Tag Archives: building in Mexico

A bit of remodeling–Upstairs

Although I had my heart set on a solar electrical system, even gone so far as to price it, I realized I was putting the cart before the horse.  Before we make manifest electricity (my home improvement goal for 2018), we needed to finish the upstairs.  So since my husband decided not to return to work in September, that’s what he’s been doing.  Of course, it’s now January, and we still aren’t completely finished, but we are closer than we were.

In 2016, we were able to put the roof on the second floor and then put in windows but for quite some time it remained uninhabitable. We used it to store junk.  It was dark and dusty.  But all that was about to change!  

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The first step was to patch the walls.  This is my husband’s least favorite construction activity, so it took about 2 months for him to complete it, one buto (bag) of cement at a time.  Not only did the walls need to be patched, but they needed afinado (refined), which meant a second round of patching, only this time with beach sand rather than brown sand.

As for flooring, oh my, was this a hassle.  When we built the house 10 years ago, we installed a lovely brown tile in the kitchen, both bedrooms, and bathroom.  The outside porch eventually became an interior room but did not have any tile.  Therefore, we hoped we could find something similar to it to tile the back room, stairs and then continue upstairs.  No such luck.  The tile we had used had been discontinued. We went to 10 flooring places and looked at floor models and books until we were cross-eyed. We’d find something we liked only to be told that they only had 3 boxes left.  Or the color was good and there were enough to complete the job, but it was WAY out of our budget. We weren’t just tiling one room, but an entire floor, steps, and the back room. Finally, we found something that had similar tones although was completely different in the patterning and went with that.

Buying all the tiles at once was a major purchase and construction had to be delayed just a bit since we also needed to buy the pegasolejo (cement for laying the tiles) and bujilla (grouting).  But just like the wall patching, little by little it got done.

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Window Installation

Little by little our house is getting done.  We finally had enough to have the windows installed.  So that became the summer project.  Houses in Mexico typically have windows that are made of metal and involve bars on the outside to keep intruders and thieves out.  Knowing our neighbors, bars are a good idea.

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As this was more than my husband could manage, we went to see G, the secretary of the now inactive Mesa Directiva (Board of directors) of La Yacata who just so happens to be a herrero (blacksmith).  His prices were about 5,000 pesos less than the other two estimates we got.  We knew him and his work personally as well, so more inspired confidence.  We made a downpayment and he started work on the 4 windows and 2 doors needed.  One door leads to the back porch.  The other door leads to  Joey’s roof, which one day will be another porch. Or so my husband says.

 

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The door over Joey’s room

 

We arranged for them to be finished by my next quincena (2 week-paycheck) and installation to occur the following quincena so that there would be enough money for the installation and any last minute issues.  Things are never as easy as they appear at first here in Mexico.

My husband rented a generator and welding machine for the day. Between G and my husband, everything was installed that same day.  Of course, the installation wouldn’t be complete until all the gaps in the frames were filled in, but that was a project for another day.

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tinted front window

Glass installation was not included in the work G did.  So we called a vidriero (glass installer) and had tinted glass put in the front windows and flowered patterned frosted glass put in the doors and other 2 windows.

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bathroom window

I wasn’t quite satisfied with the amount of light that reached the intended second-floor bathroom.  Since we still have no idea how long it will be until we can either connect up to the landline or purchase a solar powered system, natural light is absolutely necessary.

I bugged and bugged until my husband suggested glass bricks for the bathroom.  At 55 pesos each, we could have a new window for under $300 pesos.  Fabulous!  

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Making the hole for the glass brick window

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Installing them required a bit of hammering and cementing, but it was done in less than a day.  

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Let there be light!

Next project–patching the walls!

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This post was proofread by Grammarly.

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Modern Day Marias–Lynne, the crafter

It’s important to remember that Maria didn’t live in the time of Walmart. Everything was hand-made by the women of her community. Was Maria particularly talented in textiles? Was she an excellent baker? Did she have other creative skills?  Why were these things never mentioned by those dratted bible writers?

Today’s Modern Day Maria, Lynne, meets the arts and crafts aspect of a virtuous woman as described in Proverbs. “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. She makes linen garments and sells them and supplies the merchants with sashes.(Proverbs 31:13,22,24)

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My name is Lynne and originally from the Oregon and Washington areas but now live just north of Ensenada, Baja California. We are fairly new to living in Mexico as it has only been 15 months. My husband and I met in Oregon and were dating other people but became good friends then later ended up together. We have been together for almost 19 years and married for 18. What is funny is his older sister’s children and mine were friends, such a small world sometimes.

