Friday, August 19, 2011

Still in the Dark and Making Faces


It looks like we might possibly have "luz" Monday.  Maybe.  More or less.  Yesterday, the lawyer didn't know if it might possibly be today.  Maybe.  More or less.  The inspection was done last Friday.  That I know for certain.  I was there.  As a result, the "bulletin" was produced Tuesday of this week (Monday was a holiday).  Something supposedly happened Wednesday, but I have no idea what.  Thursday, the lawyer received the "certificate," which was produced as a result of the "bulletin," which was produced as a result of the inspection.

For some reason, the lawyer needed our passport numbers today. I happened to bump into him on the street around noon or I probably would not have known.  I also happened to bump into him on the street yesterday, which is how I found out the certificate had been received, but he didn't tell me he needed our passport numbers yesterday.  And now, apparently, the electric company can't finalize anything without our passport numbers.

To be honest, I don't know if the certificate was received Thursday or Wednesday.  It seems obvious that the lawyer could have turned in our passport numbers yesterday and had the "luz" turned on today. There only seems to be action or progress when I bump into him.  And it seems that only one progression is allowed per day.

We believe our electricity would have been turned on two weeks earlier had we taken care of this ourselves and not let the lawyer do us "a favor" and use his power and influence.  But there's nothing to be done about it now except to smile, comment politely on how much it is costing us to remain in the hotel, and then say in Spanish "thank you for all your help."  I plan to see if I can negotiate a little money back for our time lost.  But I don't expect much


I have a very expressive face. My father actually wasn't so kind when he described it.  He would grouse, "Why are you always making faces!?!"  My father, too, was always making faces, by the way.  Surly teenager that I was, I would every so often respond to his grouse by telling him that maybe I learned it from him.  It never went over very well.

It takes great effort for me to not allow one of my "faces" to appear when I bump into the lawyer and am unable to get a clear answer as to where we are in the process or why he didn't tell me yesterday what he is telling me today.

When I walk by the cathedral, I love looking at the stony expressions on the faces of the saints around the doors.  Perhaps something to strive for.  Not sainthood.  Just a stony expression.

We have no idea how long it will take to get the internet up and running once we have light.  We've been working with the company, Movistar, on that — landline, TV, and mobile phones.  It hasn't gone easily, but that has been compounded by the fact that we have no electricity so can't finalize the installations even if Telefónica (the company that owns Movistar) were doing everything efficiently.  Anyway, Esther at Movistar is a lot of fun.  She insists they can get someone to our house very quickly once we have "luz."  But I'm beginning to realize that I have no idea what "very quickly" means.  Anyway, Esther and I have been having a wonderful time together (today was my fifth visit — no wonder I feel so worn down)

I do my business in Spanish but, while we work, Esther and I give each other little lessons in our respective languages and that is extremely entertaining.  Yesterday she asked me what "night everyone" meant.  After a moment, I realized it was simply short for "good-night everyone" and then explained it was like people here saying "buenos" instead of "buenos dias" for "good morning," something we hear all the time.  When Jerry and I took the train to Yale University and would then part company to head to our offices at opposite ends of campus, we would always say, "Have a good one."  We commuted with a woman who was originally from Croatia.  She would always indignantly demand, "Have a good WHAT?"

Today, Esther's question was, what does "because of you" mean?  She picks things up from song lyrics.  I enjoy these conversations and I don't worry about what faces I make.  Besides, I usually finish with a smile.


  1. The faces on the Cathedral normally mean nothing, it's the attire or the objects, even pets, that tell the story.

    Hope you have 'luz' soon. [Are you sure Ester is doing her best, as is the lawyer, or are the after something else... one for free English lessons the other for a funny face. ;)

  2. You have the patience of one of those saints:) I think I'd have had a tantrum or two by now and thrown my toys out of the pram. It must be getting old and I admire your "take it as it comes" attitude. Lets hope Esther comes through for you in return for all those language skills she has acquired!

  3. From everything I've read about American's moving to Europe, it seems we are very accustomed to quick U.S. efficiency, while Europe is as laid back as a hippie at 4:20.

    As for faces, I put my Mona Lisa face on daily for work, but sometimes I can't help but to roll my eyes.

    Hopefully this will all be fixed soon. :)

  4. Peter:
    I'll have to learn about those sculptures once we're settled. As for Esther, I think she's doing the best she can. We'll see what happens Monday WHEN we have luz.

    My toys are still on their way from California (via England)... and we have no idea when they'll be here... or I'm sure I would be throwing them out of the pram.

    We came here knowing we needed to change our expectations. Mostly, it works. I never could pull off that Mona Lisa smile -- especially not at work. I admire you for managing to get by with just an eye-roll.

  5. It's probably best to politely say Thanks in Spanish and keep that frozen smile on your face.

    When la luz in on, you will have nothing about which to grimace. Hopefully!

  6. Bob:
    You are so right. I will behave.

  7. Mitch,
    I may need a drink after reading your post. Even I am tired and it's only 10 a.m. here in LA. Glad to see you back. I hope you and Jerry had a wonderful Anniversary celebration.


  8. Scott:
    I've been having a mojito every night. Missed last night and I am overdue. Our anniversary was wonderful just being together. We realize that every moment is a celebration, especially given this big adventure. Thanks!

  9. sounds like much red tape, but it will all be worth it in the end...n0?

    happy day my friend

  10. David:
    It's already worth it. Happy day to you, too!

  11. Well, it is the middle of August. Things slow way down in summer time. At least in France. Maybe in Spain, too?

    Or maybe it's "because of you." LOL

    Here's hoping the "luz" gets turned on sooner rather than later. You guys need to get into your place!

    Have a good one! (I, too, always wondered, a good what?)

  12. Are you maneuvering your way through these installs with or without bribes?

  13. Walt the Fourth:
    Yes, everything definitely slows down here in summer. Especially August. Lots of places closed for vacation. Shorter hours. But we're still trying to have a good one.

  14. Travis:
    No bribes and no indication of that expectation. (The hotel maid wouldn't even accept a tip the other day when we asked her to clean our room off-schedule.)


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