Don’t Forget the Password

I’ve had people reach out and say ‘Wow. You bought a beach house. Must be nice.’ And to that I say ‘Yes. We are living in the lap of luxury. Nothing’s too good for us. I sit on the terrace all day drinking fruity cocktails with little umbrellas, and I have servants wave palm fronds to keep the breeze coming my way. It’s just my lifestyle now.’ I wish. We do live by the beach. And I love this crazy house. But there are plenty of things that are ‘What?’ And we’re discovering them every day. So, livin’ swanky we are not.

Sure, we knew about this bathroom when we toured it and made the offer. And yes – every single thing in it is this shade of blue. The toilet tissue holder, the mirror from 1980. The toilet, towel bar(s) and trash can. All this shade of blue in a bathroom with a florescent overhead light and a warm over-the-sink light. So it’s like they’re fighting with each other on your face to make you look as hideous as possible.

And all the plumbing is on the outside of the walls. Convenient if you need something repaired in a house that is built with bricks and stucco. But strange if you just live in it. Our water heater in the bathroom looms over us like an ever-present specter, reminding you that your time under the water is completely in his hands. It gulps at me to ‘hurry up!’ I’m pretty sure.

The sellers brought a plumber out to install the plumbing for the new location of the washing machine. I wanted it in the kitchen instead of down in the room off the wine seller – like it was before. Two men showed up with the seller and his son, Pedro. Pedro did all the interpreting but mostly he stayed out of the guy’s way. We sat in the sun room and waited to be asked questions.

At the end, the man handed me his card and Pedro explained.

‘Keep this card. If you need something you call that number and say this password into the machine. His daughter-in-law (who speaks English) will call you back.’ The man said something else. ‘He says don’t lose the card or forget the password.’

It seemed a bit cloak and dagger to me and I said a nice version of that to Pedro. So he explained.

‘In 2008 – when the real estate market crashed, all the construction workers, electricians, plumbers left Portugal and went to Portuguese speaking countries in Africa, like Angola, looking for work. So the plumbers here are difficult to come by and they don’t take on new clients because they’re too busy. He came today because he knows my father. He will take you on because you know us. But you can’t forget the password. A plumber in Portugal is more important than your accountant, or your heart surgeon.’

I thought he was kidding. But his face, and that of the plumber, told me he was not. So now when we remodel the kitchen and the bathrooms I have an ‘In’ I didn’t even know I would need. Whew!

Downstairs bathroom

The other bathroom off the master bedroom is totally green. It’s like being inside a dark bush. And then there is this one. It’s like a restaurant. Jeff loves it. I think it’s weird. But then he can use either side. I get just one. And then there is the bathroom on the lower terrace with the marble sink on the outside in view of the ocean and everyone. And the shower room right next to it. Unless we put in a pool there I can’t imagine why I would ever shower down there off a patio.

There is an entrance to the wine cellar from the lower terrace and Jeff is looking to use it as an office. But they turned off the califaccion after we made the offer so it’s a little musty down there. We bought a dehumidifier and it’s taking care of the problem. I told Jeff if we ever fight and he sleeps in his office he could move in and he’s got a convenient toilet and shower combo right outside his door. And it’s still plumbed for a washing machine so he’d be all set in his new wine cellar studio apartment. Funny, he wasn’t as amused as you might think.

So we have some serious kitchen/bath remodeling to do. But that’s all part of buying this house. And now that we have an In with the elusive unicorn that is the Portuguese plumber it should be a piece of cake. 🍰 👷🏽‍♂️

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