Monday, February 16, 2009

God looks after fools, but sometimes he kick them in the ass for being stupid...

A short entry here...we are back in town after many days at our place in Azul. It is raining sideways (which is why we know our chimney leaks) and our hydro project has ballooned to twice the original quote. This is because I DON'T FREAKIN UNDERSTAND ANYTHING!!!!

The micro-hydro project was quoted, and while materials were in the quote, not ALL materials were included. As in ONE THOUSAND METERS OF TUBING to the tune of $2000 US. Got it. Check. Did not include the casita to house the whole jumble of what-the-hell-ever goes into the hydro system (but which I ordered and paid for the what-the-hell-ever). Ok. Check. Ismael has begun construction on the casita, and I will pay him for his work. Bought the materials during an all-day fiasco trip to Palena (but also got all the gas tanks filled and huge bags of fruit which I made "conserves" with). Check.

(Above: My new choncha, La Gringa, which I also bought on the way back from the trip to Palena. She is very humiliated by her new necklace which was necessitated by her escape expertise - which we discovered on her first full day with us. The "necklace prevents her from scooting under the fence.)

Aaaahhhh, back to the hydro fiasco - who will dig the trench to lay the tubing? No Check. A quick trip to Patricio's house where his mother-in-law is baking bread in the wood stove and his wife is nursing the baby. Nono goes with me and we explain that we were under the impression that his "obra de mano" fee included ALL the labor. He laughs. "Where is the paper?" he says. I pull it out of my nifty rain-resistant folder and plop it out on the table. I point to the part that says, "Obra de Mano". He agrees, reaches over, turn the paper over and points to this little scribbled note:

"Ademas deven instalar la manguera y hace la casita para la luz (something, something, something)."

Translated: You are an idiot, I don't lay pipes, dig dirt, or build little tiny houses for a hydro...that's your responsibility.

It is snowing on the mountains, but driving winds bring the rain at a 45-degree angle. If it was sunny today, this wouldn't have been so painful. Feels like the time I insistently insisted that an electronics store honor the warranty on a TV set that failed, went right up the chain of command, only to find out that I bought the TV at another electronics store that sold me the warranty. Oops. Nevermind. Slink out feeling like an idiot. Wouldn't have felt as rotten if the chimney wasn't leaking. Or if the bathroom door wasn't swollen shut, or if I HAD FREAKIN ELECTRICITY!

It is what it is here in Patagonia. I had some delusion that it would be easier than Panama. Not the weather, or the remoteness...I had no illusions about that. But the way things get done, business...I even thought since we'd built a house in Panama and lived there, that this time would be easier.

Then Nono asked on the way into town if we cleaned our chimney yet? Huh?

Such is life in Futalandia
(p.s. it's cold...I'm digging through some boxes to dig out long underwear I had packed and not expected to need until June. Go figure.) And in honor of our bonehead selves, I submit this John Prine-Iris Dement performance...I think he met me and Greg in another life.


Laura said...

I can't tell you how much I sympathize with you. "Good" construction is outrageously expensive here and so difficult-all the rules are different(the guy who makes the windows doesn't install them and you buy your own hardware at a different place etc. etc.) and then that language thing. You're not an idiot(repeat often.)

But, nice pig!

Laura said...

And I loved the John Prine video.

Helen said...

About the song,I'm gonna have Den sing that to me tonight. I love the tuning.
About the hydro, wow,just wow.

About the pig, be careful,if you start worrying about her feelings, it going to be tough to eat her. In Maine friends would name there pigs things like Bacon, Pork Chop or even Dinner. We raised Turkeys, you don't get attached to turkeys!

Vicki Lansen said...

Ah, the pig! She got out the first day, as I said, and Ismael's dog tore up one of her ears...I was a little freaked, but it's just life on the farm. I will distance myself from "the pig" so that the early winter procedure for pork chops and bacon won't be too traumatic.

I fed the geese up the street throughout the volcano thingy, and butchered one for Thanksgiving. I did ok with that (except it was tough). But I remember my mother bottle fed a calf once on the farm and when it was butchered later on, she couldn't eat the meat.