27 June, 2010

Ketchup - Part 1

Man, there have just been too many distractions. The two biggest - finishing the guesthouse and the World Cup. I thought it was a big deal last World Cup when I caught four games. This year, I haven't missed a day. Oh sure, I might miss one or two games a day, but that also means I catch one or two (sometimes all three) games a day. What a treat! And then, throw in work on the guesthouse and my one project a day limitation has become, what - almost like work again. Perish the thought.

Last Wednesday, Dianna and I went with Doug and Twyla down to Belize City. We all wanted to look for some things at Benny's Hardware - that was our first stop. Dianna and I needed to find a nice double kitchen sink. We did. It is some sort of fiberglass composite thing in white that will look really cool in the kitchen. We also wanted to find a 24" wide stove vent hood. Tough to find down here. We ended up special ordering one. It'll be here in about 3 to 5 weeks. Doug and Twyla needed several gallons of tile grout sealer.

I forgot to say, that when we got there, we saw the strangest store greeter. This one met us in the parking lot. Now, I know at Benny's location on the Northern Highway, they're not too far from the sea, but what this guy was doing there ambling across their parking lot was a surprise and a mystery to us.
Benny's Greeter
Doug dropped a dollar coin next to him so you can get some idea of his size. He didn't seem to be in any distress, so we left him alone. Doug did retrieve his dollar.

Good thing too, cause our next stops were first to Mirab's Housewares, east of the swingbridge, where we bought a bunch of little things you just can't get up our way without going to Chetumal. It's close enough to the Tourist Village that Dianna was asked by a passing lady if she wanted her hair braided or toenails done up. The two of us were sitting outside waiting for Doug and Twyla to finish up shopping, and to escape the air conditioning - too friggin' cold.

From Mirab's we went down to the Riverside Tavern. It was the girl's first time being there and to experience the excellent food and service. We also tried Bowen and Bowen's new Galaxy beer. It was nice, but I think I prefer plain old Belikin. Of course, I forgot to ask and was served premium. We don't have to ask for regular in Corozal, so I never think about it.

A new item is now in the pool - our Floatron copper ion generator. It's solar-powered too. You can read all about it at (
Solar-powered Floatron Copper Ion Generator
Briefly, it floats and it's solar panel converts sunlight into electricity that energizes a specially alloy mineral electrode (mostly copper) below waterline, causing the release of mineral ions into the surrounding water. This ionized water controls algae growth in the pool.

The electrode should last anywhere from one to three years (we have a spare), and it only stays in the pool for a few days out of a week. We're still finding out what that period is. That is, how many days can it stay in the pool to reach the desired ion level in the water. Once we reach that level, we pull the generator, clean it up and store it till the next week or so when we toss it (gently) back into the pool to maintain that ion level.

Remember a while back I shot some pictures of the sailboat Paloma getting a very nice new paint job? Well it's all done now. It took them a while to get her name painted on her bows. Then it took some time for me to get a good close-up of her name plate.
Paloma's Paint Job Is Done
Beneath her name is a nice little island scene with palm trees, etc. Definitely one of the nicer looking sailboats on the bay.
Paloma's Nameplate
News on the canal front - Lots of progress has been made. Here's some shots of the track-hoe doing its thing. The first one is up near Doug and Twyla's house.
Leveling the Canal Bank (Courtesy Doug Bray)
This next shot is across the canal from our place on Lynn and Pete's property. The track-hoe is pulling muck from the canal bottom (it was really, really shallow right in that area). When he got done piling the muck on the bank, then he leveled it out and moved on.
Mucking Out the Canal
Here the track-hoe operator is getting instructions from Pastor Doug - he and Robert have been directing the canal operations. The track-hoe can reach about half-way across the canal.
Other Side of Lynn & Pete's
Alright. Now on to more new stuff with the guesthouse.

So, about the guesthouse - things move fast-fast, as they say here. We got the ceiling fans installed and running. Pretty cool looking too (no pun intended, either) with their banana-leaf paddles. There's one in each bedroom and one in the living room/kitchen.
Guesthouse Ceiling Fans
We ordered the fans online over a year ago and had them in storage in our utility room downstairs for all that time. We didn't really have any idea that they were going to look so fancy. A nice surprise for sure.

We ended up putting a ceiling fan in the bathroom too, but it's just a plain ol' white ceiling fan - nothing fancy.

Here's the latest in the guesthouse utility room - the on demand water heater isn't news. It's still not working because it's waiting for Billy to bring some insulated pipe fittings for me to vent it and our current one in the regular house. I'll be punching holes through both walls to install those vent pipes.

Next to it is the main GH circuit-breaker box and the whole-house surge protector. This thing is really cool as it protects electrical stuff, like ceiling fans and refrigerators and stereos, etc. from spikes and that sort of thing. Easily worth the money (I talk about it in more detail elsewhere on the blog - look it up in the index).
Water Heater, Breaker Box & Whole House Surge Suppressor
In the kitchen and in the bathroom, I needed boxes to hold light fixtures. I couldn't find any and was thinking about cobbling some together when inspiration hit. I had Capital Factory make them up from sheet aluminum and using their sheet metal bending brakes.

