In Communist Uruguay, Brick paves You!

Posted: April 1, 2012 in Life, Stupidity
Tags: ,

WifeBob and I are fixing our driveway. Again. It was never quite right. Every time we drive the truck up the hill, one spot loses traction and then the tire digs a trench, and continues to slide the rest of the way up the hill. The foundation dirt at that spot was never done correctly. So we are putting in two tracks of pavers in order to fortify the drive and give more traction.

Simple enough, you might think.

Not so much. The research starts by scouring town for a place to get grey concrete pavers. Waste of 2 days. Then I break down and call our architect, and he directs me to a place which makes them to order. So I go. They indeed have pavers. Many shapes and sizes. They have the curvy ones and hexagons and octagons and rectangles. Just what I am looking for. So I ask about the prices. Reasonable.

“Hook me up,” says I, “Fill the back of that thar pickup truck.”

“Oh, no, señor. We don’t keep them in stock, we have to make them and then, with Semana Santo coming up, we can’t get them done, so maybe you can have them in a few weeks.”

I thank him for his backbreaking hard work and go to figure out something else. I go to the brickyards out on Ruta 9.

“Do you have any in grey?” I ask the ladrillero. This is the same place WifeBob and I went to for the bricks to line our fire pit.

“Sure, let’s go look,” he says, and we walk down to the brick pile making small talk about the nice weather. I explain that we are paving a lane in the driveway for the truck so we need the bricks to be either thicker or stronger. “OK, no problem. I have just the thing for you.”

We get to the pile and he shows me the heavy ones. Good and strong enough. “What about the grey ones?” I ask.

He looks like he is thinking hard, and then says, “Eh, we don’t have any.”

uh… Did you not, right there, up the hill a little ways, tell me that you had them, and let’s go look?

“Nevermind. I’ll take these. Let’s fill the truck with 1000 pesos’ worth,” and so we begin loading.

I drive home with a shitload of bricks and have some white-knuckle moments going downhill with brakes that aren’t dealing well with the extra couple tons of weight.

So now we have a shitload of red bricks that are the wrong color. No problem, we can paint them. And we need mortar.

Now it becomes Friday and everything is shutting down. Close enough, they figure, no sense in working on the Friday before Semana Santo! So we can’t find mortar. All the barracas are closed. Can’t get paint, can’t get mortar. I go to our little hometown hardware shack and ask for a bag of mortar.

“Ah, sorry, we don’t have that. Go to the barracas.”

“I can’t. They are all shut down. Samana Santo. Help. Please,” I beg, “Do you have any concrete?”

“Sure, here you go,” and HardwareBob produces a tiny sad plastic bag of concrete.

“Do you have any more?” I ask.

“Yes. This is the last of it.” and he produces a second sad little bag.

“OK, I’ll take them.”

“52 pesos.” (USD$2.65)

Done. We can make our own mortar with this sad cement and sand, which we have in unlimited supply just a few blocks away. I doubt we’ll have enough though. And as we can’t find the paint we need, WifeBob begins experiments with whatever we have in the garage, and, finding no proper solution, combined with the stress of all the other BS we have encountered this week, has another meltdown.

I join her.

And during next week, nothing will be open, and then half the week after that will be devoured with people trying to grind slowly back up to “speed.”

Why does it seem like every time we are engaged in a project to improve our property, we run into this kind of dysfunctional bullshit? Oh, yeah, that’s right… because even if there is no weeklong holiday, the people still act like it’s either coming or just passed, and their brains are stuck in halfass mode. That, and really, every other week has some kind of “you don’t have to work” holiday.

In Argentina, or Chile, or Paraguay, or the US, we wouldn’t have this problem. We could go to Home Depot or its equivalent and get an entire pallette or two of pavers, pre-made, and load them into the truck. Not here. In Communist Uruguay, Brick paves YOU! Ha ha, what a country!

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