After several failed attempts to repair the shower on our own, we decided to hire John Harris (who did our pool and the palapa patio).
|John Starts Breaking Up the Floor Tiles|
|Hot Work in Close Quarters|
|The Dreaded Mold|
Time for drastic action. The new three-inch drain has an aluminum top that is about an eighth of an inch thick. More than adequate to keep from warping out. In this next photo, Agusto is enlarging the hole for the drain through the floor.
|Enlarging the New Drain|
|Hooking Up the Shower Drain|
|New Shower Floor Arrives|
|Installing the Shower Floor|
|Concreted Shower Floor|
|John Giving Guidance|
Change Order number one
Dianna had been wanting this change for a while. This seemed like a good time to say, "Let's replace the lovely red tulip tiles with blue squares." Of course,
John said "No problem."
And, as you can see the lovely tulip band is quickly going away. It's not quite as easy as it might look. You have to remove the grout first, to minimize the chances of cracking adjacent tiles, then you have to pry out the tile in question. The adhesive used naturally has held very well, which makes removing tiles just that much harder.
|Removing the Red Tulip Band|
Along with the trim band of red tulips, there were also four matching accent pieces, one on each wall of the shower. Here you can see Agusto chiseling out the grout surrounding one of the pieces before trying to break it out.
|A Nail Makes a Fine Chisel|
Here's one accent piece gone entirely. A smooth extraction. Will the rest go as easy? One can only hope.
|Accent Piece Gone|
|Some Tiles Were Stubborn|
Which brings us to our next deviation from the plan, such as it was.
Change Order Number Two
The replacement tiles we did get unfortunately had a red tinge to them), we decided that since the replacements didn't match exactly, and we really never did care all that much for the gray tiles in the first place, "Let's get rid of them all and replace them with white subway tiles."
Again John said "No problem."
So, here's the shower with a whole lot of no tiles going on. Looks a bit different.
|Lot More Tiles Gone|
|Board Gone and Tiles Too|
Change Order Number Three
"Let's get rid of the red tulip tiles bordering the vanity. Replace them with the blue tiles too."
Once again, John said "No problem."
Dianna said she thinks that's why he likes doing projects for us. He can count on the projects almost always growing. You know what? She's right.
|Augusto Pulling Vanity Trim Tiles|
|Finishing Removing the Trim|
|New Trim Around the Vanity|
Subway tiles in the shower going up. Progress with those larger tiles makes it seem like the project is really moving right along.
|Applying Adhesive for the Subway Tile|
|Boo Figuring Out the Threshold|
The little blue tiles, which went perfectly in our bathroom, John had left over from a previous project, so he didn't charge us for them. His guys even managed to cut them to fit around the floor drain. Since they are glass tiles and brittle, that was no small feat in itself.
|Floor Tiles Going In|
|Nails Work As Spacers|
|Setting Tile in a Crowded Space|
As it happens, when occupying the seat of honor, you do get a good view of this particular wall and corner. Something just didn't look right. When I was done with my nature studies, I looked closer at the tiling. There was a real problem to be corrected.
|Somebody Fell Asleep|
|Lines Don't Match|
One of my pet peeves, it turns out, is finding tile spacers laid flat in the corner intersections of tiles. Somebody, in years past, taught tile workers here in Belize that that was the way to do tiling and to use spacers. You have to pay attention to these little things like that. Even with this project, lots of little spacers ended up laying flat. Some habits are hard to break.
|Wrong Way to Use Spacers|
|Other End of Shower|
|Shower is Finished|
|Tiled Floor and New Drain|
|William Finishing Blue Tile on Vanity|
Here's an aside for you. In the midst of all the construction, Miss April disappeared.
Sometime early on in the project, she went missing. We think it was the noise of construction that just got to be too much and scared her. She's always been a real homebody, never venturing out of the yard, so it was a real mystery where she had gotten off to.
We started off walking around the yard calling for her. We checked, and re-checked, and re-checked again trying to find her. In and under everything was checked and re-checked, and checked again.
