Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just another day in paradise...

Yes, this is for all of you out there who think we're "living the dream" here on Corfu...
Currently we're facing a few problems: First there's this giant hole that has appeared in the front garden. It is huge. It is in fact the septic field. OK, it is one of the THREE septic fields that are in the front garden. This is the septic field we didn't know about. To date it now appears, it has never functioned as anything but a large underground hole covered over by cement and grass. (It's a good job T wasn't mowing the grass when it disappeared as it's' about 30 feet deep!)

To make a long story short, when we first moved here we had a "shakedown cruise" with T and myself, two of (the three of) our grown sons and six of their strong young friends (you know who you are!) who all flew, train-ed and ferried here from different parts of the globe, to spend a happy couple of weeks at Christmas time clearing the yard and attics of assorted useless gear and on the way, having a nice "free" vacation. T and I rented a few cars (all well past their service due dates!) and ta-da - Instant houseparty!

As with all houseparties this one shortly after inauguration fell afoul- literally- as the toilets backed up with ten of us using them. We were fortunate and had someone come out to take care of the problem within a day- but it was long 28 hours to work around!

After everyone left, we decided to put in a new septic field to assist the first one. When the diggers dug up the front yard, imagine everyone's surprise to discover that there was a second one already in the ground. It had never been properly connected to the first one, making it obsolete before it was ever completed.

We put in the "third" septic field anyway, connected it, and the diggers filled in the front yard and for the last ten years, T has been trying to get grass to grow where the diggers mangled the soil to the level of a gravel road .

That is our first paradisical challenge. The second is the water leak that is currently in our front hallway.

This- T is convinced- is because the many angles of our roof line are challenged by the great need for a total roof replacement.

At this point the roof tiles are about as water repellent as clay pots added to the small and large spaces between many of the tiles (and no underform at all!) the roof is good for shade, but not so useful with rain.

T has jury rigged and repaired as best he can but he says that the time has come. Of course this is a VAST roof that needs many many many tiles as well as an underfoundation because the pitch needs to be changed so the water will run OFF the roof rather than pool in the center of certain roof areas that are a bit flat making the water trickle into the attic below and run to whatever point is most vulnerable in the ceiling line of the inside of the house. Sigh. The worst of it is that the roof really can't be dealt with til next spring at the earliest. So we're in for the rains AND for the potential redecorating (plastering repainting) it will entail.

Sometimes I think we are rebuilding this house piece by piece.

Lastly our challenge in paradise is the phone. T went downtown to the bizarre and Kafkaesque offices of Ote (phone company) and felt like an extra in Brazil (the movie- not the country)

After finally speaking to a man to tell him our phone was out, the man insisted in an irritated voice that it was our inside phones that were the problem. He never dialed our number to hear the recorded message claiming technical difficulties with the line, nor did he take note of T mentioning that there was an actual LINE down since the storm!

The odd thing is that we still can connect to the internet, tho the connection is irregular. (ranges between nothing to 18Mbps to 54Mbps)

Not having a phone wouldn't be so terrible if it wasn't for the fact that I am leaving in a week and we are tying to organize and connect the equivalent of the landing of the forces in Normandy on D-day with my mother and my sons and several retirement facilities, hotels and airlines.

So. We here in Paradise are baffled. Confounded we are, to the point where we decided to go out last evening with friends and have a glass at the Exhausted Dog Bar (also known as Stavs) in Gouvia.

We were all entertained by this dog that simply "crashed" on the floor for the evening and EVERYONE had to step over him.

We decided he'd been drinking all afternoon and needed a place to crash.

I've changed the music again to reflect the irony in our lives in paradise- it's a bit like instead of an orchestra, rather the steel drum rendition of "Thus spake Zarathustra" or the perhaps the wistful pan pipes playing a lively "stomp"! (I find this little music player to be seductively becoming the vehicle of the soundtrack of my life!) Oh and I also include an old chestnut version of the song Brazil...


  1. It must be very difficult to face all these problems and it must be even more difficult dealing with people who speak a foreign language. I leave all that stuff to my in-laws!

  2. It is difficult particularly when you get someone to show up and you can make yourself understood and they say they'll take care of it but when you ask them what they plan to do, you roll your eyes because their idea is awful and won't work at all but just make a bigger mess- and they want to charge you a fortune for it with no guarantee!! GAAAH!

  3. We had very similar problems with our septic tank. They are no fun and soon to be outlawed by the European Community.
    I like your blog! Thanks for following mine.

  4. Dedene! Welcome to the blog! I found you via French Leave (another blog I enjoy). Thanks for the follow.

    Yes the septic field is a problem. The sewer lines have yet to reach out from this village this far though. (Tho I am thankful we have a well as our water is much tastier than the city water AND much cheaper!)



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