Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another Trip to La Ceiba

We made a quick trip to La Ceiba last week that wasn't that quite as quick as we expected.  Macho Man and Chico both needed to see their doctor, and Chico needed a spa day because he was having multiple bad hair days.  I had to renew my green card.

As usual, we stayed at the Hotel Paris in downtown La Ceiba.  As usual, their staff was wonderful and very attentive.  The room was comfortable and we were able to walk to most of the places we wanted to see.  We also found a restaurant down on the beach, El Asador, where the menu was limited to four large entrees and several side orders and fast food items.  The food and the service was very good.  We will go back.

Macho Man had two full days of tests and doctor visits, and other than a minor infection seems to be in good health. We have to go back in two weeks for followup, after a course of antibiotics.

Chico got a clean bill of health; a good haircut and a pedicure, plus had a two night sleepover.

My trip to Immigration was quick, about 20 minutes, and not so bad.  The man in charge was very knowledgeable and efficient.  He stayed late through part of his lunch break, to get us taken care of.  That includes Juan having to walk two blocks to the bank to pay the fees.  You don't pay for anything in Honduras at the place you owe it, you get a ticket to show how much you owe; you go to the bank and pay it; then you go back and give the official the receipt saying it is paid.  He then gives you whatever document  you applied for.

On the advice of several friends I found two fabric shops within half a block of the hotel. Only in Honduras, but fabrics and sewing notions are not sold in the same place.  We were directed to a shop that supposedly had thread, needles, etc.  Ha!  it did have about 4 spools of thread in the primary colors, but nothing to match the material I was looking at.  No zippers, some bobbins, but not in the size I need, etc, etc, so next trip I will have to look again. 

On the way home we stopped at our friend, Dan's, beach house.  It is to die for.  What a view and what a beautiful, well arranged, comfortable home.  Oh, and what a view.  Just ocean as far as you can see, and almost deserted beach.  They only have three or four neighbors.  Dan and his wife are good people.  And we got a lot of new ideas for our house, like AC in all the bedrooms, and electrical outlets in the floor in the living room, to give more options for arranging furniture..

I will have more pictures of the construction next week I hope.  I am so ready for the second story to start taking shape.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Building the Dream - Continued

If the placement of the pictures look funny, don't blame me.  I have been trying to post this for four days, and Blogger will not let me arrange the pictures the way I want them arranged.  They changed something right in the middle of me doing this

We are getting closer and closer to being able to start the second floor.  The window and door openings  on the first floor are  done and you can really see what the front of the house is going to look like.

The rebar in the foreground will become
part of the columns on the veranda.
This is an arch for the veranda.  There will be
five or six of these, I don't remember, across
the front.  They form part of the support for
the balcony


















Remember that big mound of red clay?  Well, it is gone now.  Marvin has been busy with his shovel and has leveled it out to the height of the retaining wall.  Now you can see where the portico will be on the back side of the house.  The portico will be about 12 feet wide and 7 feet deep.  There will be two steps up from the drive to the portico, then one step up into the house.  The portico will cover the back door on the first floor becausee it spans the area between the house and the retaining wall.  I call this area the most; sometimes the ditch


     This is where the portico will be.





Marvin leveled this with a shovel.
Probably a ton of dirt, moved by
hand!


   












         
Did someone say OSHA? 
Not in Honduras;-)


Now some pictures of why this place will be so perfect when we finally get moved in.  I call them the view from the balcony.


See That little patch of darker blue by the tower in the left middle?
That is the Caribbean, and we will really be able to see it
when the balcony is finished.


All these pictures were taken on one night from the balcony of our condo












I am so looking forward to sitting on my balcony whenever I want, especially at sunset.  I don't need  Key West. 

We are blessed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Funny Things That Have Happened Lately

Funny things do happen around here. 

We have a cow that comes to a field next door to us to graze.  I don't know if she needs milking or what, but she moos all day long.  It is not a sweet little m-o-o-o.  It is a gigantic M-O-O-O-O that can be heard for miles.  Yesterday she was at it again, until I yelled, "Will somebody put that poor cow out of her misery!!!".  Almost as soon as it was out of my mouth I heard gunshots, then complete silence.  I sitting there then saying, "Not that way, Lord. I really didn't want anybody to kill her."  All of a sudden, she moo'd again and I felt better, until I heard more gunshots and she got quiet again, very quiet.  This morning, she was at it again, so I guess they just scared her enough to shut her up.

Tuesday I was going to fry some tajados (fried plantains) for supper, I peeled  my plantains and sliced them up, got out the frying pan and the grease, at least I thought it was the grease.  I put the plantains into the frying pan, and when I checked them, they just didn't look like they were cooking right.  Then I noticed that the grease looked funny, and finally I smelled the vinegar.  Vinegar and vegetable oil come in very similar jugs and I guess I had mine too close together.

Then there was the day I was working at the computer when it became a 'no hay (no aye)' day and the electricity went off.  I went into the bathroom and found out it was a double no hay day.  No water and no electricity.  So, I decided to go downstairs and do a load of clothes.  I actually had the clothes in the washer, the soap added, and the softener in the dispenser before it dawned on me I wouldn't be doing laundry, not that day, anyway.

There are the little things that keep you sane, because when you are laughing, it is hard to get lost in your mind.

We are blessed

ADDENDUM:   We don't keep many sweets in the house, and the other day I decided to dig out the ice cream maker.  I got all the ingredients and put them in the refrigerator to get cold.  I grabbed the fruit and mashed it up.  I thought they smelled a little funny, but I was in a hurry.  Before I started the machine, I  tasted my concoction and decided the problem was Ididn't put enough vanilla in, so I added  another tsp. of vanilla and started churning it.  The outcome was very sweet and vanilla, but taqsted strongly of plantrains.  It won't be my favorite.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The First Floor Walls are Almost Finished!!

No, I didn't run away from home nor join the circus, regardless of what you may of heard.  I did take a little break.  We are in the summer rainy season, and it has been a monsoon around here.  You cannot pour a lot of cement in the rain, although they have tried.  Here are a couple of pictures of what 15 minutes of rain can do.

The walls are almost up for the first floor.  We have about three more rounds of block, then another biga, and then they can pour the terrazzo for the second floor. 

With the forms for the arches over the windows you can really start to see what the house will look like on the outside.  Macho Man built all the forms himself.  As I have said before, some people complain that Hondurans are lazy.  Ours work from can to can't, even in the rain.  Marvin was told to go home the other day, and he asked if MM was leaving.  When told, "No."  he said, "Then I will stay as long as you do, Maestro." 



The rebar here is part of the biga.  The columns will be extended and cement poured around them. This cures for a while, and then the biga poured.  This ties everything together and gives the walls strength.


.

The rebar here has had its forms built and the cement poured.  Notice the crosses on the forms.  There are many of these crosses along both sides of the form.  They are tied together and hold the wood in place so that the weight of the cement does not cause the forms to bulge, or even collapse.  MM says the cross shape is an accident.  I prefer to think they are a sign of the blessings that have been given to us.


Things will slow down  a little until we can get the terrazzo poured.  We have decided to have  this done by a professional company.  They will need forty continuous hours to complete the work, and we have to feed them 5-6 times a day.   It would take us a week mixing the cement by hand.

So, the blessings continue to pour down upon us, and the walls continue to go up.