A yard full of workers

by Jim on 19 January 2008

I’ve been speaking Spanish a lot this week. I guess if you’re going to have an excuse for not studying Spanish, that’s a good one! I even got to watch a fight in Spanish, so I saw how that’s done.

Ok, I generally speak Spanish a lot, but this week was unusual. We had our landlord and his son over quite a bit this week, and a number of workmen (organized by our landlord). Some of the work involved the neighbour out back, so we met him (it’s a newly built house, so they just moved in). Some of the work involved the people in the company to one side of us, so we talked to them. Some of it even involved the gardener on the other side.

Repairs were being done to our front gate. Two men came to do that. They were obviously good at their job, but they did run into some difficulties at one point, and ended up being here a day or two longer than expected. And they were a couple hours late the first day, which made the other workmen look good.

The others were there with a truck that carried a huge tank. They were supposed to empty out our sewage tanks, which are under the ground in our garden (alas! Our poor garden. We dug it all up.). This procedure actually started last week.

We talked all about the size of their tank, and the size of our underground tanks, and all that. But when our landlord’s son took a look, he thought their tank looked a lot smaller than they had said.

“If you don’t believe me”, said the sewage man, “measure it yourself!”

He didn’t realize he was talking to a student who was studying to be an engineer. A few minutes later he was presented with a paper full of calculations proving that the tank was no where near as large as he had claimed.

That’s when I got to see the fight in Spanish.

If you had been in the area, you would have heard it too. Everyone in the street around was involved.

For the first part of this week we tried to get another group of sewage-emptiers to do the job. After a great deal of patching up tubes, dropping things by mistake into the sewage tank (to remain there for all time), and two or three visits (they had to leave to empty the tank), and discussion, we have two more or less empty sewage tanks. Good for two or three years or so, I understand.

Meanwhile our landlord was bargaining with the neighbours about how to re-route a tube from our roof, which carries the water down after the rain. He needed to work on three properties to accomplish that.

And one thing about having our landlord around – if he’s not busy with something else, he finds something to fix. One block of our sidewalk no longer wobbles, and after several hours a lot of the growth of various plants has been hacked back and cleaned up.

We talked about screws, measurements, Calgary, how to answer the phone, music groups, presidents of the United States, and sewage systems. Business practices, ways of praying, work ethics in Mexico, how they talk faster up north, and planting seeds. And around here you spend a lot of time watching the workmen. I helped quite a bit too. But I didn’t get paid anything.

Thursday night I got together with some friends for prayer and Bible study. And today we split up – Nathanael and Shari went to a birthday party down the street (a Superman party), and Hannah and I went to a birthday party just out of town (a horse party. Sadly, they didn’t let the adults ride.).

But after all, I do need to study too. Maybe then I’ll have something new to say! Here’s hoping that we’ll have a more “normal” schedule next week, and I’ll be able to catch up on the study. But I’ll be talking too. I’m a little sick, so I’ll probably be off to the doctor, practising my medical terminology. ¡Qué divertido!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Grandma C. January 21, 2008 at 11:23 pm

That was quite the exciting story of the work being done around your place! Loud fight and all! You must have understood quite a bit of Spanish as you seem to know what the many subjects of conversation were.
Too bad about your garden. Giving you something else to do as you’re able. The kids probably enjoy planting stuff, eh?

Jim January 23, 2008 at 7:50 am

A couple of clarifications – first, it wasn’t a loud fight. It was mostly at a normal level. The reason you would have heard it is because someone would have come over to talk to you about it.

Also, I guess I’m kind of using a non-Canadian term – when I say “garden”, I actually mean “yard”. Part of it really is a garden, but mostly it was our “lawn” that was dug up. Everything is replanted, we just have to wait for it to grow back. I doubt it will all be back to normal before we move.

Seems to me several countries use the word “garden” for what in Canada we would call a “yard”. Funny! :)

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