Thursday, March 03, 2005

The hardest thing about being endowed with super-strength is trying to live a normal life amongst normal folk. Agnes remarked last Wednesday that I reminded her of Mr Incredible, dressed as I was in regulation Wednesday attire -- long sleeves and tie --and trying to squeeze into the tiniest of spaces at the overcrowded breakfast table. Oh, it was all haha fun and games then, but tonight Mr Incredible did something incredibly stupid.

The one thing he is most incompetent at is housework. June reminds me of the time I made the vacuum cleaner topple over just dragging it across the floor. It's a water-based thing so dirty water slopped over the nicely cleaned floor which had to be cleaned again. The water may also have got into part of the electronics because from then on activating it became a trial and error affair. There was the time I cleaned the marble flooring of the bedroom but I didn't check the detergent I was using. It foamed beautifully on the floor but not because it was a soapy sudsy reaction but because the floor was being dissolved by the acid in the detergent. That patch of bedroom floor no longer shines as brightly as the rest of it.

This evening, I took on my old nemesis the vacuum cleaner once again. This was the one with the punctured hose I recently bought a replacement for. The same one that had fallen over, c.f. the above. I vacuumed the guest room, the bedroom and the study, no problem. Then came the living room. As I was vacuuming I felt that the power cable needed some more slack so I gave it a couple of pulls. I wasn't using strength (honest!) but there came a spark from the machine and my apartment suddenly went dark and silent. A faint smell of burnt electric coil hung in the air. The power cable refused to retract back into its housing and I knew the old thing had reached the end of its tether.

My first reaction: go unplug the faulty appliance then go to the fusebox and reconnect the tripped fuse to restore power. I did just that -- and nothing happened. My second reaction: panic!!! I called my dad, June called hers. They offered some advice that didn't work. We decided to come out of our shells and asked our bus-driver neighbour for help. His son came over but couldn't help. The bus-driver's wife suggested we ask our taxi-driver neighbour for help because he used to be an electrician before. Taxi-driver's wife said that he would be home soon, but in the meantime she'd come over to see what the problem was. As we were looking at our main fusebox in the common corridor we attracted the attention of our immediate neighbours, a retired couple and family.

Soon our corner of the 6th floor was a buzzing hive of activity, with fragments of questions, answers and more advice being thrown all over the place. Dad called and said he had managed to track down a qualified electrician who would arrive at our doorstep shortly. Meantime, our taxi-driver/electrician neighbour returned home and took a personal look at our fusebox. A quick fiddle and -- everything's back to normal! Power's restored and life as we know it can go on!

And then dad's qualified electrician arrived to find there's nothing left for him to do apart from reexamine the fusebox, declare one trip-switch faulty, make a correction with his test-pen, explain to me in Mandarin what to do next time a trip occurs (though he spoke to dad on the phone in perfect English) and collect $50 for his trouble.

After he left we drove to MIL's in Sembawang to collect her spare vacuum cleaner. There's still the rest of the house to be sucked and mopped. Sigh.

Mr Incredible declares housework an abhorrence.

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