist cameras used to extreme environments were required. Hmmmph! I thought, "If those cameras were all that robust, why did it break down?"

I was more than a little sad and frustrated as I thanked my lovely neighbour for her tea and her hospitality. We were all too embarassed to importune the poor lady again... and there is only so much I can do to smooth things over. I should have invited her to tea instead for all that I was doing to her.

Happily, we found another neighbour (a man) with whom The Grizzly could chat man to man... and thus it was that we made our dirty video for the PUB.

Phew!!

6 comments:

My SINFONIA said...

LOL! That's so funny! Petunia to the rescue,as usual. You have been getting your WonderWoman costume out quite frequently in recent times, haven't you? :D

petunialee said...

Eh? Wonder Woman? I went through my previous posts and found more about me being a self-centered glutton than Wonder Woman... But thank you anyway.

My SINFONIA said...

yes, wonder woman! You have had to smooth a few ruffled feathers and/or potential ruffled feathers with your house construction! Amazing...semi d and you are demolishing your part of the house. Testament to your skills alright...:)

petunialee said...

No lah... not me... Mr Grizzly did most of it. And also, the neighbourhood is a close-knit one. 2 neighbours came poking around and helped me get a gardener... and tried to induct me into the Neighbourhood Committee. They are already nice and helpful neighbours to begin with... and many have stayed there for more than a decade or so. It's kinda a kaypoh neighbourhood. Which is quite nice really...

Open Kitchen Concept said...

So funny! Oh... House Construction is so difficult isn't it? *pat pat* Good job so far!

petunialee said...

OKC - Heh! Thank you! I can't wait for all this is over. Mr Grizzly and the Archi from heaven are wonderful.