Posts Tagged ‘life’

If you want the Uruguay experience:

  • Take a blanket and soak it with water.
  • Get a filthy dog and soak it with water.
  • Drill holes in your roof.
  • Break half your plumbing, short out half of your electrical system. Not just half-assed breaking, no, make sure that shit’s leaking into the walls and shorting stuff out everywhere.
  • Rip out all your insulation.
  • Then turn the AC down to 50 degrees, and lay under the soggy blanket with the wet dog so you can experience what everything smells and feels like here (Obligatory Mold Smell + dog ass), while you try and get a bunch of disinterested, hopeless, unskilled morons (extra-special drooling short-bus morons) to fix all the broken stuff. Using all the wrong tools (bubble gum, masking tape, and coat hangers get you bonus points).
  • Oh, and pay 3x as much as you normally pay for the cheaper version of the stuff you usually buy.
  • Then fire some morons, and help them sue you.
  • If you want to get around, buy an ancient piece of shit car from 1970 and spend US$8000 on it.
  • Then pay $8 per gallon to fuel it.
  • Call someone to deliver something tomorrow, but then tell him you really meant next week but hey, why not just do it in a month, or not at all, if that’s what suits him. After all, you are a paying customer!

I’m sure I am missing about 500 other things but this should get you well on your way.

No, I didn’t tag this as humor because it’s not really funny.

It’s been a while since I have written anything. The main reason is *probably* because I have been on a strict media fast. It makes me much happier burying my head in the sand. I’ve been happy playing with my little hydroponic garden with my 1000 pet ladybugs (who reproduce better than rabbits– all they do is screw and make babies!) and my homebrew video game projects and myriad other spinning plates.

I tend not to write much when I am happy. It’s more an outlet for my rage. Obviously. You people are rage vampires, feeding on the rancid bloodborne vitriol of my angst!

Drowning in a sea of morons is a voluntary choice. Once in a while they moron on you (I have just made moron into a verb) and you have to scrub it off (with bleach), but for the most part, it seems like you can go about your daily life without getting soiled.

Well, sorta…

debtchart2014

But yeah, buy metals and commodities and hunker down and hope for the best because you have prepared for the worst.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Death Star. It’s easier here, getting things done. Well, sorta…

Never buy a condo under mine. Seriously.

A couple weeks back I found a wet spot in my guest bedroom carpet. Having no pets, it was a curious thing. So I vacuumed it up with the neighbor’s carpet shampooer and went about my daily life. The wet spot kept getting bigger. And more soggy. To the point where a pond was forming in the floor. And so I called the condo nazis to inform them that we had a leak, and to inquire about the process of getting it dealt with.

“We’ll send the plumbers over,” Gemeinschaftsleiter Frau Darth Murrischegesicht says, and so they did.

“Oh, this is definitely your AC condensate line,” PlumberBob tells me, after taking a 2-minute look at everything, “Not our thing. You have to call your AC guy.”

And so I call the AC guy, and he comes over, and we change the AC condensate line to drain into the water heater’s emergency overflow pan drain line.

Yet the pond continued to grow.

And so I called the insurance company and they said to deal with Gemeinschaftsleiter Frau Darth Murrischegesicht, and Gemeinschaftsleiter Frau Darth Murrischegesicht said to deal with the insurance company, and the plumbers said to deal with the AC guy and the AC guy and I did our best and it didn’t help.

Meanwhile, water began to leak into the ceiling of the downstairs neighbors. Which is why you should never buy a condo under mine. Seriously.

This whole situation is merely a microcosm of why governments are such bullshit– if there is this much moronism in such a simple situation, imagine what it’s like on a national level. Actually, don’t. It will depress the shit out of you.

So a week goes by with me getting angrier and angrier because the people who insist they know what they know do not actually know what they insist that they know, and are, in fact, surprising me at their very existence and continued ability to pick up food and put it into their own mouths. And the water continues to leak.  Meanwhile I am pulling the weight of all the idiots who should be fixing this– 10 gallons of water per day out of just the dehumidifier and the whole place is starting to reek of wet carpet and mold. 5 fans on, hourly passes with the carpet shampooer to suck the water out of the carpet. Setting up buckets and pans in a one-man reverse bucket brigade to keep my downstairs neighbor’s place from flooding. It literally squishes up water out from underfoot when you walk in there.

Sounds kind of like a small-scale model of what is going on with the feds.

And so I recruited my neighbor and we picked up a hammer and a drywall saw and went to town on the walls. And surprise surprise, we found the leak. A broken pipe was pissing a geyser of water out into the insulation, which was running down inside the wall and into the floor. And so we called the plumbers and told them what was going on, and they said they would come by.

A few more hours passed and we said, “fuck this, let’s fix it ourselves,” and so we did. The plumbers showed up at 9pm, 8 hours later. I told them to take a hike, since we’d gotten tired of waiting and did their jobs for them.