My spouse was not legal and it had gotten to the point he was like in jail in our own home, no more driver’s license, only able to do odd jobs but took care of the house and yard. We were in limbo with the attorney as it took 3 years just to get data/information on my husband and decided life is too short to wait for possibly years with no guarantees for him to be able to get his papers and who knows how much money for not having a sure thing. Played with the numbers and determined we could sell the house and basically retire or semi-retire in Mexico, this would allow my husband the freedom to do as he wants without worries of immigration so we made the decision to move. I knew the final decision came down to me to actually move here but I was ready for us to move on to another phase in our lives even though he would end up having a lifetime ban from the US.

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It has been a big change for us but not just from moving to Mexico as much as us being together all the time since I’m now retired or semi-retired (not sure which yet). Sometimes when things are not going just right, he will mention I was the one who wanted to come here but he is happy we did come. We care for each other very much but we both have our days. For my spouse, the change has given him freedom and for me, it has been a transition of working in a more stressful type environment for many years to not working. I’m looking forward to getting into my artsy/craftsy phase of life.

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As to family and friends even though we don’t physically see each other very often I feel we make the effort to connect through Messenger or Hangouts via phone and video. We have set dates and times to video with the grandchildren along with talking to the kids, relatives and friends. When we do physically see people it is more quality time. I consider our move no different than if we had moved across the country. I would say if anyone, my mother has been the most difficult over the move. She constantly was making negative comments but over time this has stopped. I think some of it has to do with her seeing us on Facebook everything is going fine. I would say the hardest thing for both of us has been the family (kids and grandkids) not being physically around us especially my husband as we had part of the grandchildren almost weekly in the US, I can go visit while he can’t. We hope to finish getting through the passport process for my husband and see about a visitor’s visa to vacation in Canada so it will be easier for our immediate family to get together.

My spouse’s family are not located near here but have always gotten along with his siblings and children in the US. I have never met his mother or siblings in Mexico. He plans to see his mother for the first time in more than 25 years and the place he was raised this coming year. I’m not comfortable going since it is Guerrero which has had a lot of issues and he hasn’t been there in so many years to understand how it may have changed.

We were fortunate to sell our house in the US and buy/build our home. We are not sure what is next, I may do some part-time consulting in the field I was in – Geographical Information Systems (GIS) or sell some of the Arts & Crafts I enjoy creating. My husband is thinking of working independently as a plumber or handyman. We may look at some other options but are not rushing into anything. Whatever we decide this will supplement what we already are receiving.

The focus for the last year has been on the house but that is finally getting to the point we can start doing other things. We are craftsy people and enjoy little projects. Would like to see Baja and mainland MX over time, maybe do some house/pet sitting. I want to become involved in our community but not sure what at this time, up till now we have just contributed to different groups. I love the idea of contributing time to a group south of here that builds small homes for very poor families up in the hills.

For us, this is our next phase in our life together….

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This is so worth it…

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Joey’s room remodel

Joey is my husband’s consentido (preferred son). Yes, he is equine and not human, but that doesn’t seem to make a difference to my husband. So since my son recently had a room remodel to honor his approaching adulthood (See Ladykiller’s room remodel), there was nothing to be done but give Joey a room remodel as well. Wouldn’t want to play favorites, you know.

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Off came the lamina (corrugated tin) roof. My husband wanted a cement roof for Joey, under the guise of adding a side porch for me and my container garden. He didn’t fool me one bit. I knew who he was appeasing here.

It was a smaller section than our last roof project (See Up on the roof that nearly wasn’t), only measuring 7 meters by 5 meters, and my husband was pretty sure that he could have it done over Easter break. Once he gets an idea in his head, there is no stopping him, so I didn’t even try.

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He did the castillos (supports) and set up the wood by himself. The day of the actual roof building he didn’t even wait until I arrived to help out.

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The coladores (roofers) were a younger lot than the last crew and apparently weren’t drinkers. I had asked if I needed to bring some caguamas (beer) because the lack of alcohol had been an issue with the last roof building and was told no. I asked if I should bring some carnitas (fried pig meat) or some other food for lunch for the workers. Again, my husband said no. Apparently, he had offered 150 pesos for the work plus lunch or 180 pesos and a soda. To a man, the workers chose the 180 pesos and a soda option.

So the work went smoothly with only one run for more sand to finish the job. The mixer worked just fine, we had enough nails for the ramp, no animals escaped and wrecked havoc. There was a small hitch when there was no tortilla paper to be found to roll the mota (marijuana), but they accepted a sheet of notebook paper and called it good. Hmm.

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Although it was a much smaller project than the last roof, it still was a full day’s work. After the cement was poured, there was the smoothing and tamping down, and finally the splashing of the water. I really couldn’t believe how uncomplicated it had been.

My husband is now making plans for a window for Joey and even talked about putting a tinaco (water storage container) on the roof for a shower for Joey.  Good grief!  Next, he’ll want me to make curtains and put down a rug!

Of course, something did go wrong.  Joey went bananas!

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