Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer 2014 photo scavenger hunt part two and some other photos

Full disclosure: these aren't just scavenger hunt photos. But this will at least be much shorter than the last post!

To start the week...Monday morning, Marie, Jacob, and Lukas left for camp with the Larnaka Inter-church youth group. Here they are at the meeting place, waiting to get on the bus:


And they just happened to all get on the bus at the same time, so I got another photo:

This is Marie's sixth year (sixth year!!!) going to camp. Five years ago, I was maybe a tiny bit teary, took lots of photos, missed her a bit, and looked forward to her return. Now...well, Jacob's there for his fourth time, and Lukas for his first, and I was pretty much "Hey, get on the bus so I can leave now!"

Jörn was out all day Monday, so lunch was my job, but with only the girls, I didn't have to do anything exciting. (Jacob very much and Lukas to a certain extent expect an actual MEAL...) I'd thawed some pitta bread for the three camp-goers to make sandwiches for their packed lunches, since I'd forgotten to make bread, and I'd even bought some lounza (ham, I guess) for them, which is a huge treat, because we generally avoid cold-cuts because of MSG and salt, AND I'd given them each a juice box, an even rarer treat. (They were left over from when Jörn was in the hospital in June--the hospital only gave him water and tea to drink, and in Nikosia they didn't even give him water, saying that the water wasn't very good and that he should buy his own!) So...we also had pitta bread and lounza and juice for lunch (and cheese and carrot sticks and whole cucumbers), AND I let the girls take theirs outside to eat:


This resulted in me hearing from Katie that I am "amazing" and "the best mother in the world", over and over again. Which, although rather exaggerated, was admittedly rather nice to hear, since I usually hear quite the opposite from her. AND there were no dishes to wash, so win-win.

Monday the girls also started packing for the sleepover they'd been counting the days to for a week or so, and I'd been counting down to for three years, we figured out. Apparently, it was when Jacob first went to camp and I commented about not knowing what to do with "only" four children at home, that Sue suggested (offered? joked? promised? spoke in a moment of temporary insanity?) that when Lukas was 12 and also went to camp, and assuming Elisabeth was weaned and we didn't have any more children, she would take the three younger girls for an overnight at her house. Elisabeth weaned on her fourth birthday two months ago, yes, she's still the youngest, and Lukas is 12 and at camp.

THE TIME HAD ARRIVED!!

Jörn worked all day Monday and all day Tuesday and had Wednesday and Thursday off. Wednesday morning at 7:00 or so the girls started asking how many minutes until they were going to Sue's house. They didn't like the answer of 240 minutes. They were much happier at 10:13 when I said 47 minutes, because that was less than an hour, so Katie set the oven timer and I had a whole 47 minutes of nobody asking me how long.

At 11:00 they piled into the car with what they'd packed (which included pillows, two dolls and clothes for the dolls, and some clothes for the girls themselves, but two of the three apparently forgot underpants...Elisabeth was the only one who remembered!) and we drove the 500 meters that we normally walk. We'd been there about two minutes when Helen said, very politely, "Can you two please leave now?" So we did. :-) However, we'd forgotten the crib/cot mattress as an extra bed, so returned a few minutes later with it, but just left it outside and then escaped. Here is Sue's account of their stay.

And WE spent the rest of the day all by ourselves, together!! (To be sure, Lukas phoned at around 7:00 just to chat, and while we were eating dinner at Souvlaki Express after that we suddenly heard "Hi, Mommy!!" and got a wave from Helen and Elisabeth, who were just returning from the playground with Richard, so I did have SOME contact with my children that day, but rather minimal. :-) )

This morning we decided to run some errands, and as we were going out the door I grabbed the camera and the scavenger hunt list and said I could possibly photograph a garden gnome at Kleima. As I read the list to Jörn, he asked what kind of horn  (number 11: a horn), and I said I had no idea, it was up to me. I'd been thinking of taking a photo of Helen or Lukas blowing one of their many tubes, but since we were in the car, I pointed out that there WAS a horn right there, so I took a photo, and here you have it:

