My godson’s mother reminded me Friday night that I had not posted a blog for some ten days. Let me pick up where I left off last time to continue my thoughts on Su. On Facebook, she calls herself “a home maker, cook, wife, daughter, bookworm, traveler, diver, skier, photographer, art lover.” She is being modest, for she could have gone on a bit to include her other skills covering but not restricted to her trader traits, such as multi-tasking, mentoring, tormenting, house cleaning, balcony gardening and – believe it or not – plumbing. Well, one supposes that when she bills herself as a home maker topmost, one should assume that she is ready to take on the whole world and face any challenge that comes her way, with single-minded determination and resoluteness. Pity that she hasn’t had a chance to take up motherhood and parenting.
She enjoys fixing things and appears to be good at that. Let me cite a few examples.
First, the turntable. I have always kept a turntable since my first marriage, which was in 1976 when I first began to acquire my own stuffs. I built up my stock of vinyl music records slowly and my long-time friend Mike helped to fix the sound machines as and when necessary. The turntables and records soon gave way to discs – CD and DVD – and other media forms including karaoke and videos, but I continued to keep a turntable all these years. I bought the last one when I retired and renovated my flat with a sizeable living room complete with the up to date audio-visual equipment and gadgets. It was 2003 and a piece of 40-inches plasma TV cost HK$40K. I bought two, one for the living room and one for the bedroom. They didn’t last long though, and indeed their prices dropped very fast afterwards until finally they became obsolete. I had planned to live in that flat for eight years, which was the time I estimated Rosita could live, hence the substantial investment. It was a painfully bad estimate, but that would be another story. Back to the last turntable which followed my house moves for ten years until it landed in Mei Foo in 2013 with custom designed wall units, except that the young designer had never seen or operated a turntable, resulting in it being inoperable – again that would be another story – it stayed intact for a few years until early 2018 when Su decided to reactivate it and give it a new lease. First, she asked a friend to order from Europe a new rubber belt, which was a key component in a turntable. The turntable came to life. It became operable alright, but the wiring and the arm required more work and fine tuning. We took the turntable to a professional recommended by Derek, the guy who sold me the audio equipment back in 2003, who in turn was recommended to me by Moses for whom Derek had set up his home audio equipment at the time. The turntable was revitalized with the purchase of a record cleaner and yet another brand-new turntable when HMV folded up and was under receivership, and when Su went on a shopping binge for vinyl discs and has since continued to build up her collection. The rest is history. In the process, she also revived the speakers she had acquired maybe for 30 years.
Second, Su the plumber. The kitchen drainage became sluggish some time ago. It was a double sink system with interconnecting pipes underneath which looked complicated. I suggested getting a plumber to clear up the system once and for all. Su had other ideas. One day, she asked me to assist her to disassemble the pipes and cleared the rubbish and fibers which had clogged up the system. I was worried that we might not be able to reassemble the system to good working order, but she did, somehow, albeit with some minor leakage initially, but which she fixed for good after another accident, also plumbing related, and over which I have become totally and thoroughly convinced that she can fix anything. Let me elaborate. My Philips electric shaver has served me for over ten years. Two months ago, it fell apart while I was cleaning it. I managed to reassemble it to working order even though a small but essential part was lost, so that I needed to be ultra-careful when I cleaned the shaver head. It was 22 October – I had the date because I texted Su later that morning about the accident. I opened the shaver head after a quick shave in the morning above my bathroom sink. All the parts within it fell off into the sink with the stopper slightly ajar. I retrieved most of them, except one of the three floating razors which fell through the slit and into the drainage. Alas, my shaver has gone, I said to myself; and I told Su later that I needed to buy a new one, which I did presently with her. A few days later, she said she could retrieve the lost part by opening up the pipes, in similar fashion she had done with the kitchen sinks. I was not particularly sanguine about the prospect, considering that the position and architecture of the pipes looked difficult for such an operation. Su went ahead herself nonetheless, and retrieved the lost part instantly, clearing the dirt in the system at the same time. But the reassembly process proved to be more challenging, even with my assistance. To cut the long story short, it took a few trips to the hardware stores, in Mei Foo and in Lai Chi Kok while we were on our way home from the Caritas Eye Clinic, to buy sealant and a set of plastics drainpipes, and finally an extra trip by Su on her own to Portland Street where she found a near identical set to the one she had disassembled. I assisted under her instructions to cut the pipes with a steel saw to fit them to the system. After a few trials and errors, she managed to re-establish a working system, but which however leaked, so that we had to place a 2-litre bottle beneath the pipes. For a time, I was prepared to put wooden planks over the bathroom floor or to wear clogs to the place. Su figured out that the problem was that either the sealant had not been given sufficient time to settle or that it was being applied before the pipes were completely dry, or both. She used her hand-held hair dryer first to blow dry the pipes before applying the sealant and then to blow dry the joints after she had applied fresh sealant. Finally, eureka, the system operated perfectly and was leak-proof. My bathroom sink was closed for a total of three weeks, intermittently at times, during which Su allowed me to use her bathroom. With the new triumph, she applied the same skills to the kitchen sinks which hence had become leak-proof. What an achievement! What perseverance! What resoluteness!
Third, TV repairer. We don’t use the TV in the bedroom too often. Some time ago, the visual part failed, but the audio part was perfect. We left it on for some ten minutes and unplugged all plugs possible a few times. Somehow the TV seemed to come alive. A week later, the same problem came up, and worse, the previous tricks didn’t work. I was resigned to the possibility that the equipment had broken. Too bad. But while I was out one day, Su used her hair dryer to blow dry all the plugs and connections. Her theory was that the TV set was too close to the bathroom and the humidity had caused bad connection. Never mind her theory, the TV came back to live anyway after the operation and the problem had gone away. She has become a top-notched TV repairer indeed.
Before I go, let me share with you that Su spent some money recently to buy a second hand Cannon camera body and to upgrade her iPhone to the latest model so that she can load her photos faster and more reliably to wherever she wants or share them with friends on the social media. She would get better pictures too with the new phone. And she found that her 13 series new phone still carries data of the 4S phone which I acquired some ten years ago before I gave it to her when I switched to Samsung, notwithstanding that she had switched to a 7S in between. Apple was asking her for the password to Facebook that I set up with my email address on the 4S. Well, she managed to change the password, and I received an email advising me that.
I would be working on an year ender next week; and I hope to talk to you soon.