Archive for the ‘poco a poco’ Category

I Don’t Know

June 29, 2008

I don’t know why I write three posts and then forget about them for six weeks. I have this idea that I’ll be more together this time and space them evenly. Doesn’t happen, so henceforth I’ll publish shortly after the first draft. Pitayas are showing up on the grocery store shelves, but are still far too expensive this early in the season. I’ve harvested some pictures off the web though, to show the plant, flowers and fruit.

The forms came off of the three arches today, and I’ll upload some of those as well as other construction photos. I went up on the roof this afternoon to clamp down the new water pipe. With my drill and concrete bit, I endeavored to drill a hole deep enough to accept a plastic anchor into which a screw goes to hold the clip in place. In some cases I hit rock and had to try another spot nearby. But in a couple other spots, my drill penetrated all of 1/4″ and then open space. We’ve been told that the roofers, in repairing the roof in preparation for sealing it, tap all about in search of hollow-sounding spots, so they can chip out the bad and repair it. My guess is these guys cut many corners. I’m tempted to chip it out and fix it myself, but Connie says no. So I went back up, before the rain, with a small amount of mortar and closed up all those little holes. I’ll paint a new coat or two of sealer over them all soon, as well as over the screw heads.

So this is my first photo upload attempt the correct way. I have no idea how I did it before. These photos show how the arches were formed up. These will form the back wall of the hindmost living area of the house. In the photo on the upper right, we can see the pool area. The kiddie pool marks the spot. It isn’t really clear from this photo, but that white blob seen through the middle arch is bagged soil, which will be replaced back on the surface when all is said and done. This pile is seen more clearly in the above photo. And now, upon re-reading this, I see that I’ve uploaded the photos into the wrong post.

Be that as it may.  I’ll simply make the two into one.  Let’s see if I can upload some more photos.  Well, there they are.  I see I’m gonna have to learn how to place them better.  That photo of the cut fruit gets my mouth to watering.  They taste like a somewhat bland kiwi, and are really delicious!



May Day

June 24, 2008

Mayday! Mayday! May Day here in Mexico, and in most of the world, is Labor day. There is a pariah nation north of the border which presumes to know better, and so remains out of step, out of touch and out of time with the rest of us. We’re happy to leave them be, to drift off beyond the divide.

Now take a deeeep breeeaath……..and…..(We) Begin actual construction on the remodel project on the auspicous first of May, 2008. We had Alfredo the albanil and his son Marcos, digging out the back tab, where the pool will go. And, over the past century, where every bit of trash–organic and inorganic has been tossed. We’re surmising that the build-up of a soil-like substance mixed 1-3 with non-biodegradable debris was formed together in situ. We know that there were pigs back there at one time too, and so their refuse and remains would also be a part of the mix. A month or so ago, when we were doggedly picking out the glass piece by piece, we discovered a tile floor at the bottom way in the back corner. We harvested some of it, and will ask Alfredo to watch out for it next week.

We’ve hired an engineer/designer team, he being Yucatecan and she being an American retiree who was an art teacher in her former life, and continues to be an artist. She (Evalynne) is in the process of finishing up her second remodel, personally, and has a third under her belt for someone else, all of them with Raul. They will work for a 15% commission, allowing plenty of room for changes and re-considerations. Our first project with Raul and Evalynne will likely be the addition of the back patio roof, this giving us a largish outdoor living area, and significantly cooling the current back room of the house with it’s shade. Meantime, Alfredo will continue with his digging and screening, and when he’s finished with that, I’ll join in and learn how to build a stone wall. In two weeks or so, Felipe Ek and his crew will come and repair and reseal the roof, before the start of the rainy season, sometime in June.

The crew working next door has nearly completed their wall building. We share all but one short piece with them, and they have graciously built the whole thing, without asking us to pay our share. Of course they haven’t asked us for any other input either, though we gave it to them nonetheless. They have left us 10 cm on our side, to build up with stone or block, or simply to stucco and paint. They have an electric jackhammer, which has run continuously for 2 weeks now. They’re digging very slowly into the bedrock, which is about 45 cm below the surface, in an effort to go deep enough for a pool.. We plan to build ours up from wherever the bedrock falls, and backfill around it.


June 24, 2008

We’re underway, as of Monday, the 19th. Raul and his contractor, (AR)Mando came over and unloaded some materials for building scaffold, covering the floors to protect them, etc. Later in the day, two truckloads of cement, polvo (limestone powder used in lieu of sand, which just isn’t available here), cal (lime dust, used as a final coat in some cases, and to make the mortar stickier in others) and rebar arrived. The previous Saturday, we got two loads for Alfredo as well. Saturday and Sunday, Connie and I removed all of the grey tile upstairs, and were able to save about 80% of it. This feat was aided by a Workforce brand dremel tool with a grout-cutting bit, which I got on my second trip to Home Depot that morning. Everything which was in the front two rooms, as well as upstairs, is now variously scattered throughout the house and patio. The trike and the black bike, in pieces, has gone over to Collin’s garage. It’s like an ant colony, with two crews mixing cement in back and five or six men working upstairs repairing the ceiling, before the entrepiso ( the downstairs ceiling/upstairs floor,[the floor in between]) comes down, probably later in the week, or early next week.

