Thursday, 26 June 2014

Day 18 - Tiling of Box-Up at Common Bathroom & the Unprofessional Painting

Ah Huat returned to tile the box-up.
His tiling is not perfect, but I think it's good.

The painter came too!

Unfortunately, the 'professional' painter is not very professional.  The painting is poorly done.

He even painted a patch of dunno-know-what on the wall that he should not be painting, and got his paint on walls that he should not have painted!


Our dear Dorothy called me and repeatedly shouted that I must not get the painter to paint extra,"Must charge!"

I think I can do better than your painter lah. Don't worry. I also don't dare to ask him to paint more.

The L-box that was torn was repaired and made er ... quite-good. Can still see the joints though.

Dorothy said that ALL THE WORKERS complained about me looking at them work, giving them STRESS.

I thought I should since I am in the house anyway, so that I could correct them immediately if they are not doing it the way I wanted. The only one that I didn't watch was Creative Plumbing, and look what kind of STRESS the young boss gave me!

In any case, I don't think that ALL THE WORKERS complained about me. Xiao Hei and his worker were doing work in our master bedroom and the door was always closed. How did I look at them do work?

The only person I happened to look at most of the time was Ah Huat as he was in my house for 6 days!

I don't think it's wrong to look at the workers do work. I don't have all the time in the world to keep looking at them anyway.

I don't know what Dorothy's intention was to say something like that. 

Perhaps I would find out in due course, or maybe I may never find out.

Day 16 continued - Tiling, Electrical Works & Carpentry

The mirror and vanity cabinet for the master bedroom bathroom came after lunch.
The carpenters installing the carpentry in the master bathroom
The product

The electricians fixing up the lights and connecting the storage heater with electricity while the tiler, Ah Huat, continued with his tiling in the common bathroom

Niche mosaic beautifully redone by Xiao Hei

Compare it with the one previously done: 
Nice, right?

Thank you, Xiao Hei!

Day 17 - Boxing Up of Pipes & Very Creative Plumbing

The box-up guy came in the morning on the last day that we would have noisy works. Our new neighbours above were obviously enjoying the fun of trying to stop us from doing reno by calling up HDB repeatedly on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, complaining that we were too noisy.

This is a vengeance game.

William had complained to HDB last month that they were using 4 drills at the same time for hacking purpose. The HDB rule for hacking is to use no more than 2 drills at any one time. When he went up to the neighbour's, he saw that they were using 6 drills! Baby was sleeping and he could not get out of the house.

Apparently, they thought that William was too petty. They continued to use 6 drills after the HDB officer had left. And they continued to do hacking even on Saturday! We endured the noise as we didn't want to be difficult neighbours.

However, came our turn, our beloved neighbour complained that the cutting of tiles was too noisy, every single day. If you had done renovation before, you would know that cutting of tiles is in no way noisier than a drill, much less 6 drills!

Anyway, back to the progress ...

The box-up guy going about his business

And the bad news:

The box-up could not be flushed with the side wall as the storage heater was in the way.

So I got William to call Dorothy to send her plumbers down to move the storage heater away.

Well, as expected, given his arrogance, our beloved Creative Plumbing Young Boss made tons of excuse and skilfully employed a wide repertoire of tried-and-tested tactics to avoid correcting his mistake:

1) Scare tactic: 

"If the storage heater is moved, there would be A LOT OF HOLES! Very ugly huh!"

2) Heck care tactic: 

"The storage heater was not in the way what! Box-up still can flush with the wall. Just cannot service the heater in future lah! Spoilt also cannot replace. It's okay what!"

3) Runaway tactic: 

When I insisted that I wanted the box-up to be flushed, he said he was busy that day. He would just take down the heater and rush to other sites!

I replied Dorothy, his ever faithful messenger and supporter,"How can he be so irresponsible?" and got William to speak to Dorothy. Then Dorothy relented and asked him to reinstall the heater.

4) TL tactic: 

So he finally proceeded to do what he had to do EXTREMELY RELUCTANTLY.

