Banishing the Gremlins

So much for touching wood, the past week has been a series of disasters. We seem to go from one extreme to the other. Last week I was paddling about in the flooded laundry not once, oh no I got to partake in the pleasure twice.

This week the water pressure has got lower and lower, we are not on mains water here but well water, but unlike Vietnam we do not have to ensure that we put the pump on every few days to fill up the filter tank. The water filters through layers of sand before filling a collecting tank. The water was then pumped up to the main water tank on the back veranda.

Here we assume that Boris fulfils the pumping tasks as we have never been asked to do it. The pressure got lower and lower to the point where there wasn’t any water one morning when ML went to shower. We were going to contact Boris but a couple of hours later when I tried the shower it was working fine.

ChickenLickenThe same thing happened the next day but then on the third day I was surprised to see Boris on the patio. He was very agitated and flustered and after a couple of words in English he lapsed into Russian. Now he could have been telling me we had crocodiles in the stream – maybe Colin had come to visit ML (See: Reprieve in Moin) , or the sky was going to fall in like Chicken Licken.

I looked at him bemused but before I could ask him to repeat whatever he had said but inWhite Rabbit
English he was gone scuttling off like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. When I tried the water it was conspicuous by its absence so I worked on the assumption that something had gone wrong with the water supply.

He reappeared at lunchtime to explain that a pipe had collapsed but it was all sorted now and we shouldn’t have any more problems. Which is true we didn’t have any more problems with the water……. But other things well that was another story.

The flush to the cistern in the bathroom is a small circle that is split between the short and long flush, not sure which of us did it but the button got stuck in the down position and the water kept running into the cistern. Unlike the UK where you have an overflow pipe to get rid of the excess water this just fed straight into the toilet bowl, so we had our own mini waterfall.

bleach blockI found this out on a middle of the night toilet trip, so in my somewhat befuddled state I lifted the lid off the cistern to find one of the plungers stuck down. I wiggled and prodded it but to no avail. So I gave up and went back to bed.

ML in the morning could be heard muttering away in the bathroom, nothing was discernible but he was having a good chunter to himself. When he finally emerged it appears that the toilets here don’t like bleach blocks in their cisterns, they turn to mush and collect at the bottom and gum up the workings. I was informed by a not very happy husband that this was not his idea of a good way to start the day.

I was tempted, oh so nearly tempted to make a joke or say something funny but that little crease in the middle of his forehead made me change my mind. I offered abject apologies, the offer of some nice smelling hand cream to counteract the bleach smell emanating from him which was summarily turned down so I decided to err on the side of caution and shut up.

Moving away from water based problem the oven was my next cause for concern, it is huge, it is electric, and it has no light to tell you it has reached temperature, it doesn’t seem to reach the temperature you ask it for and everything takes ages to cook.

They have a little toaster oven but I have never used one before, apparently you can bake and also roast in it but it is tiny so I have decided to persevere with the big oven. I do use it to make toast in which it does very well but I have discovered that if you try to make toast and heat something in the microwave it blows out the ring main. Now I had seen the fuse box in the laundry so off I trotted only to find none of the switches had tripped.

So I came back in but nothing was working so in the end I had to admit defeat and call ML, luckily he was reasonably close by. He was equally as puzzled as I was as to the fuse box and said there had to be another one somewhere. So he starts opening cupboards despite me telling him there weren’t any indoors. So back out he went.

Next to the laundry is a locked metal door, high up set in the wall is a window. Now we have already discussed my lack of height so it wouldn’t have done me any good if I had noticed the window but ML could see through the window and see another board of switches.

We had to track down Boris and he came and opened the door, with a flick of a switch power was restored to the microwave and toaster oven but more importantly the fridge freezer. Lesson learnt it’s like being back in Vietnam, we couldn’t have the water heater and the oven on together as they tripped the switch every time.

The final piece of electrical equipment that decided to play up was the a/c in our bedroom, despite my frantic pressing of the button all it did was flash a green light at me. A quick phone call to Boris and he turned up with his workman, whatever was wrong was beyond their capabilities so Boris said he would ring me later to let me know when the engineer could come.

Not until the following day it turned out, we had a very warm night and although we had the ceiling fan on all it did was waft warm air about. We both got up early and sat in the lounge with the big a/c blowing out nice cold air until ML headed off for work. The engineer turned up early and I left the three men to get on with it. Half an hour later it was fixed, I have no idea what the problem was as he didn’t speak English and my Spanish doesn’t stretch to mechanical things.

Suffice to say that it works as does everything else at the moment, well except for the remote control for the television but that’s no problem as the house isn’t fitted with a satellite dish so no signal. There is a large pile of DVDs but they are all Russian so either Boris has been watching them or the American owners are Russian speakers. So sorting out whatever is wrong is not on my urgent list.

gremlin 1


Hopefully that is all the gremlins sorted and the house, ML and I can just get on with enjoying Costa Rica. (fingers crossed, touch wood, avoids ladders and black cats)


Living in Costa Rica

Blog Expat: living abroad

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