Posts Tagged ‘housework’

The things that Go Wrong during a long absence….

November 19, 2014

1. Gas disconnected. For “my protection”, I am locked out of my connection if I do not book for 180 days since the last booking. I am consuming less, and so I should be praised, shouldn’t I? But no…I get locked out instead.. I have to give a letter of request, a proof of address, and a proof of id. Several visits to reactivate it, and waiting for the cylinder to be delivered.

2. Electricity disconnected, and no proper reason being given for it,giving rise to the worry that it will happen again. Multiple visits to bank and BESCOM office. This is one of the biggest messes, with different BESCOM personnel giving me widely varying reasons why the power was disconnected. One lady at the office asked, “Since you’ve got the power back, why are you complaining?” All the contents of my freezer lost.

3. Driving licence expired, since I crossed 60. Process of renewal under way. I have to apply in the “prescribed form” and stand for a photograph (which is not shown to me). I cannot take delivery of the licence, but must wait for it to be delivered by Registered Post, and hope I am at home when the postman comes.

4. UPS batteries died…it was not just the distilled water in the batteries going down, but the batteries themselves had run down in five months. Since I don’t have cell phone on which I can access the numbers of the battery repair people, the process of getting them home to check it took a while. Batteries have been taken away, recharging under way. Waiting for the people to come and re-install the batteries. Then, if there are still problmes, will have to call the UPS people and go through a similar process.

5. Cable TV set top box died. Contacting the cable guy took 3 days, getting him to come home, Replacement set top box given and process of repair under way. Will have to wait at home the day he comes to reinstall it.

6. Landline cordless phone not working properly. Have to find time to go and buy another one. It is very irritating to find the handsets suddenly dying in my hand. Have to find someone to try and repair it, or get another one.

7. Cell phone died in the US and still under inspection, I may have to buy another phone, because I am not sure, even if I get this lemon repaired, if it will continue to work. Multiple visits have been made. Not having a cell phone that can access my Google contacts means a lot of inconvenience.

8. Printer died. Friends want to buy me a new one as a birthday gift, so I’m waiting for them to find some time. Meanwhile feeling the lack of a printer.

9. State Bank of Mysore account ( the one in my name alone) made inactive. I was so disgusted I went and closed the account, which I cannot do with the Vijaya Bank accounts. (Even closing the account took 4 visits as the Branch Manager was never around.)

10. Good tenant vacated. Have started the painting of the flat now. Getting a plumber and an electrician to check out various problems in the flat.

11. Sleep pattern, always bad, now completely spoilt, thanks to terrible jet lag. Neither melatonin or lorezepam is helping in the least, I’ve stopped taking them.

12. Decided not to fight Airtel who charged me for International Roaming for 5 months and never activated the service. Just don’t have the energy for it!

I never know whether to go out and do the chores or wait for the people to come home for the repairs, delivery, etc. At every place, I am told, “Ask someone to be at home for the delivery (of gas, post, batteries, etc.) I *don’t* have someone And I want to do my own chores, not take obligations from others.

But… I did manage to see two good plays, attend a wedding, volunteer for a children’s event in Bandipur, go for a birding outing, and interview a bookstore owner, meet friends from out of town, make a start on cleaning up the flat…

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the systems in place after a long absence. Moral of the story…don’t go away for more than a month. Or if you do…don’t come back!

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November 19, 2014

1. Gas disconnected. For “my protection”, I am locked out of my connection if I do not book for 180 day. I have to give a letter of request, a proof of address, and a proof of id. Several visits to reactivate it, and waiting for the cylinder to be delivered.

2. Electricity disconnected, and no proper reason being given for it,giving rise to the worry that it will happen again. Multiple visits to bank and BESCOM office. This is one of the biggest messes, with different BESCOM personnel giving me widely varying reasons why the power was disconnected. One lady at the office asked, “Since you’ve got the power back, why are you complaining?” All the contents of my freezer lost.

3. Driving licence expired, since I crossed 60. Process of renewal under way. I have to apply in the “prescribed form” and stand for a photograph (which is not shown to me). I cannot take delivery of the licence, but must wait for it to be delivered by Registered Post, and hope I am at home when the postman comes.

4. UPS batteries died…it was not just the distilled water in the batteries going down, but the batteries themselves had run down. Since I don’t have cell phone on which I can acces the numbers of the battery repair people, the process of getting them home to check it took a while. Batteries have been taken away, recharging under way. Waiting for the people to come and re-install the batteries. Then, if there are still problmes, will have to call the UPS people and go through a similar process.

5. Cable TV set top box died. Contacting the cable guy took 3 days, getting him to come home, Replacement set top box given and process of repair under way. Will have to wait at home the day he comes to reinstall it.

6. Landline cordless phone not working properly. Have to find time to go and buy another one. It is very irritating to find the handsets suddenly dying in my hand. Have to find someone to try and repair it, or get another one.

7. Cell phone died in the US and still under inspection, I may have to buy another phone, because I am not sure, even if I get this lemon repaired, if it will continue to work. Multiple visits have been made. Not having a cell phone that can access my Google contacts means a lot of inconvenience.

8. Printer died. Friednd want to buy me one as a birthday gift, so I’m waiting for them to find some time. Meanwhile feeling the lack of a printer.

9. State Bank of Mysore account ( the one in my name alone) made inactive. I was so disgusted I went and closed the account, which I cannot do with the Vijaya Bank accounts. (Even closing the account took 4 visits as the Branch Manager was never around.)