Around day three, we began to lose hope. This just wasn't like her at all. Tears were beginning to flow, and, strange as it may seem, Nelson, really exhibited behaviors that showed he missed his 'sister'. He'd go out the kitty door, and walk around the house, meowing constantly. Then he'd come up the front steps and come into the house, meowing at us like we were hiding her. He'd go throughout the house, looking in everything, trying to find her.
This pattern continued non-stop till Monday. when the workers returned after a day off. It didn't end, it just slowed down. Throughout this whole time, we periodically thought that we heard a faint meow, but we could never localize it.
Then early Tuesday morning, we were jarred awake about three AM with what sounded like a short cat fight on our front porch. I quickly threw on a pair of shorts and ran out to the porch to see who was killing who. I didn't see Nelson, but I did see a smallish calico-looking cat in an absolute panic, running from one end of the porch to the other, trying to figure out how to get out of our porch. The cat had to have come through the doggie door and once in couldn't figure things out.
I made the mistake of leaving the screen door into the house open, so as soon as I moved away from the doorway, guess what? The hyper kitty zoomed back into our house and made a quick circuit of things. I went back into the house and successfully herded it back onto the porch. Once there, it found an area rug that Dianna had rolled up and placed vertically in the corner. The cat zoomed up it and immediately went down the central part of the roll, where she or he decided to stay.
This was essentially the situation for about a day and a half. We started putting out a little food and water for the cat. In some ways I think we both thought that maybe the great Cat in the sky was sending us a replacement for the missing April.
Eventually, the cat calmed down enough to leave the security of the carpet roll only to use the cushion of one of our porch chairs as a bathroom. Well, now there was no doubt as to the sex of the cat. Pee-yew! It's an un-neutered male. Well that decided me in short order to get rid of the cat quickly.
Hoping the cat wanted to escape, I opened the outer porch door and by now, the cat was laying beside the carpet roll, so, as I lifted the roll, he took off running around again. Only this time, he found the correct open door and took off. Thankfully we haven't seen him since.
There were just some cat noises outside, so I got up and was looking out the living room window. I saw Nelson, slightly to my left downstairs, and I heard a faint meow once again. Only this time, it seemed to come from off to the right as I was looking out the window. So, whatever it was, it wasn't Nelson.
Going downstairs, thinking I would walk around and see if I could hear the sound once again. I guessed that maybe April had gotten tangled up somehow in or near the pile of waste that we periodically burn, or trapped, or injured, or something. Anyway I was strolling around over there looking for her and calling her name.
As I got near the fence, I called her name once again and thought I heard an answering meow. It sounded like it came from across the street.So I got closer to the fence and called once more. I got a definite response. I still couldn't tell then if sounded like April or not.
I ran up and got my keys and a flashlight and headed over to the gate of the property next to Denis and Vivien's, where Bob is staying. At the gate, I called again and got a stronger response. It sounded like April. I noticed the gate was latched but not locked, so I opened it and went in. Young Mr. Nelson had accompanied me across the street as well. We heard her call from up in this scraggly pine tree right near the gate. I shined the flashlight up into the tree, but all I could see was two reflective eyes staring back at me from way up near the top of the tree. I called up to her and got a definite 'rescue me' meow. At this time, there was no doubt with Nelson or me that April was up the tree.
Trotting back across the road. I reached my extension ladder, unlocked it from it's storage location in the breezeway and headed back across the road.
Getting the ladder into a stable position, I began climbing up to rescue April. About 4 or 5 rungs up, I missed my footing. The ladder shifted because of a ton of tiny, brittle branches breaking. As a consequence, I took a tumble. I tucked my shoulder and rolled, emerging none the worse for wear. Not a bad stunt in pitch dark, if you ask me.
Taking a bit more care, I re-positioned the ladder more securely, then began climbing up once again. i had the ladder extension out for about half it's length, so I was really hoping I wouldn't repeat the tumble. About then Dianna arrived and was hollering up to April and me with words of encouragement..
I reached April and I could tell, she was really glad to see me, but she was also scared half out of her wits. I tried lifting her off the branch with one hand as I had to hold on to a branch with the other as the ladder up that high was none too stable. Eventually, I was able to get in real close to her and convinced her to make the change from the branch and to get onto my shoulder.
