Friday, October 8, 2010

The hot water adventure

Hello everyone,

First of all, sorry such a long delay between posts.  Since we moved into our new place, the internet has been a bit scarce.  We don’t have it in our place yet, so we have been going to a café to log on.  The only problem is that my battery lasts about 45 minutes to an hour so I haven’t had much time to get my blog situated.  I’ve been writing out some posts offline, so I’ll try to catch y’all up all at once.  And to add insult to injury I’ve been sick for the past two days.  I wrote these two on Wednesday and meant to post them, but the Spanish flu caught me off-guard.  Who says it doesn’t exist? I’ll spare you the gory and whiny details.  On to better things.  ¡Enjoy!

When I last left you, we had found a place and were starting to get situated.  However, as Mr. Lucas has shown us, the saga always continues.  This week's adventure is brought to you by our defunct hot water heater and friends. 

This exciting endeavor began as soon as we tried to use our water last Wednesday.  As you may have guessed, it was all cold.  No hot water in sight.  We called our landlady, posed the problem, and she sent over her "hombre de confianza," Juan.  After a look at our heater, he decided that one of the hoses should be replaced because the flow of gas to the pilot light had somehow been impeded.

Before we go any further, let’s talk 'bout Juan.  First of all, Juan is a pretty old dude.  He reminds me a lot of my grandfather, George.  If you ever met George, you’d remember the way he puttered along.  (As a side note to this side note, George’s birthday was around a week ago so I hope everyone had some ice cream in memoriam.  I know we all miss him.)  Juan moves in George-like fashion, but with more agility- like the little old engine that could, and might never stop.  He also likes to mumble to himself while working.  Speaking of speaking, when Juan does actually talk to you, he has the thickest Andalusian accent in the known universe.  All his words are so slurred and meshed together that so far I haven't managed to understand a complete Juantanese sentence.  All of my descriptions about this happening are from my inferences of Juan’s actions plus the one to three words out of every sentence I can actually decode. 

Back to Wednesday (September 29th).  If you have been following any world news, you might have heard about the recent labor strike in Spain- on that very same Wednesday.  Entonces, Juan couldn't get the part he needed because all the tiendas were closed.  Soooo…yeah. Night one with hot water.  I guess that would bother some people, but we're all from Arkansas so no big deal.  We weren’t gonna shower anyway.  I deciphered from Juan that he’d be back around 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Tomorrow at 11 a.m.: Juan appears at our door at casi 11 on the dot.  Not too bad for an old Spaniard.  Punctuality must come with age. Juan has aforementioned part in hand and immediately gets down to business.  An hour or two passes by and still no luck for Juan.  The new part he bought didn't work and now I think he's telling me that we need to get a new water heater.  However, it’s now almost 1 and he has to leave to pick up his granddaughter from school.  He's going to talk to our landlady and then be back tomorrow, I think. No hot water again, no big deal. 

Friday morning, 11 a.m.  Juan and our landlady, Loreto, show up in front of our door with a brand-new water heater.  I'll admit, I was pretty impressed.  Not only are they punctual, but they got that water heater up three flights of stairs by themselves.  I hope I'm this spry in my old age.  So far these spry ancianitos have disproven Dr. Parrack's horror stories about lazy Spanish landlords.  Maybe those stories just didn’t include little old ladies.  In any case, from here on out is where we really start to feel sorry for Juan.  The poor man just can't catch a break.

He removed our old water heater and hung the new one up, but they are different sizes.  The hoses for the old heater can't reach the new one, and moreover, one of the valves on the new heater is positioned at just the right angle to shoot hot water straight through the wall. 

Juan has worked until 1 o'clock again and has to leave to pick up his granddaughter.  He also confers to me that he has to get his drill to re-hang the heater, AND buy some more parts so we don´t have water spraying through the wall.   He spends his last 20 minutes trying to close the pipes tightly enough to at least give us cold water, but can’t so we´ll have to go without until he gets back. 

Juan gets back around 3:30, and starts back to work on the water.  He drills out new holes, and connects two of the three pipes, but can't connect the last one.  This is the same pipe that has been threatening our walls with water.  The piece he bought to divert the connection isn't working because it has male/female ends instead of male/male.  This time is now 4:30 and he has to leave on the parts hunt again.  I crack a little more of the Juantanese code, and realize he isn't sure if the stores reopen after siesta at 4:30 or at 5 so we might have to wait a little while longer.  No problema Juan, we don't mind.  Just don't fall down the stairs or anything. 

Juan conquers the stairs like a pro and is back at our place by 5 o'clock.  We're starting to feel like he's our fourth roommate.  After another 30 minutes, the gods finally smile on him because this time, the new parts work!  After a few careful minutes getting the fights lit, the hot water is flowing all from all the faucets.  In case you were wondering, the hot water here isn’t like the hot water in the states.  We have our little heater, which is hooked up to a small butane tank.  It’s kind of an on-demand system.  If you want hot water, you have to turn on the gas and light the pilot light.

Here’s a picture of our setup.

This is our new heater, post installation.  I didn't get any shots of Juan in action.  I felt too sorry for him to worry about that sort of thing.  Look at my last post for a "before" picture.

There was one last little bump in the road.  It seems the hot/cold hoses were switched during their installation and the hot water comes from the cold knob and vis-versa.  No pasa nada Juan, we can survive.  You've done much more than expected.  Please, have this glass of water and go home to your granddaughter.  The Ring has reached Mordor.  Our quest is complete.


1 comment:

  1. It sounds as if life is rough.Should try to boost that immune system, the kids will pass everything to a tenderfoot such as yourself.Payback for all the plagues you brought home. I guess long hot showers are a thing of the past if you have to buy the propane.