05 January, 2008

Nearing the End... Well Some of the End Anyway

A nice quote - "...Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
—Winston Churchill, Lord Mayor's Luncheon, Mansion House, London, 10 Nov. 1942, following the victory at El Alamein, North Africa.

My title for this entry was but a feeble take on Winston Churchill's quote, which I paraphrased above. The man was a genius with the English language. He was perfectly positioned as Prime Minister during wartime England's struggle against Nazi tyranny. Able to motivate not only the British, he provided eloquent drive and enthusiasm for the entire free world to continue against what many saw as insurmountable odds. - Churchill is one of my favorite people.

Now that I got that off my chest, let's check in and see how the guys have been doing...

Well, a lot of progress has been made. In a stage of construction where forward motion is sometimes not readily apparent, because it's at this stage where a lot of detail work is needed. So to be able to see continued change means that they have been taking care of a lot of those details - some of which we'll see below.

First, the floors. The cracks have all been filled with Plastic Wood, sanded and two coats of varnish have been applied to everything except the bathroom and the kitchen. The bathroom has tile, and the kitchen is just going to be the last room to get its floor finished.
Mixing Big Cans of Plastic Wood
Rotary Sander on the Floors
The picture above shows a rotary sander being used on the floors. It's all that is available. No one anywhere has a drum-type floor sander. It's just one of the things about living in the third world. What you "need" is available, generally. What you "want", may be, or more likely, won't be. So, you deal with it, and make do with what you have available, and it comes out looking pretty good in the end.

Making do... even applies to sanding disks for rotary sanders. We think nothing of going to Home Depot, Ace, or Olympia Supply to get self-adhesive sanding disks. What if they're not available? Not just out of stock , but they may as well not even exist. What do you do? Improvise. Cut a piece of scrap cardboard to act as backing pad, attach it to the sander's rubber disk, and using contact cement, adhere the sand paper to the cardboard. Let it set long enough so it all doesn't fly apart on you (that's happened a few times), and go about your business.
Abraham Prepping the Sander
The exotic woods used here are just phenomenal. For something as mundane as a door jamb, may use two or three different hard woods. Nothing is pre-assembled (well, the doors themselves were). Here's Abraham chiseling away at the jamb to ensure a good fit for the guest bedroom door.
Making Sure It Fits
I was trying to find a way to take a shot of some woodwork on the back (streetside) porch, when I noticed this moth, resting on the burglar bar. Absolute contrasts at work here. I thought it made a nice image. I'm not sure if this is an albino or just a white moth. There are literally hundreds of different moths and butterflies here - each more gorgeous than the other.
A Study In Contrasts
To do all this requires a lot of wood. Here's a load that Jose brought to complete the porch railings, and roofing of the back porch, all exotic hardwoods. Pine just seems so pedestrian up against some of these woods.
Waiting to Be Used
After being filled and sanded, Here's what the floor begins to look like after just one coat of varnish.
One Coat, Two Views
One Coat, Two Views
And then, you apply a second coat and WOW! It just comes to life. The beauty of the woods just leaps out at you. Here's a shot of the living room with two coats of varnish.
Shiny, Shiny
One of the things I knew I wanted to get was a water softener. With us taking our water only from a well, with limestone being the subsurface mineral, it would take no time at all for all of our pipes, faucets, and the showerhead to become thoroughly clogged.

It took a bit of looking, but I managed to find a Culligan dealer down in Placencia, in the southern part of Belize. The company is owned and operated by a couple of Gringo Expats, Bob and Lu. I talked to them on the phone and found out how to do business with them via long distance. I emailed them and found out they had a fairly top-of-the-line model in their warehouse in Belize City. If I wanted it, I just had to deposit the money into their bank account. They would arrange shipping to Corozal from Belize City.

That's exactly what we did. I cashed a check at the "mattress bank" (the guys on the temple steps in the Bible) and deposited it into their Scotiabank account.

Next thing I knew, I got a call from Universal Customs Brokers, who handles the paperwork, etc., to import the water softeners for Bob and Lu. They also transport stuff. They had my new water softener and wanted to know where I wanted it delivered. I jumped on my scooter, met them at Tony's Inn and Resort, just off the Northern Highway, and escorted them to our place.

Here it is, still in boxes in our utility room. I'm going to read the manual this weekend, so I can speak with authority when the plumber gets ready to hook everything up.
Hey Culligan Man
All day long, we had seen big dump trucks and a couple of road graders heading down our road toward the Pueblo Nuevo Ferry where the road is really messed up from hurricane Dean. It's still been all but impassable. Well, I think they have finally taken the bull by the horns and decided to fix it. Not correctly with culverts and everything like that, but expediently, by just dumping marl and grading it smooth. Better than nothing.

We've had a huge ditch across our street also since the hurricane. I thought it was one of those things that would never get repaired. Low and behold, we got two full loads of marl dumped in the ditch and a grader actually smoothing it out too.

Thank God it's an election year. Otherwise, we'd never see a pebble, much less two loads. What a difference it's make. You can almost drive carefree up and down our road now - as long as you watch out for potholes!
Loads of Marl Ready to Spread
Abraham wanted me to take a picture of him and print it. So we played around with him posing for a few shots. I told him to keep his day job and not pin his hopes on being a male model. Anyway, here's a couple of the better ones.
Abraham At Work
Pretending to Work
Here's the bathroom with the tile almost done, and the plumber who did it. They're all sort of jack-of-all-trades cause he's fixing a broken tool for the floor guy.
The Bathroom Tile Job
the Plumber
We're finally getting out back (streetside) porch roof put up. Here they're trying to determine the optimum angle for the shed roof.

It all ground to a halt for a while, when the circular saw Abraham was using burned its plug up. Abraham is a bit frustrated here because of the delay, and eventually was able to keep working by just jamming the wire ends into the extension cord till Jose came back with a replacement plug. I kind of like this shot of Abraham better than his posed ones. I'll print out all three and let him choose.
Our Back Porch Roof Being built
Abraham Has a Huge Headache
A couple of other views of the porch being framed to support the roof. It might be completed on Monday.
Back Porch Roof Framing

And again, I took another unplanned shot of Abraham. I soft-focused it with Picasa. Maybe I'll print this as well so he has some real choice.
Unplanned Pose

1 comment:

toupeeo said...

Great looking floors and interior. Can't wait for the furniture etc.