Friday, April 2, 2010

Blues in the Banos

Apparently Brian hadn't fixed the toilet the day before because when we woke up Wednesday morning the bathroom floor was covered with water...again. He tweeked the mechanism in the toilet once more with his screw driver and said he felt that would do it, but it didn't. We then phoned a plumber that we'd used one other time before but whoever we were connected to had no patience and just hung up on us. We then asked our building custodian (in our broken Spanish) if he could find us a plumber. He was glad to do this for us and set up an appointment for 3 o'clock that afternoon. In the mean time, Brian figured out how to turn the water off in just that bathroom. Turning the water off worked a lot better than Shelley's solution of putting a garbage can under the leak.

It was our "bill day" and we had to go out and take care of our various obligations. Just before we were about to leave we got a telephone call advising us that the people we had planned on going to dinner with that evening had a dental emergency and wouldn't be able to make it. We went out and paid our bills and didn't run into any obstructions so ~ we were grateful for that. However, upon arriving home it started to rain and the rugs we hung out on the balcony from the bathroom got even wetter. Shelley & Brian had a small tiff as to whether they should be left on the balcony to "freshen" or not. Despite not seeing Shelley's logic whatsoever, Brian left them on the balcony. So far, this day wasn't going all that well but better than the people with the dental emergency.

"We're too retired" Brian commented. "We don't have enough happening. Even the littlest things cause us stress."

"You're crabby" Shelley shot back.

At 3:30 the building custodian showed up. Whether he misunderstood our request or he just decided he could help us instead, isn't clear. He took a look at the toilet and took apart the valve assembly. According to him, there was a tiny nick in the device and we needed to replace it. He gave us the address of a plumbing store and told us once we got the part he'd install it for us. That evening, Brian sat in his easy chair in the front room and examined the pieces of the device. He decided he'd try turning over one of the gaskets and see if that worked. He put the device back together and re-installed it in the toilet. So far, 13 hours later, it's still not leaking.

The next day Brian spent an hour in the morning and another hour in the afternoon on Skype talking with blog readers in Panama about potentially moving to Ecuador. They're originally from Canada and have gotten tired of the heat & humidity in Panama. Later on in the morning we headed downtown to pick up a supply of coffee (5 lbs. $12.50). We stopped in at a restaurant and Brian had a breakfast of 3 small buns, coffee, juice, 2 scrambled eggs, jam & a slice of cheese for $2.20. Shelley had lime tea. While there a friend noticed us through the window and sat down. We chatted away while she had a cappuccino & Brian finished his breakfast.

Brian tried to talk Shelley into going to a free piano recital at the Museum of Modern Art Thursday Evening but Shelley begged off as the event started at 8 pm and she usually hits the bedroom to read at nine. "Phone up so & so" she told him. "They'll go with you." He didn't.

Almost every week there's a dance recital or choir or art showing or Cuenca's symphony for those looking for a night out and a little culture. If you subscribe to Gringo Tree they send emails of upcoming events. Oft times these events are free. From time to time we go, but Shelley's bedtime interferes with most.

Two days later, our toilet still isn't leaking, so we've declared it fixed. Next time we see our maintenance man we'll slip him $5 and if it starts to leak again, we know which device needs replacing.

Good Friday we took a walk downtown to the CB Carolina Bookstore to ask Lee a question about shipping books into Ecuador. We were concerned if a friend sent books to us that we might have to pay duty on the full value. We were advised that recently all duty was taken off of books coming into the country. This was good news for us. We then stopped at Bananas, the restaurant right beside the bookstore and Brian had a full breakfast (eggs, toast, jam, bacon, sausage, a slice of avocado & tomato, plus syrup coffee con leche) and Shelley had a mug of te negro con limon (total = $4). They also serve shredded hash browns that look pretty good. Brian'll try them next time. A lot of the shops were closed because it was Good Friday and we walked down the steep stairs from Calle Larga to Doce de Abril and caught a bus to spend the rest of our Good Friday quietly puttering at home. Brian talked to a friend on Skype & Shelley read her book and chatted with Fredi.

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