So, I mentioned the other day that there are some maintenance issues with the villas we’ve moved into. Happens all over Dubai with new builds – concrete gets poured down drains and sets; pipes aren’t properly connected, that kind of thing.
Our biggest problem has been the water supply; the water upstairs spurts out the taps in fits and starts, surges like a fountain, then slows to a trickle before drying up completely – just as you’re standing naked in the shower, semi-blind with shampoo stinging your eyes and soap lathered all over you. Stop laughing at the back!
I’ve called maintenance numerous times, and days ago gave up hope that the man with a mysterious blue watering-can might fix the problem.
Then on Friday, a breakthrough. After telling maintenance till I was blue in the face that I hadn’t used a drop of water for two hours (as they’d requested), a slow realisation dawns on his face.
“Ma’am, big leak,” says the handy man. His eyebrows snap together and he spreads his arms wide to indicate the size of the problem.
Right, now we’re getting somewhere, I think. Hallelujah!
We walk round to the other side of the pump room, and he stops still, staring. “You must move all these bricks. I work on this wall…”
You’ve got to be kidding? I think.
The serious look on his face suggests he isn’t, and I imagine the Dewa bill in horror.
“Erm, I don’t think I can move them all myself,” I say (it’s still over a hundred degrees outside, and even without any exertion, it’s exhausting being outdoors).
“Where’s boss?” he asks.
“If you mean my husband, he’s away,” I say. I want to say that that’s what our husbands do – they fly away and leave us to deal with @*@$ like this, because by now – faced with the mountain of bricks, the heat and intermittent water – I’m feeling really mean-spirited, even though I know my dear DH has done everything he possibly can to make this a smooth move.
We agree I can’t move the bricks, and he’ll come back tomorrow after I’ve got our gardeners back to shift them. (‘How to Train Your Gardeners’ – it’s coming soon, to Dubai cinemas!)
The next day, a small army of maintenance men show up. They dig and drill, and it feels like the mechanical whine is going off in my head, and then they beckon us round looking triumphant. “Fixed,” says the head man with a megawatt smile, pointing at a pipe under ground.
They turn the water back on.
WHOOSH! The pipe promptly bursts and the men all start shouting at each other.
It’s now two days later, still not fixed, and I think they’re all on Eid holiday.
This too shall pass, right? Like a kidney stone. But it will pass.