Posts Tagged ‘construction’

Septic tank fixed

Posted: April 10, 2012 in Life, Stupidity
Tags: , ,

PlumberBob actually showed up this morning on time, with all the parts he needed, and fixed the pump. He then re-buried it, put what was left of the ripped up grass back in place, replaced our torn-out paving stones, and even washed the sand and dirt and shit out of our gravel afterwards. I am impressed. Finally I have someone I can recommend to people.

I have been thinking about this situation, and many more like it. Would this happen to us in the US? Maybe. Maybe not. Probably not. At least not with the same amount of fuckups and inability to solve the problems immediately. Yes, it sounds like a first-world problem, not being able to flush your toilet or take a shower. I am not opposed to shitting in a hole I dig myself. But we work hard in order to improve our lives in order to avoid living the third world life. Digging your own hole to shit is OK when you are camping. It’s not OK when you are in your own house.

We have access to first world products, just not first world service or first world skills. THAT right there is the difference. And it is a big one. Uruguay pretends like it can be a first world country and in many parts it looks like it is and pretends to be such; but it’s not. It’s a facade, nothing more. Lipstick on a pig. And that’s fine, someone has to be the polished turd. BUT…

What good is a supercar if you need a 4×4 to drive on your roads? Maybe this place shouldn’t sell products it cannot service. Just a thought. If all that works is a big open cesspit, then do that. Don’t offer a septic system that can’t even last a year without falling apart. Why sell something that fails in a year, and your customer comes back to you angry? It happens again and again and again, not just to us. Not just to foreigners. It happens to locals too.

Don’t put your hand in the fire, you’ll get burned. OW! I said don’t do that. OW! Man, you’ll learn eventually. OW! Jeez, what is wrong with you? OW! Come on, seriously, learn how to service modern equipment and set it up right from the start.

I realize this is a multi-tiered statement and I am the pot calling the kettle black. Uruguay keeps putting its hand in the fire of modernity and getting burned, and I keep putting my hand in the fire of Uruguay’s backwardness and getting burned. Yes, I would be fine if I set about doing it all myself, as I am quite handy, but seriously, am I to rebuild my entire house from scratch? I could, but I have better things to do. That is why I paid other people to do it for me.

How this whole situation would have played out in the US: We would have called the guys who installed the septic tank, they would have sent a guy out. If they didn’t have their own guy available, they would have contracted it out to someone else. Someone would have shown up with a truckload of parts. Seeing as so much stuff in the US is standardized, he would have had, 99% chance, all the stuff he needed to make the repairs then and there, made them, and left. He would have found the septic access right away for the same reasons and minimized turning our yard into a warzone. If, for some reason, they could not fix it then and there, they could have at least pumped it out enough that we could flush toilets and run showers until they came back tomorrow. And that’s IF the septic system broke down in its first year, which is pretty well unheard-of.

If your shitter breaks here, it better break between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

I’m not ungrateful, I am actually quite happy that we now have things fixed. I am just saying that with either first-world service or third-world construction, we could have saved a lot of misery (and also saved WifeBob from having to deal with me when I am not my typical cheery self).

Today was supposed to be a party at our place, with a few of the Usual Suspects, some wine, a bonfire, and a batch of something you can no longer get here, surprisingly, which we make at home: corned beef. Fray Bentos Corned Beef was one of the foods that helped win World War II, and it was made right here in Uruguay. Just one of the many long-lost bastions of capitalist excellence that has been consumed, shat out, and not reseeded, by generations of Tupamaros, socialsts, and communists.

Speaking of shit…

I got back to the house today after a run for groceries, firewood, and other sundries, including rye bread which I had to search all 9 levels of Hell for, and notice an interesting smell in the garage. There is shit water bubbling up from the plumbing access in the garage and bathroom. Lovely!

I run upstairs yelling for WifeBob, and find her in the shower. “Turn off the water! Now! There is shit backing up downstairs!”

I go back outside and put my head to the ground over the septic tank. Sure enough, I hear the overflow pump running. But it’s not moving anything. In fact, it hasn’t been moving anything for a month. But it’s been running the whole time. That explains the $400 electric bill I was about to take into the UTE office, guns blazing.

Great. 10 people are coming over in an hour.

Meanwhile, I call everyone I know, frantic to get any recommendations for a good plumber, because I certainly have nobody I would call again. Nobody else does, either. They all got tired of waiting around for people to not show up, and have nobody to recommend. I fall back on ArchitectBob, who knows our system better than anyone else, and I explain the problem.

