Friday, October 22, 2010

Hallelujah, The Second Floor Terrazzo is Poured!!

I have been promising this would happen 'soon' for a long time  The holdup has been the weather.  We have not had a single dry day since September 23 and there have been torrential rains since then.

The professional man who was going to supply the materials and manpower for the job told us it would take forty hours with 30-35 men and we would have to feed the men every 3-4 hours.  After figuring out the costs, MM decided that it was cheaper to rent a small mixing machine and hire our own manpower.

Monday the 18th, Macho Man made a command decision that it was now or never, even if it was raining.  When he got to the site at 4:40 in the morning there were about forty people waiting to start work.  MM and our usual crew, along with about thirty day workers, started pouring cement.  They did in about 10-11 hours what the professionals said would take 40 hours nonstop.  And they did it cheaper.
These poles are holding up the form for the terrazzo.  Before we can start pouring each of these poles must be equidistant from each other and perfectly straight; the rows must be absolutely straight; and they must all be exactly the same height.  The form for the terrazzo has to also be level, with no cracks between the boards, and the conduits for the electricity and water have to be in place. Before the pour, every room on the first floor must have these poles in place.  They will hold up a little over 2000 sq ft of concrete poured 5" thick.


This is the cement mixer.  Quite a bit different than the big cement trucks we are use to seeing.  You can believe this was filled many times Monday.  After filling the mixer and getting the mix to the right consistency, it is poured into wheel barrows and taken up to the form to be emptied and spread, then finished with a trowel to get it level

The red flex pipes are for the electrical lines.  The white PVC  pipes are the water lines.  You can see the form and the rebar for the floor. You can also see the rebar for one of the columns in the background.  The columns around the house are what tie the first and second floors together

The oblong box with no rebar in it is to keep an opening in this spot for the staircase.  The boards are for the wheel barrows to travel over to take the cement where it needs to be.

You can see here where part of the pour has already been completed and smoothed out.  Because of the rain, everything had to be covered with tarps, cardboard boxes, cement bags and anything else that would keep the rain off the cement.

This is lunch break.  My sister-in-law, Cheyna, cooked chicken and rice .  We provided Pepsi by the liters.  They seemed to enjoy it, since there was nothing left when they finished.  Look at the faces of these men.  These are not boys, even though most of them are between 17 and 25.  They were there Monday morning at 4:30 AM and they worked in pouring, cold rain most of the day.  Not one of them walked off saying it was too hard a job.  They didn't want to take a morning break or a lunch break until they were done.

Pablo and some of the crew

Getting a little bit of a break
This is what happens when the boss's wife tries to back up in the rain, goes off in the ditch, and hits a big rock.

This is what happens when there are 30-35 men on the job who know they have been treated well and that they are going to get paid at the end of the day; and the boss's wife backed into the ditch

So, now we wait until the cement is cured and we can start laying block again.  We can do a few little things on the first floor.  We can also do some grading so that we can see where the gardens go.  It is not time for the little house to go yet, because we still need it to store supplies and tools in.  

We have had a great work crew, even the temporary help.  The economy is very bad, and there essentially is no work. When there are rumors of work being available, the people will come to you. We have people every day come and ask if there is anything they can do.  The word is already out that Macho Man runs a tight ship, but that he also pays on time and he treats people like humans. 

We are blessed.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Customer Service in Honduras - Not

I wrote once before about how long it took Claro to come install the satellite dish. here  I did not tell you much about long it took them to come fix it after we lost the signal. 

To make a long story short, we called them the first week of June because  the World Cup started the 10th of June.  Nothing is more important to a Honduran  than the World Cup, unless it is when Maraton is playing against Olimpia..  Every time we called, they told us they would be here within the next seven days. The seventh day finally came the 13th of October
Macho Man missed seeing his games, which made him very depressed.  He doesn't like going to his father's house to watch them, because Don Miguel likes to talk and Juan and Lito like to scream and yell at the game, pretty much like we yell and scream at our favorite teams.  His children say their father could talk if he was under water, and that is probably true ;-D.

Almost a month ago my washer went kaput.  Some kind of  seal broke and I ended up with all the water, soap, bleach and softener in the load on the floor, and it was a large load.

We called the store where we bought the machine and told them the problem.  The owner said,  "Please be patient with us.  The technician has to come from San Pedro.  Because your machine is still under warranty, only a GE technician can fix it."  Then it was, "Oh, he didn't make it last week because the bridge between Tocoa and Trujillo is still out, but he will be here Tuesday.  And he is our technician because the GE Technician can't come".  Huh?  

Tuesday came and went. Of course he didn't make it because a bridge between Tocoa and Trujillo is still not repaired. Then we found out he was coming on a motorcycle because they don't fix your problem the first day.  They make a service call, diagnose the problem, and then they come back and fix the machine, after the part is ordered and received.  The next day.  Not!!

Macho Man called the company and they assured him the technician would come today, Wednesday, at 8:00 AM..  This is Wednesday 8:46 PM, 11:46 PM EST, and guess  who hasn't shown up.  Guess who won't answer the phone, because when he looks at his caller ID, he doesn't want to have to tell us another version of the truth.  I told MM to call them back and tell them his wife is running around naked because she doesn't have any clean clothes.

Thank God for sisters-in-law.  Chayna came today to wish MM Happy Birthday and went home with two loads of work clothes. Guess who will be washing clothes tomorrow by hand. 

We are still blessed.