10. Good tenant vacated. Have started the painting of the flat now. Getting a plumber and an electrician to check out various problems in the flat.

11. Sleep pattern, always bad, now completely spoilt, thanks to terrible jet lag. Neither melatonin or lorezepam is helping in the least, I’ve stopped taking them.

12. Decided not to fight Airtel who charged me for International Roaming for 5 months and never activated the service. Just don’t have the energy for it!

I never know whether to go out and do the chores or wait for the people to come home for the repairs, delivery, etc.

But I did manage to see two good plays, attend a wedding, volunteer for a children’s event in Bandipur, go for a birding outing, and interview a bookstore owner, meet friends from out of town, make a start on cleaning up the flat…

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the systems in place after a long absence. Moral of the story…don’t go away for more than a month. Or if you do…don’t come back!

The Community Laundry System, 190614

June 24, 2014

Since PC told me there was a free community washing and drying area, I’d asked him to book it for a date after I’d arrive, and show me how to do it; I could then do the laundry in my free time as long as I was visiting (my standard operating procedure whenever I sponge off someone for any length of time.)

I was very impressed by the system, and its checks and balances.

Every member of the community is given a lock bearing his/her flat name and number, with a set of 2 keys that will open that lock only.

The door to the community washroom is a master that can be opened by the house keys of each
resident.

Here is the laundry date-and-time “locking” grid, inside the community wash area:

IMG_1119

The horizontal rows are the time slots, 6 am to 11 am, and 11am to 4pm, and the last two rows are the “parking” for the locks. the vertical columns are the days of the week.

There are two wash/dry rooms: T1 and T2. Depending on what one wants, and what is free, one can “lock” one of the slots on the grid. On that day, at that time slot, the wash/dry room that you have selected is yours for the entire 5 hours. (Five hours? Yes, there is a reason for this. Several loads are sometimes washed and dried, and so one has the exclusive use of the room for this extended period of time.)

There are two washing machines, and an electric dryer as well as a “blow” dryer…a “hot cupboard” in which clothes can be hung on a washline and have hot air blown through them. When we used the washing facilities, the electric drier did not work, and while I was waiting for the superintendent to send someone (it would only be after 9am and we had the slot from 6 am!), I hung some clothes on the aluminium poles and switched on the dryer cupboard,and it worked marvellously (and without the creases that tumbling in a hot air dryer produces.)

Washing may take a minimum of half an hour, and drying takes a minimum of two hours.During this process, one can put one’s own “laundry” lock over the room lock, and go home; no one else can them open the room. One can use the iron board or the roller press, too.

When one is done with the whole process, one comes out, and takes one’s lock home, along with the finished laundry, or uses it to “lock” another slot on the grid at a later, convenient time.

I do not know what happens if the 6 am to 11 am person is late getting out of the washing/drying room or coming to unlock it….does the next user come and wait impatiently? I hope there is a leeway for a few minutes! (Because of our problem with the dryer, our loads overshot the time, but I was there a few minutes before 11am, and requested the next user to allow me to use the dryer, which he did.)

I also do not know what happens if someone “locks” a certain slot but does not use it.

But all in all, it seems like a well-planned, organized way of ensuring both enough time for washing, drying, and ironing, and prevention of pilferage during the process!

Long absences….

July 28, 2011

Maintaining things in absentia is a very tough proposition in India.

When we are away and don’t order cooking gas cylinders (we deal with Indane) within a 30-day period, our account gets locked out and this means a trip to the gas agency with a request letter and a xerox copy of Mohan’s id proof. What a customer-unfriendly service!

Chores not only pile up, but assume the proportions of major projects while we are away, and demand a lot of time and effort to sort out on our return. The cooking gas cylinder problem is only one example….

The downside of travelling, alas. People who have relatives/family to take care of these things are lucky…in our case, WE are the ones taking care of things for our daughter, as well as for ourselves.

Indian/Italian/Jewish mother thing…

December 18, 2006

I seem to be waking up at about 5.30 am no matter where I am..and since we got back late last night and it is a Monday morning, I am now organizing packed lunch for DnA.

I am NOT one of your devoted,maternal mothers, and am NOT a “make-rice-just-so-perfect” cook, but I do enjoy providing nice cooked meals for my youngsters, and helping with their home tasks while I am here. Many Indian parents I know do help out a LOT, and I have heard a lot of resentful comments about parents becoming unpaid help when they are in the US. Well…as far as I am concerned…I do enjoy it a lot. I know how hectic the pace of life is here and since I have enough time to spare from my own activiites…several hours’ walk each day, internet, perhaps a half an hour of TV watching…I do enjoy the fact that in some small ways, my presence here is not an additional burden to them but is a help. But I suppose this is a two-way thing; DnA make it very clear that I am doing these little tasks of my own free will, and that they would carry on if I were not to do them. Indeed, my daughter is pretty prickly about my ever feeling that I am a unhired help! But the fact is, her kitchen is SO organized and handy, working is really enjoyable here…I do, however, like to get the cooking done and out of the way and then I enjoy the rest of the day with other activities. I enjoy planning about a day ahead.Tomorrow we run out of fresh vegetables, so I will see what happens!

It is strange…I thought I was NOT the typical Indian/Italian/Jewish mother sterotype…but I still find myself wanting to help out with the housweork, and more importantly, providing food….so I suppose it is in my genes and let me not fight it!

Anyone for sambar, eggplant subji, and rice? I could pack your dabbas…