Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Day in the Life

Sometimes in life you really have to laugh to keep from crying.  We have had our fair share of those experiences this year.  I figured I'd let ya'll in on a few of them from the last few weeks.

About a month ago, when Jonathan returned from the missions trip with Cristo Te Ama to Mazahua, the water heater wouldn't light.  Figuring that the gas was just out and having no way to fix it, he took cold showers.  When I arrived back from SC, I took cold showers. Well, I took 2.  Then the water went away completely.  After checking out the cistern in ground, J found that the water was below where the pump reaches.  We tried for 2 days to figure out how to get the city water to fill up our cistern by turning knobs and valves, but we had no luck.  In the meantime, Jonathan started bringing up 2 buckets of water (from the very bottom of the cistern) at a time.  We rationed the water, as we didn't know how long it'd be before the cistern filled back up. Plus we live on the third floor, and it gets really old climbing stairs with buckets of heavy water.  It is a good thing we used it sparingly, because the cistern didn't fill up for 6 days.  Bathing with buckets is an art.  If your head is shaved, like my husband's, well, it's not so difficult.  But, when you have a mop of hair like I do, it really is a tricky job.  We would dip the cup in the water to wash everything but my hair. Then, we had to tag team to finish.  I'd dunk my head in the bucket, upside down.  Then Jonathan would lather it all up.  I'd dunk my head back in while Jonathan tried to get all the shampoo out. Then I'd put in conditioner, since it was an upside-down tangled up mess, and dunk back into the water full of suds.  After we got the water dirty from bathing, we could flush the toilet.  I wonder how many people know that if you just poor water rapidly into a toilet, it flushes.  I didn't know that before we came here.  In fact, any time we used water - washing dishes, faces, hands, brushing teeth etc - we dumped it into the back of the toilet to create for ourselves "a flush."  We also took advantage of all the other toilets on the third floor.  Probably about day 2 Jonathan went around to all the bathrooms to count how many "flushes" we had left.  Each toilet still had one flush ready in the back of the toilet from before the water went out.  Needless to say, this went from funny to ridiculous pretty fast.  At least it didn't matter anymore that the hot water heater wouldn't turn on, cause we had no water to heat.

During the time the water was out, our overhead lights/fans went out.  This was undoubtedly the least of our worries.  We kept the bathroom and closet lights on and eventually pilfered a lamp from another room.

After a few days of living (and smelling) like cave men, I told my mom it could only get worse if our A/C broke.  The next day, the A/C unit (1) cut off.  When I cut it back on, it sounded like a jackhammer.  The noise was inescapable, especially since the unit is directly above our bed.  Jonathan assured me we would NOT move to another room just because the unit was making noise.  So, I put in my earplugs and fell asleep.  About 2.5 hours later I woke up because the noise had increased and my earplugs weren't cutting it any more, only to find J next to me lying on his back with his hands behind his head (that means he's mad).  Chuckling on the inside, I convinced him to move to another room.  He was delirious after laying there for hours trying to fall asleep with the jackhammer above his head.  None the less, we moved to another room, and found that that A/C unit (different type) was also making an obnoxious noise.  After waiting with (stubborn) Jonathan for about 20 minutes, I finally talked him into moving to yet another room.  At last, we found a room where the A/C worked and didn't sound like heavy machinery.  This is the room we are still in now.  The new problem is, we can hear all the music from the night club next door.  I simply cannot imagine how loud the music must be inside that place, if I can hear it loud and clear in my bed.  The bar is open every night except Sunday until any time between 3-6 AM.  I've lived long enough to know that almost nothing good happens at that time of night and you can only imagine the stories we've heard about what kind of things go on next door.  Absurdity.