“No problem, the plumber will come tomorrow morning.” he says.

“I can’t even flush a toilet until then? Are you serious?”

“Don’t worry,” he says… BEEP! Tu saldo no es suficiente para… (You are out of minutes, bitch. Buy more.)

UnFuckingBelievable. I go in to my computer and order more minutes online because the process cannot POSSIBLY be automated in this day and age of 2012. I call ArchitectBob back…

“I am supposed to have 10 people over for dinner tonight,” I explain.

“Oh. Yeah, that’s bad. Let me call you back, I’ll see if I can find someone to do it now.”


The plumber arrives at 7pm, after we have thrown in the towel and called off the Corned Beef party. We spend 2 hours digging the yard all to hell, right after we have finally nursed it back to health after the drought killed it off, searching for the access hatch to the septic tank, which Architect’sAssistantBob insists is 3 meters from the visible access hatch we have already unearthed, when it is, in fact, only one meter (and about 100 holes) away from the visible hatch.

As we get closer to the septic tank hatch, we feel the ground getting hotter and hotter underneath, and when we finally open the hatch, a cloud of steam erupts along with the stench. Imagine what it looks like to take the lid off a pot of boiling water. Now imagine it on an industrial scale with thousands of gallons of hot, steaming shit.

It’s also a good thing I shut off the pump’s breaker before we opened it, or we would have been taking a hot chunky shower. The pipe where the pump’s outlet is connected has come undone, and the pump was in there for a month or more simply spinning its own waste all over the place, running 24/7, and making it nice and hot. MMM!

Since it is dark and there is nothing open at this hour where we can get pipe pieces to fix the broken pipe, we must call it a night and the plumber will return tomorrow. The tank is still full, now I am covered in and smell like my own shit, and I cannot take a shower because it will just overflow the entire garage again with shitwater.

“Es mal hecho,” the plumber said. Well duh. Sad, really, because the work we had done was supposedly the best in the area, and we paid accordingly. Now it has to be redone, the yard is trashed, and we are an extra $400 in the hole for the wasted electricity (take a guess whether we’ll get that back!).

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!

If we could travel in time back to January, we could sit in our kitchen and watch one of our windows break itself. I am not sure if it was the temperature differences between inside and outside, or if it was the house settling, but regardless, the window cracked vertically from floor to ceiling of its own free will, making a sound so loud it woke us up.

We promptly called ArchitectBob, who knows all the contacts of the vendors and builders who did all the various things in our house, in order to either get the info from him or have him deal with it, as the house is less than a year old and still under warranty. ArchitectBob sends for WindowBob, who finally shows up about a month later on February 24th. Meanwhile the cracks in the glass expand so that there is about half a square meter of glass held precariously upright between two other broken sections, the cracks forming a sort of “island” which WifeBob and I fear will fall at an inopportune time and slash of any number of toes or feet of whoever is nearest. I put my money on WifeBob’s odds, but put tape across the crack in various places to minimize the future blood loss.

WindowBob inspects the cracks and finds a spot that I saw as well, which seems to be the epicenter of the crack. It’s a sort of mini-crater, and the concave part is facing us, the cratered part was formed on the outside of the glass. Now I am no expert but every glass ding I have seen in cars or houses where an impact occurs, the point of impact is tiny and the other side blows out or shows a craterlike shape in the cracks. If this was an impact, it happened before the window went in, and on the other side of the glass (it is a double pane, fortunately).

WindowBob’s goons take measurements of the window; I assume it is to prepare a replacement in an expedient fashion. I shall be proven incorrect. What boggles me is that WindowBob has no file from our original order just a few months ago when the house was constructed, nor one from the second window they had to replace, which they found was due to defective glass. The first window they had to replace was broken during installation. These are not small windows, they are floor-to-ceiling double panes. One should take care with them, and not suffer them to incompetence.

Regardless, WindowBob declares it is our fault and not covered under warranty, and then sends us a message 2 weeks later telling us what it will cost. Maybe he is tired of replacing windows that his gorillas install incorrectly.

“Fine, just do it,” says I, not caring, just wanting a new window in place as soon as possible so I do not have to undergo the drama of WifeBob’s inevitable amputation.

It is now the middle of March and we have yet to hear back from WindowBob. I have already sent him a couple of emails to make sure he got my original message to commence manufacture of the replacement. Concerned, I asked ArchitectBob the next time I saw him if he would “poner tu pie en los culos de los vidrieros” (put your foot in the glass man’s ass) to get some form of response. That was a few days ago.

