070622 Raising a ruckus!

Raising a Ruckus


boy, did i start a ruckus around here. a few weeks ago, the truck came to deliver the concrete poles that will hold up our new room.  the truck had a hydraulic crane on the back to pick up the poles and deliver them to the ground.  i saw an opportunity there.  out near the front of the house is a pile of old concrete poles that belong to one of toks relatives who lives a few houses away.  these poles were cut out from an old house, where there is normally a square base to the poles, the concrete is broken away and the steel re-bar is poking out.  i always  thought that these poles were in an inconvenient place.  we moved one of them last year using rollers and ropes.  it was a difficult job - these things are heavy.  one day toks relative, who owns the poles was over, and i asked her to ask him if we could use them to line the property line alongside the newly built access road to gams house.  he was okay with that.  but, the prospect of moving the things was daunting, and easily put at the bottom of the to-do list. but the truck and crane presented an opportunity i couldn't pass up.

i asked tok if they would move the old poles into place along the drive if we paid them to.  they were fine with that.  so they moved all the poles, lining them up end-to end along thee driveway.  then the  fun began.  gams mother and father came out,  and a big discussion about the location of the poles ensued.  there was lots of pointing and exclaiming and drawing lines in the dirt.  the boundaries of the properties are marked by small concrete posts placed in the ground with code numbers on them.  one of the key posts that marked the back corner between gams family land and toks land and the corner of the access road was under the new dirt.  so out came the  picks and pikes and hoes and more chattering about where the post was exactly.  we dug a hole, and made it bigger - more to the left, NO, more to the  right. NO! more that way! Deeper!  they finally found the post, and put in a stake to mark the exact spot.  then more discussion, more pointing and lining.  they got out string and stretched it between the known markers, up and down the  length of the access road.  we moved the old concrete poles to align with the string, but there  was still considerable racket to be made over the whole issue.  it got even more interesting when gams family said that  sai and tai, whose land is  on the  other side of the access road, could not  use the road because they didn't help pay for it.  this got sai all riled up of course, and there was more discussion of all that aspect.

things settled down somewhat over the next few days.  then gams mother came out day before yesterday and said something to boon, our contractor, along the  lines that our new roof was over hanging the access road by 50 centimeters.  this really annoyed tok, since the roof didn't overhang by such a large amount,  or perhaps not at all,  since the exact property lines were still in question.  she decided that we should  find another marking post that was buried a few meters from the one we found before.  i didn't know there was another  post.  so first job after breakfast yesterday was for me to go out and start digging.  now, mama was sure that the post was over HERE somewhere, by where the old tree was.  then of course gams mother and father came out  and they insisted that it was over THERE.  out came the tape measures, lots of pointing  and discussing.  meanwhile i kept digging.  found nothing.  so i started digging at the second "for sure it's here" point, still nothing.  then we dug until the two holes were now one hole, about 6 feet long and two and a half feet deep.  i would dig some, gams father would get fired up  and start digging in another place, tok was digging, gams mom, tai and sai came home and put in their 2 baht.  meanwhile, the workers are up above us, cutting the beams for the roof over the  balcony, watching all this commotion with amusement.  this went on for hours, then everyone wandered off for lunch, then resumed again, then, stopped when everyone got tired.  i decided to get out of the middle of the whole thing, as i had very  little idea what was going on and what all the discussion was about.  i went over and mixed up some cement and worked on cementing rocks to the rockery waterfall.

after a while, the kids all came home from school, so sai and tai's kids, gams brother and assorted neighbors all got involved in more digging, more chattering.  every now and then i'd look over and one of the bigger kids would be digging, or everyone was standing  over the  hole pointing this way  and that.  my attention was on my cement and rocks.  one of the times i looked up, they were filling in the hole, and i noticed they put up a wooden stake.  seems that Mack, gams brother had did a little digging with the pike somewhere near the center of the hole but in a southern  direction and found the marker peg.  our trench ran east/west, but, as it turns out, mostly north of the actual marker.  so we were close, but it took mack's digging in the "wrong" direction to reveal the peg.

this whole thing took literally all day. i started digging around 8:30am, and the hole wasn't filled and staked until around 6pm.  and once the true property line was found, one of the workers dropped a plumb bob from the edge of our  new roof, and it was determined that the west corner of our roof overhangs the  access road by about 10 centimeters.  so gams family was complaining that when it rains, the run-off from our roof will fall in the road.  but tok told them she  is waiting for the the drive-by gutter installers to come around, and we'll put  a gutter up there to take away the rain water.  this is grand by me, as i want to have a rainwater collection system that feeds some big 100 gallon jars for taking my showers and for washing cloths.  cloths washed in the hard water from the well feel stiff when they are dry, as the minerals get in the fabric.

"drive-by gutter installers"??? what is that you ask?  around here, like the ice cream trucks in the states, people drive by along the road selling things.  they will play music, or beep a horn, or have a loudspeaker on the roof that plays a tape of the sales pitch.  but you can buy more than ice cream.  apparently one  of these speaker trucks are people who install gutters.  others are selling rice, food, repair jobs - a man comes to the house with a meter and checks out any appliances that aren't working, like fans or toasters.  if it meters out, he will take to his truck  and fix it for you. some of the speaker trucks are political announcements, and most of them i have no  idea what they are on about.

throughout all this no one seemed to really get angry.  there were places where the tone of voice got a little strong, but the next minute they would be laughing about something.  no one walked off in disgust.  interesting.

amazing thailand, love it.

tomorrow tok and i are going to Loei to go to a ghost/spirit festival something.  i'll know when i get there.  my Englishman friend mel and his wife came by yesterday, and said they would go with us - which is good, as they have a pick-up.  should be fun- get outta town for a bit anyway.  except they are coming to get us at 7am.  thai's like to have parades and things at eight o'clock in the morning!

I am in southeast asia April 19 - July 20 2007 ::: http://thaikarl.blogspot.com/

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