Continuing with my sad story – we left the bank and headed to the Ferreteria (hardware/farm store). There I asked, among other things, for string for the weed eater. Now, this store has several employees who speak perfectly good Spanish, but the owner and his wife also work there, and they speak Chinese and Spanish – sort of. That is because they are from China (: )). Of course, for this day (now yesterday) the one who was available to serve me was Miki, the boss. I needed .065 string, and asked for it. He said no, .085. I said, “No, I need .065 for this weed eater”. He repeated, “No, .085”. WE did this 3 or 4 times, when I finally thought I understood that he did not have any .065. This was after I wrote it down, and he scratched out what I wrote and wrote .085 twice. I was thinking we had a communication problem, but finally I asked, “You only have .085? he said, “No, I have every size string there is, and there is no .065.” He was laughing at me being so silly. I had bought this string before and was pretty sure it was the right number, so I said, Ökay, I will bring you some when I find it to show you what to buy for the future”. He laughed and said that I would not because it did not exist. I only smiled and said that I needed some other things.
Actually I needed two orders of things. One that I would take with to our house and another for Yeya, a widow in our congregation whose house is in sad disrepair. He asked what else I needed. I told him 3 inch concrete nails, and he got them. Then I said I needed 3 bags of concrete and his shoulders dropped. He said”, “Okay, but what other small stuff?” I looked over the list and said the rest was big stuff, planks of wood, etc.. He then directed me to the check out counter saying something about the cashier could help me with the big stuff. I said okay, thanks and went to the counter. I told her that Miki had sent me to her to order concrete and other outside stuff. She looked at me like I was crazy. I said, “I know, you don’t do that, but he said to come to you.” She asked him something in Spanish too fast for me to understand then rolled her eyes and asked what I needed. I began reading my list and she wrote down what I needed. One of the things was 4 fajillas 1 x 4 x 12”. After she wrote it down, she could not find the price, so asked Miki how much they cost each. He said $3.00. She wrote $3 on the ticket, finished the other things on the ticket, told me the total cost, and I paid for the first order. I told her I had a second ordered to be delivered, so she gave the order to Miki, who took it to an employee to load into our truck.
She and I settle in to fill the second, larger order which includes 4 more fajillas the same size. This is the wood they use to frame up the concrete for floors. Then Miki comes in yelling at the cashier that she should have charged $3.50 for the fajillas (first order) because they need to be cut. He explained this several times before marching back out to watch the order put into the truck. She only smiled and told me that she would need to charge me $3.50 for the second order of fajillas. I told her that was fine. That is when things got a little crazy. She said “Oh! I need to get them to cut the four others while the saw is going!” She ran toward the door as Miki came back in and she said that we needed 4 more boards. He starts raising his voice asking why she did not tell him earlier, she explains it is a different order. He goes to tell the guy cutting and loading the wood. That guy has a problem understanding Miki, so goes to Lynn to explain. H e asks Lynn for the receipt, but Lynn does not understand the Spanish. So comes back to me to tell me that the guy outside wants something but he does not know what. I cannot leave to help him before we finish the order. In the meantime, several men have come to the counter with purchases, and she always rings them up, takes their money, and sacks their things then returns to my order. So before Lynn can walk back out the door the guy comes in and asks the cashier why he is cutting 8 instead of 4 boards. She explains that there are two orders, he says, “So what do I do with the second set of 4 boards?” She says they are to be delivered, and he walks out. Just as we begin again to complete the ordering process the delivery driver comes in and asks if she has any orders, to which she rplies that I am just ordering a delivery. He says to me, “Well, where do you live?”, then “Öh! I remember, across from the Horse ranch named Pomes, right? I said, “Yes, but this is not for my house”. Before I could say more Miki comes in and asks why aren’t they putting the second set of boards in the truck, and why is my order taking so long.
Lynn is back inside, laughing now at the circus act. I am still smoldering over the encounter with the banker, and another man comes up with his arms full of items to buy. The cashier stops talking to Miki and rings up, takes the money, and bags the purchases. Miki is looking to me for answers. I say that I have an order that we are finishing up, and that the last 4 boards are being delivered to another house. The driver pipes in “So it is not to your house?” No, it is to a neighbor’s house who lives near us. When you go to Elsas turn left then take the first right…” The cashier asks me to complete the order so Miki will be happy. The driver says “So when did you move? I thought your house was really nice…” Lynn goes back outside still laughing. The wood cutter comes in asking for the ticket because someone else is saying that all 8 pieces need to go into our truck, but he thinks we did not pay for 8 pieces. It is just too sad to not to laugh. The driver is called away to make another delivery, but the cashier call him back because I was there first. Miki says my order is taking too long, and he needs a copy of the receipt for the delivery (which is not completed because of all the distractions).
I just stand there as two more customers come up, the cashier rings them up, takes their money and bags their goods. Mind you, the bank experience was only an hour ago at this point. I am asking God what I have done wrong. I am sure the girls are waiting at the house (remember the division lesson) so, the driver leaves toward the back of the store, I could not make out what he was saying. I spit out the last two things on my list and plop down my debit card. Miki is standing waiting and grabs the receipt as soon as it is finished. It has not been rung up, but the girl’s calls to see the receipt go unnoticed or unheard. Miki goes to the copy machine, puts the receipt in the top and walks away. The girl does not know how much to charge my card, so we wait, again. The cutter brings the 4 boards inside and asks where the cashier wants them. She said outside, by the saw until the driver is ready to deliver them. More customers come and go. Lynn is in and out. I think he can not stand to miss the circus, but then can’t stand the tension, so leaves again. I begin to silently pray that I don’t explode all over some ( a few) undeserving people, thus setting a poor example of Christ.