And this is what he gave me:

5) What-can-you-do-to-me tactic:
For some reason, I knew that he would do something to irk me for vengeance's sake.

That's not all. 

6) Big deal tactic: 

He said,"Who will see the heater?!!"

Wah, now even who sees the heater is also his problem!

I see it. You see it. Your worker sees it. My husband sees it. My visitors will see it.

Nevermind. I gave him an answer,"My sisters would see it."

He looked disgusted.

7) Scare tactic (again):

"If you want me to install again huh, later the tile crack and we all have to stop work."

By then, I was very sian of his lousy attitude. I conceded defeat and said reluctantly,"Okay lah!"

How can a plumber install a heater slanted?

It is unprofessional and irresponsible.

I watsapped Dorothy to complain about the plumber.

Her reply took me by surprise:

Be thankful that he came down to install the heater for you.

Wow! I have to be thankful for a job shoddily done! Thanks huh, Dorothy!

So I told Dorothy that Creative Plumbing installs heaters CREATIVELY.

Day 16 - Creative Plumbing - Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise

As our neighbour directly above our unit complained to HDB that we were too noisy on a Saturday (Day 15), Ah Huat had to stop cutting tiles, and that caused his tiling to continue on the following Monday.

Day 16:
The plumbers came down in the morning to fix up the rainshower and the storage heater.

Apparently, the plumber was not in a good mood. In fact, 'not in a good mood' was an understatement. He was arrogant (dunno what a plumber is arrogant about).

When I saw that the stainless steel pipe was bundled up with the pvc pipe that came in from the kitchen like this:
I immediately asked him if this bundled thingy can be done from the kitchen.

Wah, cannot ask, you know?

He gave a very TL face and said,"If want to come in from the outside, then we must charge already! We are only doing toilet. So it must be in the toilet! And you don't want to spend money to do the kitchen!"

In my years of blogging, I don't think I have ever used the word 'TL'. But nothing less describes his look and tone.

Then, in the utter fashion of a spoilt brat, he said,"I don't want to do your place already lah! Everything also want but don't want to pay!"

Although I was displeased with his KBKB (neither have I ever used this in my blog, right?), I kept quiet.

When I was in the bedroom, I overheard him complaining to Xiao Hei who popped by to re-do the mosaic that I 'insisted' on this and 'insisted' on that.

When I opened the door, he stopped his nonsense. I didn't want to make an issue out of it, so I kept quiet.

He proceeded to put up the storage heater.

 On seeing the placement of the heater, I was concerned that:

1) it was not centralised above the doorway
2) it might be too close to the side wall and got in the way of my storage mirror

The spoilt brat insisted he always placed the storage heater at the same place. He also insisted that my mirror would not be so high. On top of that, he mentioned that I would have a box-up that flushed with the wall and it would be fine.

On hearing that the storage heater would not obstruct anything. I left it at that, not knowing that a nasty surprise awaits me because of his poor placement.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Empty 'Care'

Not sure if anybody has the same experience as I.

My 3rd sister was finding fault with me today. Again.

She had posted a confession of a girl on Facebook. On it was a girl who has gone through a terrible childhood. My 3rd sister captioned it something to the effect of "Hope this experience is not gone through by anyone who is dear and close to us".

Earlier on, I had checked with Coco if she was the one who posted that, and she denied it.

So I watsapped her,"You thought it's her, right?"

And she replied,"And you thought it's not her, right?"

What followed was an hour of rude and accusing messages over watsapp. In all, she said that I wanted to ditch Coco and raise a separate family, and that she cared more for Coco than I did, and that I was the lousiest mother. When I asked her to leave me alone, she hurled more awful words at me. I had to abort my plan to visit The National Museum with Baby because I was too affected to do anything else.

I had to find Coco and asked her if what my sister had said were true.

Coco was shocked to know that her aunt had been stalking her on Instagram. She was doubly shocked to know that her aunt knew about her 'dark side' Instagram. She cried,"It's meant to be my secret!"