So the next day, I go in and tell Gemeinschaftsleiter Frau Darth Murrischegesicht that she will be paying me back for the work I have done, the repairs, the new carpet pad, etc etc etc and she agrees, but get this– she insists that the plumbers come in and inspect the repair before she can sign off on it!!! HAHAHAHA!

Yes. I laugh. Heartily.

You fuckers refuse to do anything to fix a plumbing issue that is clearly your domain (it’s even in the condo docs) and then demand the final say in someone actually getting up to do it themselves!? And then send the same crew of droolers to inspect the propriety of something they both misidentified and refused to take responsibility for when it was clearly their responsibility?

Wow… How… government!

(yes, I just turned moron into a verb, and government into an adjective)

El Buen Maestro

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Humor, Life, Stupidity
Tags: , ,

That’s what my downstairs neighbors called me after I went in and fixed the leaky pipes myself. Seeing as how the guy who installed them has probably fled Chile to avoid the torches and pitchforks, and the guy who I called to help me never showed up.

And so I learned how to solder copper pipes (because one of the first things I did during the teardown was to put the chisel straight through the gas line) and do Super-Duty Gringo jungle repairs on poorly-done Chilean PVC. And how to use plumber’s epoxy. And I actually did it right, because now there is no more feces raining down from anywhere but my own butt.

If this keeps on its current trajectory, in 6 more months I will have all the skills necessary to rebuild civilization from the stone age to the digital age after the zombie apocalypse wipes out humanity.

What had happened is that the “maestro” put a PVC pipe into an ancient iron one, and sealed it with nothing more than an entire tube of silicone. Said silicone was probably not meant for constant exposure to humidity and butt stuff, and so it fell apart 6 months later. And said pigiron shitty pipe was probably not meant for humidity and butt stuff either, because it had decomposed accordingly, and so I rerouted the other plastic pipes to another outlet, and epoxied the hell out of everything just to be sure.

Cutting the whole thing apart was a mess. It’s been done a hundred times; hero cuts into monster with chainsaw, getting sprayed with blood from head to toe, leaving a clean silhouette on the wall behind him. Only with me it was different in color and odor, as the reciprocating saw cut into the fermented sedimentary strata of poop in the bottom of the pipe… let me tell you there is no sensation quite like it. Last I felt this way was in Uruguay when I got a steaming shit shower from the backwards-built septic tank.

I knew better than to eat until I was done with this stuff, because I knew there would be gag moments. This was one of them.

I still don’t want to eat. I smell like a sewer. But it’s done!!!

Next I get to play with tile and cement, which is childs play for me at this point.

It’s funny, the whole situation, because I could have been finished with this crap a week ago had I just dove into it myself. Instead I kept waiting around for a guy I thought was reponsible to come and take care of it for me, because, well, I earn a lot more in the same amount of time for working my own job. It’s more efficient to do that and pay someone to do the repairs while I work, IF he fucking shows up to do said work. He said he would, and so I repeat the age-old mañanismo bullshit putting off my own stuff waiting on something that will never happen.

But hey, now it’s been fixed by a gringo, and con suerte it will endure for another century.

And now I am better than a Maestro Chileno. I am El Buen Maestro Gringo.

SOSAS

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Life, Real estate, Stupidity, Travel
Tags: , , , ,

Same Old South American Shit (SOSAS) hooray for fun acronyms.

I came here to do a few small select things.

  • Remove WifeBob from the Chilean medical insurance policy.
  • Get the car’s paperwork renewed for another year.
  • Go on an awesome road trip through Patagonia.
  • Pack up my things into storage and rent the Volcano Lair out as a furnished short-term rental.

Even the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. We are, dear reader, once again in South America…

Let’s start with the first simple thing. I contacted my medical insurance rep months ago to ask how I might have WifeBob removed from the policy since she no longer wants/needs it. “Oh, all we need is your signature,” I was told, and so that’s what I went on. Months later, here I am in Chile to meet and sign, and “Oh, we need your divorce certificate.” Gee, would have been nice to have known that when I asked months ago, right? So I would have time to get a copy and bring it down with me? So now, in order to take care of this crap, it will cost me several days which may eat into my road trip and possibly make it a no-go.

Then the car. I keep, in my opinion, one of the best-maintained little shitboxes in all of Chile. Yes it often sits unused for long periods of time but I keep it in such a high degree of operational fitness that after 6 months of non-use, all I need to do is turn the key and it comes back to life. And so, I figured, it should be a piece of cake to take it into the inspection station, get my papers, and off we go on our road trip. Not so! I was rejected flat-out for “visible blue smoke” which does not exist. Not only am I mechanically inclined enough to know that this is bullshit, but I took it to a mechanic for further inspection, whereupon we both scratched our heads as to what they could have possibly seen to make them think it was so bad that they failed it outright and did not even bother to give it the emissions test. Oh, and they also failed it for having improperly-aligned headlights, even though nothing has changed since last year when it passed with flying colors and perfect emissions. Weird.

