Category Archives: Construction

Breaking Ground

With restrictions eased for who would receive the latest stimulus check, my son and I finally qualified for a piece of that pie. A lump sum like that deserved some special use. So we went in search of lot owners near our house.

One person had two lots a few spaces up the road from us. She named her price. Even with our government windfall, we wouldn’t have enough for those. Moving on. Then we tracked down the woman who owns the lot right next to us. A few months ago, she said she was willing to sell. Unfortunately, she had moved to another town. So we sent her a message via her uncle who owns the building materials place in town. Then when she wouldn’t answer his calls, we sent a message via the ex-boyfriend, loser that he is. I’m not sure if our messengers helped or hindered the cause, because now she wasn’t going to sell. 

We found the father of the owner of two lots walking in town. He said he’d contact his son and see if he wanted to sell. We struck out there too. 

Since we have the padron (master list) of owners that have registered, we decided to contact a few of the other owners in the off chance they were in need of cash. My husband called the owner (not too many propertarios left a phone number) of the lot one up from us. He said he’d think it over and get back to us. A few hours later, he called and said that we would sell. He brought his two sons and picked up the funds in cash. Both parties were happy. 

Obviously two is better than one, so we tried to locate the owner of the lot next to the recently purchased one. The contact address was to a rental and the person no longer lived there. We opted to put an announcement on the radio. We actually got several calls, but all from other property owners who wanted to know if we were having a “junta” community meeting. 

Deciding that enough was enough, we decided to make do with the lot we had. The digger was rented and the holes for the footers and foundation were dug. Construction has been slow going since my husband insists he can’t take a leave of absence from his job and is only working for an hour or two when he gets home, if that. But hay va (it’s coming along).

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Painting the House

Finally, after 15 years living in this house, it was time to paint the front. What, in theory, should have been done in two days took three weeks. But is anyone surprised?

First, we found that the tan paint we chose seemed very yellow when applied. Mixing some dark brown took it to a peachy hue that looked great with both the tejas (tiles) and brown doors. The second bucket ended up slightly darker when the brown paint was added, but not enough for anyone but me to notice.

My husband trimmed out the windows and doors with a stripe of brown. We talked about adding another stripe to the base, but in the end, we decided against it. However, the wall on the far side of the animal gate needed a little something extra. My husband wanted a picture of a horse and two horseshoes. I found some images on the internet that I submitted to my artist friend Claudia and the end result was even better than I had hoped.

Of course, getting it on the wall was a challenge. We rented an andamio (scaffolding) for 6 days. My husband needed it for the second-floor painting, and Claudia needed it for the upper part of the mural. For three days, it sat there. No one used it. Since the price was a daily charge, I wasn’t too happy about that. The painter and artist were “too busy.”  

When Claudia finally came, she didn’t bring her chalk line to mark the sections. She has recently moved, and it didn’t turn up in her boxes she had unpacked. So my son, Claudia, and I attempted to mark the perimeter with burnt sticks, a measuring tape, and string. It didn’t advance much at all. She arrived too late in the day to continue after we boxed the frame in anyway. The front of the house is hot as hades after 1 pm. 

The next day, I sent my husband to buy a chalk line before Claudia arrived. By now, we were at day 5 of the 6-day rental. She had a rough start to her morning since she was responsible for feeding someone’s pets while they were on vacation, delivered a contribution to a kermes (charity meal) for medical expenses of a family member, and then had to go back home because she’d left something there. She finally arrived around 10 am. With the chalk line, things progressed faster. She managed to outline the full mural and paint the upper half before she called it a day.

Then we had our own crisis or two going on. The doorknob between the garage and the kitchen broke, leaving us all locked out of the house. Having been locked out a time or two before in my life, I grabbed a screwdriver and lifted the pins from the hinges. That did the trick. Of course, putting the pins back in took longer.

Jolina also decided she needed to give birth right then. Being one of our most frustrating goats, she decided that she would do so under the food trough. My son had a hard time getting the two little ones out. They are fit and healthy, but Jolina isn’t interested in being their mother. She did fine last year with the circus twins. But with these two, she hides under the trough most of the day so the kids can’t get anything to eat. We’ve tried locking her in with her kids in a separate stall, but that doesn’t work either. So my husband and son take turns forcing Jolina to hold still so her kids can eat. 

Back to the painting…since Claudia worked past the 1 pm shadow, the next morning she had a terrible headache, so no work was done that day. When she recovered and returned, the painting was done in about 2 hours. 

While Claudia was working, the men of La Yacata mosied by. There isn’t a lot of entertainment in these parts, and a pretty girl creating art is one of the seven wonders, apparently. I sent my son out periodically to run interference. He’d glare at the gawkers until they mosied away. 

My husband didn’t finish painting the upper story when the scaffolding was here either. He had to drag the extension ladder to finish up. He said that he wanted to ask for another day. I said only if he were paying for the additional day. The guy came to pick up the scaffolding when agreed upon originally. He also didn’t think to ask for the cash before I started teaching for the day. Mid-class, my husband burst into the computer room and asked for the money for the rental fee. 

Just as Claudia was finishing up, my husband got a bee in his bonnet about adding a nostril and eye to the horse shadow. Claudia tried to talk him out of it, but he insisted. So now, the horse is sort of a zombie horse–since the “light” is coming through at those parts. I might just go and dab some brown paint one of these days. 

Anyway, the front of the house is painted now. So there’s that.

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Quarantine Project #4 — Back Porch Planters

Once the tinacos were moved to the new roof, my husband started on the back porch. I wanted some additional planters and had him make them from the bases where the tinacos had been.

Since growing our own food has been a priority for some time, I used one to plant leafy greens and the other for root vegetables. 

After we got Fuzz, the planters were completely ransacked after he figured out how to climb that high. I replanted with some larger plants instead and that seems to be more to his liking. He hasn’t bothered them yet anyway.

My husband also ran a tube from one of the tinacos on the roof and attached a short hose for watering. Since we have a rain barrel there as well, there is plenty of water (at least in the rainy season). 

He hasn’t finished the patching of the wall on this section of the house either. I know it is his least favorite part of construction, so I’m sure he’ll put it off indefinitely. Meanwhile, about those tejas from Quarantine Project #1….

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