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
This month the roof went on the little building project we have going on over there on the new lot. We rented the framing wood and my husband and son set it up. Then rebar needed to be wired together for the framework. After about a week of prep work, we were ready to go.
My husband contacted a colladora (roof pourer) that a friend of his recommended. As the head guy, he was in charge of rounding up a crew of colladoras to haul the buckets of cement from the ground to the roof up the ramp. The mixer came free of charge (with delivery and pickup) from the place that we bought the cement from.
Monday morning bright and early, I thought I’d take Cocoa for a quick walk before the crew arrived since he wigs out when strangers are around. Since I was planning on jumping in the shower when I got back, I just put on my crayon box colored sweater and my slip on shoes over my nightgown. Oh, and my sun hat because even at 7 am there’s a chance I’ll get burnt.
Well, the whole crew had arrived by the time the bag lady (me) ambled back to the house. Mortification didn’t do my emotions justice. I let myself into the house and had my son be my representative for the rest of the process.
There must have been about 15 guys, way more than our usual roofing crew number. Since the area that was being roofed wasn’t all that large, they were done in about 2 hours. Carnitas and beer was provided and they left with cash in their pockets. With these guys, it was the number of bags of cement mixed that determined the amount they earned rather than wages for the day.
Now the roof must set for 22 days before the wood can be removed. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of gardening to be done!
Once the tinacos were moved to the new roof, my husband started on the back porch. I wanted some additional planters and had him make them from the bases where the tinacos had been.
Since growing our own food has been a priority for some time, I used one to plant leafy greens and the other for root vegetables.
After we got Fuzz, the planters were completely ransacked after he figured out how to climb that high. I replanted with some larger plants instead and that seems to be more to his liking. He hasn’t bothered them yet anyway.
My husband also ran a tube from one of the tinacos on the roof and attached a short hose for watering. Since we have a rain barrel there as well, there is plenty of water (at least in the rainy season).
He hasn’t finished the patching of the wall on this section of the house either. I know it is his least favorite part of construction, so I’m sure he’ll put it off indefinitely. Meanwhile, about those tejas from Quarantine Project #1….