This morning, different glass goons show up unannounced, in order to take measurements, a second (actually fourth, remember the file for the original installation, and the 2 other replaced windows) time. Just for dramatic license, I answer the door in nothing but a ratty old pair of shorts.  They take a look at the window and tell me that they don’t think they can install it due to the awkward wall angle. I admit it is a pain in the ass place to have to work, but honestly how did you get it there in the first place??? Having seen the other window replacements take place, I know full well how I would do it; maybe I will do it myself if they can bring me the goddamned glass. I tell them this, and demonstrate step-by-step how it might happen. They look at me like I am crazy.

We moved 12 tons of dirt by ourselves in a couple of days, bitches. Respect my authoritah!

Anyhow, they leave with no indication one way or another whether they will change the window or even supply me with the glass. It is now 2.5 months past the original call about the broken glass and we still have a guillotine waiting to drop into our kitchen floor.

It bears mentioning that these are top-quality German PVC windows made by Das Fenster. The windows were the single greatest expense in the construction of the house. One might think that a quality product such as this should only be sold by agents of a certain caliber, for fear that lack of support might dilute the value of the brand. One might think that Das Fenster would be angry that their products are being treated with gross incompetence and that will tarnish their name. Not in Uruguay. You bought it, tough shit if it doesn’t work for you.

BPS exposed

Posted: February 25, 2012 in Stupidity
Tags: , , , ,

I bitch so much about things these days that I can’t remember if I have bitched about BPS before or not. I know I did in the last post but you, dear reader, probably have no idea what BPS is. So, let me enlighten you about one of the most mentally retarded tax schemes ever to be heaped upon mankind. I can’t sleep, because I am hopped up on whatever hops you up when you have beat yourself into such severe painful physical exhaustion that all you can do is lay there and stare at the ceiling wishing you could fall asleep… which leads me into the physical labor issues, and the BPS issues. That’s my official excuse for the rambling…

(correction) BPS was written into law in 1967.

BPS stands for Banco de Provision Social, or Social Security Fund/Bank. It is a tax levied on both workers and their employers (and, in the case of the self-employed, the self). BPS goes into a pool to pay for paid vacations (why can’t they save for their own?), sick leave, pensions, and medical insurance. When one is paying a certain minimum amount to BPS, one is covered under the mid-tier medical coverage system. It’s similar to the US Social Security fund, only it is used during the working life of the worker, instead of being stored up (Newspeak for “spent”) until you are geriatric and needing the money which you will probably never get.

When one is doing construction, say, building a house, the builder of the house also pays BPS taxes based on the work provided. BPS has a big list of any given task, how long it takes the average worker to do said task, and how much the tax rate is on that activity. So for Worker A to paint Wall B, you pay amount C. Even if he does the work in 1 hour when the BPS book says he will take 3 hours, you still pay based on the 3 hours. So then there is no incentive for him to do it fast, or efficiently.

Case in point, a clever foreigner who was doing some house renovation (yes, you are forced to pay it for renovation work as well as new construction) decided he would use a machine to spray concrete stucco on the brick walls inside and out, in order to save the time it would take for a team of plaster guys to do it. In a couple of days he accomplished what would have taken weeks the “old” way. However the BPS system has no provision for such genius. He had to pay the tax based on x number of square meters of wall done up in concrete as if they had been done by hand. In order to get the occupancy permit for your finished house, BPS is the one who has to sign off on it. So they see all and know all.

Now you know why people just hire menial morons to do basic work with hand tools when they could be doing it in 1/10 the time with a machine. They get stuck paying for slow moron rates anyways, so why bother? The BPS tax system keeps Uruguay in the stone age.

It probably also has something to do with the fact that none of said machines work in this country; they break or fail, or something else bad happens to them because of some other Uruguayan governmentally-or-culturally-encouraged idiocy (see the next red-eye post for info on the fate of my lawn tools).

Now, here’s the kicker– BPS has inspectors who wander around looking for people doing their own work on buildings. If, for instance, you are painting your own house or repairing your own roof, and they catch you, they will write you up and demand you pay the BPS taxes. Based on what it would take a Uruguayan worker to accomplish it. Meaning: slow progress, a lot of wasted time, work stoppage every 5 minutes to reply to text messages, and extended breaks for bizcochos, mate, and smoking handrolled cigarettes.

Furthermore, BPS has a database of what you have on your property, so if you build a gazebo or other structure that “wasn’t there before,” then you have to pay the taxes based on what they have in their book on how much time it would have taken workers to construct it. Every time a property changes hands, BPS must make an inspection before the final stuff is signed off. If there’s new stuff, watch out! Your paperwork will be in lockdown until you pay the tax on your contraband DIY work!

