Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not a Good Way to End the Week

This week started off okay, then on  Tuesday evening it started to start a downhill slide.  First. while I was just finishing up supper, the chimbo went empty.  For the uninitiated, a chimbo is a 40 lb propane tank.  We use propane to cook.  The spare chimbo we always keep was empty because we forgot to fill it when it gave out the last time.  Macho Man took the empty chimbo to get it filled on Wednesday and brought it home about 6:00 PM.  When he tried to hook it up, the valve was screwed up and the regulator would not go on.  I suggested we go down to El Centro, but MM decided he was too tired.  I threatened him with cold sandwiches, and when that didn't work I decided to get creative.  It was the first time I ever cooked a complete meal in the microwave and rice cooker.  It turned out not so bad.

Today MM hired a man to come and clean up the yard at the new house, particularly the mangoes that have fallen off the tree and started to rot.  We also had to cut weeds and make sure there was no standing water, because we have an epidemic of dengue fever.  Anyway, about 30 minutes after the man started working, he had a grand mal seizure.

At lunch, when MM was telling me about his morning, he was so proud that he moved the man into the shade, and when the man wouldn't wake up, he and the man's brother started CPR.  Silly me, I asked, "Was the man breathing?"...    "Yes."  "Did you check his pulse?"...."No."  "Macho Man, you don't do CPR on a live person, i.e., who is breathing and has a pulse."  "Oh."

Then, this afternoon, it was my turn.  I was going to the new house to take pictures of the progress we have made.  There is a narrow little red clay road through a residential area just before you get to the site.  I always go very slow here, because it is just in front of a school. 

I saw some children playing, and I saw a little girl on a bicycle, so I slowed down even more.  Thank God!.  Just as I thought I had passed everyone safely, I heard a big BANG, and when I looked in the mirror, there was the little girl and the bicycle on the ground behind me.  My heart stopped.

I got out of the car, and retired nurse that I am, I began a trauma check.  Then her father showed up and started screaming at me about why I didn't slow down when I knew there were children playing.  I told him I was going slow, and that is why the child wasn't hurt.  When he finally realized the child was not hurt, and that I was just as upset as he was, we parted as friends. 

Never underestimate the Honduran grapevine.  By the time I got to the site our watchman, who happened to witness the whole thing, had already informed MM that the child lost her balance and hit me, and that I was very upset about the whole thing. 

When I got myself under control, I started to take pictures, and the battery in my camera was dead.  I wanted to start crying.

When we have times like these, I try to find the silver lining.  It wasn't so bad that the chimbo was empty.  We had food in the house, and I have a rice cooker and a microwave, and the electricity was on.  It could have been worse.

The man MM hired hired had a seizure, not a heart attack or heat stroke.  He can survive a seizure.  It could have been worse.

The child was just frightened, and had a skinned knee.  We both survived.  It could have been worse.

I can go back tomorrow and take my pictures, and this weekend I can do my post on our progress.  It could have been worse.

We are blessed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Walls Are Going UP!!!!

Yes, indeedy, the walls are going up.  I haven't written lately for any number of reasons,  but the main one was the girls being here.  In the meantime, Macho Man and the gang have been really busy. 

The foundations are in, the biga solera is laid, and the masons are laying block.  The biga solera is a continuous, 10"x10", band of concrete over a rebar cage that is laid on top of the foundation.  This goes around the whole house at the foundation level and again when the second floor is poured.  There is also a biga that surrounds the house at the top of the windows and doors on both floors, and again before the roof goes on. Did I mention the house is natural disaster proof?

Building the biga solera

Now that walls are pretty much in place for the ground floor, it is easier for us to see the layout of the house.

The picture on the left is the downstairs gallery; the man walking on it is near the front door.  As you come in the front door, the two guest bedrooms and bath are on the right. Macho Man's office is on the left. The large area in the center is a great room. The center and right hand pictures are the house from the back.  The back door is between the two men in the center picture.  The picture on the right shows the cistern and  the bodega (storeroom).   

There is a retaining wall around three sides of the house.  It serves as a walkway around the lower level of the house and it gives access to the back door.  This walkway is 4' wide and will be gated on both sides of the house in the front.  Right now we are calling it the moat.  It has weep holes every few feet close to the bottom and to the middle.  This allows the ground water to seep through rather than push the wall down.  Turning the blocks sideways to make the weep holes was my idea.  They are backed with gravel rocks and sand to keep them from getting clogged with clay.  There will also be a French drain about every 15' along the walk.  (Don't forget, we get an average of 142" of rain a year.)  We will be catching rainwater for the cistern in the house and also for one outside to use for irrigation during the dry season.  There will be a dry creek from the open ends of the moat wandering across the property to help with drainage.  We surely don't want to drown the neighbors. 

Right through the center of the first picture below you can see a green fishing line.stretched across the house.  This is the level of the second floor.  Macho Man kept wondering how he kept losing his fishing line, because it would be in place one day, and gone the next. 

This next picture is the solution to the mystery of the missing fishing line.  Much of this nest is made with it.

So far the building is  pretty much on schedule.  We have had no major injuries.  The workmen are great.  We are blessed.