Our first stop was Estia, a stationery shop downtown, where we got a birthday present for a friend having a birthday party this afternoon, and I talked Jörn into posing for this photo for number 5, a rack of postcards:

Then we went to the copyshop near Metro, where nothing inspired me to take a photo, and then to the Politechni office. "Politechni" means "many children", and we're members there for 25 Euros a year, which gives us discounts at all sorts of places, such as several bookstores, pharmacies, and bakeries. The biggest single saving is swimming lessons: instead of 30 Euros a month for the first two children, it's 20, and for the rest of the children, 10 instead of 20, so we saved 40 Euros in May and 40 in June, when Jacob, Lukas, Katie, and Helen took swimming lessons, and 50 Euros in July, when Elisabeth also joined in. Anyway, the reason we went there was to pick up a backpack for Helen, who is school-aged now, as each of their members receive one at age six. (Helen will be six next week.) And since I sort of cheated on number 16, a sign in a language other than English, Jörn thought I should take a photo of the politechni office sign, so I did:

And then I took a photo of the sign next to the elevator, because if I understood it correctly, it's pretty funny, at least in our opinions:
 Are there people who don't know to push the button for the elevator and try to push open the doors??

And at Jörn's request, I also took a photo of the list of all the businesses in that building, which happens to include the dentist I went to last year for a root canal and the pediatrician who came to our house after Elisabeth was born:

From there we went to Kleima, a store on four levels, and I don't know what to call it. A department store, maybe? Anyway, Jörn's mission was a particular plastic garden shed, which we accomplished, and mine was to get a photo for number 2, a garden gnome. In English, there's a difference (in my opinion, anyway...) between "gnomes" and "dwarves", and I would call these "dwarves", but this is Cyprus, not Germany (too bad I didn't think about needing this photo while we were in Germany, because there are garden gnomes EVERYWHERE!!), so a nanos is just going to have to count:

There were some more on the stairs:

And as we drove past the garden center part of Kleima, I asked Jörn to stop and let me run in and see if I could find some REAL garden gnomes, but nope, just shelves and shelves of dwarves in weird green light:

And while I was there, I took a photo of some birdhouses for substitute alternative B, although Jörn thinks I should photograph the empty swallow nest above our kitchen door, which I still might do.

Then we went to Micro (a grocery store) where laundry detergent was on sale, and while there I texted Sue that our 24 hours were up, but she said that they'd voted to stay until 3:00. Okay, then! :-)

Before lunch Jörn went swimming, which he's been doing daily (Cyprus is all about connections, and we have a friend with connections to hotels that mean Jörn can swim without paying) and I sat in the shade and read a book. (I do NOT go in the sun if I can help it!)

After lunch (scrumptious salad prepared by Jörn, of course), I happened to glance at my phone and see that Sue had texted about 15 minutes earlier, just before 2:00, that Elisabeth was ready to come home. So we went and collected the girls after 27 hours without children, the longest I have ever been away from all of my children at the same time. And except for the hour I spent at the Salt Lake park this morning, all of that time was spent with Jörn. :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer so far, with scavenger hunt photos!

There's simply no way that I can catch up with this summer, but two of the I think three people who read this blog are with me on Facebook anyway and will have seen all or most of these photos. Still, since I just now I suddenly remembered my last post of non-information, about the 2014 Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt, I decided to at least look through my photos from June, July, and August (so far) and see how many of the 21 items I just by chance already have. So here are a few...
The second week of June (so technically, not yet summer, but as I said last year, considering that it feels like summer as of May at the latest, I'm counting all of June!!) my husband's art team coordinated an outreach at Finikoudes, the main street along the beach, during Kataklysmos. To the Western world (such as know that it exists at all...), this is Pentecost, the celebration of the sending of the Holy Spirit to the Church in Jerusalem. Here, it's about the flood (so-called "Noah's flood") and there are lots of competitions and such involving water, and I haven't entirely (or at all...) understood it yet. Anyway, every evening for the whole week after Pentecost, Finikoudes was closed to traffic and booths were set up selling stuff and games. The only booth in the whole place that was unique was the one Jörn's team was running, offering free drawings. And for some reason, there's no photo of the sign in Greek (it looked just like this one, but in Greek...), but this was DEFINITELY a weird language to most people going by, and a LOT of people stopped to find out what on earth it was about. It was totally cool.

