Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Construction Phase

Things slowed down a bit after my last report covering the roof and boveda and related expenses. I had decided to hold back for a while to put money aside to buy a car or a van. Then the problems with getting the internet clinched the deal. I had not taken into account that the summer months in Tequis are part of the rainy season. It did indeed rain, copiously. I began living in a sea of mud. Mud everywhere. The lot, the RV, the porch of sorts, the bodega, EVERYWHERE! Only the house on construction stayed almost dry.

My spirits plummeted as the mud rose. It did not take me long to realize that while I could use a vehicle a few times a week, I had to live in a house all the time. My plan had to be switched to a more realistic one toward finishing the house ASAP. That presented a new challenge. I decided to look for a long-term commitment to building as opposed to a start-and-stop way of hiring workers on a part-time basis.

I knew that Sr. Diaz of Santillan was a well-known Maestro de Obra, or Construction Chief. I asked him for a recommendation on a responsible and honest mason. And as they say, the rest is history. I met with Don Pedro who came with a solid baggage of 40 years of experience. The man is incredible. His work week is Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM. He works without any helper. I was paying a mason $310. a day and his helper $210. That came to the $5,200. that I could afford for 2 weeks per month. I offered $340. a day to Don Pedro to work solo, which he had done for a group of airline pilots for 4 years. I can afford his pay for 3 weeks a month as it comes to $5,100. And can the man work! To my greatest amazement, his production surpasses that of the previous workers. I suppose it is that quite often while the mason was working the helper would sit idle and would not be busy until there were materials to be brought or cement to mix, etc. Plus it eliminated the chats and kibbitzing around. When Lupe, a wonderful Santillan mason who worked on my house for quite a while heard that Don Pedro would be working for me, he exclaimed that I was very lucky as I had gotten the very best! I fully concur.

Here is Don Pedro at work on the ceiling of the dining-kitchen area. His skin suffers from the constant contact with lime and cement so he has to wear gloves and long sleeves.

He poured the bedroom floor alone. At the time, I didn’t think of taking photos since I had very little hope of getting the internet any time soon. But when next he pours the floor of the dining-kitchen, I’ll publish how he does it.

In the photo below, Don Pedro poses for the camera. He stands in the future living room where we keep just enough supplies to keep him busy for a couple of weeks.

Last week I bought doors for the bedroom and the bathroom. And I found a carpenter who is also a furniture builder. I can design my own and he will make it in his shop. You’ll notice that once the doors were on, I lost no time in moving my living room things into the bedroom where they will keep much cleaner than in the bodega. Here are the photos I took. I finally have more than 5 square meters of living space.

I still need to “seal” the ceiling and walls and paint them. But right now, I’m hell bent on finishing the hard construction of the whole thing inside and out. This will undoubtedly take many more months. A great many.

I often joke that being born an Aries, not particularly known for their great patience, this incarnation is for me to learn and master that virtue that was given to me so miserly. I am now in my third (3rd) year living on my lot in my RV. Does that qualify for being a tad more virtuous? You bet your sweet petunias it does. As a learning experience, it should last me for a couple of lifetimes!

The photo below shows the bathroom door on the left and the bedroom one on the right from the dining-kitchen area. In between both doors is Don Pedro’s bike. It takes him about 40 to 45 minutes to come to Santillan from Fuentezuelas. He’s always here some 10 to 15 minutes early so as to have a little rest before starting his work. He is 60 years old.

I also had the plumber/electrician hired on an as-needed basis. I’ll cover this on a later post as I have to take more photos. I will also have a report on my expenses later.

I read some of the comments and will respond, also a tad later.

Publishing these posts was a brand new experience at the cyber cafe. Still learning....

LiveJournal Tags: Building a small house in Mexico

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