Category Archives: Construction

Despairing of the Roof Project

So what have we been up to? ROOFING! Yep. The roof to my son’s mini-abode is finally done! Let me tell you, I despaired of it happening at all! Here’s how this construction adventure went.

If you recall, I lost my main source of income in March and spent several months living on a prayer and painstakingly earning just enough money to pay the internet before landing some ho-hum jobs. In August, my cup runneth over with the Chinese company, and I had classes every day. Since I was pretty sure that wouldn’t last (and it didn’t), I decided that the best use of those funds was to go ahead with the roof project.

I still didn’t have quite enough moolah gathered, having not taken the 15% increase on building materials into account, so the materials guy in town agreed to allow us to have the necessary items “fiado” (on credit). I have one large outstanding bill remaining, but I hope to have that paid with my next paycheck. 

With the materials taken care of, the next step was to rent the framing wood. My husband went to a few different places. It seemed that their policies had changed since the last time we put on a roof. Now, instead of paying when the month was up, we’d need to pay part upfront. I wasn’t thrilled with that, but it is what it is. 

Next up was getting the framing wood in place. Unfortunately, my husband was unable to do this vital part of the project. Because the wood rent was a daily charge, and fees were mounting, so he hired someone to put up the wood. Well, he found someone to do it, and I paid him to do it. It was yet another additional expense, but it got done. 

After the wood was up, it was time to hire the colladores (roofing crew). This part actually went pretty smoothly. In fact, it was the easiest roofing day we’ve ever experienced. The crew boss was competent. My son was on hand for any last-minute needs. And I stayed out of the way. Yet again, I didn’t take into account the 6% rise in the cost of labor, but I managed to pay the guys (and buy beer and carnitas). 

The next step was to wet the roof daily for the setting period (22 days). Some days, Tlaloc obliged, and it rained. Other days, my son had to haul buckets of water through the hole. Bruce liked to hang out while he did this but was anxious when he disappeared into the sky. 

During the setting period, we had a few earthquakes ranging from 7.7 to a measly 3.0. The epicenters were mostly in Michoacan, a hop, skip and jump away, so we did feel the shaking in La Yacata. Fortunately, the roof seemed to have sustained no damage. 

The past weekend, it was time to take down the wood. The process took just 2 days. Further construction will need to wait until my finances recover, but pretty much everything else will be less expensive than this roofing endeavor, thank goodness.

Second floor roof–complete

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A bit of hard work and a little woo-woo

I feel like it’s been weeks since I last updated the blog. I’ve been working overtime (at unbelievably low wages), mostly teaching Shakespeare to Chinese 10-year-olds.  Let me tell you, that isn’t as easy as it sounds! However, it’s all for the greater good. You see, I’m busy manifesting my son’s abode/future income generator. Some parents help out with college, but I’ve decided that this would be more practical. 

Unfortunately, it’s been slow going this year, much slower than I expected. First, I had that bump in the road economically when I lost my primary source of income. I spent 3 months looking for something that would work with our wonky internet, limited power during the rainy season because of our solar setup, and my skill set. Then construction materials have been steadily increasing in price. Although the new construction is half the size of our house, the roof is going to cost just as much. But it’s coming along, and we hope to have the skeleton done by the end of September. 

If you have learned anything from reading my blog over the years, you’ll have already realized that I’m one determined lady (my mom called me pigheaded, but same difference). I’ve managed to create a life that I love in rural Mexico from scratch. Sure there are tough times, but I see these as opportunities for growth and change (albeit sometimes with some whining in the process). 

Not to toot my own horn too much, but when getting electricity the traditional way didn’t work out (See La Yacata Revolution), I found a different path via solar. When traditional publishing wouldn’t touch my books because of their limited appeal to readers, I figured out how to self-publish. (See Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico). 

These accomplishments weren’t just strokes of good fortune. It took an incredible amount of effort, self-education, and pigheadedness on my part (thanks, Mom!) to manifest. And this next goal, building my son’s castle in the sky, is no different.

That’s not to say I did these things single-handedly. I’ve had help. I took classes online to learn about permaculture, solar electricity, and self-publishing. My husband is a phenomenal builder when the spirit (and my nagging) moves him. We wouldn’t nearly be as comfortable without his skills. My son is helping me with the Spanish translations of my books so I can reach a larger audience. AND I keep my positivity up through a variety of positive psychology books, courses, and daily affirmations. 

I know it sounds a bit woo-woo, but I truly believe I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have without that last little bit. I could have given up after the first couple of dozen failures. But I kept my eyes on the prize, and with creativity and hard work, I did it! (I’m still working on manifesting those Victorian babe arms, but I haven’t lost sight of the goal.)

Most of you that read this blog are probably already living your best life. Either you are already set up in Mexico or are in the process of getting things together to make the leap into the new life you have envisioned. But, if you are like me, you are probably surrounded by those that are still held back by limiting beliefs, negative emotions, and fear. And this next little bit is meant for them.

