Wrapping up the Hootenanny

Thursday, March 19, 2009 7:55 PM

That didn’t happen.  I was ecstatic upon my arrival, as some of the finishing touches I’d forgotten about had been done beautifully: the table surrounding the ‘brined’ elephant tree; the elegant stairs to the beach Ricardo’s crew had built; the gorgeous sitting bench for 4 half way down our cliff; the traditional sink kate had bought installed; the palapas over the bathrooms.  There was a lot to love, and I was thrilled.  

But it also looked like a construction zone, with the window guys still installing the windows (which turned our remarkably beautiful - the project took 5 full days of on site work for 2 guys as each had to be custom built.  Much more work than they’d quoted for).

The kitchen was basically done, but no stove, refrigerator, or dish washer had been installed - in fact, none of the concrete sealing had been done either.  But after I passed through the ‘downer’ phase, I was inspired by the quality of the domes, their peaceful stance on the coast, and the cavernous sound they produce for rock and roll guitar playing. 

I have spent the last 2 days wiring ethernet and phone lines; connecting the gas lines to the stove (took 24 hrs to get a cuppa or hot food); retrofitting the refrigerator to better sit against a curved wall; and cleaning and cleaning!  The entire property had amazing amounts of garbage on it, and I collected nearly 1/2 box full of screws and nails from the ground.  Now Eli can walk barefoot anywhere!

I have re-connected with all my contacts here , though I didn’t need to do much. Within 1 hour of my arrival, all the folks I owed money to were here wishing me a ‘buen dias’, and hoping i’d remember to pay them!   I paid the water guy, the wood rental guy, the electrician, all in my first hour.  And the hour after the widow guys left, their boss was at my place for his final 30%. That was enough time to assess the quality, I am sure.  Business is dead right now, so I’ve been an economic ‘god send’ to the local economy once again.

Jose Martin and his brother, Santiago, were here trying to finish the light & switch installations complete.  Jose Luis has made 3 beautiful doors, but now needs to complete the glass and screen doors this week, so i can lock up.  Ricardo and a small crew are coming on Saturday to work on finishing the bid, especially sealing the floors, counter tops, and cleaning up the plastered walls.

Lessons I learned about finishing:

  1. Write better ‘clean up’ requirements in the contracts. These are pros and until ALL is clean and trash cleared, no final pay.

  2. Get pictures of progress sent via emai/mobile a part of the contract (if possible). Having seen progress (or lack thereof) I could have been more of an advocate for completion prior to coming down.

  3. Consider that the finishing work will take longer than planned - as all other aspects of the project.

When completed, Ill post a series of good pictures of the home, because now it certainly feels like home.  It’s really cozy.  I figure I can get this home ready for any family with another 3-4 days of labor.  Here’s to the last days of this long, strange trip!  In peace, Jeff