I am divorcing my house on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Mr. Understanding agrees with me. As with any bad relationship, I have long been in denial. I kept thinking the landlord would come to her senses, would be rational and see the big picture. I was wrong. I am not perfect (click to read about perfectionism: www.ordinarycourage.com).
We move in the middle of January, 1011 to a new house which has yet to be found.
Am I a malcontent of the first order? Or do I just have bad luck? Gamamae thinks I just have “bad house karma”. I am not so sure I buy that theory although I am willing to entertain the idea that the good Lord is trying to tell me something. How exactly did this happen?
Well, again, I was suckered by real estate (read: large garden and deep pool for rowdy children; refer to College Quest post) and the promise of an attentive English speaking landlord. Visions of recreating my Brazilian Shangri-la in a Spanish Eden short-circuited my brain: I am a fool for a veranda. Sipping sangria, I could keep an eye on the frolicking children.
Add to this a sampling of a year’s worth of repairs and the concomitant repairmen parading through my house:
*faulty electrical system – repaired innumerable times and on the fritz again
* dishwasher – repaired 2x
*crumbling front door – hunks fell off; door replaced and now paint on new door is peeling
*replacement of stove top – without burners for 2 weeks
*replacement of pool pump
*leaking pool – still
*refrigerator repair 2x – replacement of thermostat, motor and filter
*incorrectly installed lighting, flickering randomly – related to item #1? or just a senile repairman? Both!
*locked into master bedroom – lock on inside of room – had to exit through bathroom window
*shower door – off hinges 4x, hinges replaced on 4th go; we think.
*dishwasher and clothes dryer repair
*alarm battery died – sounded at 2 a.m. even though alarm not set
*bats in belfry – literally – but protected species so have to listen to their little claws scratching the inside of the roof
*broken door knobs – repair still pending.
*oh and robbery in car port – did not enter home
Everyone in my family knows that I am a bad nurse. “Buck up!”, I tend to say, unless someone has fractured a bone or is vomiting repeatedly and I have to clean it up. A mere tummy ache doesn’t cut it with me. I need objective symptoms. Attending to my house and waiting for hours on end for unreliable repairmen likewise turns me into a krankenschwester* – one cranky sister. The objective symptoms are all there but I am tired of cleaning it up.
Are you getting the picture? After China, I am just not in the mood. It’s like watching a rerun of my own life, minus the tadpoles in the toilet and Chinese repairmen with bad combovers. The Spaniard repairmen (and occasional Ecuadorian) are generally a cheerful bunch who just reek of smoke; I can communicate with them which is good. Sometimes they fix things, sometimes they do not.
My mother, a.k.a. the Radish, absolved me from my negative feelings by reminding me that it is hard to pick a house in a foreign country over a long weekend. This was a real gift to me, these kind words, and I have clung to them.
Bottom line: after fifteen years, I am tired of living in other people’s houses.
* German for “nurse”.
Required reading for next installment: www.nytimes.com.