Jan 19, 2013

One More Reason I Love Panama

When I bought my small Panamanian house,  it was a diamond in the rough.  Poco a poco, over the years, I've made upgrades.  As a result, my house has more idiosyncracies than I do.  I know them well and have adapted accordingly. 

Late this Saturday afternoon, however, I walked into 4 inches of stagnant water in the laundry area and a pool of added drainage in the back yard.  My 150 gallon reserve water tank was overflowing at a steady, rapid rate.  But as fast as it ran out, new water was coming into the tank.  When I attempted to adjust the flotation valve, the whole thing fell apart in my hands and a tiny screw, bolt, and pin fell to the bottom of the tank.  That caused the water input to accelerate exponentially and I stood there, like the little boy with his finger in the dike, screaming repeatedly for my neighbor.  Turns out the water valve I previously shut off in my haste wasn't the main water valve.   My neighbor managed to stop the hemorrhaging, and I was able to use my plump-raisin-like finger to call a technician.   His first words to me upon arrival were, "You're lucky.  I had my keys in my hand and was out the door.  If you'd called two seconds later...."

To make a long story short,  3.5 hrs later, when it was pitch black outside, he finally took leave of me and my situation.   It appears that the multiple small plumbing upgrades I've done over the years have created a PVC labyrinth that may someday require a directional map. He added more valves, and my home's circulation now resembles the tubing you'd find hooked to a crashing ICU patient.   But I'm getting off point. 

It took this young man, who was only inches away from going home to eat,  3.5 hours and a fair amount of physical labor to get to the bottom of the problem.  After digging up my yard to trace the water loops,  plus test driving every gadget in my kitchen to retrieve the tiny screw at the bottom of my tank while I stood over him with a purse flashlight,  he sat patiently with me and explained repeatedly why the fiasco happened in the first place.  Then he politely ate my lackluster cooking so I wouldn't feel bad about keeping him from his weekend plans.  The charge for the service call and parts---$21.40.  And he'll be back on Monday to check and make sure all is working as it should. 

Things are so much more personable here and people don't leave you stranded when you're up against a complex situation.  Perhaps that's still prevalent in parts of the USA, but I found it extremely rare in the concrete jungle where I came from.