Two different times I called on Roger at Capital and asked him to make a box for me, the first was 3'x6"x1.5". About an hour later he called and said it was ready to pick up. Such service.
Over-Sink Kitchen Light
The second box, 2.5'x6"x1.5" was ready in about the same amount of time. The picture below shows how I'm attaching the three fixtures to the cover for the kitchen box.
Applying Fixtures to Cover Panel
One of the things we had done, as long as we had Joe Folgarait, the electrician here working, was to move the pool light and the waterfall pump switch from the pool pumphouse to the guesthouse utility room, making it a little more convenient to use.

This is Joe and his assistant (I've forgotten his name) working on that very issue.
Joe and His Assistant
We also are busy getting our kitchen cabinets made. Kim Longsworth is making those for us. He's not the cheapest, but what nice work.
Kitchen Counter Being Glued Up
Kim's shop, easily the largest cabinet/furniture shop in the area, already has the kitchen cabinets framed up. We went there this last weekend to see how the progress was coming along. We might be getting them installed this next week or the one after.
Kim Describing How the Cabinets Will Hang
Kim had his workers display the cabinets for us. They are really going to look great and they will also make the guesthouse seem like it's a done thing.
Overall View of the Cabinets
Kim's shop also does some really unusual custom work too. Here's a bathtub they're making for a customer in Texas. Can you believe it?
Custom Wood Bathtub
While all this was going on, we had another cabinet shop, David Gomez, build our doors and jambs, or 'frames' as they call them. Not as fancy as things turned out by Kim, they're still custom-made doors and jambs. David, his dad and his brother did work hard to make and install them on time. They definitely add to the character of the guesthouse.
Guesthouse Doors and Jambs
Now, while all that was going on, I also had Cody busy oiling the pool deck. Here's a shot of him just about half-way through. It really makes a difference and was the wood ever thirsty. We found out that new 40 wt. motor oil is thicker and covers better than the 30 wt. we had been using.
Cody Oiling the Deck
As if all that wasn't enough, the landscape around here keeps changing. Not only is Robert working on the canal, but he's trying to get his newly purchased lots, on either side of our and Elsie's places, ready for sale.
Our Bush Keeps Disappearing
Part of that means he wants to clear some of the thick bush out. So, he's had some of his guys and a D7 Caterpillar bulldozer clearing all the scrub and poison wood, leaving most of the good wood behind.

Additionally, in preparation for the final bit of the canal work, he and Pastor Doug bought a small dredge boat for that project. Complete with trailer, it's a cute looking thing. I can't wait to see it in action.
The Canal Dredge
And, the last thing to 'ketchup' on - Tropical Storm Alex. Around here at least, it was a ho-hum event. We had a little bit of rain (for a tropical storm, that is) and some wind, with gusts maybe up around 40-50 Kts. Nothing developed to really even be scared. Well, the doggies did get scared of some lightning and spent part of the night inside with us. We were ready to take action if things got worse.

Doug and Twyla used it as a training exercise. They disconnected and fastened down their solar panels, removed their satellite dish and pretended they were going to evacuate. Of course, that meant Doug missed his Formula 1 races on TV this morning, because he didn't have his dish back up yet. Too bad.

I did offer him the use of ours as I didn't go to that extreme, thus I was able to watch England get reamed by Germany and FIFA in the World Cup. I mean, how blind was that referee's assistant? The ball was in the goal by at least a foot and a half! I sent FIFA an email asking them to join the 20th century (not even the 21st century) and begin using video technology for controversial calls. Give them another twenty or thirty years and they'll have it.

This afternoon, I'm going to watch Argentina and Mexico. Should be a good match (Argentina won 3 - 1).

Here's something to watch if you're not into real football:

Making a cement bag hat...

Thanks, and a tip of our hat to Mayo Perez for that cool demonstration.



Wilma said...

Glad Alex wasn't too hard on you! Your cabinets are looking lovely. I look forward to seeing them in place.


Liberating Recycling Leaders - LRL said...

Glad to see your blog update! I've become a regular reader and try to read it as often as possible.
The guesthouse is almost ready for the first guest. Who will that lucky person be???


Lynn and Pete said...

Hey there Dave and Dianna,Thanks for the canal pictures update. Looks like things are really progressing with getting the access opened up. And the guest house looks great too! We'll be done in early Feb for a visit! Look forward to seeing you then!
Love and hugs
Lynn and Pete

Anonymous said...

What brand/ model ceiling fan is that?

Dave Rider said...

Hi Any Mouse,

The ceiling fans are sure pretty and all, but if we'd known what lamp fixtures they used, we'd have gone with something else. The lamp socket is the small Christmas light-style bulb, which makes it damn near impossible to find down here. That is, to find a bulb with that sized socket and that has enough light output to make it worthwhile.
Also, the blades are really too short to seriously move some air and down here, you want them to move air - the more the merrier.
Anyway, here's the brand/model info you requested:
It's a Harbor Breeze, Model No. PAR52CB5C, UL listed for damp locations.
It is a beautiful fan, but in the areas that count - moving air and providing light, fail.
Thanks for asking. I should have proivded that info in the posting.
Also, a side note... I corrected a typo involving the little crab at Benny's - He's a 'greeter' not a 'greater'. Just thought you'd want to know.