Category Archives: Water issues

A room of her own–Perks

 

cam05008

It may not look like much at first…..

Despite the small size, there are definitely some perks to renting in Sunflower Valley.  While it’s really not designed for a family, I think a retired granny would be delighted here. In fact, I can see the whole neighborhood being converted into a retirement community.  Here are some of the pros and cons.

cam05017

There is unlimited water.  I can wash and wash to my heart’s content and not have to worry about getting a delivery truck to come and fill up the tinaco (water storage container) or go to the arroyo.  However, there is some issue with the tinaco.  Every week or so, there was an overflow, and it dripped into the house, which apparently has been happening for years because there are signs of roof leakage in every room.  We did get that fixed though (See Waterfall in the kitchen and Fixing the roof)  Additionally, the toilet leaked, so we had to flush with a bucket. The pipes are bad which is causing the walls in the hallway and my office to disintegrate. That we haven’t fixed yet.  Although the water heater was replaced, we don’t shower here either.  It’s just icky.  Plus there were those extra water charges the owner tried to foist on us from the last tenants.  Although that too has been taken care of.

There is unlimited electricity.  We can charge our flashlight, laptops, portable DVD players, phones and Kindles every single day! And at 50 pesos every 2 months, the price is right! However, there are only 5 working plugs in the whole house, so we have to rotate our charges.

There is unlimited internet.  Well, there better be since this was the whole reason for renting this place, to begin with.  I use the internet to teach my online classes.  My son uses the internet to play Minecraft.  My husband uses the internet to check his Facebook account.  However, it’s a bit pricey at $349 per month, and it’s not lightning fast, but it will do for now I suppose.

There is also trash pickup 6 days a week.  We don’t generate too much waste and average one trash bag per week.  The problem is getting the trash out when the truck passes ringing its bell. Typically, it goes by before 7 am, and we aren’t usually there to greet it.  So sometimes the trash bag waits a week or more before hitting the curb.  Other times we just haul it to La Yacata and burn it.

cam05323-1

There is an abarrotes (convenience store) right across the street.  We can get detergent, toilet paper, ham, cheese, eggs, beans, tortillas, bread, water garafones (jugs) and junk food.  Unfortunately, my son goes overboard on the junk food.  Every chance he gets, he heads over for a bag of chips and a Zumba (non-carbonated grape juice) or cookies and milk.  He has made the connection between the food he eats and his zit outbreaks, so I’m hoping he reduces his junk food intake eventually.  

cam05063

The produce truck comes every Sunday afternoon.  Since there isn’t a fruteria (produce store) close, this is a fabulous plus.  He even stops right in front of the house!  However, the guy who drives it has lots in La Yacata, so my cover is blown! It didn’t take too long for other Yacata property owners to find me in Sunflower Valley either.

The bolillo (bread) guy comes every morning around 9 am.  We aren’t often there in the mornings with our current schedule, but it’s a really nice treat when we are.  I can’t think of a downside for this.  Freshly made bollillo is yummy!

The tamale lady comes every Saturday evening.  She sells rojos, verdes y dulcles (red, green and sweet) tamales for 9 pesos each.  However, she usually knocks when I’m in class, so my son handles the transaction.  Only she doesn’t seem to understand volume, so she’s practically shouting at the front door, which disturbs me in my classes.  

The saddest ice cream truck ever also makes the rounds most evenings.  It’s a rusty red van that plays the song Memory from Cats over and over again.  Not exactly a song that brings ice cream to mind, but it’s memorable that’s for sure.

Now that the little house is nearly furnished, there are all sorts of perks inside too.  Both my son and I have a bed for napping when we have to head there right after school.  Having a kitchen lets us whip up something quick as well.  I also like to have a cup of tea during my classes.  And if my classes run long and my teenage son is famished, he can fry himself up some eggs and ham.  We have chairs to sit on and hope to get a couch to lounge on soon.  It’s quite comfortable really.

cam05068

The house backs up to a soccer field.  If I stand on a chair, I’m actually ground level to the field.  Best seats in the house.  However, there are days the games are the same time I am teaching online, so there’s a bit of background noise when the two overlap.

cam05331

Guard’s room.  There’s a ding-dong sensor when someone passes through the front gate.

There’s a security guard at the front gate who monitors everybody’s coming and going. Despite this, in recent months, there have been 4 break-ins during the day.  I suspect that the thieves live in Sunflower Valley as well, so the items have just moved from one house to another.  The targeted houses have been all 2 stories and obviously better off financially than my run-down little dump.  Plus, the store is open all day, and the shopkeeper keeps an eye on things on our street.  Furthermore, our neighbor has a friendly pitt bull that is outside during the day.  He’d give the warning should any strangers come and try to pick our lock.

