23 October, 2010

Looking Down the Barrel

I would have posted this last night, but the Intertubes were really slow, slow, slow.

I'm talking about Tropical Storm Richard. He's just sitting out there teasing and taunting everyone. Do we put everything away? Do we leave stuff as it is? What do we do and how much time will we have to do it? Arrgh! I hate the waiting.

Anyway, yesterday I went with Doug to Belmopan as he needed to get a couple of things from Builder's Hardware. I went along mostly to keep him company (awake) on the trek. I did buy a rubber chew toy for Deohgee, since she loves to chew Crocs and other things. I also picked up a really stiff scrubbing brush with a long handle to use in the pool.

From Builder's, we went to the Ultimate Herbal Health Food Store so Doug could get some molasses for Twyla's baked beans and from there we went to Reimer's Feed Mill where we bought new dog collars - nice heavy-duty ones.

After finishing all that, we decided we'd stop for lunch at Cheers, on the Western Highway, a little south of Belmopan. Last time we did this, we stopped first at the Restaurant and Hotel Supply store and went over to Amigo's for lunch, confusing that for Cheers. It was ok, but we'd heard raves about Cheers, and just didn't see what was so spectacular about it.
Cheers - With A Tropical Twist
Well, this time we did make it to the correct place - Cheers (Mile 31 1/4 on the Western Highway). Nice place. Great service - fast. Beer was cold. Food arrived at the table together. That's a key point for those of you unfamiliar with Belize. It is not unusual at all to go in a restaurant, order food and have the meals come out one at a time with 10 to 15 minutes in between deliveries.

I ordered a gut-bomb (mushroom cheese burger and fries), Doug had pasta. We both agreed they were quite good.
My Order

Cheers has a nice atmosphere. It's obviously a place the British Army likes to hang out at when they're doing their jungle warfare training activities. Lots of signs and tshirts hanging in the rafters. They even have a website: (
Hanging Around

Maybe the burger isn't quite up to the Riverside Tavern in Belize City, but it's definitely worth a stop anytime you have to truck over to Belmopan to conduct business. Very nice place to eat, drink and relax.

Late-breaking news on Cheers - If the parking lot is full of buses, more than likely it's 'cruise ship day'... Avoid it and go to Amigo's.

From there, we cruised back down the Western Highway to Belize City. Doug needed to stop at Brothers Habet Hardware, which I guess is different from Habet and Habet Hardware - same family, different companies and different locations in Belize City.

Brothers Habet is supposedly located at 115 Barrack Road. Well, we cruised up and down but couldn't find it. A lack of street signs, something Belize City is supposed to be addressing, hamper any effective navigation. We finally found it at the intersection of Barrack Road and Freetown Road. Like I always say, 'If if was easy, it wouldn't be any fun'.

I did a real bone-head stunt the other day. I had shut off a couple valves in the pool pump house so I could open the pump and clean out the leaf basket inside. Naturally, when I was done, I forgot to open those valves. This wasn't a problem till the next morning when the pump started automatically on its scheduled time.

With nowhere to go, the water simply took the expedient action of blowing the outfall from the pump right off the threaded fitting, spewing huge amounts of water everywhere. I had come out of the house and standing on the front porch, noticed the pool looked a little low - like about half low. Holy Sh**, Batman!

I ran downstairs toward the pump house (well, as fast as an old fart runs). As I crossed the pool deck, I saw a lot of water running along the walkway, going through the gate and spilling from the boat slip deck into the canal.

I opened the pump house door and loosed a torrent of water that had backed up inside. Standing on the curbing outside, I reached in and shut the power off to the pump, stopping the deluge. That's when I noticed cause and effect.

Not only that, but water had also gone through a fitting and exacerbated a small cave-in partly under the pump house. Noticing that, I immediately got Cody working on that before the pump house tilted over and made matters catastrophically worse.
Finishing Filling the Cave-in

It was a big enough project that I had Cody hire his unemployed brother-in-law, Rufino, for the day to help dig it out (to firm marl), pack the hole with rocks and concrete under the pump house especially and with mostly rocks in the rest of the hole to within a couple inches of the top, then filling the rest with marl.
Smoothing It Out
It seems that we're getting to be quite good with dealing with cave-ins. Hopefully, this will be the last one for a while. Thankfullly, I have good supply of rock on hand that was intended for the bulkhead project, but a diversion was necessary.

In the meantime, I spent the next couple days figuring out how to repair the rest of the damage. I re-taped the fittings, put everything back together and got the pump working (after opening the valves). Unfortunately, the bearings on the motor are now making a godawful high-pitched yowl. Not screaming - yet (sounds awfully familiar for those of you who have followed this blog for a while, doesn't it?).

I consulted yesterday with Doug to help me chase down an air leak on the system that developed after all this. Every time I turned on the pump, air bubbles showed in the inlets to the pool. Bubbles would not normally be happening there. Something was wrong. After much considered head and butt scratching we concluded the problem had to be in the pump. Which it was. I finally found the inlet fitting for the pump had come loose. So, I re-taped that and re-installed it. Now, everything works fine, except for the noise of the bearings.

I also consulted yesterday during happy hour at Jim's house (every Friday from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM). Jim also has a pool. But, he also had a solution. His caretaker, Carlos knows a guy in Orange Walk town who rebuilds pump motors and has replaced bearings in his old motor several times. I've asked Jim to have Carlos give me a visit so I can talk to him about getting my pump bearings fixed.

So, it that works, problem solved. You know, it seems to me, that this pump/motor design is somewhat crappy, to turn a phrase. Why isn't the pump motor waterproofed or something, so that when unauthorized water does interfere, the bearings and other bits don't automatically become rusted bits? Like Jim said, they then wouldn't be able to sell as many pumps. Ahhhh. Makes sense, I guess.

Lastly, totally unrelated to the above story, I finally got a butane tank for the guesthouse and got it hooked up and working. We now have a functioning stove, hot water at the kitchen sink and in the bathroom at the sink and in the shower - which I have used already. Turns out, the shower is quite roomy. We had out doubts about that, but not to worry. It functions nicely.
Guesthouse Butane Tank
Lest you think the tank is just standing there in an unsafe mode, it is chained and padlocked to an anchor in the concrete wall, so it can't fall and become a missile. I still have to paint the flex tubing that encased the gas lines. First things first.

Latest update so far this morning on T/S Richard. The latest NOAA map shows it going further south from us - which is good news. Sure, we'll probably get a good dowsing, but that should be about it. Hopefully, Richard will be the last event for the season. Hey, we can hope, can't we?

1 comment:

Dave Rider said...


Can you send your comment again? I apologize, my finger slipped and I accidentally deleted your comment before I was sure I had your email address well in hand.