Our nearly ready bathroom needed a door. Plus we never did get around to having a door installed for our bedroom downstairs. We called our Harley driving carpenter for estimates. (He drives a Harley and his ringtone is Sweet Child o’Mine–not your typical Mexican in these here parts.)
Once the door estimates were agreed upon, we asked about a frame for that gaping hole that used to be an exterior window in the laundry room. The price was acceptable, so we added it to the list.
I also wanted curtain rods and while we were at it, a towel rack for the bathroom. Measurements were taken. Wood stains were discussed and agreed upon.
We also asked for an estimate on a handrail for the steps. It was a bit pricey so we told him we’d have to wait on that, at least until the steps had tile on them.
A few weeks later, the order was ready and he and his ponytailed son came out with a generator. Since he also owns lots in La Yacata he knows there isn’t any electricity here yet.
The generator was placed on the back porch. It didn’t have any oil to run. So a trip to town was made for the oil.
My husband asked if he could use the generator as well. A few weeks ago the power inverter that we used to run things from the truck battery burnt to a crisp. As it served us more than 10 good years, it was only to be expected, but it left us without a way to run hand tools. The carpenter was reluctant. He had borrowed the generator from a friend. My husband offered to pay for the gas it used. Ok, then. So while the carpenter installed the doors and his son installed the curtain rods, my husband drilled 4 holes. Two for the shelf my son made last year in carpentry class and one for my picture of Pandora’s box. Everyone who sees it asks which saint is represented in the painting and look at me oddly when I tell them it’s Pandora. I guess she isn’t on the Catholic calendar of saints. The final hole was for the mirror in the bathroom. More on that later.
When it came time to install the window, my husband wasn’t happy with the way it looked. There was some tense testosterone discussion with the albañil (bricklayer) who built the house casting doubt on the quality of work done by the carpintero (carpenter) and the carpintero casting doubt on the quality of the work done by the albañil. Finally, the carpintero caved and went home to get some more tools to modify the frame.
Yet another trip to town was undertaken when the son discovered he had forgotten to pack the bag of wall anchors. This time the carpenter brought back drinks for everyone.
I was assigned to help the son while my husband appointed himself main carpenter helper. I handed things up the ladder and moved the cord so the drills would reach. Only in moving the cord, I knocked over the carpenter’s beer. AHHH! It’s thirsty work you know.
Moments later I knocked over the frame for the bathroom door. I resigned my position of carpenter’s assistant’s helper and took a seat on the sidelines.
It was a particularly clumsy day for me all around. Earlier in the morning, I had a spectacular fall in the bathroom while moving the mirror from the bathtub where my husband had placed it for safekeeping. I missed the step and fell, knocking over and breaking the chair I had been using to wash the windows. Much to my surprise, I did NOT break the mirror that I was clutching. I did bang up my shoulder and both knees though. And then there was the broken chair.
We asked if the carpenter could repair chairs. He could. We asked if he could refinish the table which was a wedding gift from my mom but had gotten banged up over the years. He could. I asked if he could make me a bench for my piano. He could.
I was delighted with the “new” dining room set, however, the chairs came back shorter than they were when they left, although now usable. This meant new chairs had to be purchased. This project has become WAY over budget.