It also explains why lots of buildings here are going to hell on the outside yet look quite nice on the inside.

We are neurotic every time we do something in the yard, like building massive raised garden beds which will contain the 13 tons of dirt we have been moving into them. We’re always looking over our shoulder in the fear that the BPS nazis will show up and charge us months’ worth of Uruguayo Peon tax rates for stuff we did in a few days with Gringo Rocket Science.

WifeBob and I, with the help of 2 shovels, a wheelbarrow, and our truck, moved the first load of dirt from DirtBob. DirtBob’s dumptruck only holds 4.5 cubic meters, so he had to make two trips. Yesterday, Wifebob told him to come back tomorrow (today) for the second load, and also because she didn’t have any money to pay him. Things like that tend to happen when you show up unannounced.

4.5 cubic meters of dry excavated earth, according to this website, weighs 1249 kilograms (2753.5 lbs) but it wasn’t entirely dry, probably in between damp and dry. Moist weight being 1442, we’ll call it right in between at 1345 kg (2965.2 lbs, or right near a ton and a half).

1345 kg x 4.5 = 6052 kg = 13,343.5 lbs (6.67 tons)

We moved it all today, in a few hours, into the garden beds, and then dug up and replanted all of the stuff that was around the periphery of the yard to make way for the wind barrier/privacy fence of acacias. Lemon grass, peppers, cardamom, onions, potatoes, the giant basil bushes, etc. We only used 3 sections of the raised beds, out of about 10, and we still have room for other stuff in the first 3. We’ll be relocating the strawberries too, as soon as we have another small section filled where they can take over completely and not molest the other sections. We may plant more Cayote, but we are afraid, for the original monster has completely overgrown the perimeter of the neighbor’s utility building fence and is now climbing up the tree next to it. The stuff I read on the web about a single plant growing over an entire acre do not sound so absurd now.

After the dirt bath, we went for a swim in the ocean to rinse off, and when we got home, just at the point where the sun is tickling the horizon and we are unable to move, DirtBob shows up unnanounced with the second load of dirt.

I am starving to death and have hamburgers in the pan, almost done, with the buns all prepped for launch, condiments preloaded. I must abandon them and drag myself back up the hill to make sure DirtBob gets paid and doesn’t destroy too much stuff in the yard with his massive truck going back and forth with six and a half tons of dirt flying everywhere.

DirtBob asks us who moved the first pile of dirt.

“We did,” says I

“Who, just you and your wife?” asks he.


DirtBob is impressed. His eyes practically pop free of their sockets to bounce pendulously against his cheeks. He knows it would have taken a gang of Uruguayos a week to do it.

Be careful not to be blinded by the sheer brilliance, my good fellow, for we are Gringos, and this is how we roll. Just don’t tell BPS, or we will have to pay tax on our own labor, based on a 6-man Uruguayo work week.

Today I woke extra early to drive into Montevideo for a few reasons. The first reason is that ExFedBob and I and DiverBob and WifeBob too are all seeking Paraguayan residency because hey, it’s easy, and you can never have too many. Collect them all! Since Uncle Sam is giving Paraguay the shaft as far as requiring Paraguayos to get an entry visa before visiting, Paraguay is rightly reciprocating and giving us the shaft in return. So we need tourist entry visas and need to visit the embassy in Montevideo.

The second reason is that I am selling my old apartment in Montevideo so I can use the money for something fun and worthwhile, instead of watching it slowly compost in the humidity that leaks down from the perpetually retarded neighbors upstairs. Let it be someone else’s problem. The realtors appraised it and fortunately we will make a decent buck on the sale.

The day began with the drive. I picked up ExFedBob and we drove the 2.5 hours to Montevideo. WifeBob stayed home; she would prefer to park a dirt tiller deep in her anus over standing in line as a marionette for worthless government deskjockeys. I would too, but alas one of us has to take it for the team.

As part of the requirement is to have some passport photographs with your application, ExFedBob and I started the search for a place which takes the photos. We walked all over Ciudad Vieja, even across the street from Migraciones, and nobody knew where to have them done. We literally stopped in a dozen places and nobody knew. Well, that’s not entirely correct. They told us “yeah, there’s a place at so-and-so, they do them,” and we’d go there, and there would be nothing. We walked around the city for an hour looking in vain. Then we had to return to the apartment to meet with the realtor and let him have a look around. Meanwhile, ExFedBob used his mad research skills to locate a place which actually took the photos.