So anyhow, I have to “fix the problems” and then bring it back for re-testing. Which will eat into potential road trip time and may make it a no-go.

As to the possibility of the road trip at all at this point, it teeters on the edge.

The only potentially good thing in this little to-do list is the prepping of the place for rental, which is really just a matter of boxing a few things up, upgrading the locks on a closet, and handing the keys over to my chosen AirBnB rental manager (who I have dealt with in the past with excellent results). But, alas, he is on vacation right now and won’t be back until about a week before I leave. So if the road trip is delayed I may miss my window to do my dealings with RentalBob. In my opinion doing the rental stuff is more important than the road trip, and so the road trip plans are being squeezed from two directions.

Ahhhhh, life in South America. It is content to leave you alone completely, until you decide to do things.

In other news, I learned that since October, our citizenship file in Uruguay has finally passed muster (2+ years of waiting) and is now in the hands of the bureaucrat who will actually make our passports happen. Whatever that means. Nobody who is supposed to know seems to know, and they don’t answer emails or phone calls. The only information we have is that the next step should take 8 months (since October 2014), which means that in theory, in April, if all goes to plan, I can wrangle someone who will give me my goddamned passport. But, Uruguayan time being Uruguayan time, 8 months really means another 4 years. There is actually a formula for this:

Let Z = real time in months. Let Y = time promised by Uruguayan in months.

Z = Y (6 +- 48000)

Back in Chile

Posted: March 17, 2015 in Life, Travel
Tags: , , ,

The BobMobile lives.

It sat for 6 months in the parking lot, with the battery disconnected, having collected a thick sludgy layer of condensed Santiago Air Slime, into which the local kids had carved finger graffiti with increasingly-desperate pleas of “Lavame” (Wash me!). I wondered if it would start, but BobMobile roared to life on the first crank.

I am getting BobMobile ready for another legendary BobQuest journey. This time I will hit the southern half of Chile in the hopes that I reach as far south as roads go, on the “Ruta Fin del Mundo.”

It really is the best little piece of shite car I have owned. I might just drive her up through the entire continent and bring her “home” to the US once my dealings in Chile wind to a close. If that becomes home again. You see, I can’t fucking make up my mind.

It’s weird being back here after a 6 month absence spent back in the old republic. As FrenchBob said to me a couple weeks ago, we expats are, “Avoir le cul entre deux chaises,” which means, “To see ones ass perched between two chairs.” It’s an excellent saying for folks who just can’t figure out where they belong anymore. I feel perfectly at home here in Chile, and I don’t miss the US. Yet.

I don’t know if it’s a “tolerance battery” that wears down, or if it’s just itchy feet. A few months in a place and then you can’t wait to get back to wherever you were before. All the same, I like to rearrange my furniture in an equal timeframe. Are we just wired for a necessary change of scenery within and without?

Just bizarre stuff this week.

The other day I headed to Napa to get some parts for the new (to me) BobWagon. First car I have owned in the USA in some 10 years. Maybe longer. The new BobWagon is a cast iron behemoth, the type of finely aged car that is too substantial to rust away, and can last forever if you take care of it. Its previous owner let some things go 🙂 Fortunately my Zombie Apocalypse skills come into play and I can have it running like a Timex with just a few dollars, elbow grease, and bleeding knuckles. It was a cheap purchase, and it’s a lot better than riding in the winter rain. So, yeah, Napa…

Anyways I was on the BobCycle, and this kid rode up to me on his scooter to ask me about my motorcycle. So we chatted a bit, and he headed out.

Same day, I had to go back to Napa for another part, and in the parking lot, as soon as I am backing out of my space, I hear a loud crash behind me and then a car comes careening across the opposing lanes right into a fire hydrant. Bent the thing to a 45 degree angle. No, there was not the stereotype movie scene geyser.

The driver was in shock and I had to pull him out of his car and shut off the engine. His face had been bashed pretty hard from the airbag deploying. He was just sitting there as his car filled with smoke, in a complete daze. After we sat him down and checked him over, got the first aid kit going, I left him to the folks at the car parts store.

Had I been a few seconds earlier I could have been wrapped up in that accident.

Next morning I read about that kid on the scooter, having been killed in a hit and run accident on the same road.

Had I been a few minutes earlier it could have been me. Maybe if we hadn’t crossed paths, he wouldn’t have gotten run over.

So then I go to see Interstellar at the movie theater, and right as the climax begins and they are about to enter the black hole, the theater fire alarm goes off and the movie stops and everyone evacuates. Nobody actually pulled the alarm, the fire team checked all the triggers. It just happened.

