Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Our young friend finally phoned us back about our bathroom mirror problem around 9:30 that night. We explained the whole thing to him and asked if he'd call the Administrator of the building to see if she would recommend someone to come in and rectify the situation. He promised he would first thing in the morning.

The next morning Brian noticed the Administrator in the hallway talking to a neighbour about a recent theft in the building (yet another sad story). He prepared himself by looking several things up in the dictionary and then went into the hallway to talk to her. (Shelley hid.) The Administrator was properly anguished over our travails and said she'd be happy to recommend someone to our translator when he gave her a call. A couple of hours later our friend phoned to advise that a workman would be over at 3:00 p.m.

We went for a long walk and tried to get some lightheartedness back.
We almost succeeded.

At 3:15 we both had the "this is Ecuador" conversation yet again. Shelley reminded Brian that in Canada if you called the cable guy all they would promise was to be at your home a certain day. "At least here, there's an hour you can start getting anxious at" she said trying to Pollyanna her way out of their mood.

At 3:30 the workman arrived and we quickly established he had no English skills whatsoever. Brian followed him around, his trusty dictionary in hand, and they seemed to communicate quite well. (Shelley hid.) The workman advised it would cost $18 to correct the situation in the bathroom and Brian offered him $30 if he'd also hang the mirror in the other bathroom. The workman was glad to comply.

After much pounding and chipping and looking up words in the dictionary, the job was done. Shelley commenced cleaning up in the one bathroom as they started on the next. Before she'd finished mopping the floor the second bathroom was done and there was much thanking and gracias-ing going on. It was all Shelley could do not to give the young man a hug. Their problems were solved.

The workman gave us his job telephone number and indicated should there be any problems not to hesitate to give him a call. We saw him to the door and Shelley went back to mopping out the first bathroom. "There'll be no problems" Shelley heard Brian tell the workman in English as he saw him down the hall and closed the door. He walked to the bathroom where Shelley was mopping and asked if she was almost done. "I'll have to clean up the other bathroom too!" she exclaimed to him and he quickly left the room to go inspect the handiwork.

"Oh no!" she heard him exclaim, not for the first time in the last couple of days, and watched him tear past the bathroom where she was mopping and open the front door of the apartment where the workman was standing with his fist up getting ready to knock on the door.

Despite careful measuring in the second bathroom, the workman had managed to hit the cold water pipe there as well. Water was gracefully arching out making a fine mess in the concrete dust not yet cleaned up. Brian tore to the hallway to shut down the water and Shelley shook her head and resumed cleaning.

Brian and the workman chatted amiably each in their own language while he chipped and sawed and did what he had to do to repair the leak. It turns out the pipes aren't copper but PVC. After waiting for the glue to dry, once again the workman told Brian it was OK to turn the water on and this time he gave us his home telephone number in case anything went wrong. Shelley (muttering to herself) started work, cleaning up the 2nd bathroom which was much worse as the cement dust and tile chunks were mixed with the water that had gushed from the wall. "Is there anything I can do to help?" Brian asked with trepidation in his voice.

"Just stick around and I'll let you know."

At 6:44 we sat down to the write this blog.

Sometime later, Shelley was in the bathroom alone and shouted "Oh no!" Brian came rushing in expecting to see water cascading out of the wall. "What is it?" he asked.

For the first time in 13 years, as the boat had only face mirrors, Shelley could see her whole body. Brian told her she was "silly", that she was as beautiful as the day they'd met. Shelley knew he was lying but gracefully accepted the compliment anyways.

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