So, whether I consider that to have checked off number 16, a sign in a language other than English, or not, I wanted to share it.

These next two, however, of Finikoudes during the festival, almost definitely count for number 4, a group of tourists, as there are ALWAYS tourists in Larnaka, and especially in the summer, and obviously for numbers 6, an urban street scene, and particularly amply, 17, a lamp post.


Everybody in my world long since knows that my husband had a "mild" heart attack (myocardial infarct) June 13th or 14th (or perhaps several--I took him to the hospital June 14th at 5:30 a.m. because of chest pains), and then a "major" heart attack (cardiac arrest) while in the ICU at Larnaka General Hospital in the early hours of June 16th. He was then taken to Nikosia for an angiogram, where they also inserted two overlapping stents into the artery that had been completely blocked, and a few days later, returned to Larnaka. I took this photo from his hospital room: what looks like snow in the distance is the completely dried up Salt Lake which is 400 meters from our house. Although our house is not actually visible, as all the houses around it are higher than ours, it's somewhere in this picture. And it doesn't really fulfill any of the scavenger hunt photos, but I wanted to share it, so here it is.

In a lot of languages, the word for "pet" is related to the English word "mascot", such as the German "Maskottchen" (the "chen" on the end simply being diminutive), so I chose a photo of Conny and her kittens for number 12, a mascot:
 Conny adopted us against our (or at least, MY) will, sort of in December. By the end of January I was kind of admitting she was ours and was putting out two bowls of cat food (because Makenzy would NOT share), but by the time I'd decided we should really admit she was staying and get her spayed, we realized it was too late. Her kittens were born April 4th, and this photo was taken June 19th, so they were 2 1/2 months old. From left to right, Lady Jane Grey, Joan of Arc, and Alexander the Great. They have happily all been adopted, and even more happily, by good friends, so we will get to continue to watch them grow up. And also happily, Conny has now been spayed. As have the kittens. (Well, in the case of Alexander, castrated.)

On July 4th, Lukas, Elisabeth, and I flew to Germany. There was so much fog in Larnaka, however, that the plane coming from Frankfurt couldn't land here, so at 4:00 a.m., when we should have been taking off, we were boarding a bus to be taken to Paphos. A little before 6:00 a.m., we got put on the shuttle bus to the airplane, and I leaned out of the door to take these two photos:

 And so actually have a photo of a sunrise, number 13! Throughout June I saw the sunrise most mornings on my daily walks, but never had the camera. In July I started getting up a bit later and missed about a third of the days, and so far in August I've missed four days but haven't seen a single sunrise, so I'm happy to have this one.

And here are Lukas and Elisabeth in the bus to the plane, just because they're cute:

The journey to Germany continued to be eventful, because we missed our train connection in Frankfurt. However, as it was booked as part of the flight, Lufthansa was still responsible for getting us to Düsseldorf, and we ended up flying instead of taking the train. The approach to the airport was amazing. First of all, of all the many, many times I have flown into Düsseldorf, I have not often seen much of anything until literally seconds before landing, because of heavy cloud cover, but this time, it was practically completely clear. For a good 15 minutes or so we had a perfect view, and I recognized place after place after place, from the Kettwiger Stausee in Essen (we lived in Essen when we were first married, although not in Kettwig), down through Mulheim an der Ruhr, where we lived for the seven years before moving to Cyprus, past Duisburg where I took German classes for two years, across Ratingen Lintorf where I actually saw the house where we lived when Marie was born, over the Lintorfer Wald and Angermund, where I lived for my first three and a third years in Germany, to the airport. Totally my "old stomping ground" and I loved it. I'm not actually sure if this photo is of the Rhein or the Ruhr, but I could figure it out if I put enough effort into it. Either way, it might be pushing it a bit to consider this number 1, a sign welcoming people to your home town (or a nearby town), but I'm going to anyway.

