Friday, March 29, 2019

The Great Bathroom Remo: Phase I -Teardown

This project has been on the radar for a couple of years now.  We have lived in this wonderful house for almost 20 years.  Every other room has been fussed over but for some reason the guest bath has been overlooked.  It wasn't bad, just tired.  This year I said "yes" so it's on its way Plus I really wanted to go up to San Miguel de Allende and needing new tiles was the best excuse!

The bathroom as it originally looked.  Not bad, but not great, either!
It has been almost impossible to find a contractor or worker who is not up to his (and yes, they are all males) eyeballs in work.  Two reasons:  lots of new construction in this little village AND houses built in the last 10 years are now needing repairs.  This is a very unforgiving climate.  But we finally got a commitment from Everaerdo (Eve) to at least start on our "needs repair" list at the top of which wis the downstairs bath.  He began the demo a week later that he planned but as long as it's done before we leave on May 1 I'm okay with that.  The rest (and there's al lot; as I said, we've been here almost 20 years and the house was 10+ when we bought it) he will work on during the summer when the pace slows.

Eve and his mozo  Luis showed up last week, sledge hammer in hand, ready to do some serious damage.  Here's what it looked like after the first day.

The first problem of the day was the ceiling;  it appeared that there was a leak coming from the upstairs bathroom above.  My fear was that the floor in our shower would have to be ripped up for repair but a quick check revealed that a strategic application of silicone sealant would take care of the problem  Crisis averted.

At the end of the day the walls had been stripped of all tiles, the basin and its built-on surround hds been removed, the shower floor taken up, the medicine cabinet carefully taken down, vanity doors off, and it was a  frightful mess.  But sweet, shy Luis took up his broom and dust pan and tidied up as best he could, and left for the day, stopping to say  adios before heading home.  (One of the nicest things Eve learned while working for Jaime is that you ALWAYS  greet clients formally when you arrive and when you leave whether it's in the morning or  comiida.    Nice touch.

More of the same the next day.

Then it was time to start filling up all the holes they had knocked in the walls. They tap-tap-tapped along all the walls to find any pockets of loose cement or disintegrated bricks or weak spots.  Found a couple and prepped the wall for repairs.

First he built this little scaffolding in the shower

This is the sort of thing they were tapping for,  The original bricks just disintegrated with age.  The whole wall has to be removed if such damage is widespread.  Fortunately is was relatively minor and can all be filled in with cement.

Another god-awful mess but all the holes are taken care of and he's ready to rebuild the top of the vanity for its new bowl and the walls for their new tiles.

With his trusty hammer and a chisel Luis attacked the walls and prepped them for the pegamento for the tiles.   Speaking of that, we went to Tecoman and loaded up the car with bags of stuff for the walls.  Cement, adhesive, and something called marmolina that I know is not for slathering on scones but I don't know its purpose. All I know is that it took two burley men to get it out of the car an into the garage.

The vanitity now has a new top ready for the sink a tiles and the shower for its new shelf to hold soap, shampoo bottles, etc.  The rest of the room is ready for wall tiles and some snazzy color spots.

The shelf will fit nicely between the wall and the glass blocks we will have in lieu of a shower curtain. It will be covered in yellow tile.

That about does it for Phase 1.  The next step is getting the tile design finalized with Eve , I think tomorrow.  I have been plagued by the idea that I do not have enough tiles for the job; 360 tile is not enough???  But this morning I re-counted  the number I need to make it work and I think I will have 2 tiles  left over!  That's if there are no breakages.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Beach sunrise

Happy Weekend!  And Happy 14th Birthday to my great -niece, Ruby!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

the view from the top

I've been sitting up here a lot lately.  When Alex was here we played dominoes almost every day.  One of my fellow beach-ers comes a couple of times a week and we sit up top and yes, play dominoes.  It's so perfect at this time of year; no wind to put a chill on the pleasure.  And now that the palapa is gone, no squirrels or their leavings are in evidence.  Long, slow, warm afternoons, perfect for reading, napping, dominoes,  or just looking out to the edge of the world.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

the universe rejoices

The most fabulous young woman I know just celebrateed her 25th birthday.  That would be g'daughter Emily.  This is not a particularly good photo; she took it as a selfie and sent it to me to show, in the background, the flowers we sent her, all the way to Boston, MA!  Happy Birthday to our precious Em.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

the great tile hunt

It is time for the downstairs guest bath to get a facelift.  We  have lived here for almost 20 years without refreshing it and it's looking pretty shabby.   It needs some repairs to the ceiling, a new sink, new shower floor, and just a general spiffing-up.

But first, I need tile.  Lots and lots of colorful Mexican bara (clay) tile.  And where better to shop than in the tile mecca of San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo.  And so we packed up and made our way to the beautiful state of Guanajuato, about 350 miles to the southeast of us.  Fortunately, daughter Alex was here to act as my design eyes.  It's a long drive but there is a new and VERY welcome road that skirts Guadalajara and knocks off probably a good 30-45 minutes from the trip.  I rented a house in SMA via VRBO  and off we went.

The house was big, airy, lots of light, 3B/3/BA, comfortable and convenient.  (I have learned subsequent to our visit that the owners are selling it.  Too bad for future stays!)  The gardens, although small, were meticulously cared for by the genius gardener, Fernando, to whom I offered a job at the beach at our house, but he declined politel.

We made two trips to Dolores, bought 5 boxes of tiles, new TP/soap holder/towel rack holders. spree random decorative tiles just for fun, and decided that was enough.  Actually, I don't think it is but I will rely on my contractor, Everado, to make it work.  He can do ANYTHING with tile.  You will have to wait to see what I bought.

We also celebrated Alex's birthday at our favorite restaurant, Hecho in Mexico.  A delicious lunch with her annual Birthday Margarita.

And I found a project for next year!  The house down the street had a really fun and charming tile border around the front and sides.

When in Mexico, you can never have too much tile!

We went to the lovely library, sat in the courtyard and enjoyed the peace and quiet in the midst of the city..  Alex found some English language books for Fernanda (age 5) who is learning English.  Then we ambled on to lunch at a tiny hole in the wall called Juan's Cafe.

Passed this house with a great roof garden.

I have this in mind for our 3rd floor.  Mr. C groaned when I mentioned it.

And of course, no trip would be complete without a look at the iconic pink cathedral in the town square.

This is a lousy photo but you get the idea.

And then  it was time to head back to the beach with all our treasures.  Eve is supposed to start the demo of the bathroom this week but as of now, Tuesday noon, not a word.  Maybe manaƱa.

Monday, March 11, 2019

into the trees

Yesterday, Fernando brought a band of happy coconut harvesters to clean out our palm trees.  This is always a treat to see but scares me to death that one of these nimble climbers will fall.  But not this time, either.

You  can see the rope dangling down the trunk.  The climber's compadre ties the machete onto the end, the climber hauls it up and hacks away at the coconut clusters, then lowers the bunches down to the ground and the whole thing starts again.

Here's the loot:

Fernando will use the nuts in this puesto.  Put to very good use.

Monday, February 18, 2019

market treasures

If it's Monday that means it's off to Armeria in search of good things to eat in the coming week.  Sometimes Ricardo has these little beauties.  He did today.   Goodie for us.