Today was one of those days that should have gone perfectly smoothly - it was all organized. Only one rental property to worry about as two of the others are owner-occupied right now, and two others are empty. I should have been home by 11 am wondering what to do with my day.
The carpenter said he would be here at 8 am - he's made a new set of feet for a corner shelf unit. Termites ate the first ones, and I am still in the process of treating the wall behind the unit to stop the critters from coming back. We are in a fight to the death - as soon as I see a new trail starting out of one of the four holes they made in the concrete wall, I scrape it down, stick the edge of the scraper in the hole to loosen it up, and give it a squirt of high-power Raid. I really hate using this stuff as I fear for our health, but there's nothing else to do if I want to keep that piece of furniture. The corner unit has been living on the back terrace all week, waiting for new feet and a coat of poison to ruin the taste of the wood (and hopefully kill any termites who dare try to eat it).
Knowing that toxic fumes might be flying around, I closed all the cats off from the downstairs, and left Loco out on the front terrace. At 8:30 I heard "Buenos" outside the gate, meaning the carpenter had arrived. Of course the first thing he asked for was a saw, which Miguel has but not here at this house - who knows where he's left it, probably at the last place he did some work that required a saw. For this reason I have hidden my own screwdriver set and tape measure - two items I am always looking for and can never find, even though Miguel probably has 50 screwdrivers and who knows how many tape measures. Unfortunately I cannot hide a ladder - so I cannot clean the downstairs fans because the ladder I need is never here - it's probably tucked into a shed at one of the houses he manages, whichever one he worked at last. I finally bought a short one (2 steps), just high enough that I can reach the ceiling fans upstairs. Can't believe Miguel had the nerve to suggest borrowing that ladder to take over to the studio apartment so guests could use it (to reach the dvd player he put up way too high, where nobody can reach it to play a dvd...sigh). I put my foot down and refused - told him to lower the dvd player, the way it used to be in the first place. My ladder and tools stay with me or I'll never see them again.
Anyway...the carpenter made do with a chisel and hammer, so it was noisy around here but in the end the new feet look great. We decided to leave the unit outside for the rest of the day, I wanted to make sure it wouldn't cause any harm should the cats decide to check it out - something they always do when something is different in the house. While he was here I had him measure a poster I had printed - I want him to make me a frame. And we had a couple of other houses to visit so he could measure for new screen doors.
Shortly after 10 I was done with the carpenter but then had to go to the condo unit that had a check-out/check-in - I had some supplies for the cleaning lady. I got there about 10:30, the guests were still there, so we chatted a bit. They informed me that the next guest had come to the condo the evening before and asked for a key for today. What?! Why would a guest do that and why would the other guests comply? There are procedures for guests to get the key - from security - when they check-in. So the system failed.
Ok, so the cleaning lady was there, she had what she needed, the new guests were out there somewhere with a key, and the old guests were all set to leave. I took the empty bottle of water and planned to go back later to pick up the laundry. No sooner did I get to the bank when my phone rang - it was the security guard asking me to come back as the new guests had arrived and were asking about a golf cart key (that I knew nothing about). So back I went, and after much confusion (yes, there is a shared golf cart but nobody left a key and nobody said anything about these guests having permission to use the cart), I was handed a key from the office with instructions to tell the guests to return the key before noon tomorrow. But when I got back to the golf cart, there was no sign of the new guests - they'd headed back to their hotel to prepare for check-out there. Nothing to do but go over and try to find them, and I got lucky as they were heading just inside the gate when I got there. They hopped back on the cart, I took them back to the condo, and headed home for breakfast (although it was now noon, so not sure I can really call it that).
Much as I wanted a bath and nap after I ate, I had to go back into town to buy water and a pump and drop it off at the condo. As I was parked in front of Mirtita's grocery store, I got a call from the a/c repair guy whom I'd called earlier to go out to one of the other homes to check out an a/c problem. I became the go-between as the owners don't speak Spanish and he doesn't speak English. He said he needed to put gas into the a/c, so I asked if he needed money to buy the gas (knowing the answer would be 'yes'). He said he was in centro, so since I was there too, rather than have him go all the way to the other end of the island for money, I said I would give him the money and would later collect from the owners. We agreed he would meet me at Mirtita's - he was very close, he said.
I sat and waited for about 10 minutes, feeling uncomfortable because I was not parked in a legal parking spot. No sign of Julio, so I called him again - he still said he was close, to wait for him. I gave him a few more minutes and decided to leave for the condo, and of course he called just seconds after I'd given up my illegal parking spot. I told him where I was going and he said he would meet me there.
Well, I did what I had to do and Julio was not there so I called and said I was leaving and again asked where he was. He said he was waiting for me at Mirtita's. Lucky for him - just as I was about to turn left onto the street leading to Mirtita's, I spotted Julio standing by the curb at the ferry. Hmmm...not exactly Mirtita's to me, lucky I knew what he looked like. So I gave him the money and he said he would call me later so I could translate what he'd done and the cost. It was only as I was driving away and wondering why he was standing there that I realized - he thought I was talking about Mirtita's BAR, and he had been there waiting for me all along while I was sitting and waiting for him around the corner at Mirtitia's STORE. Never the twain would meet except for the cell phone.
When the carpenter came in the morning I was dressed in old clothes, so when we went out I changed into one of Miguel's tshirts sitting in the clothes basket - I was too lazy to run upstairs for my own shirt. I didn't really think anyone was going to see me in that shirt, I thought I was making a quick trip into town and then back home - turns out the whole island saw me as I must have driven through town at least 5 times today. Lucky it was clean and sort of fit me.
I finally got my bath at 3 pm, and a short nap in the hammock upstairs. Then I made my special soup and ate it with a salami sandwich. At 5 I took Loco for his golf cart tour, dropped off some soup for one of the homeowners, and looked for the carpenter to pay him for today (he wasn't home). I decided to drop Loco back home and go to the supermarket for dog food, and then fill up the gas tank and try the carpenter one more time. I got lucky - the gas tank was almost empty, and the carpenter was home. Now I'm home, it's 7:30, and after I publish this blog I'm going to make some coffee and start coding a new website. I hope nobody else calls or has issues, and tomorrow is Sunday - I might actually get something more done around here.