So she watsapped her aunt to ask her to stop cyber-stalking her and not to use what she knows about her to attack her mum. She also told her aunt not to 'mess around with' our relationship.

This is not the first, or second, or third, time that my sisters have done this to me.

My elder and third sisters often accuse me of trying to abandon Coco and treating her badly.

Firstly, who was the one who almost lost her life at KK Hospital because of Coco?

Who was the one who spends tonnes of money on Coco? When I told my elder sister,"Since you care for Coco so much, why don't you foot the remaining bill of $900 for her braces?" she said nothing. When I asked my 3rd sister to keep quiet unless she could fork out $200k for Coco's overseas university education in 4 years' time, she continued to throw malicious and false accusations at me.

If you have never spent a cent on my daughter, what right do you have to tell me that you care for her? That kind of empty 'care' - I can do without.

If you have never sat with her to help her in her studies, you can f off with your stupid 'care'. Lots of cheap 'care' you have there.

If you have never stayed up a night to feed her medicine when she was ill, your 'care' is non-existent.

Just because my kid has some secrets that I do not pry and you invaded into her privacy to find out does not make you more caring. You have crossed the line. This is not 'care'. This is 'intrusion'.

'Care' is not something that you wear on your negative lips.

It's no wonder I am reluctant to let Coco join the family gatherings.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Day 14 - Tiling of Shower Area

Tiling continued today. 

It's slow-moving after the first day, after Ah Huat knew that the plumbers were not coming until Monday.

Ah Huat cutting a tile

A floor trap needed to be installed in the shower area.

Previously when we bathed, the water would flow out from a hole in the shower kerb towards the floor trap under the basin near the door. It made the whole bathroom floor wet and I didn't like that. However, this tile-insert floor trap was thicker than the average floor traps, so the floor level was raised. My worry is that the dry area would be raised even higher, 4 inches off the ground to be exact.

 Tiling the kerb for the huge pipes in preparation for the box-up

Because the floor level was raised substantially, Ah Huat ran out of sand for the remaining area. 
He said that the sand would arrive the next day.

The shower screen was installed in the master bedroom bathroom. 

We can't open it to the max though as it would hit the thermostat.

The installer stuck a rubber piece to the shower screen so that when it knocked against the thermostat, the screen would not break, but I found it too ugly and got William to remove it.
Baby said,"Oh my goodness! The doors are so nice!"

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Day 13 - Tiling of Walls and Waterproofing

Ah Huat finished tiling the walls and waterproofed the bathroom. 

I had mistaken that he had waterproofed the bathroom yesterday as I saw that he placed 2 sticks in the form of 'X' at the doorway to indicate 'no entry'.

Dorothy gave Ah Huat a call and asked him to create an extra inch above the doorway. She knows that I wish to place my storage heater there. I measured the heater and it was 14 inches while the space above the doorway was 16 inches. She wanted to play safe and to 'give provision' to the heater.

I appreciate her thoughtfulness.

In the meantime, the tiles above are taped with masking tape to hold them in place.

The view from outside the bathroom

Day 12 - Tiling of Walls for Common Bathroom

I told Xiao Hei that the mosaic had been tiled in such a way that the piece of mosaic was cut in all ways  - top, left, right and bottom. He said that he would return on Saturday to stick another piece of mosaic in the niches, but he didn't sound like he was confident of tiling the mosaic the way we wanted it. But I don't think we are being OCD, right?

Today, another tiler, Ah Huat, came to tile the common bathroom.

By evening, he had almost finished tiling the walls ...

and water-proofing.
I am impressed with his speed. 
Despite working alone on a larger bathroom, he could complete so much within a day.
I also like the small grooves between the tiles.

This colour is closer to the kind of beige that I have always wanted (although it does not show up as beige on camera). Now I like the common bathroom, a little more than I like my master bedroom bathroom.

I really like beige, don't I?

