Household (and human) maintenance

Posted on November 19, 2006


Came home today to find that the cold tap in the bathtub was leaking, a rich bubbly sort of leak. Normally I would let that go, but it was a noisy one and was really putting me off my defecating. I thought back to my years of growing up with engineer parents (actually, just to my dad really, as my mother prefers to put her two engineering degrees exclusively to the service of extracting fossil fuels, and not in any useful household manner) and decided that the situation could be remedied with a spanner (wrench). I went over to my dad’s tool closet – yes, an entire closet – and duly located a wrench. I did, of course, consider the possibility of the entire tap coming off, showering me cartoonishly in the waters of the Nile while I loudly exhorted the bawab to come to my aid, but went for it anyway, feeling that I was about due a domestic disaster. But lo and behold, it worked! I tightened it and the leak stopped (well, mostly…it’s quiet now). I feel proud and very Rosie.

Next up: curtains. In a hygienic bustle, my mom took the ancient curtains in the living room down and washed them, and now they’re ruined. Our entire apartment to its farthest corners is now exposed to three floors of neighbours in the building opposite us, who have all demonstrated a marked affinity for balcony-sitting. Having windows all around is not particularly practical. As a result, they have acquired encyclopedic knowledge of the anatomies of the Tweet, my mother, and I, are we are given to rushing about from bathrooms and such in the nude. This is probably going to present an issue, methinks. Hordes of 12-year-old boys are paying admission to entrepreneurial residents as we speak, no doubt. Hell, 20-year-old boys. So, next weekend, my sister and I are buying, and mayhap installing, curtains. I have taken the precaution of looking up Egyptian emergency numbers (they exist) and E is already on speed-dial for hospital runs.

Speaking of Egyptian emergency services, I was stuck behind a ambulance the other day. It’s both hilarious and practical that ambulances here have loudspeakers with which the driver shouts at individual cars to get out of the way, since sirens are apparently too subtle. But on the back of this ambulance was written, “Inna lilah wa enna elayhi rage3oon” (we are God’s and we return to him – Quran verse recited at deathbeds). It’s nice that they cover their asses like that – we’ll try to get you to the hospital, but if we can’t, see aforementioned verse. Sorry – but hey, we did bless you!

Posted in: Egypt, my family