Home Improvement Nightmare

by sumpteretc

Okay, finally time to blog.

Laura suggested that I teach you a Mongolian word each day. I’m not sure about the demand for that, but let’s start with a pair of similar sounding words. The word for paper is цаас (tsaas) and the word for snow is цас (tsas). As you can imagine, it’s easy to mix these two up, but it’s not as tragic as some other easily mixed-up words, but that’s a discussion for another blog.

Heather sent me a list of possible blog topics. The first one is about Mongolian food. Tomorrow, our language school is offering some cooking lessons, so I’ll wait until after that to comment on food.

I do plan to tackle Heather’s list, but I’m going to blog tonight about some difficulties we are having with our apartment. As many of you know, we are currently living in someone else’s apartment while we work on remodeling ours. In preparation for the remodeling project, we visited the homes of a few other missionaries who have recently had work done. We got a couple of recommendations for a contractor named Bayarmaa. We met Bayarmaa and decided to hire her for the project. She came to our apartment, measured the bathroom, asked what we wanted to do, and made arrangements to meet us in “100 Houses,” the hardware street of Ulaanbaatar on Wednesday.

I had school on Wednesday morning, so Tiffany went to 100 Houses, accompanied by a girl from our church who speaks English fairly well. That girl decided we should also bring the pastor’s husband to bargain for us. So, Tiffany and these two from our church drove to 100 Houses and met Bayarmaa’s husband. Some discussion then ensued in Mongolian, while Tiffany looked on bewildered. Apparently, our church friends told the contractor’s husband that he was charging too much, to which he replied, “Find someone else then,” and walked off. Tiffany was not involved in the decision at all.

Tiff and the church folks then went tile shopping and bought tile, cement, grout, etc. I joined them to carry the tile up to our apartment. Then Tiffany went home and I accompanied the two back to 100 Houses and a few other places to buy a bathroom door, shower head and sink. I was basically along for the ride. We walked in and out of stores, and I just looked on in confusion. Apparently, we were looking for items that weren’t made in China. We must have finally found some, because we did buy some things. Even when I was asked for input, I usually didn’t know what I was looking at. “Which of these 5 used Russian sinks do you want?” Once, the pastor’s husband asked me to choose between two sets of bolts and wall anchors. I don’t even know what they were for.

My great concern now is, “Who is going to do the work?” I am, more or less, useless when it comes to home improvement projects, and I don’t think the best way for me to learn tiling is to completely retile my bathroom. So, for the past week, the tile has been sitting in our empty apartment. The church people say they want to help. I hope they know a lot more than I do.