Our house is twenty-five years old, and in the tropics, that means major overhaul time.
I have a large bucket under the leak in the dining room ceiling.
None of the huge sliding doors will slide any more; to open them requires the kind of muscles you only get after six months of weightlifting.
There are civets living in the roof.
Paint is pealing.
All the pipes to the bathrooms are partially blocked, and water is hard to come by.
The trees in the garden have grown so large that if it's cloudy at noon, you need the lights on. The kitchen cabinet doors have just disintegrated into sawdust.
With so many things to choose from, and so little money, I chose to have the kitchen cabinet doors replaced - the local workers did a good job, but do not accept credit cards. Which has left me broke.
Husband is somewhere in the heart of Borneo - Long Pasia to be exact, and incommunicado for a week.
The only credit card I have was declined when I tried to use it today, dunno why.
Last month I was supposed to receive the first payment for my project job - which I have been working on for almost two months - but nothing has arrived.
I have a payment arriving from via my agent from UK, but it takes 6 weeks to clear the cheque. Yep, that's right. In this day and age of electronic transfers, it still takes 6 weeks to clear a cheque.
So here I am, with a car that desparately needs servicing, a service centre that won't take Amex, grocery shopping that needs doing.
So I was scrambling around the house looking for all the money I could find.
$US121 left over from my trip to see my daughter;
20 pounds sterling left over from trip to see other daughter;
20 Austrian schillings which no money changer here will look at;
a savings bankbook with rm 175 in it (that's 50 USD);
and a heap of coins...
I changed the money at the local cambio, but alas, he turned down the 10 Scottish pound note. Damn.
I send the car to servicing. He says it needs new brake linings and timing belts and names a sum that turns my face green. "Minor service only, please," says I, counting out some cash. (It's my husband's car; mine is in Kota Kinabalu.)
And there are people out there who think writers make money?
Forty years ago today I got married. We had no money - we were students after all. What's changed? Nothing much that I can see. Well, one thing, I guess, my husband did turn up forty years ago. Today for the anniversary he's in Borneo and I'm in Kuala Lumpur.
Sometime in the next week or two my sixth book hits the bookshop shelves. In just over an hour my daughter arrives from Virginia with my grandson.
Forty years further on, and life is good.