Friday, April 22, 2011

The Heart Attack of Senhor Flavio

After the past couple of weeks, we thought this humorous story fitting. More serious posts to come, but for now . . .

Senhor Flavio is our landlord. He's the man to whom we pay rent. He's Brazilian, but his German roots and accompanying obsessive compulsiveness and control issues are very apparent in nearly everything he does. I'm not sure if it's better now that we can communicate more effectively, it was much nicer when we could just nod and smile and wonder why he walked away shaking his head.
When you ask a question to Senhor Flavio's children, he answers for them. His youngest is 28. Senhor Flavio washes EVERYTHING, even dirt. I can't explain this in English, we have our clean freaks, but this man shames them all. We are the Mersingers, clean is a relative term, imagine the context.

So I'm sitting on my bed this morning rubbing my feet, still jet-lagged and exhausted from this past week. Have had a wonderful time back with Shannon and the kids, arrived to see Naomi speaking about 50% more Portuguese than when I left. I think she's about caught up to us in just the past week.

As I was sitting I hear a "scream" of sorts. I recognize my name mixed in with some new interjections. I run out to see Senhor Flavio ascending the stairs screaming "my wall, my wall, my beautiful wall"!

One more interjection, they don't have chalk here in Brazil, that we've seen, certainly not the kind that kids use to color walls and roads with.

He arrives nearly in tears, asking me what we let happen. Pointing and screaming at the mural that Naomi and Caleb began their day drawing. He says "it is ugly, it's so UGLY, it's ruined, I will have to repaint everything". I began to explain that it is children's chalk and that it will come right off. He screams, "NEVER, I've already tried, it is there forever, it's SO UGLY, I will have to repaint everything the entire wall, because it will have to match the new paint". I apologized and took his feelings sincerely, but kindly asked for five minutes to try myself.

I now know what the face of Martha looked like when she received her brother Lazarus back from death. It was like Senhor Flavio's when I clapped my hands downstairs from his kitchen and called him out to observe. He beamed, his precious wall was saved. He thanked me over and over, said that he was so scared, and so amazed at how we restored it so quickly.

So, thank you Sarah Reynolds for the chalk. However, we won't be using it anymore in this location. It's not worth killing our landlord over. Somehow he still likes us, even though we're a terror to his precious environment.

It was a huge disappointment for the kids, so we had a whole morning explaining property rights and the Kingdom of God to our 5 and 3 year olds. That Jesus loved their work and all IS truly His, but we also live in a broken place with OCD old men and from this perspective it is his wall and we can't draw on it anymore. Caleb refuses to concede and spent an hour lamenting his loss, Naomi struggled also, but made up a song that she told us is entitled the Mourning Song, and after singing it to the wall as she sat on our steps, is feeling better.

I could create a new blog centering on our adventures with Senhor Flavio, but though it might interest some others, it's just become a bore for us, but at least a humorous bore.


  1. Oh my goodness, I just happened to pop on over to your blog to see what's new, and I am cracking up! I am nicknaming you Magic-Man..."now you see it, now you don't" [stolen from Talladega Nights, of course]. You tell your sweet kids, that Auntie Sarah has a HUGE bucket of chalk with their name on it, when they come back to Venice to visit. And they can chalk their little hearts outs on our driveway!

  2. Oh how I love you guys! And oh how your lives make me smile!! :)