Rambling Thoughts and Observations #2 “The Fridge”
I bought a nice new refrigerator, but I firstly had to have a dwelling constructed in which to keep it.
On my previous adventures in the village I had always had the use of Tiny T’s brothers’ “small house” available as our love nest. But elder brother (he really is Tiny T’s brother before you start speculating) now has a pregnant wife and she quickly put an end to this arrangement.
After spending an uncomfortable 2 weeks feeding blood sucking insects while we slept on the concrete of the downstairs part of the family home, enough was enough. The lack of privacy goes without saying, but at least we had access to the family fridge as this is where it lives, along with the TV (that I paid for). It had the feel of camping out in someone’s kitchen.
My Tiny T’ and I had often discussed which part of her father's land we would choose to build our house on. I am well aware that regardless of whatever arrangements my darling has with her father, none of this land will ever belong to me. I have drawn several house plans for our Thai love nest that is to be our future home. But after that last insect feast I came up with a new idea, “Baan Lek”, the small house that we can have built right now and designed in such a way so as “Baan Yai” can be attached to it at a later stage (when I hold a 30 year lease on the land) ooppss! Did I say that out loud? Only joking, Tiny T’ knows about 30 year leases and she is very confident that she will outlive me so it all seems irrelevant to her at this moment in time.
Well, Baan Lek is now built and we have some privacy but the insects still seem to be a problem. I commissioned (and paid for) a structure 10Mx4M that I nick-named “The Dunny Block” (that’s ‘toilet block’ for all you non-Australians). It consists of a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom with 2 toilets that have separate doors for when I have a case of the shits (often happens to me in Thailand) know what I mean?
The first construction cost estimate for Baan Lek was THB 55,000 (yeah right!). Second estimate from someone with half an idea was THB 120,000 (more realistic) eventual cost was slightly less than THB 200,000, we don’t know for sure. Baan Lek got to be far more grandiose than originally planned. Tiny T’ was somewhat dubious about if and when “Baan Yai” would be built (smart girl this one) so she took some liberties in my absence and implemented a few design modifications. The end result being a reasonably well presented, if somewhat small, stand alone dwelling. Surprisingly, Baan Lek was completed in half the time that was originally forecast. At least I got to see where my money went for a change.
All in it came to less than AUD $7,000, money well spent. Tiny Teeruk now has her very own blue book of which she is most proud.
July 12 was deemed to be the most auspicious date to hold the house warming ceremony. I managed to arrive unannounced for a surprise visit on July 10.
WOW! New house! Let’s get settled in, what do we need most?? Tiny T’s sweet, subtle little voice starts popping ideas into my head via my ear (an art which seems to have been lost to the modern western woman). A new bed? Ah yes! And with an inner spring mattress, not one of those hard wooden things the Thai seems to favour, excellent idea! Let’s go shopping. And maybe a fridge?….. aahh….hhmm…a fridge?….yes, to store food and ice…. and beer, fantastic idea!! We must have a fridge, let's buy one while we are out shopping for the bed. Jump in the pick-up truck everyone; we got some shopping to do!
Well I’m sure you can guess that with a pick-up full of Thai family-in-law destined for Tesco Lotus we were going to be coming home with a whole lot more than a fridge and a bed. Yep, we filled that pick-up to the gunwales, and there were many more shopping expeditions to follow. I kept getting ideas buzzing around my ears about a new TV and a satellite system like several other families in the village already had. I was able to swat these ideas away with reminders of how we blew out the construction budget for Baan Lek. But I got my fridge.
And what a beauty of a fridge it is!
It may just look like any other 8.2 cubic foot Panasonic with the brushed aluminium look and the freezer at the bottom, but this is a “magic fridge”!
Magic fridge? I hear you ask, well yes, this fridge has the magical properties of ‘Beer Retention’. The old family fridge would bleed beer, regardless of how many boxes of beer I bought, it was always a struggle to find a cold bottle, and before long the beer would all be gone. It was as if someone was raiding the beer from the fridge and selling it down the Soi (wait just one f*****g minute! …. Oh forget it Yobbo, let it go, hope they sold it for a good price). I have long held the cynical suspicion that the number of guests that would arrive at the family home and the duration of their stay was directly proportional to the amount of beer I had purchased. I usually buy several boxes at a time in the main town some 14 km away, as it is cheaper there.
In addition to the ‘beer retention’ ability of the magic fridge, my immediate family-in-law were pleased to discover yet another mystic property of the ‘magic fridge’; the ‘unwelcome guest repellent’.
When unwanted visitors arrive or guests out-stay their welcome, the ‘magic fridge’ will switch into ‘beer retention’ mode thus causing unwelcome parties to disperse and leave us in peace. I was truly surprised by the powers of my fridge as all of my immediate family-in-law are welcome to take anything from the ‘magic fridge’ at anytime they wish. I was further surprised to find that my family-in-law appreciate a little bit of privacy for themselves and did not always enjoy the popularity of their leaky old fridge that was always well stocked with farang largess.
Knock, knock, knock… who can it be Knockin’ at the door of Baan Lek?, all of the guests have left, Oh it’s your Dad, he wants some beer; just one bottle? Hey take 3 bottles. Why your does your father want beer at this time of night? Oh… He just want to sit with Mother and have little drink, …OK, sorry I asked, never mind, I don’t want to know.
I have tried to avoid “too mutt” talk about the construction of “Baan Lek” in this submission. I do not want to answer a multitude of individual questions regarding “Baan Lek” but if enough readers express an interest, I will submit another piece on how I built a humble house for less than THB 200,000.
Bla, bla, bla, glug, glug, glug. Hiccc, Buuurrrppp!
Woe betide you who gets between an Aussie and his beer fridge!
It would be VERY interesting to hear about your 200,000 baht dwelling…and a few photos would really make it!