Yet another perk is the proximity to La Yacata.  It really is less than 2 miles.  When my classes run late, it only takes 5 minutes to get home via the highway.  Of course, I don’t like driving the highway at night, but it’s the shortest way.  It’s also within biking distance for my son.  Nowadays he prefers heading over there Saturday afternoons rather than staying in La Yacata.

Besides the tamale lady and the occasional soccer game, the area is quiet and peaceful.  In December, we even had Las Posadas right outside our door.  We didn’t stay long, but shared some ponche (punch) and received an aguinaldo (goodie bag) for our 40 pesos contribution.

So, as you can see, there are some decided advantages to our little out in Sunflower Valley even if there aren’t any sunflowers here.  I’m not sure how long we’ll keep renting, but for now, it’s all good.

cam05554

The Bougainvillea has begun to bloom–perhaps a sign of better things to come?

***************************

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

 

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Electricity issues, Water issues

A room of her own–fixing the roof

With the rainy season fast approaching, it was imperative that the roof was fixed.  It wouldn’t do to arrive and find that the beds and computers got wet.  My husband agreed to do the work and even called the owner to name his price.  So the arrangement was instead of paying rent this month, I would buy the materials and pay my husband.

CAM05660

The roof had already received a coat of impermeabilizante (waterproofing), hence the red color, but as there were holes in the cement, a layer of paint wasn’t enough to keep the water out.

First, the roof needed to be swept and the accumulated debris disposed of.  The house was not constructed very well.  The rainwater pooled at the sides and over the years corroded the roof, leaving it in its current dilapidated condition.

CAM05662

This cement tinaco (water storage container) is at least 20 years old.

Next, the holes in the ceiling were filled in.

cam05683.jpg

Then the chipopote (tar) mixed with gas for easier spreading was applied to the worst spots.  It’s possible there will still be one or two minor leaks, but we won’t know until the rainy season arrives in full force.

CAM05680

Finally, the ceiling received another coat of plaster.  I wasn’t so worried about the cosmetic appearance, but my husband thought it should at least look passable.

CAM05685

It’s been more work than I imagined getting the place into a comfortable state for working and I’m not finished yet.  The bathroom still feels icky and even though we don’t use it for showering, it’d be nice to fix it up a bit. It certainly is better than it was! I have to keep in mind that this isn’t my house though.  It doesn’t pay for me to invest in unessential repairs.

**********************

disclosure

2 Comments

Filed under Construction, Water issues

A room of her own–Waterfall in the kitchen?

I have to admit that the little house in Sunflower Valley to being a bit lacking in several aspects. First, the floor is white tile. Who in their right mind would use white tile? It is NEVER clean.

Then there are the holes in the roof. It leaks in 3 of the 4 rooms. I can see the sky through some of the holes. And while we are in the dry season and the holes shouldn’t be an issue, this week they became an issue when the floater on the tinaco (water storage container) on the roof went caput. So when the new load of water came gushing in from the street, the tinaco overflowed and it came gushing down on our heads in the kitchen, along with chunks of the ceiling.

Ceiling holes

Ceiling holes

So there we were wading in the new waterfall, making the floor far from shiny white. Stopping the cascade required pliers and some guessing. Which would turn the water off from the street and which would turn off the water for the entire street? Well, no one complained, so I guess we got the right one.

As I really didn’t want this to be a constant issue,  it needed to be fixed. My husband came and looked it over. We had recently bought 2 new tinacos (water storage containers) each of which came with floaters which we don’t use because we don’t have running water. (See Water Woes) The tinacos are filled with rain water or from the water delivery truck. When they are full, we close the lid of the tinaco. No floater needed. Anyway, he brought that piece over and went to work.

The old floater.

The old floater.

It required draining the tinaco, so he left the water on, and did other things. A short time later, it was fixed, so he turned the water back on to fill the tank and went home. He came back later to check on things, and the bathroom was flooded. Apparently, the water pressure from the now working tinaco was too much for the toilet pipes. It had flown out of the wall connection and the house was flooded, again.

This attachment just shot right out of the wall.

This attachment just shot right out of the wall.

So the tianco was drained yet again. I can’t WAIT to see this water bill. When the copper tubes were dry, he blowtorched the pieces together. Then the floater in the toilet broke. That required a new piece, which he went and got and replaced. Then the hose from the toilet tank to the wall pipe broke. Another trip for a new piece and replacement.

