Monday, March 16, 2009

running wild & reduced rent

Running Wild
On Saturday, Stetson met me for a run. Outside. I did seven miles on the treadmill before and hoped to round out enough miles to qualify for a long run. We didn't run a route but managed about fifty minutes, including brief walks and a stretch break. It's all hills around here so today my quads were sore. We ran a short stretch of trail behind a power station and that made me want more trail. It was great. We found a dead end and I figured out how the roads near our place connect with each other. This neighborhood reminds me of a knot.

So I think I'll make a Saturday morning routine of getting outside for a run, even if it's just a short one. The time outside and the chat with Stetson was good. Running has been entirely too solitary lately.

Reduced Rent
I worked up the courage to chat with Carmen about the construction noise. For a long time I thought I could just deal with it, make the best of living next door to the next new condominium complex: watching them hack an entire mango tree down with a machete, waking up to the growls and rumbles of dump trucks, the rattling dishes on my kitchen shelves, and a bed that vibrated even though we didn't put a quarter in it. Sometimes it's a noise you notice once it's gone and your shoulders relax and you realize you've been speaking in teacher voice over dinner.

Anyway, I was very direct which isn't comfortable in Colombia. Colombians tend to be non confrontational so voicing my unhappiness could be considered very rude. Oh well. Carmen took it well, kept apologizing. I suggested that she speak with her daughter (the whole mess is her project) and either put an axe to the Saturday and Sunday construction, kindly suggest that the workers leave before seven at night or - I took a breath and pressed on- or reduce our rent. After all, when we signed the contract, we were expecting one house, not seven little condominiums and a road. And it was supposed to be finished by now.

"I am so sorry," Carmen said, "This was not what I expected. The man was supposed to finish the road last week. I called my daughter and she said last week it would be done. And here they are today." Carmen threw her hands in the air and we all paused to listen to the grader vibrate, packing the gravel. Justin pointed out that if we could hear the machine in her house, just imagine the noise in our apartment, all of twenty or thirty meters from the site. Carmen agreed to cut our rent, saving us about five hundred dollars over the next three months. Oh, we'll still go nuts with the noise but at least now we're paying what we feel is more reasonable for this experience.

Then comes the story: this wasn't supposed to happen. The daughter and her husband own a construction company and develop new properties. She told her parents they were building one house for their family. Grandkids next door, who doesn't want that? So they signed the property over. And then plans changed. I wonder if any wills changed too, after all this. Still, the daughter's family makes it over for an occasional Sunday dinner. So not all is spoiled.

1 comment:

DC Running Mama said...

Good for you for having the difficult conversation!