Tag Archives: construction in mexico

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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Rainy Season Projects

With the rainy season upon us, some of our proposed construction projects have to be put on hold.

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On the other hand, my sister-in-law has started construction on her house across the street from us in La Yacata because building in the rainy season means you don’t have to buy any water for the cement mix. My husband, son, father-in-law and one of my brothers-in-law are working like a machine to get the foundation done. My sister-in-law is also out there every day after the tortillas have sold to bring nourishment and help out.

That’s not to say all construction on our house has ceased. Our little projects this month included the installation of a small window in the spare room and the front porch screen door.

The front of the animal side of our property was also patched with cement and the roof bit angled ready for tejas (roofing tiles).

I also found what I think might have been part of a gun cabinet at a junk store and lo and behold it’s just the thing for some kitchen shelves.

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Next month’s projects may or may not include a banana tree, so stay tuned!

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A bit of remodeling–Wood work

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.

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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.

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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.

Before

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.

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