Tuesday, March 21, 2017

the joys of home ownership

"There are some problems at the house."

So said my sainted brother when he picked me up at the airport. His voice did not betray that anything major had happened -- such as Barco had come back to life. They were just -- "problems."

He then started his list:
  • The well pump keeps running and will not shut off.
  • A glass shelf in one of the guest bedrooms is broken.
  • The rope that lifts the cover to the pool's underground reservoir has snapped.
  • Netflix freezes.
  • The electricity in two of the rooms is not working.
Most of them happened just before I returned.

Any homeowner will immediately recognize the list. There must be a rule in The Creator's Big Book of Consequences that when one thing fails in a house, it will be joined by company to avoid any sense of not belonging.

And that is true with this lot. None of them are difficult to resolve. And, with the exception of one, I know exactly how to put them in working order.

The well pump was running because the toilet float in the pool's underground reservoir had corroded and snapped off -- again. This has happened three times since I bought the house, and readers have made several suggestions.

Lupe, the pool man, a disciple of Occam's Razor, had a far simpler and more elegant solution. The floats seem to last for just under a year. Instead of going into crisis mode when it fails, I could set up a schedule to replace it every six months -- when I change the well filters.

I was not surprised about the glass shelf. The original piece broke while Dora was cleaning it. (The screws holding it in place had not been adequately tightened.)

A local glass shop cut a new piece for us in December. When Darrel and I installed it, we discovered it was a bit too thick. With a bit of finagling, we managed to get it in place. Obviously, our work was not up to Mexican standards.

I will try to find a shop today that can cut an appropriate size of tempered glass. That may mean a trip to Manzanillo.

When the builder created a handle for the concrete cover for the pool reservoir, she used rope. That was not a good choice in this climate. It rotted and snapped when Darrel tried to lift the cover.

Lupe suggested replacing it with non-rusting wire with a segment of hose to create a handhold. Another elegant solution. I will be off to the hardware store to purchase both.

The Netflix problem was easy. This time.

About a year ago, I could not get Netflix to load any movies. It would get to 99% and hang up.

An internet search told me I was not alone. It is a common problem. But there were all sorts of solutions -- most of them involving some rather complicated steps involving addresses and default settings changes.

Rather than do that, I relied on the old technical support solution. I unplugged everything from the voltage protector, unplugged the protector from the wall, and waited a minute. Problem fixed. Just as it was this morning.

The last problem is a bit trickier. The power to the storage room and the pool bathroom (both lights and wall switches) is out.

Darrel, who is a former contractor, tried the obvious solution by throwing all of the circuit breakers. That did not work. When the electrician installed the two circuit breaker boxes, he labelled none of the breakers. So, we do not have a starting place to narrow down our search.

When I go to the hardware store to buy the wire and hose, I will also buy a circuit tester. I suspect one of the breakers may have failed. And, if we are going to spend all of that time testing circuits, we may as well figure out which circuit does what, and then label the boxes accordingly.

So, that is how I will be spending part of my homecoming week. Of course, had I been here when all of these things happened, I would be spending the same time. It is simply one of the periodic sacrifices we make as homeowners.

But, it is a constant reminder of why I decided to retire to Mexico rather than to live in the soft opulence of Salem. I wanted to wake up every morning and not have the slightest idea how I was going to get through the day.

Welcome to Mexico.

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