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Friday, the thirteenth..

A boring grey in the sky? Light drizzle over the lake?
Where am I? What time is it, what day? Is this a bad dream?

I pinch myself, finger for the watch on the bedside table:

07:35 am, 3/13, Fr I read, when my eyes finally focus.

Well, that explains something: Friday, the thirteenth! This dreadful weather is nothing but a subtle hint in the sky of the black Friday.

rain chile

Ok, for the less superstitious I offer a different interpretation: I'm "over the hill", geographically speaking.

On the western slope of the Andes, in Chile, the wind pushes the moist Pacific air up the mountains. And that means upslope, blocked flow, clouds, fog, rain. All well known from weather forecasts for the Alps, the Rockies, mountain ranges anywhere.
No reason to worry, all has its straightforward logical explanation.

An hour later Jeff and I are having breakfast. We enjoy our smoothies, warm brownies, homemade plum marmalade, and fresh coffee. Something Tchaikovsky wafts through the air - until a sudden "plop" and the sound of rushing water disrupt the idyllic scene. Is there somebody taking a shower in an upstairs room?
Two minutes later water comes running down the beams from the ceiling.
We're already moving chairs, couches and sound equipment out of the area of precipitation when the manager storms through the door. Stunned and bewildered she looks up. "El tanque, se rompió el tanque" she cries - the tank, the tank burst - and off she runs to close the valve.
Then we follow her up the stairs, through one of the guest rooms, up a ladder, through a hatch into the attic to the place where the catastrophe began. Everything is quiet - and wet. A short brainstorming leads us to the following conclusion: the repair patch of a leak in the tank a couple of days ago couldn't take the regular pressure delivered by the pump. Once Lilian opened the feeder line for hot water from the boiler the leak sprung up again.
Why did she open this feeder today?
Today, on Friday, the thirteenth?

Perhaps we should approach the drive back with an extra dose of caution.

As we reach the border station on the Chilean side there's no queue, not a single person ahead of us. We get our stamps from the lady at immigration and the guy at customs without any delay and five minutes later we're on our way through 10 miles of no-mans land. Over on the other side the Argentinean colleagues deliver a repeat performance. Incredible! We make record time to "chori-pan" (chorizo sausages in a roll) and our favorite lunch spot in Villa Angostura.
Is Fortuna trying to compensate for the water accident during breakfast? Is this dreaded combination of Friday and the Thirteen plain nonsense after all?

While waiting for traffic at a stop sign Jeff asks me to rev up the engine. Is there an unusual knocking sound? Normally this wouldn't surprise me, only two days ago Jeff had the valves adjusted.
But on this Friday?

At our next photo-stop the clack-clack got louder. Jeff believes.
I keep driving the way I always do and get us to San Martin without additional incidents.
At the first intersection Jeff asks me to turn right: " Let's just swing by my mechanic.."
Mauricio, the mechanic, doesn't believe in a misadjusted valve. " Could be one of the injection nozzles, or..., and the crankshaft appears to wobble a tiny bit, must have taken a pretty bad hit once."
That doesn't sound good, it seems like serious maintenance is called for, better now than later. Jeff makes an appointment and climbs in the driver's seat himself, just in case...

At least we'd made it home!

I move camera gear and bags into my car and drive over to Carlos' to schedule the next shoot for our video project. As I start the car again I hear - once more - a short "plop", just like this morning. No rushing sound this time, no water either. Instead, I can hardly move the steering wheel. Turn off the engine, open the hood, and check hydraulic fluid: everything ok. But why does the v-belt hang so loosely between the pulleys? It hasn't torn, where did its tension go?
Then I see the pulley under the car! The tension arm is broken!

"Can be fixed in half an hour" diagnoses the mechanic, whom Carlos had miraculously conjured up at 8pm this haunted Friday!

"Provided you find the appropriate spare part" he adds quickly.

Oh no! Not again!
The last time it took six weeks to find a part! And we just came back from Chile, where you can get anything at your friendly Ford dealer right around the corner!
Que mala suerte! What bad luck!
And today, of all days!

I leave the car in the parking lot and take the bus. Only ten minutes later I'm at my front door and turn the key in the lock. Well, I try to turn the key.
But no cigar - nothing moves. The key remains solidly in its vertical position. I rattle the key, the lock, the door, finally the entire house. Nothing moves.
It's 9pm by now! Do I have to wait another 3 hours for this damned Friday to pass? Will the key, the lock know then, too, that the Thirteenth has passed? Will they then give up their stubborn resistance?

I decide to look for an "alternate" entrance. And, lo and behold, I manage to make my way to a door on the balcony, which appears to be unlocked. I know that the alarm is set, but shouldn't I have the regular 30 seconds to enter the password?

Slowly I slide the door open and tiptoe in the kitchen,...YEWYEW-CHIPCHIP..the f@#$$ horn screams like it wants to waken the dead.
Twenty seconds later I have the code punched in and everything returns to silence.
Two minutes later the phone rings:" Hola, how are you? This is your alarm monitor, everything ok?"
The fact that I know the proper password convinces the guardian angel. He buys into my story and advises to call a locksmith first ting next morning.

Next morning?
On Saturday?

Forget it! Tomorrow the lock is going to work like it should!
Tomorrow I'm going to find the spare part for my vehicle!
Tomorrow the sky is going to be blue again!

But now, today? On Friday, the thirteenth?

No way I'm going to cook dinner - I don’t' want to burn this place down!
No way I'm going to take shower - let's leave the water tank alone!

Nothing but into bed and under the covers!