Things have been slow going on the little building project we began some months ago. Partly do to the exorbitant rise in the price of building materials. The latest truckload of bricks literally cost twice what the same amount did two months ago. Rebar and cement have also nearly tripled in price. I’d blame it on the backup of shipping containers in the port in LA, but I know for a fact that the bricks are made locally and the rebar and cement have been sitting in the ferretería (building supplies/hardware store) for several months, so who knows why things are so high all of a sudden.
We’ve fleshed out our plan for the lot finally. The single room and bathroom downstairs will be built so that it can easily be converted to a family restaurant or tiendita (store) in the future. So it has an open plan, counters, and a bathroom. The second floor will also be open, but (at least in my mind) will be my writing/class teaching office. Lots of natural light, good airflow, and a view of the gardens, unlike the dark hole I teach from now.
We also are toying with the idea of setting up a home gym. We’ve been collecting exercise equipment bit by bit. Right now we have a stationary bike and a pull-down bar, plus 3 sets of hand weights. My husband made a 20-pound barbell with cement and coffee cans, so we have that too. It’s a little beyond my current lifting abilities, but my son uses it daily.
Anyway, once the second floor is finished, one part would be my writing office and another part would be a home gym. Unfortunately, at the current material prices, it looks like we will not get as much accomplished this year as I had hoped.
Brick by brick, my fellow citizens, brick by brick.– attributed to Emperor Hadrian
Since we now had a solid roof instead of laminas (corrugated steel roofing) over the animals, my husband decided he’d move the tinacos from the back porch to there. We are now up to six 1100 liter tinacos and a 5000 liter aljibe (cistern) for water storage. As my son says, you just can’t have too much water.
I told my husband several times that he’d need to make the tinacos higher to account for the difference in the fall from where they were to where he put them. He didn’t pay me any mind until after the tinacos were filled when he discovered that they weren’t high enough for gravity to completely empty them. So once we used the water, he raised the bases some more before the next water shipment.
We went back and forth on where to put the entranceway to the new area, from the front or back porch. The back porch would require an additional walkway, but I still think it’s a good idea. The entrance ended up being smack dab in the middle of my flower garden. I made him move the plants first though.
Then the wall needed to be raised. If you remember, that area was really our weakest spot when it comes to security. Anyone could hop on the neighbor’s roof and swing over into the front garden area if they really had a mind to. So up the wall went.
We went back and forth on whether to put a transparent lamina roof or reuse the old roof or to leave it open. I thought a roof would be best, although I wasn’t sure if I’d have quite enough money to get new laminas. In order to put a roof up, we needed to get some beams for support. That cost a bit more than I expected, but we managed.
Then the beams had to be set and welded into place. Instead of having the welder guy come out and do it, my husband said he’d do it. We would just need to rent the welding machine. Just like the last time, there was an issue that we didn’t have an actual address in La Yacata but my husband talked the guy into it, signing a pagaré (promissory note) as collateral.
I told my husband that he needed to wear the face mask to protect his eyes when welding. He thought it was too hot and cumbersome, so he popped out the little screen piece and held that up to his eyes while he welded instead.
So it should come as no surprise that later that evening he had problems seeing. His eyes swelled up, became bloodshot, and were light sensitive. Since going to the doctor wasn’t really a viable option at the moment, I looked up some things I could do to help him at home. First, darken the rooms. Then I had him put chamomile tea bags on his eyes. He alternated with aloe vera gel from the plants we have outside and Vicks vapor rub–the Mexican catch all.
My husband asked if onion slices would work–another Mexican remedy. I told him no, but that potato or cucumber slices would be better. We didn’t have any cucumbers but we did have some potatoes. He spent the next day in the dark with his eyes closed using these treatments.
By the third day, he was up and around again, although he said that things were blurry.
We ran into a hitch in the project procession because by now it was Semana Santa and the lamina place was closed. So it was yet another week until the laminas could be purchased.
The money budgeted for this project wasn’t enough to buy all the transparent laminas that we needed. So one section of the roof reused the laminas that had been there before. It cuts down on the sunshine some, but not a lot.
I badgered my husband into giving up two animal troughs for plants. He wasn’t using them anyway. They were just taking up space. I bought a few more flower pots, took possession of several buckets that were cracked and couldn’t hold water anymore, and a section of old wheelbarrow.
I wasn’t really happy that the roof just ended somewhat abruptly. I lobbied for a metal fence. My husband said he was going to make me a wooden one with the pallets he was using to keep Jolina out of the food. I also pointed out that he would be able to make a small brick wall there too, since we already had the material.
The pallets he used to section off an area of the corral for food after he made Lady’s new stall. So instead, he used some metal bars to create a sort of fence. It’s only partially completed, although we have all the materials he needs.
He also didn’t take the time to patch the wall with cement before he hung my planters, so there’s that to finish too. I suppose eventually he’ll get around to it.
One of the projects that interrupted the tejas was the roof for the animal area. Quarantine was as good as time as any to work on this. My husband is a pro at creating a roof, so in short order, the tarimas (wooden frames) were up and the roofing crew was called.
The colladores (roofing crew) were the same group that did my sister-in-law’s roof. They arrived early enough and made short work of the job. My son was the gofer–an extra bucket of sand, some more gravel, a new bucket for the guy who broke his, all of that was under his jurisdiction.
Although I made several forays outside to check on the progress, I stopped after a bit. Every time I went outside, the men were wearing fewer clothing items. In fact, before all was said and done, two of the crew had taken a shower with the hose. Not something I really needed to see.
A lunch of carnitas and beer (and a drag on the ever present mota) was provided about ¾ of the way through. Eventually, everyone packed up and scattered.
Lady had to be housed on the patio temporarily because there just wasn’t room for her with the beams holding the roof up. Twenty-two days later, the wood came down and the animals had a permanent roof. Lady moved back into her stall and the only one that doesn’t seem to appreciate the new roof is Jolina, who even at several months pregnant, still insisted on jumping out of the pen and sleeping near (or bothering) Terry.