Bad news from Dorothy: the plumber can't make it to my place on Friday or Saturday. He can only come next Monday. This would mean that the whole renovation would be held up, as without the laying of pipes, boxing up of pipes can't proceed, neither can tiling of the box-ups be done.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Day 11 - Plastering the Common Bathroom

A China man came to my place to plaster the walls of the common bathroom.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Day 10 - Hacking of the Common Bathroom

The Indian who hacked my master bedroom bathroom did the hacking of my common bathroom, all by himself.
The tile-drilling machine

By 12pm ...

The plumber came in to connect the pipes so that there was water running to the master bedroom bathroom.

Despite the bigger size of the common bathroom, the guy managed to complete hacking and clearing the bathroom by 6 plus in the evening.

By the time the guy was done with his job, the house was covered with a layer of dust everywhere!

I had a hard time wiping the floor, platform and tables. I must have been crazy to do up the bathrooms with us living in!

I am hoping that the tiling would not be so bad. I can't imagine myself wiping the floor and sweating like a melting ice every day for the next one week!

Xenophobic? No. Just Fed Up.

When we were having our dinner at the famous beef kway teow stall at Geylang Lorong 9, a British-accented Caucasian man was having his beside our table.

I was quite curious at the fact that a Caucasian was at a place almost only familiar to the locals, so I took a quick look at what he was having. I saw that he had a half- or one-quarter-eaten plate of white rice with the famous beef on his table, and he seemed to be smsing or whatsapping someone on his phone with an unamused face.

"Quite weird," I thought."Whoever comes here to have rice with beef?"

After a while, as we were having our kway teow, the Caucasian started talking to one of the younger waitresses who could speak good English. I could not hear what they were saying but both of them did not look friendly to each other.

William said that the man was complaining to the waitress that the food was not good, and the waitress asked why.

I vaguely heard that the waitress said,"You are the only one who says this."

After a while, the Caucasian got up and started to leave, apparently not happy with his food.

As he was leaving, a local Chinese man sitting on the other side of the Caucasian man said,"Get the fuck out of here! Go back to your country!"

And the Caucasian turned back.

I could not hear the exchange between the two men, but fortunately, no fight broke out.

Before the Caucasian left, he said that the local was "racist".

I thought it such an irony. When we were in London, the racial discrimination sentiment was so strong we could see it in their expression, feel it in their behaviour and sense it in the atmosphere.

In Singapore, I dare say that the locals are always friendly, even over-friendly, to Caucasians. And this British, who apparently basked in superiority complex, came to one of Singapore's local favourite stall just to diss the quality of the food. After behaving in an ungracious and unacceptable manner, he called the locals 'racist'.

I find it totally ironical and laughable that a nation of people with superiority complex call people they deem inferior 'racist'.

I had thought Coco and I could have been over-sensitive, but what I heard from colleagues and friends confirmed what I felt - that the Caucasians look down on us. In fact, my colleague said,"They despise Asians."

Yes. Go back to your country.

Just like how you order us to go back to China, GO BACK to your country.

I am not sure if the locals are truly, in William's word, "fed up" with the number of foreigners invading the Singapore they used to know, which gave rise to the Chinese man's verbal outburst.

Right after the meal, I went to place an order for a packet of beef kway teow to take home for Coco.

As I was placing my order, a Filipino woman butted right in - in between the auntie I was ordering from, and me - and asked,"Auntie, is that my packet?"

I said,"I came first." and continued to speak to the auntie.

What I am fed up with is the rudeness of these lowly educated foreigners. If they jump my queue, I would go in front of them and jump theirs. If they walk a distance ahead of me to hail a cab, I would go right in front of them to hail my cab. I have made up my mind not to be gracious to ungracious people. I If they do what they want, I shall also do what I want.

However, I don't think I can stoop as low as a British - to criticise the quality of the food enjoyed by the locals. That, I should think, takes years of training since childhood, as evident from what the little British children did - threw stones at my sister's friends when they visited their land.

