Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Other Side of the Coin

We had a really good day today. And, we had a really good day yesterday. And the day before. The house is progressing well, as you can see from the pictures. The top picture shows Beto (equivalent of "Bob" in Spanish) mixing cement for the wall - this is the way ALL cement is mixed here except for huge commercial jobs. There is no magic formula - they just add sand, powdered cement, gravel and water , then mix it with a shovel until it is just right. For finer jobs, like the kitchen shelves and counters, they mix it differently, of course (no gravel!) and even sift the sand and cement through a screen. It is pretty amazing.

The second picture is our palette for the inside of the house - gold, coral orange and blue for the kitchen, green and watermelon for the bedroom, aqua for the living room. Lots of beautiful color!

The third picture shows Bernardo putting some finishing touches on the cement countertops. Notice how nice the shelves look! The counters are polished tinted cement - they are really beautiful. When we left today, Herman was getting ready to start the tiling - oh boy!

The bottom picture is one of the plumeria bushes in the yard - aren't they lovely?

We spent the day at the house today, observing the amazing progress. Manuel was laying the tiles on the bathroom floor while we were there, Pedro and Alejandro were finishing the side wall, Herman was getting all the walls ready to paint. Jerry felt a little restless and prowled around, watching and learning about Mexican construction methods - he is not used to standing by and watching someone else work on his house. So he lent a hand here and there, steadying a board that needed to be cut and trimming trees.

I mostly sat in the shade of the big mimosa tree, watching the many birds and butterflies and hoping for a glimpse of the iguanas. It is very quiet here - much different from where we are living in Puerto Vallarta, where there is lots of noise all around us. We have only four houses on our whole street. I can hear children from the next street playing, distant traffic on the carretera a few blocks away, and birds singing. Pedro (just like Jerry) is whistling as he works and Herman likes to sing.

Tomorrow, we plan to paint the bedroom, but the weather may interfere. A Class 4 hurricane (John) is making its way up the western coast of Mexico and will reach the Vallarta area about 1 pm tomorrow. If it doesn't change course, it will be centered about 50 miles offshore, so is likely only to give us lots and lots of rain. But the airport is already closed and the Wednesday cruise ship did not appear today, so it is being taken seriously. We will likely stay put tomorrow until we see what is happening.

We have been doing some real power shopping - Monday we bought a new mattress and bed frame, washer and dryer, refrigerator, bookcase and a cabinet for the kitchen that holds the water bottles. Yesterday, we bought a great floor lamp that is actually a handcrafted tin mask, two beautiful tin mirrors for the bathrooms, a 300 liter propane tank and an equipal dining room table and chairs. To see what that looks like, go to http://www.southwestandbeyond.com/product.asp?productid=16153. Today, we got faucets for the kitchen and bathrooms, a microwave oven, pretty new dishes and nice trash receptacles for the kitchen and bathroom. Wow - that is some real power shopping, even for me. Jerry is holding up great.

I'll come back and report on the hurricane in a few days.

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