The above photo does illustrate well that the Rhein-Ruhr Gebiet (area) is the most densely populated part of Germany and, along with Paris and London, one of the most densely populated places in Europe. However, that's not all there is there, as the next photo shows, incidentally being scavenger hunt photo number 7, a rural landscape:


We arrived in Germany on a Friday and stayed with Phil and Margaret in Angermund until Tuesday. Friday evening we went up to Mulheim to see Peggy, Hannu, and Florian, and Lukas spent the night there. (He and Florian have been friends since they were two years old, Peggy and I the same length of time, although we were rather older than two when we met. :-) )

Saturday morning Elisabeth and I went back to Mülheim to visit with Katrina, Heinz, and Hannah, whom we were supposed to see Friday afternoon but had had to change because of our late arrival. Then Hannu collected us and took Lukas, Elisabeth, and me to Kaiserswerth to see Aileen, where we had coffee and cake and then went for a walk along the Rhein, before she took us back to Angermund.

Sunday morning we went to our home church, IBCD, and saw some people we knew and many more we didn't. Soooo many people have moved, and of those left that I still know, several had already left for the summer, as July 4th was the last day of school, so I didn't get to see some of my closest friends, including the ONLY person who has been a member of IBCD longer than I have been. We went home from church with Gary and Elisabeth and had a wonderful afternoon with them, where I took a photo that meets the requirements of number 10, a photo bomb (someone found lurking in the background of photo; the lurker may have intended to disrupt the picture or may be doing it unintentionally, but the background lurker is a surprise to the photographer), and I am the photobomber!

 We enjoyed the afternoon very much, and I also took one very quick trip to their attic, where we still have too many boxes stored, and quickly located my box of journals, over 40 in total, kept from when I was 11 years old until 37. (And yes, I've continued to keep a journal since then, but I've been in Cyprus since then, so already had those journals here.) It was difficult to leave behind some other things I came across, such as a doll Jörn gave me in 1996, but I knew that getting the journals home was going to be challenging enough, and I managed to take NOTHING else. Lukas, however, found all the little people and animals from the castle Jörn had had as a child, and brought those back with him. (The journals had been left behind because I didn't want to trust them to the shipment and couldn't justify taking up a whole suitcase with them, and the people had been left there because while I was packing stuff to move here, the children had refused to put them away, so I'd tossed them in a box to be stored...)

Monday were doctors' appointments, and that night, Jörn, Katie, and Helen arrived in Germany. I had the beginnings of a sore throat, and the next morning I was absolutely miserable, unable to swallow comfortably or talk, had a fever, and could hardly get out of bed. (And didn't, until after 9:00.) Phil and Jörn took me to a doctor, who was concerned that it might be an abscess, so they sent me to the hospital in Duisburg where, incidentally, Jacob had been born. No abscess, but acute tonsillitis, and they wanted to admit me!! I refused and had to sign that I was leaving against medical advice, which was difficult to do as I literally could barely hold the pen.

We thought we wouldn't be able to travel up to Hamminkeln that day, as I definitely could not carry a suitcase for the two train changes, and Jörn still wasn't allowed to, barely three weeks after his heart attack, but Phil ended up driving me and three children, and Jörn and Helen went by train.

The family camp with our mission organization was, once again, absolutely wonderful. I'd gone to the first one they had, two years ago, with the three little girls, and it was only decided a week before it started that Jörn, Katie, and Helen would join us this time. Every detail worked out perfectly, and I'm so glad we went. Under the influence of drugs (antibiotics and prescription painkillers), I was able to participate in everything, but also slept much more than I usually do. By the end of the week I felt fine.

It ended Saturday morning and then we took the train to Oberhausen to have lunch and the afternoon with Barbara, Karl-Heinz, Andrea, Nils, and Nils. :-) (One Nils is the son and brother, the other is Andrea's boyfriend.) Then back to Angermund.

