Tag Archives: construction in mexico

Adorning the Chim-chiminy

If you remember, one of my goals for 2020 was to finish the front of the house. There are several small projects that need to be done for that to happen, one of which was the adornment of the chimney face. 

My husband had a bee in his bonnet that he wanted to use what he called “pasta” to make a design. So we spent nearly three fruitless weeks looking for a place that sold pasta. Every place that we were referred to had gone out of business it seemed. Finally, we found a ferretería that sold this pasta–which is actually called PegaDuro Piedra en Polvo. 

Examples of molds. We wanted the top one.

In order to make the design, you need a mold of some sort. The PegaDuro spreads on with a play-dough like consistency, then the mold is pressed into it while it’s still wet to make the pattern. We looked through the catalog and picked a color and molding design. 

Of course, when the supplies were delivered, the ferretería had sent some sort of texturing device instead of a mold. Back to the store we went. It turns out, the piece we had paid for was the texturing thingy, not the mold. The mold would cost $1,500 pesos and they didn’t even have the design we wanted. My husband was having none of that.

He decided that he’d make his own mold and he wanted to use my bath. I objected. Then he said he’d use the car mat. I was still making faces at the idea. Finally, he said we could get a tile piece and use that as a mold.

This is the design I wanted.

We went to the tile shop and bought one tile for $83 pesos. I wanted to tile the section to begin with, but my husband said it would cost over $2,000 pesos just for the tile plus we’d have to get the grouting and adhesive and stuff. My second suggestion was that he use rocks from around La Yacata. There are plenty of those, it would be free, and I already know he can do a fabulous job based on our two fireplaces. Nope, pasta it would be.

Well, the tile didn’t work as a mold. As I mentioned, the consistency is like play-dough, so it just stuck to the tile. While my husband was hemming and hawing, my son decided to try and draw a pattern with a stick. I have to say, it didn’t turn out too bad. It’s not exactly what I had in mind, but I suppose it will do. I also noticed that the very top of the chimney seems a bit lopsided, but I think I won’t mention that at all.

Currently, the three of us are in a heated debate about what color to paint the house, so the next step might take awhile. 

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Doors and Windows

The same ferretería guy who did the zaguán and front window was in charge of the back door and back window at my sister-in-law T’s house. It was a full two weeks before any progress was made. 

He went twice during that time to the tortillería to ask for more money to finish the job. My husband told his sister that she was not to give him any more money until the job was finished. More than half of the total price had already been paid, which was more than enough for the material needed. So she didn’t.

Of course, that just delayed things even longer. Every time my husband went to see what day to expect them for installation, it was always “mañana.”(tomorrow). Well, mañana is a long time coming here in Mexico. 

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They did finally arrive, the one day my husband couldn’t be here. So my son was in charge of supervision. The door was installed. As you can see from the picture, it’s quite a bit smaller than the frame and will need to be cemented in place.  

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Back yard view.

The window fit a little better, but the sliding track is bent or something. It is hard to open and close it. 

And the guy had the gall to say that T owed him yet another 500 pesos on top of the balance still owed. T paid up. He offered to do the bathroom window as well. T said that his work was disappointing and that he wouldn’t get any more work nor recommendations from her. My husband was a little less diplomatic with his thoughts on the workmanship when he saw him.

So the bathroom window, the handle for the zaguán, and the aluminum trim that holds the glass in place will be done by another ferretería (metalworking shop). Meanwhile, my husband is going to add some cement and rebar in order to fix the fitting of the back door.

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Putting Up Doors

My sister-in-law T is building her house in La Yacata right across the street from us. My husband is doing all the construction work in his spare time. The roof is on, the floors are roughed in, the plumbing is done and the countertop is formed. He’s been working on it as his sister has had money for materials for about a year now. It will probably be another year until it is ready to be lived in.

One early morning, a motorcycle zoomed up our room waking the dogs, which woke us. We headed to the windows to investigate since it was WAY too soon for anybody to be up and about. 

Two youngish guys on a moto had stopped in front of my sister-in-law’s house and gotten off. My husband yelled down at them. They said they were going to pee. 

My husband wasn’t having any of that. Not on the newly cemented floors! He raced down the stairs to the front door in his chonis (underwear), hair standing up all over the place. He grabbed the machete he keeps on his motorcycle handlebars and charged out into the street.

The guys startled, jumped back on the moto, and sped down the road, my husband in hot pursuit brandishing the machete. I don’t believe they’ll be back.

So with this little incident to chuckle about, he convinced his sister that she needed to buy the front door and window next. We were really happy with our railing for the front porch but that guy was too busy. So she asked the wife of a guy who does ironwork who comes to her place for tortillas.

She took a picture of a door and window design that she really liked and asked the woman if they could replicate it. They could. The husband came out to La Yacata to get measurements and provide an estimate. It was within the budget, so the windows and front zaguán (garage door) was ordered.

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Doors and windows in progress.

My sister-in-law paid half of the total balance so materials could be bought and the date for delivery and installation was set. Only they didn’t come that day. In fact, the guy showed up asking for more money because he needed more materials.

So my husband went to see what the hold up was. The doors weren’t finished. The workers had been drunk all weekend. The head guy assured my husband that they would be installed on Wednesday. 

Nope. Another visit to the ferretería (metal worker’s shop) and another date. No one showed up that day either. A fourth date was set. Not quite finished. So on the fifth installation date, over two weeks after the initial date, the guys showed up in a truck and finally got ‘er done. 

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Installed finally!

My husband wasn’t happy with their work. There were holes at the joins, the lock wasn’t the type lock requested, the peak out window was much larger than the design warranted, and there was no handle to pull open the door on the outside. 

So a little extra work will have to go into these items, but at least they are in place and no strays will come along to pee on the floor anymore.

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View out the front window.

 

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