(Post 57 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)
Monday, 8AM, boom, work on my leaky roof started. I had been told it would be 9AM and was under the impression it was a one or two-man job that would take a day or two. Oh, no. Full work crew of three to five depending on the day, plus a full week of work, from 7AM to about 3PM! Thank goodness I currently do not have a ton of work that requires quiet! Bonita, “La jefe,” is so happy with everything that is going on. I don’t think she realises how bored she usually is until there’s excitement like this. She blossoms when I have people working around the property for her to supervise. She doesn’t want anyone to come too close, but she can sit for hours and watch people work.
It’s a bit of a shock to have people here after months of social distancing. Oh, don’t get me wrong — we’re still very much aware that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and are limiting contact and taking precautions — but it’s still lots of people about the property when I’m used to being alone all day. One thing that helps is that the way the house and property are set up, I was able to give the crew chief a key to access the property and a bathroom without giving access to my house. So I don’t have to get up super early to wait for them to arrive and I can sleep peacefully until I’m ready to be up… or they start making noise! Bonita has been very good about letting them in in the morning without any fuss and doesn’t seem bothered by the change in routine, greeting me normally each day.
The noise levels were high Monday and Tuesday as they broke up the original cement roof, but now, they are at the applying fresh cement step of the process, so the day was muuuuch quieter. The only excitement was when all the materials were delivered, which involved having to move my truck out of the way, get La jefe into her harness and leash, and open gates so everything could be brought in under La jefe’s watchful eye.
I am now barricaded in my office — this was the best place to stack the bags of concrete where it was certain they would not get wet.
Lots of gravel! The way it is delivered here is that it comes in large heavy-duty woven plastic bags that are emptied into a pile. The bags are then reused for another order. You can also bring your own bags and have the material delivered in them rather than dumped into a pile. When we had the side yard covered in fresh stone, I accepted delivery of something like 50 bags full of stone that were unloaded by hand from the truck. The use of tools like dump and hand trucks is very limited here. In fact, when I saw someone use a hand truck/dolly to deliver my freezer, I was surprised. Cement is mixed by hand. So, yes, labour is inexpensive in Mexico, but it’s also inefficient, hence why construction projects can take so long.
They smoothed out the roof today after having applied some sort of weatherproofing product and added guide lines for when they start pouring the cement.
This is not my crew — the landlords are paying — so I don’t have to worry about feeding anyone, but I made it clear that they are to come to me for cold water and Coca-Cola. They use my side terrace with its table and cosy chairs as a break room. Since it’s within sight and sound of my office, I know when to head out with a pitcher of cold water.
The crew chief and I had a chat on Monday that was very interesting. He asked when I’m renting instead of being a homeowner. I explained that I wasn’t sure until this mess started if I even wanted to stay in Yucatán, never mind buy a home, but now, I do. So I’m working on figuring out my path to homeownership. Which is where things got interesting. Because he laid out the exact same plan my maintenance guy/gardener who knows me well did… I now have two people who told me to contact them when I get closer and who promised to help me out so I don’t end up doing what I did in Canada, buying something that seems perfect but is a poisoned fruit (ie. no internet in 2012 but promised for 2013 and then told in 2014-2015 that I’m never getting internet). I’m getting really excited about the thought of owning my own home again and am thrilled to be meeting people who understand that I’m not an expat with deep pockets and who are willing to connect me with people who will treat me like a local with limited savings.
With the state of the world right now, there is no point in expending energy planning my next adventure (spoiler: I had planned to go Peru this autumn as flights there are cheap!), so I’m glad to have another place to direct my energy and keep some positivity about the future in such tumultuous times. And it’s great to be getting some building and construction knowledge to apply for when I have my own build! 🙂