Sunday morning Phil took Jörn, Katie, and Helen to IBCD, then came back and took Lukas, Elisabeth, and me to the airport. We had a six-hour layover in Vienna, where, as it was raining the whole time, we didn't even attempt to go out, but there was quite a nice play area. We arrived home in the early hours of Monday morning, where Tim P. collected us, and that evening, Jörn and the others arrived home. Jacob didn't get back from participating with Operation Joshua distributing Bibles in Greece until the Thursday, when the whole family was together again after having been scattered in four countries. (On the Sunday afternoon, Jörn and two children were still in Germany, two children and I were in Austria, Jacob was in Greece, and Marie was home in Cyprus!)

Wow, this is getting long. If you've gotten this far, go ahead and bookmark it and save it for another day, or just skim the rest of the photos, or whatever. I won't know the difference! But I'm going to go ahead and continue narrating the rest of the photos that I've already put in here...

There are very, very few photos of me, partly because I'm more often on the other side of the camera, and partly because I'm not generally in cute or interesting situations that people want to photograph! But I thought this one did a somewhat decent job of number 21, a photograph of (you) with something representing the season, as although we have visitors year-round, we tend to have MORE in the summer. It was great getting to meet an internet friend, Michelle, and her husband Andreas and their three children:

However, I do have more (and possibly closer to on-topic photos) for that one, which I'll get to in a moment. First, though, a teaser as to our major project of this summer: building a loft and bed for Katie in the girls' room. I may or may not eventually do a blogpost just on that, since I took a lot of photos and I really enjoyed it. In the meantime, here's a photo of Jacob in Richard's and Tim P's workshop, where we got to use all sorts of power tools, and another "photobomb" qualification, as I had no idea that Richard was visible through the window into the electronics workshop until after the photo was posted on Facebook.

Oh yeah, another photo of a "mascot", Lady Jane Grey, the day before she went to her new home with Tim F.

August 6th to 10th we went up to Rocky Point campground in the mountains, a wonderful escape from the heat and humidity here. So here's another photo for 21, if you see me there behind Lukas's tent.

And another photobomb...

And another of me with something representing the "season"--a season of relaxing, hanging out with my family, and playing LOTS of Boggle with Marie:

Unequivocally, barbecues and s'mores represent summer:

And a candid photo of me with five out of six children!


One day, Jacob, Lukas, Elisabeth and I drove to the top of the trail to Caledonia Waterfall (number 18, a waterfall, and the last topic for this post!) and hiked down to it. If you look carefully, Jacob and Lukas are above it, looking considerably more dangerously close to the edge than they are.

Jacob scared me a lot more in this photo:

And Lukas was the only one who went in completely:

Then Lukas and Jacob continued down the trail, while Elisabeth and I walked back to the car and drove down to meet them. Elisabeth is an amazing little hiker!

On Sunday we all went to Millomeri waterfall, which is my favorite, and spent an hour or so there. Katie, Helen, and Elisabeth all went in the water, too, but only Lukas went under the waterfall:


And that concludes this installment...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer 2014 photo scavenger hunt

Yes, I could have looked for one of these earlier, but as it's just now come up on my friend Wendrie's blog, I'm just now seeing it. Maybe I'll do it. Some of them I would have been much easier in Germany (such as garden gnomes!) In the meantime, here's just the list:

1. A sign welcoming people to your home town (or a nearby town)

2. A garden gnome

3. Birds on a wire

4. A group of tourists

5. A rack of post cards

6. An urban street scene

7. A rural landscape

8. A tattoo on a person

9. A bakery

10. A photo bomb (someone found lurking in the background of photo; the lurker may have intended to disrupt the picture or may be doing it unintentionally, but the background lurker is a surprise to the photographer)

11. A horn

12. A mascot

13. A sunrise

14. A parade

15. A juggler

16. A sign in a language other than English (and better here)

17. A lamp post

18. A water fall

19. A public garden

20. A bus (not a car, truck, lorry, camper or RV) with a picture painted on its sides.

21. A photograph of you with something representing the season (recognizing that the season will be Winter for our friends in the southern hemisphere). Note: you may not use a substitute for this item.