After 10 minutes Miki comes and asks why I am still there – he asks the cashier, not me, thankfully. She says she needs the receipt to ring up the transaction and charge my card. He says that if I am using a card she has to charge a 2% fee on the purchase of cement. She looks at me, and I say “fine”. Then Miki walks a way toward the back of the store.
I, at my wits end, call out, “Senor, donde esta la factura? Necesitamos para terminar el ordenar.” (Sir, where is the receipt? We need it to complete the order,) he turns and speaks some rapid Chinese then goes to the copy machine and begins cursing because the paper is not copied. He opens the machine (the one he never pushed the button on to copy) and begins looking for a paper jam. He spends two minutes on this then calls his wife to fix the machine. He says there is a jam and he can not find it. She begins breaking down the machine to find the paper jam. I walk over and tell her that she just needs to push the button as her husband did not. She says no, you can’t push the button when there is a jam. I walk away. Lynn comes and goes. The cashier goes over and asks to borrow the receipt for a minute to ring up the order. The cutter comes in again asking for the receipt for order 2 because he does not think we paid for the second 4 pieces of wood. Miki’s wife lets the cashier have the receipt but the woodcutter takes it from her hands and finds the second order of wood, then asks her where she wants it. She tells him again that they should be set by the saw for the delivery guy.
Right then the deliver guy walks up with a pad of paper asking for directions to my new house. I explain it is not my house, it is a neighbor’s house. I draw a map and explain exactly where her house is, and that there are trees across the road so he cannot go all the way to the house. He says he understands now, and goes to load the ripio (sand / rock mix). The cashier, now with the receipt in hand, rings up the order. I pay (for the privilege of the experience, I think) and with the original receipt head out the door. I realize that the driver does not know what else to put on the truck, so, against my better judgment, return inside while the first set of 4 boards is being loaded in the truck – still don’t know why they waited until I came out to load it.
I asked Miki’s wife to make a copy of the receipt. She said ok, but it would cost me 25 cents. I explain that the copy is for the delivery guy. She says he already has one. I knew he didn’t. I turned to the cashier and asked her if the deliver guy had a receipt. She thought a moment and said “No, we did not get a copy before”. Miki’s wife said, “Then how did he know what to load up?” I said that he looked at it for a moment and saw that he needed 6 meters of ripio so went to load that first. She said he should not have done that without the receipt. I just smiled and handed her the receipt. She took it, put it in the copier, and low and behold! She pushed the button and out came a copy!!!!! She tried to hand me the copy but I asked for the original, so she pulled the original out and gave it to me.
I walked out the door sure that my blood pressure was over the roof. Lynn was finishing tying on the boards, and we headed down the road to buy the string at a different ferretería. As we pulled in the big truck from Miki’s pulled in behind us. The driver got out and said that it would require two loads to get all the materials to Yeya’s house, so he needed $2 more for the second trip. I gave him the $2 , said thank you very much, and walked into the other ferretería. They did not have the string either, so we will have to go to David to find it. Lynn rechecked to be sure, and .065 is what the machine needs.
So we head to the house. When we arrive Yamileth and Emelia are on the front porch waiting. On the back porch two teenagers who used to worship with us are waiting to visit. By now it is 4:45. So I started the class with the girls, and gave them a worksheet, then went to visit with Jairo and Tatiana. Finally at 5:30 I had to tell them that the girls were waiting for a scheduled class, and they said ok, and went out back to visit with Lynn.
The girls and I practiced our times tables for 45 minutes then I sent them on their way before it got dark. They will come back today at 1:00 ( who knows what time it will be, but I will be glad to see them and work with them more.) When they were saying goodbye, I realized that Jairo and Tatiana were still here. I needed to get supper started, but the custom here is if you start on the meal while you have guests, you also feed the guests, and by this time I was totally exhausted and could not imagine entertaining more guests through supper. So I waited. They stayed another 30 minutes, then left in a hurry as the rain started a gain.
At 6:20 I declared that I would not be cooking and we all went to a local restaurant that has the very best grilled chicken and fries. Just as we head to the car the skies open to a downpour. I got soaked getting to the truck. I am worrying about Yeya’s cement, if it is dry. Not paying attention, I step in a hole that causes the water to come pouring into my shoe. I just jumped into the car without a word. We get to the restaurant and the wind is blowing and I am soaked. I gave our only two umbrellas to our guests, so they aren’t too wet. I sit freezing, consoled by the thought of the great grilled chicken dinner I will have. The owner comes to take our order. We all order the same thing, and she goes off to cook. You know what happened next, right? She comes back to our table, Ï am sorry but we are out of grilled chicken, can I get you some fried chicken?” In case you are wondering, no, this is nowhere near the same thing. I order a pork chop and diet coke. Everyone else has the fried chicken. The meal was fine. I froze throughout but the food was good. I nixed the idea of a movie and said I had to go to bed early. I was exhausted and brain-weary. On the way home I tell Lynn I am going to bed by 8. He says, “You can not go to bed without blogging about today. It was just too good to pass up! ”. So I stayed up until 10:00 telling this story, that most of you will not appreciate at all, but I have done it for prosperity’s sake.
I must say, though it may not sound like I know it, I am so blessed to be here, having these problems – these nuisances in a beautiful land with a beautiful people. I know it, God reminds me daily. Just thought you would like to have a chance to relate, and remember that we are all in this boat together.
God is so good to us!
May he bless each of you richly!