Friday, September 22, 2006
The Mama Gin Files: Home Improvements - Part 1
Mama Gin likes to help out whenever we engage in a home improvement project. Of course, her definition of "help out" is to torment you to the point where you'd choose to torch the property rather than deal with her for one more second.
My first home improvement project, a number of years ago, was to paint our apartment. This was quite an endeavor, since at the time the apartment was jam packed with furniture and other items. Just prepping for the job took several days.
When I finally began the actual paint job, I started with the trim around the front windows. Although it was January, I kept the windows open while I worked to protect myself from the fumes.
What I had forgotten to take into account is that Mama Gin comes to our windows to spy on us about three times a day. This would surely cause trouble. When Mama Gin went outside eventually and saw that I had the windows open, she became alarmed. She came down to the apartment and knocked on the door.
"Why window open? No good, no good."
"Why you paint? No good."
"To make the apartment look better."
"No, no paint, too cold. No good."
"It will be ok, don't worry about it." I closed the door.
We repeated the above scene about six times in the next twenty minutes. Finally, I became so frustrated that I just complied with her request, shut the windows and took a break.
A little while later, George came home. I told him Mama Gin was harassing me as I was trying to work.
"Don't worry about it, just keep working. I'll take care of it if she comes down again." So I opened the windows and resumed the job. Sure enough, five minutes later we heard the rapping of Mama Gin's greasy knuckles on the door.
"Ma, get out of here! Tom is just trying to make the place look nicer. Leave him alone." A heated discussion in Chinese ensued, after which George chased her back upstairs and bolted the door so that she couldn't come down again.
But Mama Gin is not so easily defeated, and in about three minutes was once again standing outside our living room window.
"No no no!!!! Close window!!! All heat go out, you cold, no good!!!" Why she cared, I have no idea since she doesn't pay the utilities for the house.
She kept on at me until I was ready to scream.
"George, I can't take this! Make her stop!"
"Just close the window. You can open it once in a while to air the place out."
I followed his advice, which worked rather nicely except for the fact that Mama Gin did not go away. She put her face right up to the window pane and rapped on it as she continued to admonish me. It was getting creepy.
Finally George suggested we do exactly as Mama Gin does with her own windows, which is to tape newspaper on them to prevent anyone from looking in. I did.
For the next several hours I continued to paint the trim around the front windows, to the muffled sounds of Mama Gin crying "Don't paint! Don't paint!"
Stay tuned for the next installment. It gets even better.