Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mi Casa Where Casa?

I have a fairly poor opinion of construction workers.  Not because I am a snob but because so many of our home disasters and stress-related illnesses have come from them.

Perhaps it is karma.  In our previous lives, my family might have been termites.  Plaguing the livelihoods of innocent, hard-working construction workers everywhere.  Such that in this life, it's payback and we are plagued by evil and lazy minions of hell disguised as construction workers.

Photo from

There was the lot who decided to use a carefully cushioned stack of stain glass panels as footstool to reach some high up spot.  Another, who was actually my uncle's best friend who volunteered to help us with our renovations, decided to stand on the WC to affix a medicine cabinet.  He must have been about 200 lbs.  The beleaguered WC took it like water off its back.  Till it cracked under the pressure.  Literally.

We also had the cretins who drilled a hole through the tiles in the loo for a mirror and ended drilling too deep and into an electrical wire.  Fortunately, none of them were hurt although there was a moment there when I thought I might have to hold my gran down ...

Then there was the incident of how they decided to get rid of excess cement by pouring it into the drains.  On the upper floor.  The deluge that followed after we moved in was reminiscent of Noah's great adventure.  The electrical plugs and lights lost it and we had an electrical storm right in our living room.  Cutting our escape route to the main door.  We did not have Moses' power of liquid persuasion so had to huddle in fear and wait to be rescued by the fire department.  I always found that rather ironic.

Thus, it was with complete sympathy and a sage, knowing nod that I read the article from AP about the Russian woman who came home ... to no home.

Hmmm. Didn't I have a house here?

Thu Jan 24, AP

Returning home after an absence can mean unpleasant surprises — a leaky roof, a pet's mess, even a break-in. But a Russian woman got a nastier surprise when she returned from her country house: her home was gone, torn down mistakenly by construction workers clearing a site, according to a report Thursday on NTV television.

"There was nothing left, not even a log," Lyudmila Martemyanova said, bundled against the cold and standing on a snow-covered lot in the center of the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod.

A local prosecutor, Nikolai Govorkov, said a construction company tore down the wrong building — Martemyanova's, instead of one nearby that was marked for demolition.

Many Russians have faced what they say are unfair and inadequately compensated evictions from older housing being torn down amid the country's oil-revenue-fueled construction boom.

Martemyanova's case is extreme, however, and she has taken it to court. She refused the builder's offer of money, saying it wasn't enough even to get a room on the outskirts of the city, and has sued.

Court hearings started Thursday. Meanwhile, she's shuttling back and forth between her daughter's and her sister's, she told NTV.

It's rather comforting that there is consistency.  Just like the Internet that crosses all boundaries, transcends all culture, race, religion and language ... so does the incompetency of construction workers. 

And now I go forth to hide from the bricks likely to be thrown at me by irate construction workers.  Bricks and stones, baby ... bricks and stones ...