A couple of weeks ago, we had a pretty bad rainstorm. Backyard flooded, thunder shook the house, hours and hours of heavy down pours, et cetera, et cetera. I learned later that it was essentially a 10-year storm, which means that a storm that bad only passes through about every ten years.
This storm was so bad, in fact, that the ceiling in our converted-study sprung a series of small leaks. Nothing devastating, but we had been informed that it is our responsibility to inform the consulate in the even that any thing goes awry in our sparkly new home. Being naive and grateful for said home, I passed the word on to Natalie who sent in a work order.
Either that same day or the next, a Fast Service Networker (FSN)came over to assess the problem. I showed him the few spots that had dripped a couple of times during a pretty bad, and not too common storm. Structural problems are not the consulate's business, so they would have to work with our landlords. Besides, it was raining again, and there isn't much you can do to fix a leaky ceiling during the rain.
The next clear day, the FSN returned with a very old man; let's call him Tweedle Dee. He came and looked at where I said the leaks had appeared, climbed on to our roof and left saying he didn't have everything he needed to fix the problem with him.
Fast forward one week later, and another intense storm later - one that was so intense it knocked out our power for almost two hours, but not so bad that the ceiling leaked anymore - and the FSN arrives with Tweedle Dee and another guy; his name will be Tweedle Lazy. They get started around 10 a.m.ish, which was rather disruptive for me because I had planned to go grocery shopping that day and had dropped Natalie off at work so I could have the car.
Noon rolls around, and the FSN asks if I have some water I could spare the Tweedles. No problem, it was very hot out. They proceed with a two-hour lunch break, work for about 30 more minutes, and call it a day. They'll come back tomorrow. Fine. Works for me; I still have time to go grocery shopping.
Friday is the same routine. They start work around 10 a.m., take a two-hour lunch, mooch some more bottled water (they know they are taking a lunch break; why don't they bring their own damn water?), leave my ceiling looking like this, and leave for the weekend saying they'll see me on Monday.
Well, Friday night another bad storm arrives in the middle of the night. Knocked out power again, briefly, and it probably had more to do with the heavy wind than anything else. Natalie suggests we (me) should check on the study to make sure it isn't leaking. Nah. The only time it leaked, it poured for hours; this storm isn't another 10-year storm. Next morning, sure enough, there is a small stack of very wet papers. The Tweedles have managed to worsen the situation, and in only three weeks time. And there is a chance of rain every day this week, so it is unlikely they'll be here at all and likely that it will continue to leak with every storm. This is your reward for doing what you're supposed to do.
So to tie that exhaustive story back to the beginning of this post, for whatever reason, Americans are a very industrious people. And while not trying to be racist, that trait does not seem to translate to our neighbors in the South.
(Some would say it is our Puritan heritage, but I wholly disagree. Speaking of which, has any historic group benefited more from America's success than the Puritans? What if our nation had not come out on top and rather was a struggling nation? Would people blame the Puritans? After all, what do you expect out of a nation that was founded by Puritans who could make it in Europe? The Puritans and the Founding Fathers definitely are doing better today than they probably ought to be. And before you question me on that, remember that it was the Founding Fathers' failure to end slavery that sparked a civil war some four score and seven years later, so let's not try to invoke their visions when it comes to legislating this country today. But I digress.)
Cultural difference are bound to rear their head from time to time, and we need to keep our guard up so that our reaction will not be insulting to our host nation. But this one I just don't get. Finish the job already!
SHORT VERSION: this blog is full of typos and grammatical inaccuracies. Also, everything in this blog is the opinion and observations of the author and anyone else who might happen to agree with said opinions and observations.
I'm married to a foreign service officer, so I left my life in the States to travel the world as she works as an American diplomat. Our first stop is in Hermosillo, Mexico, where we have lived since July 2010.