Friday, September 17, 2010

Wrapping Up Construction--For Now

Building is a heck of a challenge. Actually, the planning is worse than the building 'cause the planning is my job. There are a few constraints on account of the lot configuration. Also, because I continue to live in the RV and have to plan for where I'll eventually leave it parked. It leaves me with serious headaches at times trying to prepare for everything, allowing enough space for the work to get done while having enough free space to live in the RV.

The lot is narrow and long. Roughly a tad less than 40 feet wide by 90 feet long. It follows a natural slope West to East. The East side is lower by a little over 2 feet. Fortunately, the North/South is fairly level. Now that I have lived through the rainy season and heavy downpours, I saw that the eastside "ditch" got filled in a matter of minutes--what I would term a ferocious rain coming down by the bucket load! It took much longer to dry up. Tina found it to her liking and had a ball splashing in the brown water. Final conclusion, the lot will have to be levelled.

I must have revised my plans 5 or 6 times owing to a number of factors. The first one was the lot configuration. The second one is that my awning gave up the ghost. So off it went but I had to make up for its loss. I designed a simple roof of galvanized metal to put over the "patio" that provided me with an extension of the RV. Ismael built it fast and well. The whole thing is quite primitive but it suits my purpose. The awning posts are anchored in cement Bodega, dogs, lavadero, flowers 015and will be cut off when I can move into the house. The galvanized roof will serve very well over the laundry area. The bodega in the background will eventually get windows and a door.

Another consideration: since I have to fire up the generator to use my washer, I thought I'd buy a "lavadero" (a double sink made of cement, grooved for washing and polished smooth for rinsing) and use the washer for large items only. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I took photos. I got acquainted with the "lavadero" when I was in the casita on Juarez. I LOVED it! It brought back memories of a large laundry vat filled with dirty clothes... a washboard ...and plenty of elbow grease! The surprising thing is that clothes come out cleaner and softer with the use of the Mexican equivalent of kosher soap that I used to buy "on the other side".

Bodega, dogs, lavadero, flowers 014

A little aside about laundry terms. The sink is masculine LAVADERO. The washing machine is feminine LAVADORA. The place where laundry is performed is LAVANDERIA--feminine too. Could it be that, at some level, the terms are somewhat representative of real life? Hmmmm... I wonder!

As I'm writing this, three young men are digging a channel for the water to run from the water main to my lot by a pipe. Again, it will be a temporary installation while boondocking. In most of the country, water is channelled from the water main to a large water tank that is usually installed on the roof. It then simply flows by gravity. This way, if the city has to shut off water for a while (and it DOES happen) nobody has to be without water. Right now, a water tank in the soil supplies my RV with water. A "flotador" or float similar to the one in a water tank for the toilet works the same way. When a certain level is reached, it shuts off the water supply. All very clever. That tank will be replaced by the rooftop model---when I get a house, and a roof over it.

Now, as to the reason that construction is on hold is so simple. Lack of funds. I'm still paying for the lot and until I'm done at the end of January 2011, I will have to be content with boondocking. However, there are amenities. I have water, I have sewage (to the septic tank) and I have solar energy. And, I AM HOME!

I will however, continue to level the lot and work on detailed plans. Oh.... and I got plants. And trees. More about this in the next couple of days.

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