Under that desk lies the nerve centre of the household…telephone, modem, wifi, laptop, music centre and television. It has a forest of cables…most of them left by the electricity monopoly’s workmen as they cut off what had not worked and added what they assured me would work in the future. The man who came to install the security cameras took one look and left the mess well alone, adding his independent tangle to the Gordian knot.
The young man from the family across the road came to ask if our cameras were recording – on the pretext that his chainsaw had been stolen. As we had heard his chainsaw in action that very morning we lied and said that our system did, indeed, record everything. Shortly afterwards nocturnal traffic visiting his finca became rare…
All was working well, apart from Black Tot taking refuge under the desk in thunderstorms and detaching the plugs, until we had a humdinger of a storm in which you could smell the lightning strikes and which narrowly avoided the electrocution of the chickens. Danilo did explain how they had been put in peril – as usual, something touching something it shouldn’t have touched, as perilous in humans as in electricity – but whatever it is has galvanised the buggers into laying eggs after a long period of shortage of same. Remind me to give them ECT next time they go off lay…
However, the same storm burned out the television…..despite a surge plug. Costa Rican storms laugh at surge plugs…probably regard them as targets…and this one was right on the mark.
Could it be repaired?
Repairs locally are a gamble…you pays your money and it either works or it doesn’t, which you only discover when it has been torn from the clutches of the repairer weeks after being placed with them and when money has changed hands. The exception is the Cubano, but he doesn’t repair televisions.
After much sucking of teeth, the box was dropped off at shop of the far from heavenly Twins up the road with a promise that they would ring to tell us what the prospects might be.
Well, wait for a call from the Twins and you might as well shit in your hat, so the next day Danilo bearded them in their lair, only to hear that they would have to send for a new card, that they did not know how much it would cost or if it would work and no, he could not take it back as they had stripped it down.
He told them that if they did not call with the price of the card and a prognosis they could whistle for their money and returned with the news.
Council of war.
Did we need the television? Yes, otherwise we had to view the security cameras on a mobile ‘phone. Leo’s hands are paralysed so he can’t use one…I am waiting for a cataract op on the good eye and have limited vision.
Could we wait for the Twins? On current form…no. If they came up trumps it would be like Foinavon winning the Grand National
So…buy another one and if the Twins ever repaired the original it would do as a spare. Possibly the man who installed the security cameras could link them up to that and reserve the new box for less exciting things.
Leo and Danilo set off to town accordingly and returned in triumph with a thing much larger than the old box – and at a discount to boot – but which would not hang on the wall – it had to sit on my desk. The printer had to be removed to a shelf, thus displacing any number of files which lurked there, and the box was put into place.
Fine…except how to set it up. It had to be done as the shop would only accept a return within twenty four hours and the next day was a Sunday. Not a problem for the shop, which like most Costa Rican shops worships Mammon rather than God, but a problem for us as, thanks to the absurd vehicle restrictions imposed – supposedly to stop the spread of the bug but in reality aimed at imposing fines – we could not go out on Sunday to take it back.
No problem extricating it from the box…except that Carlos had to be called to assist as it was so large. I had cleared my desk top…finding several interesting things in the process – why do I have two masks and a staple gun living in a mug commemorating the ATS, in which my mother served during the war?
It was set up and then they started on the puzzle of matching up wires unplugged when moving the old box to slots on the new box…not to speak of the wires supplied with same….
At which point the backsides under the desk started….and persisted…..
Somthing was plugged in…did it work?
Well, what was it supposed to do?
How the hell do I know? Is anything happening?
Well, as it was clear that the thing worked…even if no one knew what to do with it, we called a truce.
On Sunday I fiddled with it but came up against the need for a password wihout a clue as to how one was to make the necessary input. No cameras.
Monday, the whole gallimaufrey had a go, Danilo, Carlos, Andres…….it looked like success but then I could only use my laptop if the cable to the box was removed and still no cameras…
Call the man who installed the cameras.
Tuesday it was his posterior under the desk while his assistant beat off the dogs. Then he had Andres under the desk while he fiddled above, finally achieving a very limited view on the cameras and a total absence of communication with the laptop…his assistant was occupied with cuddling Black Tot.
On Wedenesday Andres thought he had a solution….but it was not to be.
On Thursday the man who installed the cameras returned with a magic box….both he and his assistant disappeared under the desk while Carlos stood guard above, beating off Podge and Zuniga.
Success! We had cameras and action! I could watch the highlights of the Test Match! As long as I did not want to watch the cameras at the same time….
Should the Twins ever repair the other box could he set it up on another circuit?
Well, if the Twins ever get back to you…give me a call.
Talk about hedging your bets…