Monday, 19 May 2008

Moving House - are you superstitious?

The red banner is what Chinese call "Ang Chai".
They hang it over the main door when they move into a new house and during Chinese New Year.
My children tells me that its to scare away monsters. I wanted it for the kick of being "traditional".
Our curtain supplier gave it to us with compliments, after I made some noise about the expensive curtains.

The traditional Chinese will consult the stars and the almanacks to find the most auspicious day to move house. So while we were having dinner, my nephew-in-law, who is also my renovation contractor and is ultra supertitious fished out his handphone, checked the Chinese Calendar and said that my moving date (Sunday 18 May 2008) was no good. We have moved houses quite a number of times and never bothered to move with the stars and the moon. Damn, but when someone tells you its not auspicious, what do you do? So, my daughter suggested that we do a "test sleep" a few days in advance, specifically, on friday night. So, technically, we would have fooled the spirits.

By friday afternoon, the satellite TV was in. Broadband and landline fixed and operational (thanks to my wife doing all the magic). Meanwhile, my neighbour is carrying out major renovations and extensions with a huge pile-driver pounding 12 40-foot concrete piles and in the process shaking heaven and earth, and our house.

By mid-morning of Saturday, my nephew-in-law (NIL) announced that I am about to strike lottery. I looked at him puzzled - I never win any lotteries. He pointed out that water was leaking from the master bedroom toilet down through the Astro piping right down to my newly mocha-painted living room. He gave me various possible scenarios, including the original contractor doing a shoddy job with the waterproofing to the vibration from the piling next door breaking the seal and, the worst, a water pipe has been twisted and leaking. He knew what to do - wipe the whole toilet dry and wait ... if the dripping eventually stops, we are in luck. We just need to seal the edges of the bathroom with silicon. Else, all hell will break loose ... actually, there will be a lot of haking to find the source of the leaky pipe. Meanwhile, we can't bath in our beautiful bathroom.

So, we continued with the moving. Sunday would be the big day. Luckily, my sister-in-law's husband who has a pickup truck and handy with the drill offered to help. So I woke up first, washed up and went down to watch some TV. Guess what? The signal appeared to be weak. Damn again. They just installed it 2 days ago. I had a similar encounter in the earlier house were I had to go up on the carporch to adjust the dish. Not a good start isn't it?

Close to noon, the cavalry arrived and we started moving the big stuff like the couch, flat-screen TV, dining tables, electric piano and stuff. When we got the piano in place, I told my daughter to test it. Great. Everything OK. Then the 2-door fridge was allowed to settle down before being switched on. Just before have late lunch close to 3 pm (pizza), my NIL ceremoniously connected the fridge, turned on the switch and ... Pop! the power tripped. That led to speculation that water had seeped into the wiring and motors. And I remembered that there was an automatic ice-maker inside which we had not empty its contents before moving. Luckily for me, the NIL and sister-in-law's husband are electricians. So they went on a hunt to find the source. And the electric power must have tripped 10 times. Meanwhile, we set up the washing machine. What do you think? Hah, it was working perfectly. Meanwhile, all our frozen items are going into the thrash. The detective work continued way passed dinner time. Eventually, they zeroed in on the heating element in the freezer as the culprit. So, we went for seafood dinner (as promised, for their "services") and came back to confirm the post-mortem. And yes, for sure it is the heating element, nothing to do with the water. And this could have been caused by having to switch off the fridge the night before .... and. ... and ... (well, you get the drift). But we now don't have a fridge. We have to eat out. And we can't buy any stuff which needs refrigeration. Man, life without the ice-box can be a little tough.

And in the midst of all this, my NIL said "I told you the date is no good!". As for the ASTRO, apparently my NIL had taken out the cable the day before when he moved the TV to check on the water leak the day before. On Sunday morning, I only connected the power supplies without plugging in the ASTRO cable. It was hilarious. Luckily I didn't call up ASTRO to blast them for shoddy work.

So, what do think? You gonna look for an auspicious date the next time you move house?

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