*Warning: spoiler alert*

So then fortunately we got to sit back down after a 30 minute delay (which allowed me an intermission to pee!) and then see that the theme of the movie is all about communicating across spacetime through tweaking events, and it leads me to wondering if all this weird Final Destination crap is significant.

Because it reminds me of the clusters of clusterfucks that seem to happen to me, like how my drivers license was suspended (unbeknownst to me) which led to me being taken to jail while I was backing out of the parking lot of the pharmacy, where I was getting medicine for my sick wife at the time, who then had to come bail me out, which then led to me to going through all the BS required to fix the situation, which I finally accomplished, the day before I had to take said wife to the bus station downtown to go see her family over Easter, which led to me getting pulled over on the way to the station, which led me to being re-arrested for the same “crime” which had already been resolved, but their records had simply not been updated, which led me to have to be bailed out again by said wife who spent her travel money on getting me out of jail for no good reason. Which added just a bit to my lack of respect for “authority.”

And the time that I got pulled over for some other bullshit thing, the cop taking insane liberties with a typo on my auto registration (he even removed the sticker from my license plate as “evidence”), writing me up a pile of expensive tickets, which led me to go to court, where I was pulled over AGAIN in the parking lot of the very court building (on my way to said court hearing), at which point I went completely raving Hulk postal on the cops and they actually let me go, which led me to wasting several hours in the court room explaining to the judge that the whole series of unfortunate events stemmed from some incompetent at the DMV. Which added just a bit more to my lack of respect for “authority.”

Oh, and between the sticker “evidence” confiscation and my actual court hearing, I was pulled over other numerous times because I had no valid sticker on the license plate. Scumbag pig cops have some kind of crazy radar for this stuff. It was so bad that I actually got a guest book for them to sign when they pulled me over.

Or, a rare pleasant example, how I ran into the guy who introduced me to Japanese Animation in high school at a one-shot arts theater screening of a Miyazaki film in Portland, Maine.

Anyways, it’s been a hell of a few days of weird shit, and I am wondering who is picking my spacetime banjo strings. Is FutureExpatBob stuck in some black hole tesseract tweaking his past self to take a certain path? Why, oh why, FutureExpatBob, have you put me through such misery?!

I suppose it’s better, though, than going through life blindly trusting people in suits and uniforms.

Today I unearthed my old Argentina Pumas rugby jersey from my boxes of loot I brought back from Uruguay. And so I decided to wear it, after giving it a good wash to get rid of the Obligatory Uruguay Mold Smell (TM).

And so I went out, to do my daily stuff. At the grocery store, I went in to “la cava” which is a sort of glassed-off room where they keep the nice wines and higher-end imported liquors, looking for a bottle of Glenfarclas. They didn’t have the 15-year I was looking for but they did have a 10, so I took that. The guy was talking to me really slowly and clearly, because he figured I was an Argentine. I also noticed that he avoided using Chilean slang.

Honestly I had slipped up and forgotten to get rid of my Rio Platense accent, so it obviously fit with my appearance. It’s funny, the whole time I was on BobQuest, I kept forgetting to “sh” my “ll” and “j” my “y”, and now that I am back in Chile, I am forgetting to “y” my “j” and “ll” my “sh’s.”

And so BoozeVendorBob babied me the whole way through the process, more than he would have done had I been setting off his GringoDar. Then similar happened during checkout, the cash register lady was all step-by-step with me, handholding me through the truly complex and impossible-to-understand credit card transaction I had done a gazillion times.

And again, at the pharmacy, picking up some contact lens solution, PharmacistBob asked me something-or-other which I assumed was an inquiry whether or not I wanted the “boleta” receipt or the “factura” but it was noisy and I didn’t make it out clearly. So, “Perdon?” I asked and he took that split second that I knew was recognition of the Argentine rugby shirt, and he shook his head and corrected himself, automatically choosing the proper boleta receipt for a non-Chilean who couldn’t possibly be tax-exempting the purchase.

In the subway on the way back home, I got lost in thought and lost track of the station names. Not uncommon for me. So at the next stop, I was craning my neck to see out the window, with no luck, where we were. A check behind was blocked by another train in the station. A guy standing behind me took notice that I was looking around, and told me which one we were at. First time that had ever happened, so I nodded thanks to him. I am willing to bet he took me for a tourist who was lost.

So by simple wearing of a foreign team shirt, you are just about guaranteed to be taken as a foreigner here. I’ve shopped at these places more times than I can count, and never before have I been treated this way. Not that it is bad, it is just different, and a bit funny. No wonder the Argies feel like the Chilenos treat them like babies. Because they do. Even if they pretend not to.

So this means I must find a Chile team jersey and wear it, and see what happens. Or, to twist some knives, Peru or Bolivia.