If you find something on the list too difficult, you may substitute one of the following items for anything on the list, except for Item #21:

Alternative A: A kite, hot air balloon or blimp
Alternative B: A bird house

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Friday driving

I drove over 46 kilometers yesterday, and was never at any point further than four kilometers from home.

9:40 a.m.--Left for the hospital to visit Jörn (which should be the topic of a whole blogpost, but I can't quite bring myself to go there yet: summary is that he had two heart attacks, one "minor" (myocardial infarction) and one "major" (heart arrest), and is fine now, but not home yet), stopping at the Esso along Faneromeni to get petrol (gas). The 40-liter tank took 43.15 liters, which is even better than what I got in the other car a few days earlier, 56.37 liters in a 55-liter tank.

10:00 a.m.--Arrived at hospital and spent a lot of that fuel looking for a place to park, and even found a semi-legal one.

12:00 noon-ish--Drove home.

1:30 p.m.--Drove the something like 300 meters to the Italian ice cream place across from So Easy, because before I'd left for the hospital I'd told the children that if the broom and Marie's swimsuit got found, I'd take everyone to ice cream. I do not DO bribes like that. But it had to be safe, anyway, because we'd all looked everywhere for the broom, and Marie and I had looked everywhere for the swimsuit. Except that we hadn't. The broom was found IN the clubhouse outside, and the swimsuit was found in a red cloth bag stuffed into the cupboard of the toddler toy table, which we really should get rid of, considering that the youngest child turned four 10 days ago. Marie walked and Jacob rode his bike to meet us at the ice cream place. Oh, and I just remembered that I borrowed a 10-Euro bill from Elisabeth (without her knowledge) to pay for the ice cream, so I need to return that.

1:50 p.m.--Left Elisabeth with most of an ice cream cone and Marie, and let Lukas, Katie, and Helen get back in the car with narly-finished ice cream cones and drove them to their swimming lesson, getting there JUST before 2:00. One would think we were Germans.

Drove home.

2:40 p.m.--Was able to leave Elisabeth home with Jacob so that I could continue using the red car and took Marie with me to collect Lukas, Katie, and Helen from swimming lessons, then dropped Marie off at LCC for band practice at 3:00, then came home.

3:20 p.m.--Was able to leave Katie and Elisabeth home with Jacob while I took Helen to her drama class; Lukas came along for the ride.

4:25 p.m.--Took Lukas, Katie, and Elisabeth and picked up Marie from band practice and took her to Makenzy beach for the end-of-year party that had started at 3:00. (In the meantime, Jacob had taken his bike to go to HIS swimming/life-saving lesson 4:15-5:00, and he went from there to the beach party. Marie would be willing to take her bicycle, but it needs repairing, and neither she nor I know how to do it and Jacob has been saying for six months that he'll do it, but hasn't. And yes, I know, Marie and I should just learn. But we haven't.)

4:50 p.m.--Arrived at Helen's drama class, which often puts on a "show" in the last 5-10 minutes, and I often miss it, and that often upsets her, so I made an effort to be there on time. No show this time, but Lukas, Katie, and Elisabeth got to participate in the last couple of games.

5:00 p.m.--Drove to the hospital and got to see Jörn.



5:45 p.m.--15 minutes before the actual visiting hour started, we left again. We stopped at the pharmacy and I left the children in the car while getting Joern's prescriptions filled. While waiting, I walked across the street to the bank and checked our balance, was pleasantly surprised, and took out cash, because we get a hefty discount at the pharmacy if we pay cash and because we have six children.

I let Lukas walk home and we drove the couple of hundred meters home. Lukas was collected around 7:00 to go to the Prayer House, Jacob appeared around 7:30 or 8:00 to eat dinner, then went out again to watch a World Cup game with a friend, and Marie was spending the night at a friend's house. Not feeling up to wrestling the three girls into bed by myself, I just didn't. My friend Bekah came by at about 8:00 for an hour, and after that I was calmer and did put the girls to bed.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Cyprus plumbing and construction...part six

Really, this should TOTALLY be finished by now. It's not. But maybe, just maybe, the "plumbing" part is. Maybe.

