Building our House – Week 21

After quite a few weeks of applying repello (concrete) to the walls, they are just about finished now.  The walls have been filled out and made straight and all the door and window openings have been squared up and adjusted to their final sizes.  A thin final finish coat is now being put on to fill in any imperfections and the walls are really looking beautiful.

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Walls and windows in the living area are finished.

Walls and windows in the living area are finished.

This is the kitchen window with the wooden guides still in place.

This is the kitchen window with the wooden guides still in place.

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These walls have been the final finish coating.

This wall section has had the final finish coating applied.

This is the tongue & groove cedro tablilla that will be installed on the ceilings.

This is the tongue & groove cedro tablilla that will be installed on the ceilings.

As with any construction project, we have had to make some adjustments or changes on the fly.  Looking at two dimensional plans or even 3D models on a computer is never as good as seeing the actual bricks and mortar.  So, invariably there are things that you discover during the construction process that either just don’t work or could be improved upon.  For example, in the kitchen, there will be a section of bar-height counter top and the plans call for three pendant lights to be hung over the counter.  However, as things came together, I realized that the ceiling in the kitchen does not extend over the counter.  That means that the pendant lights would have to be hung from the upper ceiling which is over 20 feet high.  This is not what I had visualized and I don’t think small pendant lights hanging from that high would look very good.

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The solution we came up with is to install a large shelf on the wall above the bar counter which will extend out about 16 inches from the wall.  We will then hang the pendant lights from the underside of the shelf and they will be positioned correctly above the counter top.  I have made notations on the photos here to try to explain the situation.

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Also, when Ellen came back from the States and saw the progress on the house after being gone for 2 months, she noticed another situation which we are going to change.  Entry into the front of the house, as drawn on the plans, requires walking through the carport.  While this may be fine for us, it is a little odd for guests coming into the house.  See the photograph below.

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So, in order to create a more inviting entrance to the house, we decided to remove a section of the half wall at the entrance walkway so that there will be a direct path from the driveway to the front door (without having to go through the carport).  This is a definite improvement to the design.

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We never get tired of looking at our view.  Here is the view from the upstairs guest suite.

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Girl’s Night Out!

Last weekend I was invited to attend a girl’s overnight outing with some of my new girlfriends from “Thirsty Thursdays” at Los Chorros Restaurante.  We all had a fabulous time!  Maureen hosted the event in her home, which is actually a hotel; she and he husband John own a boutique hotel called Río Magnolia in Alfombra, not far from Tinamastes.

The amazing view from Rio Magnolia!

The amazing view from Rio Magnolia!

Their place is absolutely beautiful!!!  It’s definitely a 5 star hotel and we all felt like princesses.  The rooms were gorgeous.  There were flesh flowers on the towels, robes, sink and soap dish.  The view was spectacular, too!

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Kitty, Maureen and me

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My luxurious room

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Rio Magnolia is beautifully designed and decorated. Here is the great room with a great fireplace for those chilly evenings.

Maureen made lasagna for dinner, which was fantastic…she is an awesome cook!  The rest of us brought appetizers and desserts.  We had just a tiny taste of the wonderful experience of staying with them.

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Wow! Maureen’s fabulous lasagna and Helen’s delicious chocolate brownies

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Wessa and Helen relaxing on the terrace

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Kitty and Maureen

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Here is a link to their web site:  riomagnolia.com   This is the perfect place to stay for a romantic get-a-way, wedding, special anniversary, family reunion or to just unwind a bit!

The next morning, Helen and her husband Jim’s worker/caretaker named Johnny was scheduled to pick us all up at 9 a.m. to drive us to Helen’s home, which isn’t that far away maybe about three miles, but due to the roads, it’s about a 30 minute drive.  Well, we waited, waited and waited for Johnny and he didn’t show up.  A half hour went by and still Johnny didn’t appear.  So, Helen called her husband Jim and Jim called Johnny and said, “Where are you!”  Turns out that something happened to the car about half way to Río Magnolia.  Johnny had called a friend who is a mechanic to come and help.   John came to the rescue!  He offered to drive us to Jim and Helen’s place.  We all piled into his SUV…four of us squeezed into the back.  Good thing we all are fairly small women!

We drove about half way and saw Helen and Jim’s car off the side of the road; Johnny was motioning for us to stop.  We were all surprised as there was plenty of room for us to get by.  John got out of the car to see what was the problem.  We soon found out!  The mechanic friend of Johnny’s was further down the road…in the very middle, at a dead stop as he didn’t have enough gas.  (The car was on an incline and the few gallons of gas in the tank wasn’t enough and the car stalled.)  So, John had to return home to get more gas.  We decided it would be better for us to wait with Johnny rather than drive back to Río Magnolia with John.  In hindsight that was a huge mistake!

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The mechanic’s car out of gas in the middle of the road

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Helen talking with Johnny. Not obvious, but fire ants were everywhere next to the car.

We all got out of the car in the middle of the road.  It was a nice sunny day.  I grabbed my bug spray, hat and umbrella from my luggage (the rest of which went off with John).  As soon as he left, the skies darkened and I knew rain wasn’t that far away.  At the moment, however, I was more concerned about the chiggers as I was wearing sandals.  In fact, we all were except Margaret.  She was the smart one of all of us as she was wearing boots!  In the end, chiggers were the least of my worries.

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Wessa and Kitty

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Margaret with her fancy rubber boots. They saved her from the ants!

Time passed and suddenly Helen shouted that there were fire ants where we were standing.  We all jumped about and moved away.  We thought we were safe.  Meanwhile, Johnny moved the car so that it was pointing in the right direction.  (I’m still not sure exactly what happened with the car, but I suspect that it was the fact that Johnny had trouble figuring out the 4-wheel drive.)

It wasn’t long after John left us that it began to rain.

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Wessa and me trying to stay dry

Things got worse, of course.  We decided to sit in the car to get away from the rain.  And, unbeknownst to us, Johnny had parked right next to the fire ant hill!  As we started to get into the car, we realized the ants were coming into the car with us!!!  We tried to shake them off the car mats, but they are so tiny.  We all got ant bites, except for Margaret, who was wearing boots.  She was the only one prepared for this adventure!

Eventually, John returned with the gas and we were on our way.  We barely managed to squeeze into Helen’s car with Johnny driving.  It was a harrowing drive as Johnny seemed to have trouble driving the car.  It was a jerking drive and I was a bit car sick when we finally arrived at Helen and Jim’s.  It was about 11 a.m. when we arrived and we stayed for a bit before heading out.

Kitty and her husband Mike gave me a ride home and along the way we ran into traffic as a result of a huge accident involving two semi-trucks and a car.  Not good, but it appeared that no one was seriously injured!  Talk about a crazy day…I arrived home about lunchtime.  Getting home was an adventure, for sure!

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