24 April, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

A quirky artist with a lot of talent. David Bowie also had one of the coolest band names around - "The Spiders From Mars." What an image that creates.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
                                 -- Changes From the album Changes by David Bowie

Speaking of band names, that's something Dave Barry always keeps an ear out for too - although his choices usually are far different than mine.

This thread also brings to mind another song from the Way Back Machine - Buddy Miles and Carlos Santana doing My Mind's Been Going Through Them Changes. Ok. Enough wandering off topic. Especially since I haven't even started on the topic yet. On with the show.

Progress on the guesthouse is happening almost faster than I can keep up - which is a good thing. We also have changes occurring simultaneously beside the canal from our place all the way up to Doug and Twyla's.
Living Room/Kitchen Ceiling and Walls Done
With the picture above, you can see that the walls and ceiling in the living room and kitchen are finished with the plaster. You might be wondering, as was Dianna, when she asked me "Is there going to be another coat of plaster?" She asked that because it appears you can still see the individual blocks under the plaster coat. That's normal and is caused because the plaster coat dries as different rates on the block face or on the  mortar between each block. Once it all dries that image will go away and it will really look nice and smooth.
Plastering the Utility Room
 The last room of the guesthouse to be plastered is the utility room. This will also be where the pool toys and chemicals will be stored. Eventually, there will be a washing machine in there as well. The electrical panel is already in place and functioning. Soon to, will be the on-demand water heater.
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The next bit, going on at the same time as the plastering, is the grading of the vacant lots between us and Doug and Twyla's place.

As you can see below, the grader started up at their end and got it pretty well smoothed out. This morning, he showed up and started toward us, moving dirt away from the canal bank. Long overdue as the canal was dredged a little over three years ago.
The View from Doug and Twyla's
Spreading the spoils was part of that project and was supposed to have been completed shortly after the dredging. They had to wait some time for the spoils to leach out the excess moisture so that it could be spread. After three years, I'd say it was good to go.
 The Machine
Right about 8:00 AM, the machine was fired up and really made quite short work of the south half (toward us) of the job. The shot below shows the grader coming down our way. It's a nice 'before' shot to compare with the next following picture .
Grading the Spoils Pile
 By mid-morning, the grader was close to our place and by late this afternoon, I think they're ready to start in the morning on the far side of Elsie's lot.
The Canal From the Guesthouse Roof
 From this vantage point, the grading job almost looks like they've put in a road. Actually, it's just fill and will save the lot purchases some money as they begin filling their lots in preparation for building their version of paradise. Out lot, which is actually a half-lot, took about 52 dump truck loads of marl to get it to the desired level. Elsie's lot took, I think, about 57 or 58. Doug and Twyla, who have a full lot, took over 200 loads, so depending on what you want and need, you probably need to plan on bringing in significant loads of marl for fill.

On the other side of us, actually, on the other side of Elsie's lot, you can see they've done a lot of clearing there as well. The shot below gives you a good glimpse of the canal as it makes it's sharp left turn to head directly into Corozal Bay. So from our lot is not more than 150 yards, if that.
Ready For Grading on the Far Side
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Yesterday,  Doug and I went to Central Farm, near San Ignacio, to pick up some things Doug had had shipped down here by Sterling Freight (http://www.sterlingfreight.com/). We stopped off in Belmopan for gas and to visit Builder's Hardware (http://www.buildershardwarebelize.com/). I bought a huge jug of CLR cleaner. I also tried to get a replacement 5/64 bit with the Craftsman Speed-Lok quick-release end. Of course, they didn't have anything like that. I wasn't surprised they didn't have it. It's only one of the largest and best hardware stores in Belize. It was worth a shot. 

We also made a stop at the Mennonite-run Ultimate Herbal Health Food Store, where I bought a huge bottle of 1000-Mg vitamin C tablets. From there, we got back on the Western Highway heading south. We had a date at the Riverside Tavern with a couple of ice-cold mugs of Belikin Draft and the best burgers in Belize, bar-none.

After that, we headed home. Having left at 6:00 AM, we managed to travel almost 300 miles and still made it home by about 3:00 PM. After I hauled the booty up to the house, I looked for Dianna. Dianna, Yolanda (Cody's cousin) and Cody were all working hard, as you can tell by the photo below.
Cody, Yolanda and Dianna
Well, somebody has to supervise the guys doing the plastering, I guess. Well, might as well join them. I threw on my swimming suit and jumped in. Ahh, what a relief. It felt so refreshing.

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