Several times since my last post, I was going to update that everything was fine now...but by the time I got to the computer, something else was leaking. I think everything is fine now, but I'm not holding my breath.

It already feels like it's been a lot longer than three weeks since this all started, but that is all it's been. Three weeks ago today was the day the plumbers were supposed to start work, three weeks ago tomorrow is the day they actually did. And my last post was about February 19th, which is already two weeks ago, and everything should have been finished by then. But it wasn't.

That evening, the toilet was rather wobbly, and there appeared to be water leaking from underneath. I had lost every bit of patience with Mr. George's plumbers, so I tried phoning Barry, an English plumber recommended by Richard. When he didn't answer, I texted, and eventually got a response back, that he was in England. So then I texted my friend Mary and asked if her extremely practical husband, Ken, was bored and wanted to fix up botched-up plumbing jobs. He showed up Wednesday morning (February 20th) and had a look at everything. He wasn't too impressed with their method of fixing the toilet down: lots of silicon, and nothing else. So he first of all took it off, then tried to figure out where it was leaking.

Nothing seemed to be leaking at this point, so I decided maybe it was just spilled water and my paranoia, and he drilled holes to fasten the toilet down with screws...and hit the hot water pipe, which ran directly under where one would normally put screws. Maybe the original plumbers knew that, and that's why they didn't fasten it down? Nah, I doubt that they thought that far. Anyway, after a lot of fiddling around, Ken repaired that leak, fastened the toilet down, and moved to the next job: connecting the dishwasher.

Not that we use the dishwasher (a totally different topic, and I think I may have even said that before...), but several years ago, we DID pay 70 Euros to have a major hole drilled from outside to inside and have the dishwasher connected. (It's outside, on the kitchen terrace, connected to the water supply in the laundry/shower room.) And we might use it again some day, or get another dishwasher, or whatever. The point was, the plumbers had not returned it to it's original, useable state. As far as Ken could tell, they'd melted a not-very-round hole into the drainage pipe, stuck the drainage hose from the dishwasher into it, and covered it with silicon. When it leaked, they put a whole bunch more silicon on it, up to an inch thick. So the first thing Ken did was take the drainage hose out and repair the pipe:

In the meantime, there had of course been more communication with Mr. George, and on Friday, the 21st, he and someone else came by to look at everything, in particular to discuss how to cover the floors in the bathroom, laundry/shower room, and kitchen terrace. While they were there, and we were all standing in the bathroom, Lukas pointed out that the bathtub tap was quite crooked.
 I said that that really didn't matter, and that Lukas should stop interrupting, but Mr. George only picked up on something being said about that tap and asked if it was leaking. I said, "No...oh, actually, I don't know, I haven't even checked." Because of the wet paint on the wall, even the little girls had all had showers, not baths. So I tried to turn the tap on...and water came out when I turned the right-hand faucet, but not when I turned the left-hand one. Here's a close-up of their brilliant job:
 Mr. George said plumbers would come on Saturday, the 22nd. They didn't. (This is getting rather repetitive...)

However, Ken did, and he is really wonderful at explaining things to children (Lukas in particular) who hang around and ask lots of questions:

One thing we discovered while Ken was there was that in the original repairs, the plumbers had switched the hot and cold water around! Not that it really matters, and normally, cold IS on the right and hot on the left, so now it's standard. Although the fixture is something rather less than standard. In any case, water was now running through it, so we left it.

What Ken did do was then put on an appropriate way to drain the dishwasher:


 

 Not the most standard or most elegant, but at least working.

