Religious Battlefield: My family is pretty tame for the most part because we don’t discuss anything about each other, but when it comes to Christianity, everyone steps a foot in the pot. Mom is the only devoted Christian left in the house; dad, like me, is baptised, but far from practicing (his excuse is that he’d go back when he retires). My oldest brother escaped baptism (and the entire family, for the most part, since he studied in UCLA, then to Columbia in NYC, then finally landed a job first in Hong Kong then to Singapore, so he’s never home) but he don’t have a chance to have a say; which leaves my older brother, who got baptised only because his first girlfriend dumped him base on religious grounds (a thorn that I share, although on a completely different level) and he was desperate (so no doubt he is bitter about the entire ordeal), and that leaves me, who was devoted all the way until college years (when I realized that God really isn’t watching out for ME in the first place). Well, you do the math – I’ll leave it to your vivid imagination.
Working for Dad: If you crank the numbers off from the calculator, the salary is abyssmal (so I won’t disclose it), but it’s tax free and I do learn tons of things while in truth doing practically nothing, so I’m rather glad to tag along at this economic crisis hour.
I swear, all the experiences I get from work can turn out to be excellent novel writing materials. The work itself might not be appealing: we basically do any sort of maintainance work around any houses. So we pump and change toilets, fix pipes, patch and paint walls, install mirrors and lights, oil and maintain sliding windows and doors, among all things. My dad really is the eletric/water anything man, who can (and almost did) build a house by himself (like I said, he almost did; the new art room that I use was built by him, complete with tile floors, drywall fixtures, sliding windows with screens and blinds, and eletric outlets for appliances if needed be). For a taste, I’ll just describe a few days of work for you to understand how it feels like:
Day 1. We went to Irvine, fixing appliances in suburb homes like my own. In one case the faucet leaks and the washer inside the faucet needs to be replaced; another house needs a backyard lighting system installed; still another had a bad case of really, really hard-to-move sliding back yard door that turns out to be because the rollers on top of the doors are broken. Fact learned: sliding door rollers are almost always mounted on top of the doors. Why? So that the weight of the door itself won’t crush and break the wheels as quickly. Ingenious.
Day 2. We went to Tustin to this set of filthy (sorry I have to use the term) apartments infested with cockroaches and everything is coated with a layer of black oil/dirt crap. We had to change the kitchen fan in one case and clean up a pipe drainage in another case. It’s rather evident how the pipes got stuck in the first place – these Mexicans leave their meat on the pan for like HOURS and then sometimes dumps their entire charred ground beef content down the kitchen sink. So when we got around to pump it, loads of these black gritty stuff came out that smells like bad burrito sitting under the sun for two weeks. We get to watch loads after loads of these stuff coming out until it’s so clogged that the drainage machine got broken, and we had to abandon the job. The kitchen fan bit is just as “interesting”: as soon as we unscrewed the old fan, it fell down, and dead, dried cockroaches flew around everywhere like dust (except that they are, well, dead dried cockroaches). It’s all a very disgusting experience, but my dad gave me a touching quote for it: “Lucky for you, all you have to do is to wash your hands.”
Day 3. This is a funny one – we went up to Fullerton to change all the toilets in a 4 apartment units, so that’s 8 toilets for 2 bathrooms in each house. There’s not so much life touching facts as to how you can see four identical apartment units dressed so differently to serve different families. The first house serves a white couple living with their grandmother, and the place is littered with children’s toys and old people junk at the same time. Then there’s this other Mexican family that had a larger family and used a mattress instead of a sofa in the living room (the kid is playing Vice City… how I envy him). The toilet is surprisingly easy to replace, albeit very physically exhausting. At the end of the day I can barely lift my arms and I had to stay home for two days just to be able to draw or work again.
Day 4. As if to check out the other extreme as opposed to the filthy apartments, this time we landed a small job over at a upscale condo right next to the beach in the upscale town of, well, Newport Beach. We’re offered to do similar jobs, actually – we’re suppose to install a kitchen fan and fix up a leaking faucet (which, by the way, is solved once again by replacing the plastic washer. who would have imagined that a 20 cent washer can solve so much problems?) Of course, this being a upscale condo and all, we are a lot more careful with our work – so we carefully plant wired around the back of a cabinet so it’s not visible; we also touch up the area left out because we removed some other furniture to install the fan. It was a really pretty house – 3 levels if you count the basement, the kitchen modeled to have a perfectly neat black and white theme; the room for their daughter (a really cute blonde, by the way; you get to see so many different types of people on this job) furnished in cute teddy bear with an apple green/mild blue theme, it honestly looked like a model home. Then there’s an entire 10 ft(?) high cabinet loaded with autographed football helmets, photographs, and other goodies… it’s just such a great place to visit, next to the fact that if you look out the window you’d see the beach and the ocean.
So, after I take care of my eye exam tomorrow, I’ll be back to work with my dad~ more adventure awaits…