Monday, March 30, 2015

Our Bathroom is Trying to Leave Home!

Did you ever pay a lot of money to someone to fix  problem and they just made it worse?

This is our sad story:

We paid $250 to a plumber/contractor to fix our bathroom drainage problem. Our Puerto Rican house has a tub and shower that drained through a 2 inch pipe directly onto the ground right outside of the bathroom.

I was afraid that flowing water against the bathroom walls would erode the foundation and cause the bathroom to settle and pull away from the house.

But sadly, it was after the "fix"that the real problems began. The plumber did tie the drainage into the sewer system, but in the process of "fixing" the problem he made it worse.  He did some ditching on two sides of the bathroom and removed material but did not adequately replace it. We also think that the ground may have dried up and shrunk away from the house, lowering the foundation.

Now it appears that the entire bathroom is trying to separate itself from our bedroom.

What to do? I am not educated in this field, so I don't even know what the options are. I called the plumber and he is supposed to come back and look at the damage. I am pessimistic that he will take responsibility for the problem and fix it for free. I guess I need to know what can be done and then find someone who is both trustworthy and skillful enough to make the repairs.

Please pray for us:

For Peace of mind-our anxiety level is pretty high on this one.
For Wisdom-To find a way to truly fix the problem.
For Our Finances-We need the funds to fix the problem.
UPDATE. The Contractor pointed out to us that the previous owner of the home did not put in a supported foundation, so the add-on bathroom is sitting on a cement pad that was just poured onto the ground. He, not having x-ray vision, feels that it is not his fault that our bathroom is sinking, even though the work done seems to have accelerated it.

OPTIONS.  We suggested digging under the cement slab and jacking it up or creating a foundation alongside of the wall and tying the walls into it, but the contractor said this could not be done.  The bathroom was extended to an extremely close proximity to our neighbors concrete wall, leaving little or no room to make an excavation.  So, until we can think of anything better, that leaves us with these two options:

1. Do nothing. We were counseled that the expense of fixing the problem was so great that it would be better to let the bathroom settle and then fill in the cracks with hydraulic cement. If this works, we saved a lot of money.

2. Do everything. Demolish the bathroom and build it back correctly. Estimated cost $12,000.

I just got a second opinion from the father of one of our church members who does construction work. He says that the he agrees that the bathroom will have to be demolished and rebuilt correctly, but that he can make it bigger and better for $10,000. We like the second opinion more than the first, but we still don't have the funds to do this. 

I have asked the contractor and others for more options. But since we currently don't have the resources for complete demolition and rebuild or any alternative, actionable ideas, we are following a prayerful wait-and see approach.

This is tough on us emotionally, but there comes a point where you have done everything you can do and need to trust in God with the results. That is where we are now.

Please pray for our home, family and our ministry here in Puerto Rico.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Colmado: Convenience Store, Puerto Rican Style

Today, I went to a little convenience store across the street from our church to get some supplies for our Communion Service tomorrow. These stores are called "Colmados." They are usually small Mom and Pop stores, crammed from floor to ceiling with everything that the Mom and Pop imagine that you might need.

Today. I found this entire pig draped over the bare counter with the additional photogenic display of a trickle of blood that reached the floor in front of the counter.

I have lived here long enough that none of this surprised me. In fact, the only thing that really struck me was that the pig had blue eyes. I never knew they came in different colors.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you a slice of everyday missionary life from down here in Puerto Rico.

It really isn't so bad. In fact, the end product of it all is extremely tasty.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Puerto Rico's Current Economic Situation: It Ain't Pretty

Puerto Rico is on its way to following Detroit's economic path, according to Robert Finger, an
investment analyst who has analysed Puerto Rico's economic status in his role as an economic adviser to his investment community.

I have embedded the article below.

My take away is this:

1. Puerto Rico is likely to follow the Detroit model and default on its bonds and other debts.

2. Government interference and over taxation is making starting or maintaining a small business extremely difficult.

3. People and businesses are leaving the island in droves. The more they squeeze the taxpayers, the fewer taxpayers there are left to squeeze.

This is bad for Puerto Rico. But maybe some Puerto Ricans will look to God for help in this time of economic need.

Puerto Rico: Paradise Lost