Day 9 - The Wash-Up

Last Saturday, a Bangladeshi came to wash up the master bedroom bathroom.

How it looks after the wash-up:

William noticed some defects:

A broken window pane

and some spots that could not be removed.

I informed Dorothy and she said the window pane will be replaced and the spots removed.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Day 8 - Tiling of Box-Ups

 Xiao Hei and his co-worker tiled up the the box-ups today. 

They had finished clearing up the bulky pieces and cardboards when we returned from lunch.

Xiao Hei said that he would not be doing my common toilet. Another tiler would be coming.

I am a little worried that the next tiler may not be able to do the job well. Let's hope my worry is unfounded.

Day 7 - Boxing Up of Pipes

I slept at four in the morning the night before yesterday, thinking that I should have about 6 hours of sleep before the workers arrived.

At 9am, someone knocked on the door. He claimed that he was going to hack the common toilet. After some hassle, he realised that it was a mistake. Sigh.

I waited till 2.30pm before two workers came to box up the pipes. They stayed till 7pm before work was done.

According to Dorothy, these are calcium silicate boards that are more resistant to water than the ordinary partition board.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Nice Lady from Grohe Spa

I wrote a letter to Grohe to commend Lena from Grohe Spa at Marina Square.

(I don't just complain complain, okay? I give credit where it is due also, okay?)

After Irene from Heritage told me that many customers complained about the thermostat of the Grohe rainshower as ineffective, I was worried.

The next thing I did was to clear my doubt with the place I bought my product from.

So I called Grohe Spa and asked the lady who picked up the phone.

She said it was not true at all. Nobody complained to them about the thermostat.

She asked me who told me all these, and when I told her, she said that these shops were Grohe dealers who did not send their salespeople for training, so they wouldn't know what the Grohe staff knew.

I asked her if what another salesperson at Grohe IMM told me was true: the temperature of the water from the rainshower depends on the storage heater.

She said it was not true again.

She explained that the plumber needs to calibrate the thermostat so that the temperature of the water matches the temperature indicated on the thermometer.

She believed that those customers who complained did not know that they had to get the plumber to calibrate the thermostat.

She also said that if my plumber did not know how to install the rainshower, she could get their Grohe plumber to install for me. The installation cost would be $150.

I thanked her and asked for her name.

Today, when I told my plumber that the thermostat had to be calibrated. He claimed he knew how to.

However, when I told him again as he was fixing the rainshower together, he said I could calibrate it myself too! He said that he couldn't possibly come to my house to turn the thermostat for me every day!

I got a shock and called Lena again. I told her what the plumber told me, that he did not need to calibrate the thermostat, and asked if she would speak to the plumber for me. She kindly acceded and explained to the plumber how to do it.

Very nice, right?

I am impressed.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

An Unhonourable Heritage

When I was buying my bathroom accessories at Heritage, the sales lady Irene had told me that Grohe Euphoria Shower System had many complaints about its thermostat.

She claimed that 50% of her customers complained that the thermostat didn't work as promised. When they turned to the indicated 38 degree celsius, it was too hot, not what 38 degree celsius was like; when they turned to something a little colder, it was too cold.

She had asked me to KIV my first Grohe set and see if it works well before buying the second set from them which was selling at $700 without GST.

It was a really good deal since I had bought my first Grohe set at close to a thousand dollars.

I told her that I would be fixing the rainshower this week and would order from them if it was good.

Unfortunately, when I called Heritage today after my rainshower was fixed, the girl over the line, Yuki, said that the promotion was over! It was no longer $700 but something close to $900 without GST.

I told her my conversation with Irene and she said that she would get back to me.

When Heritage called back, it was Irene on the phone.

She claimed that "the other day, a customer came to our shop and bought all remaining 3 Grohe set because it was so cheap". I asked her about what she had advised me ie. to wait for my rainshower to be fixed up before buying from her, but she said that I didn't put a deposit down for it and all rainshowers had been sold. "NO MORE."

