Saturday, July 28, 2007

House Blog.

They say that some things sound the same in any language. I can attest to "Shake it, don't break it" and "Hey, baby, give me a piece of that" sounding the same in gutter French or Swedish. It seems that "What the hell are you doing?" and "Stop, dammit!" sound the same in Spanish as they do in English.

The Foundation Fairies* are at work on the New House.

I could swear that I heard a guy say (translated badly from gutter Spanish), "You call that level? My *grandmother* could level better than that! Where are your eyes??"

I also heard, quite clearly, one of the Foundation Minions tell another, "That crazy (female) gringo doesn't know shit. Go turn the power on, willya?"

Things have progressed markedly since the days of hammering on the floor with one's fist and shouting. Now the Foundation Guys have laser levels that beep repeatedly when "level" has been reached. There's a limited amount of shouting and insulting that the Head Foundation Guy can do, but this HFG puts his all into it. There was an interesting call-and-response pattern I heard this morning as I was painting, all of it in Spanish; most of it I couldn't understand unless I concentrated.

(from under the floor) "Hey!"
"Bring this up two more!"
(under floor) "Bring it up two more?"
"Two more! Two more!"
(under floor) "Like this?"
"Like that!"
(under floor) "Like this?"
"Just a little! Just a little!"
(under floor) "Like this?"
(A flood of descriptive and abusive Spanish that, while interesting, lost me about a third of the way through.)

It was all done in the most gorgeous (and here I'm dropping all snark) sing-song, with a sort of heave-ho mentality issuing from the depths of the foundation.

These guys work *hard*. As I told my Sainted Father that one time, it's the Illegal Immigrant Work Ethic that has made this country great.

The electricity is done, thank Frogs, and the work was passed by the city inspector. I kinda wonder who the Electrical Fairies bribed, since I didn't have the smoke-detectoring up to snuff. The living room is totally painted, and Penny The Lotion Slut's guestroom is painted the most gorgeous color of pale sunset peachy-pink you can imagine. I would've done the rest of the painting today, but I got the feeling I was really in the way of the Foundation Brownies.

In a few days I will start, with Chef Boy, on the Great Bathroom Remodeling. We'll see how many wine boxes from Target it takes for me to retain my sanity during that process.

*I call them "Fairies" not because they're fabulous (oh, snap!) but because they come after I leave and are gone before I come back, accomplishing immense amounts of work out of my sight.

*** *** ***

In other news, I once told the story of a patient who'd had five (five!!) spinal cord AVM embolizations. I am pleased to report that that patient, who was paralyzed from the chest down the last time I saw them, walked back up to the floor on Wednesday to say hi.

Occasionally this job has benefits.


Penny said...

Per favore di leggere questo ad alta voce con un accento spagnolo:

"Si je peux atteindre ma propre chambre d'amis, obtenant dans soigner d'├ęcole sera facile."

De Elven dank u.

Anonymous said...

I recently had my roof and siding replaced due to a terrible hail storm. The crews that did the work were all Latino and spoke no English. They worked very hard and very fast. I think they were probably talking about me, but I didn't know because I don't speak Spanish. When I would need to talk to them, I felt like an idiot because I couldn't communicate. I did hand motions and ended up talking louder than I normally that would help!

Sounds like your house is on its way to being the perfect place for you.


RehabNurse said...

Loved this post! I know my one Spanish-speaking patient did the same thing to me recently.

Yes, I looked goofy with the book in my hand, but at least I got where I needed to go. I even got a few of our other RNs to make a basic word list, so we could assess him a little easier (and make him feel like we cared!). It worked!

Great story about the AVMs. I love seeing patients come back to our unit alive and kicking and doing regular stuff. I just makes my day!

Jo said...

I feel like such a jerk because I don't speak enough Spanish to get along in daily life. Here, it's been a normal thing to be bilingual since about the 1780's; the "English Only" crowd doesn't have much pull.

I can manage enough at the hospital, and I can manage just barely enough at the grocery or with the Foundation Guys...but it's tricky.

Must. Learn. More. Spanish. Dammit.