It’s been a day of contradictions, with a little whiplash thrown in. But, at the end of the day, I’m less worried now than I was 24 hours ago. And that’s a good thing. Well, for me anyway.
It was long past time to head into Melide and deal with our ever-elusive tractor situation. If you remember, we ordered this tractor on December 21st of 2021. Yup! Seis meses (six months) ago. And we were told it would be here the second week of January. But it never showed. Every week we checked in with the dealer. ‘Next week.’ Again, nothing and no word from the dealer. But we had paid for it. We just had to wait.
Jeff started measuring delivery times by the tractor. ‘They say such and such thing will be here by x date. What do you want to bet it will beat the tractor?’
We are used to things taking much longer in Spain. No matter what we are promised. Our sofa took four months, which we sort of understood because of Covid. And it was only one month late. When it arrived, it was not what we ordered. The owner of the sofa company came to the house and he fully agreed it was a problem and they couldn’t fix it. When I am unable to touch the floor with my feet while sitting on it – yeah, you get it. He very graciously took the sofa back and refunded our money. But the tractor people have none of the graciousness, nor integrity, of the sofa guy.
While I was walking the Camino, Jeff had his belly full of their delays, lack of communication, and bullshit. He went there and cancelled the order in writing, and told them to refund our money. But they refused. ‘The tractor will be at your house tomorrow.’ What?!! Jeff told them not to deliver it (if they even had it, which they didn’t) and that we wanted our money back. I don’t do business with liars.
Fast forward, Jeff is back from the US and I am no longer contagious, so we went to the dealership today to visit the tractor that they are saying is ours. Surprise! It’s not the 40 hp tractor with the hydrostatic transmission that is in our contract. It’s a 25 hp tractor. And they tried to tell us it is a) just as good as a 40hp tractor, and b) that it’s crazy we thought we were getting a 40 hp tractor because ‘Those are much bigger’. Jeff was out of his mind. But I don’t have a problem with confrontation or contracts. I have negotiated so many over the course of my career, I couldn’t count them. And I know how to deal with charlatans.
The conversation went round and round. Jeff was yelling, which is not Jeff at all. I had dressed up in my ‘I used to have a real job’ clothes and I finally stepped in. ‘The bottom line here is that you have two choices. Just two. You deliver our 40 hp tractor with hydrostatic transmission, today. Or you refund our money, today. Outside of those two things, there is nothing more to discuss. We are not taking this little 25hp tractor and pretending that it’s 40 hp. If you choose to do neither one of those two things, the next person you will be speaking to is our lawyer in Santiago. You have breached the contract. And you should start scratching’ at this he looked confused ‘because I am about to become the worst rash you’ve ever had in your life, and I never go away.’
We turned and left, and our next stop was our gestor. He had some papers I needed for the business. We discussed our tractor situation. ‘I don’t want to have a problem with anyone in this town. It’s a small place. People talk.’, I told him. But he assured us it is not a problem. ‘Do not worry. People here know you now. And I don’t want to say anything except that I don’t know those people, but’ he pointed to his ear ‘I hear things, and they are not good.’
Jeff doesn’t like confrontation. This whole thing upset him, no end. For me, the adrenalin meant I got a ton of stuff done today at home.
Then there was a knock at the door. It was in that moment we were both reassured that our reputation in the community for being good people is in no danger. Marie Carmen was stood on the step holding out a bag. She wanted to let us know she is bringing another fence contractor to our house for a competitive bid on the fence. So nice of her. And inside the bag was dinner. Jeff looked momentarily horrified. It was a rabbit. I am mostly vegetarian, but I didn’t say a word. I just oohed and ahhed appropriately and thanked her profusely.
‘I caught him today.’ she informed us proudly. Then she’d cleaned, skinned and dressed it and brought it over to the house.
I graciously accepted this offering. Horrifying, but so nice of her. I’ve said it before, Marie Carmen is who I want to come back as in my next life. When the apocalypse comes, she is the best possible neighbor to have. We will never lack for food. She’s like MacGyver.
MC and I walked the property, as we do several times a week. She has a lot of opinions about what we should be doing and how. Which I appreciate, wholeheartedly. This is our first foray into farming. Finally, she left and I came back inside. Jeff warily eyed the carcass on the kitchen counter.
‘Do you think that’s the cute bunny I keep seeing out my office window? I bet it is. It had babies earlier in the Spring. When you were walking.’ I thought he might cry. This has not been a good day for him.
I don’t really know and I told him so. But the rabbit lets me know that we are still loved by the most important members of the community. The only ones that count. And it’s time for me to put together a deck for the lawyer. The tractor people are going to need a big shovel because they’re about to be buried in paper.