If you remember, I paired up with Infostack a few months ago when they had their Writer’s collection, Write Publish Profit. Well, this month, these fine folks are offering the Unlimited Abundance Super Stack, the perfect gift for those that are still struggling to create a fulfilling life.   

From August 23 – August 26, you can get this super stack for $49. After that, the price goes up to $67. Whether it’s your money or your life (after all, wealth is relative) that needs a bit of a boost, you’ll find something to light that fire within this bundle. 

I’m not going to do the whole song and dance routine here, but you can find out more about this bundle by heading to the sales page and checking it out. And if you do decide it’s just what you need, then know that I’ll get a small commission for your purchase. A win-win scenario, if I do say so myself!

Time to get back to class!


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Cuaresma Pool Project

After going back and forth on how we wanted to develop our new lot, we decided that we needed a pool. Thus the digging began. I wanted it to go from wall to wall, but that’s not how it was dug. The total area is about 19 feet by 9 feet, and it’s about 3 1/2 feet deep. 

 The digging took some time, but on Ash Wednesday, we were finally ready to pour the floor. The goal was to get it finished for Semana Santa. 

Since only my husband and son would be working on the project, not a whole crew of coladores (roof builders), we rented the cement mixer to save some time. Well, turns out not all that much time and effort was saved. The mixer was a bit wonky and stopped repeatedly. So a half-day job turned into a full-day effort. And it was HOT, making both workers mighty cranky.

The second workday was brief. My husband decided he had to get his truck paperwork and license plates straightened out that day, so in lieu of actual work, they moved the bricks from the brick pile to the pool floor so that bricklaying could commence bright and early the next day.

My husband is a super bricklayer when he gets started, so the walls to the pool were done in a matter of days. My son prepared the cement mix. My husband did the bricklaying, and tada! 

The enjarando (patching the bricks with cement) is my husband’s least favorite job, and of course, that took the better part of a week. Next, we went on a shopping excursion for some tiles. We only went to 4 different tile shops (which was surprisingly few) until we found something we liked. My son picked out this pebble tile, and we bought some. We had to drive to the warehouse some distance from the store and pick it up ourselves, and the boxes of tile were not exact matches to each other, but they were close enough that it was fine.

Once we got home my husband admitted that he hadn’t taken the floor into consideration when estimating how many tiles the pool would need. That was annoying. So we decided to not do anything to the floor. My husband argued for painting it blue–but since the tile was mostly gray, I didn’t see why we should, so we didn’t.

We also needed a way to get in and out of the pool. So my husband built stairs. I tried to show him on different videos that pool stairs tended to be rounded, but he didn’t pay any attention. 

Making a pool wasn’t enough. We had to make sure that as many insects as possible stayed OUT of the water. So my husband made a screened-in wall that extended from one side of the lot to the other, with a screen door, complete with doggy entrance. Although I wanted to make it permanent and use metal, it was substantially less expensive to use wood. I’m not sure that we won’t have to replace it in the future even if the wood got a coat of oil. 

Then we had to do something about the roof. I wanted to put up laminas transparentes (opaque corrugated plastic roofing), but again, it was out of the budget. I found a UV shade cloth on Amazon and ordered that instead. Again, I’m not sure that we won’t have to replace it in the future, but it’s perfect for now. I can spend an hour or two outside and not get burned to a red tomato hue.

Next, we needed a walkway area. My husband wanted to put down this type of tiny gravel, so we did, but it kicked up a lot of dust. So my son put down a brick patio. It’s not exactly flat, with little hills and valleys, but it will do for now. 

Along the side, my husband planted some of my plants. I hope to be able to get some more macetas (flower pots) eventually and fill the area, but it’s good for now. 

Then we needed to fill the pool. It actually took two full delivery trucks of 10,000 liters each, but there is no leakage, so that water will be good for quite some time. This was the Thursday before Semana Santa, so we beat our goal of “completing” it before the end of cuarema (lent).  

My son and I were in the water splashing around before the water truck even pulled out of La Yacata. Whoop! I love the water. Growing up in the Susquehanna River valley, just a stone’s throw from my grandpa’s river lot, meant I spent a lot of my childhood in the water. We also had a little 12-foot round pool that my brother and I spent our summers in. So it is nice to finally have a way to cool down.

The pool isn’t finished, although we are using it every day. I wanted my husband to enjarar (patch with cement) the walls in the pool “room.” He wasn’t interested in doing that. I also wanted him to tile the edges of the pool. That didn’t appeal to him either. Now that’s he gotten in the pool, he said that the steps should have been rounded, and we’ll need to get a railing of some sort for those. Yep. 

And the pump set up. My husband said he was going to rig it so it would be able to be plugged into the house, thus using our solar setup, but he hasn’t gotten around to that. So after a freak rainstorm the other day, it was no surprise to me that the water turned green. He seemed baffled, though. Shock treatment and running the pump with the generator helped some, but it really needs a more consistent water circulation plan.

So this project was a lot of give and take (mostly me giving advice and my husband not taking it, but whatever). We have something to enjoy in May, the hottest month of the year, and a place I can drown my sorrows daily now that I’m unemployed.


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