During this time, I got a call from the dirt guy who was already at my house ready to dump the dirt in the yard. This has a story to it as well…

A few weeks ago WifeBob and I thought it would be a fun idea to build raised garden beds in the unused portion of our gravel driveway which for some reason ended up spanning across half the damn yard. It was wasted space and now we are using it. So we built 23 square meters of garden space there, enough for an awesome garden. We graded and leveled and everything, put in the plastic liners, stained and protected the wood, etc. They are truly beautiful things. Then we began the Quest for Dirt.

The vivero near us sells dirt by the bag for an absurd price of $10 each, for maybe a 30-liter bag. Ridiculous. So I asked them if they know someone who does dirt by the truckload. They gave me his number and I called him. He wanted $600 for the dirt! No way, says I, is it made of gold or what?

So the search for other dirt sources commenced. I have a free source of unlimited horse shit from a friend’s farm but that does me no good. Eventually this same friend gave me a lead on another dirt guy, and he had a very reasonable price, for 10 cubic meters (2 truckloads) of sifted (stone-free) topsoil, for $300 total. Sign me up, says I. OK, says he, but it’s been raining so I have to wait for the pile to dry up. I’ll call you when it’s ready.

Uruguayos NEVER call you back; it’s a cultural thing. So I called him a couple times over the past week or two to see how things were going. Not yet, he said, give it a couple more days.

So I was absolutely floored when he called me while I was in Montevideo and said he was a few blocks from my house. I gave him directions on where to find the house, and told him that the wife was home, and to go knock on the door. Here, call her number, says I.

WifeBob is nowhere to be found. DirtBob calls me back and says he knocked on the door and there was no answer, and also WifeBob is not answering her phone. OK, maybe she has gone on a walk to the store, she ought to be back in 15 minutes. I’ll call you back if you don’t find her first, give it a few and let’s see what happens.

No WifeBob. Still no answer on the phone. I am doing all this while we are searching for photo places and showing the realtor around the apartment, by the way.

More phone calls back and forth, can’t get WifeBob on the phone. Finally I reach her and she goes out to look for DirtBob (and she’s mad at ME because DirtBob just showed up without announcement or planning, like all Uruguayos do, as if this is something new! Be glad you are actually getting dirt, woman, because with the effort it took to find and arrange, I could have learned the long lost dark arts of alchemy, willed the goddamn stuff into existence, and built an army of golem slaves to move it where it needs to go!!!)

Turns out she was sleeping and didn’t hear the phone ringing. Anyhow, DirtBob is a couple houses down, and no wonder he hadn’t gotten WifeBob’s attention because he was knocking on the wrong door. Who knows how that happened because I told him it was the house without a name in front, between (x) house and (y) house. Not rocket science. Maybe that’s why he is DirtBob and not BrainSurgeonBob. WifeBob, ever prepared, does not have the money to pay DirtBob and strategically asks him to bring the second truckload tomorrow. So the Quest for Dirt is completed, sort of.

OK, one situation defused. Kinda.

By the time we finished with the realtor and went to get the photos, it was 12:00 noon. Great, we think, because the embassy’s posted hours are 9:30am until 3pm, and we still have 3 hours to get this done. Erring on the side of caution, we ordered 8 photos each, because we know that somehow the bureaucrats will lose everything 4 times so best to have enough copies on hand.

Good, another situation defused. Or so we thought…

We drive to the consulate, find a parking space, and walk around to the gate. We tell the guard we are there for tourist visas. No, not here, says he, go to that building down yonder, that’s where the tourist voodoo happens. So we go there. Another gate, another guard. We stand there at the gate waving our hands for about a minute in front of the guard booth, which is maybe 20 feet away, and we can see the guard looking off into space and not noticing us. Finally we get his attention, and state our intentions. No, this place is only open from 9 until 12. Look at the clock, 1:30.

Skullfuck me with a sledgehammer.

Do that twice. Because for the past couple of weeks, 3 of us have been attempting to contact the Paraguayan consulate in Montevideo by phone to find out the proper hours and procedure for this whole thing. They never pick up their phone and never return calls. I firmly believe that they have someone there who is paid to sit and watch a phone ring all day.

We called SwingDanceBob to see if she wanted to hang out and cry into some beer with us, but she was unavailable, so we called VikingBob, who was. And we cried into our beers with our tails between our legs. Then we drove another 2.5 hours home, and must return on Monday to attempt a repeat of the whole goddamn process.

All for a rubber stamp on a piece of paper.

Ain’t this all just a fucking bag of laughs?