Finally, after 2 days of effort, the toilet and tinaco were fixed. Now we don’t have to bucket flush anymore.

Of course, these are things I have brought up several times to the owner. It even prompted a trip to Yuriria, well that and the leftover water charges from the previous tenant that she said were taken care of. With the repairs done, another trip was in order.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find anyone home, although we did pick up some fruit trees from a guy selling them from his wheelbarrow for 15 pesos each.

So I called and explained that I would only be paying $600 pesos this month for rent.  That was fine with the landlady.  What else could she say?  And she seemed all interested in getting the roof fixed, which was my next item on the repair list.

**********************


3 Comments

Filed under Water issues

A room of her own–a washer

Doing the wash at the community laundry mat.

Doing the wash at the community laundry mat.

Now that the water and electric were established, it was time to manifest my next desire–a washing machine. I spent several weeks checking models and prices at different stores. Did I want one of the commonly found round chaka chaka models that I was pretty sure would work on most Mexican plumbing setups? Or did I want a square one like my mother has? The price difference was enormous! Some careful consideration was in order.

round-washer

The round chaka chaka washers (so name because of the chaka chaka noise they make as they agitate the clothes) were around 2,000 pesos. Although extremely economical, I had no idea how to use one. I tried to find some information on the internet and struck out. It seemed like it would use quite a bit of water as well. Then things would be sopping wet and take forever to dry unless I invested in a wringer too. The wringer I would have to order from someplace because that sort of technology is just not available here. It might not be a bad investment, though.

wringer

The next level of washers varied considerably. There were the basic machines with dials and then there were the digital computerized washers that were quite intimidating. They even came in fashion colors! Washers at the new store Fabrics de Francia cost up to 30,000 pesos! What did it do, fly? I really only wanted a basic machine. I hurried out of the store before a salesperson could convince me otherwise.

washer

I finally found what I wanted at a price I could afford at Famsa. It was a Whirlpool basic, cold water 15K capacity washer with a dial. It was under 5,000 pesos. Yep, gonna get it!

I mentioned my shopping experience at work, and a coworker suggested I wait for Buen Fin before I bought it. In case you haven’t heard of it Buen Fin is something like Black Friday, but not really. I haven’t ever gotten a good deal during Buen Fin sales, but since it was only 2 weeks away, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to wait a bit just in case this year would be the year I would save money.  Furthermore, if the store did raise its prices to make it seem that there was a discount, well, I’d get the washer at about the same price anyway.

So I waited, mentally washing all the clothes, the towels, the blankets and the stinky, smelly jackets. When I had mentally washed all our items, I mentally washed all my father-in-law’s clothing and bedding. I plan on invading his home and taking everything for a good wash. Living in La Yacata means things often are not as clean as they could be with the limited water we have. (See After ecstasy, the laundry and Water Woes).

So the big day arrived. I headed to Famsa for my purchase. I checked out the other models but again found myself drawn to the same model. The price wasn’t any different from 2 weeks previously. I paid in cash with the option for store pickup because having it delivered was 120 pesos more.

The salesperson said it would be there on Monday. So we went on Monday. It wasn’t there. It seems the delivery truck broke down. So we went on Tuesday. It wasn’t there. The person who called had made a mistake and called the wrong person (us). So we went on Wednesday. After waiting 2 hours, it finally was hauled out of storage and in the back of the truck. Things in Mexico always take longer than expected.

Next was the hookup. I was a bit nervous about this. The plumbing and electricity in the house are not the best. And sure enough, there were problems. My husband changed the two prong plug for a three prong plug without incident. But when he went to add an adapter to the faucet, the whole thing crumbled to bits. Fixing it required a blow torch, new copper piping, and a new valve. But it got done.

cam05015

Then there was the drainage hose. First, it was connected to the sink, but the sink capacity wasn’t large enough for the waste water. So my husband drilled a hole through the wall to the pipe outside and voila, no more issues.

cam05017

My first load was towels. Man, you should have seen the dirty water! My second load of laundry was towels. Just as dirty! Then some jeans.  Then some uniforms.  I spent the weekend happily loading the washer, unloading the washer and hanging clothes. It took me a few loads to get the hang of it. I even watched the instruction video! But now, everything comes out spic and span! I have to say, everybody is pleased with this purchase.

***********************

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

2 Comments

Filed under Electricity issues, Water issues