The Saga Continues – the Macgyver Episode

The missing part never arrived. I called the plumber a week later and he told me the shop’s on holiday. ‘Call again next week,’ he suggested.

I waited another week, then called again. The plumber wasn’t in. His colleague answered and notified me that plumber (A) was now on holiday for 2 weeks. (This was slowly turning into one of those mathematical problems teachers use to torture young minds in junior high).

Sent plumber (B) the email I sent plumber (A) two weeks beforehand. The next day plumber (B) told me such toilets were now obsolete and the only way to fix it would be to get a new one. (Not plumber, toilet).

New toilet, 3500 Kroner. [Insert cash register noise – ch-ching].

I was now seeing red. But just as I was about to fling my cellphone out the window, my inner macgyver kicked in. I grabbed the floss (dental) and started to wind my way around the mechanism, water flowing everywhere, dental floss entangled in hair/fingers/buttons/wiring/metal/plastic. In the end I triumphed. A tug on a piece of floss sticking out of the toilet was all I now needed to flush. No more open tank and wet forearms. I was on my way to victory, plumbers (A, B) be damned.

And then the floss broke. (My teeth are suffering too, by the way).

Today I went out and got a fishing line. When I arrived home it turned out to be as thin as hair and equally impossible to manage. I did not give up. An hour later and I had a piece of bright orange string sticking out of my toilet. So far so good.

If plumber (C) is reading this. Please be in touch. As soon as I’m done fishing I might be willing to negotiate.

Flushed with excitement!

Arctic Plumbing
…is all well and good. But I understand that people are reluctant to call out a plumber. Plumbers here have offices. And you want them to show up on your doorstep only as a last resort.

Three days into my move here the flushing mechanism in my one toilet went bust. In order to flush it was now necessary to take the lid off the tank, sink your hand in the water and pull the mechanism up manually. No big deal, really. But we are respectable people. We can’t have guests go to the loo with a booklet of instructions. And it would be nice to shut the lid again. Well. I called a plumber. I explained.
“Send me a picture.”
Silence. He wants a picture. A picture of what? A picture of the toilet? I can’t imagine he’s decided to ask me for a picture of myself. Hmm.
“Ok..” I hesitated.
I grabbed my camera and went to the bathroom. I pointed into the tank and took a photo. I emailed the picture to the plumber. I called again.
“You have a piece missing. I don’t have it. I will have to order it.”
“Right,” I said, incredulously. How was I suddenly missing a piece? “Err.. how much will it cost to repair?”
“1500 NOK.”
I gulped. That’s wicked expensive. But then I hear it’s just 1000 NOK to get them to show up. “OK.”

So there you go, people. Don’t mess up your plumbing. And if you do, find a friend who can fix it. And if you can’t – make sure you have a mobile phone with a camera. They take pictures of their toilets here.

Midnight Sun
I am perfectly happy with this 24 hour day I’m having here. At first glance, in fact, it could not be less normal. Of course my ability to string words together (as shown in the previous sentence) has been somewhat compromised (it just took me 2 minutes to think of the word ‘compromised’). That may have something to do with it. I do think our biological clocks are going slightly wonky.

I have been sleeping rather well. There is that eerie sensation of getting up to a light-flooded room (thinking, hey – just in time to see the sunrise) and realizing it’s 2 am. Looking out at the playground at 11 pm and seeing the kids play with their skateboards. 12 year olds running after each other and yelling with sheer delight. How odd is that?

It never gets dark.

Tough Love, Baby!
It’s now 6:07 PM and I am about to spend my last evening in a country I used to call home. Thoughts: I’m dying to go to the safari. Why didn’t I go to the safari? Meanwhile, am reading a revised paper submitted by a student. I was ready to pass it just for the effort of the revision. Having made my painful way through the first paragraph though, I think I may have to pass on the pass. Tough love, baby.


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