May 28, 2008

The mundane

Well, sorry, folks. I've had no time for you lately. I miss you, though! I'd much rather be blogging than what I'm doing.

I haven't even had a chance to respond to all of your latest brilliant comments and to admit how horribly outdated my fashion knowledge is − but really, I think perhaps that my shabby photos didn't do those wigs justice. Did anyone try enlarging those photos for a closer look? I am familiar with that spiky, shaggy look for men but this is something entirely different that should be called the machete cut.

Anyway, virtually every single thing that we own in the world that uses electricity is broken, including three fans and our air conditioner. Of course, it has been so damn hot lately with not even the tiniest bit of breeze that even the born-and-raised Ceibeños are crying about the heat.

Of course! Don't air conditioners always break on the hottest day of the year? We're suffering! The other night I was cooking dinner and I had sweat dripping off my nose, lip, chin, and hair − no salt required in the food (gross!) − and my clothes looked like I was in a wet t-shirt contest. Since then, I've just been saying no to cooking whenever I can. Who has an appetite in this heat? Oh, yeah, well, El Jefe does, darn it.

The problem is that nobody really knows how to fix these things. They always suggest to replace the motor or the circuit board or buy a new one. Then if that doesn't work, oops, they suggest buying another part. If we do find someone who seems to know what they are talking about, OF COURSE, the parts are not available in Honduras, even if we bought the darn thing here.

So, even though I know about as much about diagnosing these things and finding parts as I do about performing heart surgery, it has been my duty to scour the internet for info and order the parts. Oh, it gives me a headache! I worry about buying the right part because who knows if the problem really is the capacitator (what's that?) or the switch (whats that?) or the solenoid (what's that?) or some other thing that I wouldn't recognize if it had a label on it and they never do.

Some things come easy to me but for whatever reason, this type of stuff doesn't. I feel like a dunce. Sometimes I act like a dunce and put my hands over my ears when El Jefe tries to explain things to me (which he reaaaaaally doesn't like).

I will say that I've found some great repair forums. The Appliance Guru is one of my favorites. They have Samurai repairmen who are really great. Nice people and very thorough answers. I haven't posted a question myself but in some cases I've been able to find what seem to be very good answers for our problems. Hey, if we have any HVAC or appliance techs in the audience, give me a shout!

Oh, don't think that El Jefe just turns it all over to me. He gets people to come out and drags parts all over town trying to get them tested and so forth. My problem is that instead of just finding the part that El Jefe tells me to, I start researching the problem because we've been lead astray so many times and bought so many expensive parts that we didn't even need. You
usually can't return parts in Honduras, even if you've never taken them out of the packaging and walk back into the store 5 minutes later. Similarly, if you buy them in the U.S., it usually costs a ton to send them back, if you even can.

It's really amazing how many problems are caused by our unreliable electric supply and the climate here. Nothing lasts! I know that we'll be less likely to go for quality in the future when we start replacing things. We did in the past and these things are not lasting longer than the cheaper brands probably would have.

To end on a happier note, a friend is passing through La Ceiba in a couple of weeks and will be able to bring all these parts to us providing I can find them in time to have them shipped to her.

The other good news is that there is an 80% chance of badly needed rain tomorrow. Not only that, but Weather Underground is predicting a high temp of 73°F (23°C) tomorrow due to a tropical storm that is building. I find that very, very hard to believe − the temperature, not the storm − but it gives me hope of a more comfortable day tomorrow.

Top photo explanation: This is the only replacement plug that we could find in all of La Ceiba. Nice color, huh? Thankfully its only for the iron so it's not on display all the time. Why did we need a replacement on a relatively little used high quality iron? Well, my best guess is that the series of maids all pulled it out of the wall by the cord, even though La Gringa patiently said twenty times, "Always unplug the iron by pulling on the plug, not the cord because it could damage the wires," to which they gave me that look like I'm really stupid and continued to do things the way that they wanted to.

And finally, here is someone who knows how to stay cool!

This is my niece Abby. Isn't she a little doll? She's just as sweet as she looks, too. Her little hands and feet were all shriveled up from her hot afternoon in the pool. This photo puts a smile on my face.

This is how I will feel tomorrow if the temperature really only gets to 73
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