He also let me take a photo of him as he was leaving and gave me permission to post it:
 
However...by Sunday, there was a LOT of water leaking from under the toilet, definitely coming from there, and dripping downstairs through the ceiling again, too. I turned off the hot water, and it was less, and on Monday (February 24th)  I texted Barry, knowing that he was getting back from the U.K. that night, asking him to phone me if at all possible as soon as he got back. He did so around 9:30 that night, Tuesday he came and looked at everything, and on Wednesday he arrived at 9:30 and worked for four hours. (Incidentally, I'd had several phone calls and text exchanges with Mr. George over the weekend and at the beginning of the week, and on Tuesday, he said that his plumbers would come on Wednesday. We said no, we didn't trust them, and he finally said okay, if they weren't there by "8:00 or so", then our plumber could start work. Jörn was a bit concerned about how we would handle it if Mr. George's plumbers DID show up, but not at all to our surprise, they didn't, so there was no issue.)
 
In the meantime, Ken had also come and taken the cistern off the toilet, but said he had no further ideas, so at this point we had no hot water, and were flushing the toilet with a bucket. Which I am absolutely totally fine with when camping or when living in a place where that is the norm...but I do find it a little annoying when living in Europe (even if it's the Middle Eastern end of Europe), where all the modern conveniences are standard, and where I am paying market rent.
 
Barry took the toilet off again, and determined that there was ANOTHER leak under the one which Ken had made drilling a hole, and the repair hadn't held. So really, it was good that Ken had caused a bigger leak when trying to fix the toilet to the floor, because the other leak was so much smaller that it could have gone a long time without being noticed. (I don't remember any more which one was hot water and which one was cold water.)


Finally, everything was put back together, AND Barry cleaned up after himself.

The toilet still isn't bolted or screwed to the floor--it's now fastened to the floor with cement. That doesn't seem ideal to me, but it's been five days now, and it's not wobbling even a tiny bit, so that's certainly better than what we had before!

We decided that the faucet in the bathtub wasn't ideal, but nothing really needed to be done, but he did switch the blue and red rings. I'm still not sure if we should use the bathtub, with all the paint peeling off of the wall...

And when I asked Barry about the pipe outside, he said, "Oh, I already did that." I hadn't even noticed. He said that yes, the correct part is more expensive than the part they had used, 6 Euros rather than about 3 Euros, but that it's a pretty stupid thing to attempt to economize on.

Once Barry had left, I texted Mr. George that it had been done, and that we would take the 150 Euros out of next month's rent. Not that we've paid this month's rent yet, nor do we intend to until the floors are taken care of. They've talked about putting "something plastic" (I'm guessing linoleum?) down, but I'm rather nervous about what kind of a botched job they'd do with that.

I was finally going to get around to blogging all of this on Sunday...when we found water all around the toilet again. I dried it all up and locked the bathroom door from the outside, so that we could determine if it was connected to anything in the bathroom actually being used, and when I checked later, there was a lot of water on the floor. So I turned off both the cold and hot water to the house, dried it all up again, and kept watching it. More water appeared, but considerably less, and it eventually stopped. So all day yesterday we flushed the toilet with buckets of mains water carried from the kitchen, and washed hands and brushed teeth in the kitchen. I did text Barry, but didn't phone him, as it was still early-ish, and then I decided to wait until today, to see if I could determine at least whether it was cold water, hot water, drainage water, or the toilet itself leaking. It at least wasn't drainage from the toilet, which was certainly good!

This morning I turned off the water supply to the toilet and turned only the hot water on: no leaks. An hour or so later, I turned on the cold water: no leaks. After another couple of hours, I turned on the water to the toilet, and discovered the problem: a leak from the cistern itself. It's in a totally awkward place to try to see, but feeling around, there was some kind of screw or nut that was loose, so I tightened that, which made the dripping less.

At this moment, the water to the toilet is still turned off. Because of the wet paint (yes, WET paint, that was applied nearly THREE WEEKS AGO...it did dry, but every time it gets wet, it's possible to rub off the color again, so it's certainly not waterproof, and obviously not appropriate for a bathroom floor!), I can't dry the area completely, so I'm waiting until it has air-dried to turn the water supply to the toilet back on, so I can tell if I tightened whatever that was enough.