Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My Growing "To Fix" List

In the USA, I remember getting in the morning and check my “To Do” list. Here in Argentina I get up and check my ever-growing “To Fix” list too. Here’s an hour-by-hour description of how the list grew today. When things don't work, we lose huge chunks of time just trying running in place. No wonder folks here say “mañana” so often—-we hope tomorrow things will work better!

8:00 am: Took shower—turned ice cold after 2 minutes, reminding me to exchange faulty hot water heater for new one which might or might not solve the problem. You never know.

8:03: Dressed in bedroom of 60 degrees. Must call Carrier vendor about AC/heater not functioning. Meanwhile have portable electric heater with long extension cord.

9:00: Opened the heavy exterior wooden shutters to the sliding glass door in the living room to get some light for working—and one finally fell off the hinge as the hinge itself half-fell out of the brick wall. Called three possible repair persons, including our wonderful plumber, and left messages.

9:30: Tried to download e-mail, but no Internet access from our recently installed antenna. Called provider Marcello who said he’ll check into it. Will go into town because I have urgent messages to receive and send.

11:15: Stopped working to show housecleaner and her daughter how to sand the peeling varnish of the gazebo due to lots of great summer sun. Noted that we need to replace various wooden supports too.

11:30: Impossible not to notice that the pool still needs to be completely emptied, scrubbed with bleach, cracks filled, and surfaces repainted. Called Roberto to pick up the pump as scheduled, but he already had too much to do. This afternoon will try again. The in-pool pump stopped working last year and costs too much too replace.

12:15: Housekeeper and daughter departed and returned immediately as their motorcycle suddenly developed a gasoline leak. Offered to drive housekeeper to nearby repair shop, but our second car would not start. Called Roberto in town to look for new hose and more gas en route to home—but shops had already closed for the afternoon.

12:30: Plumber arrived to check out the deteriorating bricks and promised to return sometime this week.

12:40: Roberto and I drove the two housekeepers home and took advantage of the trip to dine in the city at the one no-smoking restaurant.

1:40: Tried to download mail at restaurant with wi-fi, but could not access Internet. Called Marcello again, who said he configured my laptop so that it would only work at home with the antenna that he installed. He’ll stop by tonight to take a look.

3:10: On way home, stopped at housekeeper’s house to pick up her nephew and bring him to our house to fix the motorcycle. Definitely worthy of his name, “Angel.”

3:30: Tried reading before taking siesta, but bedside wall lamp has stopped working.

8:25: Marcello stopped by to diagnose Internet problems: He says that he needs to continue updating his equipment, that we need a new router (which he will install as soon as he can get one delivered), and that there is just too much Internet traffic in Argentina for the Telmex system.

Did this dispell any myths you may have about the carefree lazy life in Latin America? In fact, I read just this week that Argentinians work more hours per week than most other nationalities. . . so no wonder stuff doesn't get fixed here! But I plan to give it a good try--and you can see I've got a lot of support from the housekeeper to the plumber.

And in the long run, people here put their time where it really matters: other people. So if you visit, and the paint is peeling, the roof leaking, the amenities lacking, remember that we don't intend to treat you like royalty--we're gonna treat you like family! You'll love it!!

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