Once on my shoulder, surprisingly, she stayed there for the return journey back down to the ground and to Dianna's waiting arms. I thought I would be pock-marked with holes, but she was surprisingly gentle on me.
After lowering the ladder, we made our way back across to our house. Somewhere right in that time-frame, we lost Nelson. I don't know how or why. he was just gone. Just our luck. We loose a kitty, get one as a sort of replacement that we don't want to keep, get rid of him, find the original missing kitty, and loose a second family kitty. He was gone who knows where till about 7:30 PM that following night, when I saw him come ambling up the back stairs.
We decided that it would be best for the next couple of days that we lock up the kitties with the dogs down in the pool house, while all the work is taking place, just so we don't have any repeats. What an adventure in the middle of all this work.
Now, we can get back to the original story.
"You know, since you're here, John... How much trouble would it be to paint the entire ceiling white and add in some trim pieces to mask the joins of the plywood panels?" Oh, dare I guess? Another variance from the path. It must be time for:
Change Order Number Four
Not surprisingly, John said "No problem."
First things first, the guys got busy with dusting rags and some fox-tail dusters we had around the house.
|Making Sure Everything is Dust Free|
|Last Furniture Being Moved Out|
|Back Porch Filled With Furniture|
To get to that point actually took quite a bit of thinking and 'what-iffery' on the part of John and Dianna.
Come to think of it, this may be one of the things that scared Miss April enough for her to run away for those four days.
|Compressor on the Porch|
|Decorative Wood Trim Going in|
|Applying Trim in the Kitchen|
|Another View of the Wood Trim Application|
|Making Sure the Wood Trim Fits|
|Painting Gets Started|
|And it Moves Right Along|
One side benefit is that now our ceiling fans (there's five of them here) really stand out. The wood blades really look nice. And just so you know, it's not really necessary to bring all this sort of stuff down with you all the time. We bought all five fans (they're indoor/outdoor type too) at Marin Electric, right here in Corozal - and that was six years ago. Availability of all sorts of stuff has increased markedly since then.
|Fans Really Stand Out now|
BTW, the rod you see in the photo below I had had installed after the house was delivered here. The idea being that it was supposed to help keep the place from spreading laterally. It might have worked if the rod had been installed correctly and if proper lag screws had been used. Lag screws and bolts built to ASME specs are almost impossible to find here in Corozal. Once in a while you can find them in Belize City. The reason that's important is in the sheer strength of the bolts. When I went to remove the bolts holding this rod, they snapped right off. The whole thing would have been of no use at all if the walls had spread. The rod would have simply been another bit of metal in the way and offered no support at all.
|Ceiling is Looking Good|
|What a Difference|
|Manuel - An Artist With the Roller|
|Really Brightens the Ceiling|
|Paying Attention to the Details|
|Caulking all the Joints|
|Rolling the Office Ceiling|
|Rolling the Ceiling|
|Painting the Ceiling|
|Working On the Ceiling|
|Boo Painting the Ceiling|
You know, now that the ceiling is looking so white and fresh, it's making the yellow on the walls look kind of dingy. When it was just the yellow, it looked passable. You'd never guess there were actually three different shades of yellow - one shade in the kitchen, one in the living and dining room and a third iin the office and bedroom.
It seems that now would be a great time to get all the walls repainted with a single shade. How about going with a nice sky blue?
Change Order Number Five
John's getting good at saying "No problem."
So, even while work is still going on with the ceiling, some of the crew got busy with putting the blue stuff up on the walls.
Dianna had already taken down all the switch-plate and outlet covers. These had all been freshly washed and were ready to go back up after the nice new blue paint was applied.
|Another Wall Turning Blue|
|Chippie Painting the Columns|
|Cindy Keeping Up With the Work|
|Dianna Lends a Hand|
|Even the Breaker Box Door Got in the Act|
|Looking Cooler and Larger|
|Living Room is Turning Blue|
|Kitchen Getting the Blue Treatment|
|Agusto Through the Bedroom Window|
Now we're actually thinking of putting in a suspended ceiling in both of our workshops downstairs. That might brighten up both of those rooms as well. I tell ya, these things seem to just never end.
But, this would be a whole new project, not just a change order.
John's still going to say "No problem."