A/C units are expensive down here and because our original unit was making that horrific noise, we were told to turn it off.  You can't imagine how hot it gets in that room with no A/C.  Our refrigerator barely works to begin with, but with it so incredibly hot and humid in the room, it had to work double time.  I threw so much food out those few days.  I tried to convince Jonathan to throw the meat out of the freezer which wasn't cold at all, but he cooked it instead.  It's really a miracle we never got sick off that meat.  Now that the A/C is kinda fixed in there, the fridge is working at its regular 1/2 speed.

Well, the water heaters still don't have it together yet.  We can't for the life of us keep the water heater on in the room where we are now sleeping.  So for showers, we go to the other room where the water heater works but the A/C sounds like a jackhammer.  Then last night, the water went out again.  It has been on and off since it got turned back "on", but it usually comes back on within a couple hours.  Well after Victoria, there's no waiting for a shower cause we never know if we've got ticks or who knows what else on us.  Even though there's "no" water, it really means there's no cold water coming from the roof, but there is still one hot water heater's worth of hot water.  Confused?  Oh well.  We tried to shower with the scorching water.  Ouch!  In an attempt to save what little water we had and not burn ourselves, we turned the water off.  So, Jonathan combined some cold, slightly dirty, old water from a bucket still in the shower and some hot water from the faucet, and poured it on my head to help me get the shampoo out of my hair.  Ridiculous.

Last but not least, the Tahoe we are borrowing doesn't have reverse.  "Doesn't have reverse?" you ask.  Nope, no reverse.  That creates a huge problem.  The reverse went out about 3 months ago.  Well, first the forward went out.  So we paid for a "new" gear box and unbeknownst to us, this one came equipped with no reverse.  So, every morning, J pushes and I steer out of the car lot place we keep the cars at night.  We've learned that if I hit the brakes as soon as the back wheels hit the curb, J can run and watch for a space in the traffic on our busy road and I am able to keep some momentum to continue out of the "drive way" (with an extra push or two from Jonathan or the nice guy who owns the business next door).  We have also learned that we must park where we can pull through or continue forwards.  Well, last night we found ourselves in a packed parking garage in a corner with no way out.  We usually have no trouble finding a place to pull through here, but last night was an exception.  So, Jonathan with a bum ankle has to push me out of this predicament and we end up making at least an 8 point turn around.  Although, I'd never have the strength to push that huge vehicle even if I wanted to, being pregnant means I have less to offer in the way of help.  I was laughing to keep from crying while Jonathan was telling me, "This is not funny!!"  Any pride we may have brought down here is gone now, because we get the most hilarious looks from people as I steer and Jonathan pushes me around in public places.  Finally, we got out of that sticky spot in the parking garage and decided to just pay the parking man to let us park in illegal spot.

Don't ever take for granted turning on your faucet and having warm water come out - or any water for that matter.  And please, never forget how important reverse is. Really, it makes life so much more enjoyable.  There are many, many things I will never think of the same way again, but these are some of the ones that make for hilarious stories.



  1. Abby-

    The funny thing is is that your stories remind me a lot of when I was your age (I moved out on my own at 17) and was out in the big world trying to make it. Even though I wasn't in Mexico I could tell you so many funny stories. I had a window unit that worked sporadically and really only cooled one room. I would put my makeup on while a box fan was blowing on me and then quickly go sit in front of the ac unit to blowdry my (loooong) hair so I wouldn't sweat quite as much. Then I would hurry to the car off to work or school only to drive in an ooooold car that not only did not have AC but blew out hot air for some reason! I wonder in retrospect why I even tried to put makeup on! Then I would think "hmmmm...should I put this five dollars in for gas or buy some breakfast...well, four in for gas and a pack of cheese crackers..." So many other stories I could tell...yours made me smile...this is it and laugh...the problems and annoyancies change but are always just hang in there and keep smiling...

    love you!


  2. Definitely made me feel blessed to have reverse and water. Love you Abby and praying for you and your husband daily.

  3. I read it again, just to see if it was still as funny as the first time. That's an affirmative.

  4. Still funny seven years later! And in many ways similar to your life now in Africa. ;)