While the Rats Danced

You know why they are smiling? I do.

The move the coast began, really, as a mistake, or more so, a financial blunder. Argentina’s economy collapsed in 2001, and the currency’s value shrank by nearly 70% compared with the dollar, a good thing for those with dollars, euros or pounds. We felt flush. So we bought land on a whim in Pinamar. Wise? Certainly. It was a bargain. The unwise thing was building a house without a budget and hiring a tosspot to manage the project. Money evaporated, the building pace slowed. We threw more money at the project, unaware of the filching of funds, labor and materials. “It’s raining,” the foreman told us. “We’ll put up the roof when it stops raining.” It rained for the entire winter – and well into spring. Nevertheless, our workers kept busy digging, hammering and mixing at other projects, not ours. We didn’t know. We were a four-hour drive away while the rats danced. We had to pinch on spending, deplete our savings and borrow to finish – and we still couldn’t. The only option, we decided, was to move into the unfinished house and work from there and live frugally and see if it worked out. Would it?

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