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Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Sanguine Life of Retirement

Yeah, yeah.  I know I'm overdue.  Build a bridge and get over it!!!   Lot's been going on.

Just because you move to Ecuador and you're retired, doesn't mean 'sh_t' stops happening.  At least not in my case.  And, just because you're retired and have all the time in the world, versus evenings and weekends in the past, doesn't mean you have the mental bandwidth to handle it all.

My New Home

So, I finally got settled in.  I like the place.  It's QUIET.   But, the house sat empty for 3 or so years after it was constructed and I'm the first liver-inner.  As such, I'm the first person to test it out as well and, aaaaas such, I'm the one who uncovers the issues.   Clearly, whoever built the house did a sloppy job on finishes and someone wasn't thinking too clearly about things like 1.5 bathrooms, both with pedestal sinks...where do you store stuff?  Oh, and that pesky little issue of tilting the front porch AWAY from the front door so when it rains, or you hose the porch off, water doesn't run under the front door and into the foyer.  Oh....what?....a  thingamagig that fits under the door to prevent water and bugs from entering?  HUH?

The landlords are VERRRRY lazy.  They are a classic case of 'manana' and when manana comes, it also goes, and so goes the promise they made.  POOF.    When I first saw the house in October I noticed a hole in the lower yard filled with water that smelled a bit like sewage.   I asked about, knowing a few things or two about houses and septic fields, and they said 'oh, that's water runoff from the road on the upper part of the lot'.  Hmmmm....me thought....then why isn't anything else wet above this area?   I half-heartedly accepted their excuse...errr...explanation.    Well, guess what.  When I was working in the yard, I noticed another wet spot directly in line with the lower water-filled hole....which....by the way....some idiot filled with broken tile debris that I took out piece by piece.   Like....what....it's going to decompose???   Anyway, I went in and flushed the downstairs toilet, then went back outside and 'up from the ground came a bubbling crud...no, not crude'.   I KNEW IT!!!  

Manuel came over and dug up nearly 40 feet of septic line.  It had all been crushed.   I don't HOW or WHERE you-know-what went for 30 days prior to that but in no way was it able to pass through that crushed pipe.  I'm just SAYIN!!!

Oh, les'see.  If I had the heater on and the TV and I microwaved popcorn at the same time, the breaker switch would flip.   Then, it went downhill from there.    I was making buttuh one day with my food processor  and the WHOLE house switch (located in a box near the road) snapped!!!  Then it got to the point the whole-house breaker wouldn't stay on at all...well, it would again in the morning but then it would start acting up again.   After a few days without power, electricians SEEM to have fixed the problem.

Oh, and the 3 leaks in the roof surrounding my skylight.  They fixed the interior damage to the ceiling but didn't bother to stop the source of the leak!!!   WHUH???   After a few more rains and signs that the interior ceiling was going south again, I suggested to the owners for the umpteenth time....YOU MIGHT FIX THE ROOF!!!!!

Builders LOVE to throw debris out into the yard.  Supposedly, it will disappear.   My property had debris strewn all over it.  I told the landlord I wanted it all cleaned up.  They did nothing.  I cleaned it all up and made a huge pile in the front yard.   Ceramic tiles were hurled everywhere.  Cabinet shelves/doors in the high grass.  Plastic bottles.   Sheets of metal.  Barbed wire. Cutting blades.  Speaking of cutting, I cut myself several times extracting all the tiles from the yard.  Talk about sharp edges that people could get hurt with!!!   LAWSUIT!!!!  Oh wait, that's only the greedy folks and lawyers in the USA.    I digress.   Then, the landlords promised to take the pile of debris I created away now that I had done all the work cleaning it up.   NOPE.   A friend of mine who found this house for me and who's also a friend of the owners, finally gave in and hauled most of the stuff away.  MOST.

I was thrilled this house came with a WORKING fireplace, instead of a fake facade!!!   So, I gathered up wood scraps from around the yard and started a fire.  YEA!!!   NAY!!!!!!!!!!   Smoke engulfed the entire interior of the house.   I opened all the windows downstairs and upstairs.  No breeze.  UGH.  The house smelled like smoke for at least 2 weeks after.   No, it wasn't an unopened flue....they don't use them things here.   I think it was just poor design.  A small draft pipe and a 90 degree angle are not conducive for a strong updraft a chimney needs.  Oh well.  Back to being a useless facade.

I'm not done yet.