With just seven days to go until I leave for the states, I today, began a self-prescribed round of Flagyl, for the treatment of my presumed new or continuing case of giardia lambida.

Ol’ Betsy

May 18, 2008

I went to Belize this past week. I left on the midnight bus on Monday, arriving in Chetumal around 5:30 AM. The express bus to Flores, Guatemala, via Belize City, left at 6. As we approached Belize City I asked the driver for directions to the regular bus terminal. He told me it would be alright to just ride along with him for the next 30 miles, as he was going that way anyway. After I sat there on the bus, and kept an eye on his bag, a woman entered and asked me where I was going. She told me I had to go into the office and buy a ticket. The ticket cost $10, so I handed them a US 5. No, they said, its’ $10 US. I nearly spit. I knew full well that, from the regular bus station, it was only $3, Belize. So I told them as much and retracted my five dollar bill. Took a taxi over to the terminal, and then paid only $2 for my fare.

Next day was Belmopan day. Transfer the title and collect $1500 Bz for the truck. As luck and Belize would have it…Bruce informed me the day before, that he had lost the title. Replacing it cost me 3 hours and $45. He told Cliff that all the lights were working. it took us the rest of the day to hunt down the parts and get them installed–5 bulbs and a brake light switch. Then a shunt across the front of the engine compartment from o the right headlight to the left. We made it back to the office with 15 minutes to spare. The evening before, I had removed the tool box from the truck, so I wouldn’t forget it. So we bought a 14 mm combination wrench to get the cap off and a crescent wrench for the rest. We drove out to the junction and pulled off under a big shade tree, pulled the cap off and went to work. At some point, Cliff offered the cap to the man selling produce, and that was taken care of. He later gave us some sandpaper and lent a screwdriver. I was promised the money in US$, and was given it in Belize dollars. I lost between 40 and 50 dollars in the exchange to pesos as a result. I boarded the bus from Cheers at around 8:15, arriving in Belize City at 9. At 9:30 I rolled out of town heading North to Chetumal. At 4:30 I headed out of Chetumal for Merida. I met a Finnish woman with a Finnish name I can no longer remember. We shared a snack before she went off to Playa and I to Merida.

I saw red-lored parrots and vermilion flycatchers. The blooming trees include both red and yellow flamboyant, yemeri, Golden Rain, plumeria, mango, give and take, apple blossom, passion vine, african tulip tree, several orchids and a couple others I don’t know.

I stepped off the bus a 10 PM into very warm air. The high that day had been 107 F, and it was certainly still in the mid nineties at that hour. I walked the eight blocks home.

Connie and I just returned home from our 17th anniversary dinner at the Hotel Residential; then took the dogs for a walk to look at a house for sale on 84 between 55 and 57. Tomorrow the workers come and begin to work on the front two rooms, repairing the ceilings and installing skylights before removing the second floor altogether.

Connie and I spent yesterday afternoon and all day today removing the tile and doors and carrying them downstairs. I removed my first commode today, with a hammer.


May 11, 2008

Or pitaya.  It’s pronounced both ways.  I saw my first bloom yesterday, and it was nearly as beautiful as the fruit it will produce in a month or so.  It is also my favorite tropical fruit, as of out visit here last July.  The flamboyant trees are also beginning to bloom.

We met with our engineer, Raul,  Evalynne, our designer, and (ar)Mando, the albanil/crew chief on Friday, while Alfredo and Marcos worked on the new stone wall out back.  We’re designing and placing skylights, both regular and vented, and will begin installing them shortly, before having the roof repaired and sealed ahead of the rains.  We’re consuming copious quantities of water and ice these days, as the afternoon temperatures dance in the 102-106 range.  Mostly we sleep through the worst of it, but today we had houses to visit.  It’s a different lifestyle in all this heat.  Stay up late, arise early and sleep a couple hours in the late afternoon.

I will travel to Belize this coming week, to sell the old Nissan truck.  I plan to board the ADO first class bus shortly before midnight tomorrow, for the 4.5 hour ride to Chetumal, where I’ll have to wait at least a couple hours for the express bus to Belize City.  From there, it’s only an hour more to Monkey Bay, and I should make it well ahead of lunchtime.  Hopefully everything will go smoothly and I can be back in Merida Thursday evening.