I felt ... 'betrayed', honestly. I felt that she lied to me. Or perhaps, it was a case of not honouring her promise.

I am upset that she had asked me not to buy first, and yet did not bother to call me to let me know that someone was snapping them up. I think that she should have the basic decency to call her customer when she knew that I had the intention to buy the product, and yet being advised against it by the very her! I consider this bad, thoughtless service.

Will I buy from Heritage again?

You bet I won't, ever.

Day 6 - Installation of Rainshower and the Throne

Today, the plumbers came to replace the pvc pipes with stainless steel pipes.

Out of 10 contractors, 9 would tell me that my master bedroom bathroom had to have an instant heater installed as the structural beam which the pipe went through was too small to run another pipe through.

I didn't want an instant heater that I have been using all my life. I wanted a rain shower. And a Grohe rainshower at that.

And we all know that a rainshower needs a storage heater to work.

Alan was the one who said that another stainless steel pipe could go through as stainless steel pipes were slimmer than pvc pipes. And in order to achieve that, he would have to open up the L-box which the pipe was hidden. That was the main reason that I wanted to engage him, on top of the fact that he was one of the cheapest and no hidden cost. 

Although it didn't happen, I was thankful that he had given me the knowledge, as well as the courage to request for an additional stainless steel pipe to go through the thick beam.

When I told Dorothy's plumber what I wanted, he was quite sure it wouldn't work, but he kindly cautioned me that in the event that it didn't work, I would still need to pay for the making good of the L-box since they would need to open up the L-box to check if that could be done.

I was apprehensive - to destroy part of my L-box to 'try' and see if what I wanted would work, but perhaps I had confidence in Alan's suggestion, so I gave the go-ahead.

Tearing up the L-box

The plumber is cute. He asked me why I was taking pictures of them doing work and I replied that I blogged. He immediately asked me to advertise for him by turning around.

The passageway leading to my master bedroom. 
Sigh ...

The torn L-box

It was a good thing that it did work.
The L-box wasn't torn in vain.
The electricians were here too.
They were adding an extra light point for my cove lights.
Very humble and soft spoken, they would tell me what they would do and asked if I was alright with it even though I didn't have any option.

Fixing up the throne

At the end of the day ...

The plumber cautioned me against using the throne today as the glue had not dried yet. 
"It will topple," he said.

My beloved Grohe rain shower

We ran into a problem when the plumber was due to install the rainshower: Xiao Hei had created the niches too low, such that my rain shower had only two options:

1) Have the thermostat installed below the lower niche and have a low rainshower that is too low for William

2) Have the thermostat installed beside the lower niche, and have a rainshower that is too close to the side wall

It was a huge dilemma for me. 

I am particular about the aesthetic aspect of the rainshower. Everybody installs a rainshower in the centre of the wall, right? It would look awful to have it on one side. My niches would look so stupid beside it. I had meant for my niches to be above the thermostat, not beside. However, by doing that, it would be way below the recommended 1m clearance from the ground and it would be too low for William.

I know the rainshower has a swivel function. However, I really cannot suffer the look of a rain shower too close to the side wall.

I was in such great dilemma that the plumber said,"I don't install lah. Very stressful leh. If wrong, I cannot take it out leh."

In the end, the plumbers went for lunch first while I mulled over it.

I was frustrated that the tiler did not have the foresight when building a wall from scratch. The whole purpose of a wall was to install a rainshower with holders for shampoo and shower cream! What is the point of having a wall that is no good for a rainshower?

I watsapped Dorothy and told her that the rainshower could only be installed at the side and that it looked awful.

Her reply: You decide. After that, cannot change.

Guess how I felt then.

When the plumbers returned to install the rain shower, they gave me a nice surprise.

The rain shower was installed somewhat in the centre and somewhat below the lower niche!

I asked the young plumber why he told me he could not do it earlier on.

He replied that he was taking a risk that the tile would break since the area nearer to the niche could be more fragile.

And he said this,"You want 100%. I give you 100% lah!"

I like people who take pride in their work.