I'm not hooked up to city water.  It comes from a local spring so I hear.   I pay $5 a month to a local indigenous lady named Mercedes.  Several of the homes in the area have water lines strung along the shoulder of the road....ABOVE the ground...or flung up in the brush alongside the road looking like a kiddie rollercoaster.    These lines spring leaks all the time.   Water pressure went down, down, down over the period of a week or so until the pressure was so low it wouldn't activate the hot water heater, resulting in no hot water.   GRRRRRR.    If there's one thing that will turn me into a hatchet-murderer is the inability to shower and feel like a normal human being!!!!

After a week-plus of this, they finally fixed a break in one of the main lines and the water pressure was back on.    I thought the water was coming from a well, but apparently it's from a spring.  So, when it rains hard, which it does often here, the water turns into running dirt.  There's no way I can have the aerator and screen thingy on my faucets here because they'll get clogged up with dirt after a hardy rain.  So, I took them all off.

OH!!!  Remember me talking about water flowing under the front door?  Well.   How about water overflowing the window frames and onto the floor?  YEP!!  That, too!!!  During a hellacious deluge of rain, the direction of the rain was hitting the windows, and filling up the window frame tracks.   And, when the tracks filled up and spilled over into the adjacent track it went....yep...inside and down the wall and onto the floor.   Remedy....drill holes in the window frames so they self-drain.

Then there's those downright nit-picky things that earn me the 'Angry American' badge of pride.   Ya know, where the shower floor is tilted AWAY from the tiny drain hole?  Where I have to use a squeegee to drag the water to the drain so it won't sit there and get stagnant?

And to Shake Things Up!

I got to experience my first EARTHQUAKE in Ecuador!! Yipppeeee!!!   Peru seems to get a lot of them.  And, all the volcanoes surrounding the Quito area can get things a jumpin from time to time.   But, here in Cuenca it's.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.   But, a few days ago, my house started rolling around as if it was built on jelly.  Lasted about 15 seconds.  I froze as I didn't know if it would grow in intensity.   Come to find out, it was a 6.9 located in Columbia, our neighbor to the North.  I'm used to EQ's having lived in So Calif for many years, and Seattle has had a couple of dillies, too.

Back Home

I received notice my tenants are moving out of the waterfront house I own up near Seattle.  EEESH   I already have a negative on it which is draining my savings and I haven't been able to sell it.  I mean, c'mon....a one-third acre of waterfront with a drop-dead gorgeous view of the water and Olympic Mountains, clams on the beach, 7 yr old house of nearly 3,000 sqft on 3 levels, heated floors, rooftop deck with jacuzzi, and I can't get more than what I owe on it?   UGH.


My baby boy Bozo died this past week.  He was only 8.  The sweetest, funniest cat you'd ever want to know.   I don't know what happened.  He escaped out an open window (because my oven was creating a lot of smoke) and the next morning, he was lying lifeless in the empty lot next door.   No signs of an attack.  He made me laugh all the time.  I think he rode the short bus to school.   He flew on an airplane with his baby brother Chip, all the way from Seattle to South America!!!    He no habla espanol.

Hasta luego mi amor.



  1. SO sorry to hear of Bozo's passing Dan... thinking of you, and Bozo... love, George & Raul

  2. So sorry to hear about Bozo. :(

  3. Good to see an update, Dan, but so sorry about Bozo as well as the house situation. Looking forward to meeting up this April when we visit. Finally booked a month at Hotel Otorongo.

  4. Are you aware of the cistern/storage tank/pump water systems that are quite common here? They supply water to your home whenever the local supply is interrupted. Depending upon storage tank and pump size, systems start at around $250 or so. Drop me an email if you want some more info.

  5. Dano,
    So sorry to hear of your little buddies passing. Just the other night, my next door neighbor lost his little Cocker, Bailey. She was a sweetheart, and even though I was just Baily's neighbor, it was hard to see her pass.
    Look forward to meeting in June.
    Till Then.... Stay Well.

  6. Sorry to hear about your pussy cat Dano.

  7. So sad when a buddy leaves. G and L

  8. Oh-h-h Dan. I am so sorry to hear about Bozo. So sad. Miles got out of your spare room window of your other house one day when we were staying there as I had left the window open. I was just sick and so worried he would not come back in as he was on the roof!!! We were fortunate he did but I know how you must feel. How is your other kitty doing without him? Know that we are thinking of you.

  9. Dan, so sorry to hear about your loss of Bozo. I am crying for him..... I lost my puss in September.


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About Me

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Palma, Mallorca, Spain
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Spain, in the city of Palma on the island of Mallorca in the middle of the Mediterranean sea!! I moved from the USA to Cuenca, Ecuador, South America and lived there for 7 years before moving here to Spain in early 2018. To read about my adventures in Ecuador, check out my other blog "Ahhh Cuenca!!". I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live in Europe....across the pond.

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