Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Patio and Other Progress

So when I left off here a week ago, the men had started working on the front of the casita. They were here four days and did a fantastic job. I cannot believe what a difference a little cement can make, and I keep walking outside just to look at how lovely the frames around the windows look, and enjoy my little slice of patio.

In all honesty, the front still looks a little sad because the areas that didn't get fresh cement show signs of wear and tear -- i.e., streaky dirt on whitewash -- and it will be at least a couple months before the cement has cured enough to paint. But I'm okay with that because it's still a WHOLE LOT BETTER THAN BEFORE. And I know it's simply a matter of time before a couple fresh coats of paint will complete the transformation. I'm learning patience in this whole process.

The sidewalk in front of the kitchen is sufficient, but certainly not ample, and I've had to rethink my plans for flower boxes by each window. A window box by the kitchen would block the sidewalk, so....

Moving on to Plan B: Do nothing by the kitchen window, but get two large clay pots to place on each side of the bedroom window, framing that area nicely and still leaving space on the tiny patio for several chairs. I'd like to do a mix of plants in the pots, but can't make any decisions about what kind until we have the pots in hand, and I know how much space I'll have to work with.

Progress, people, progress!

Ivan is going to hire one of TanĂ­'s guys to come finish digging the trenches for the gray water system, and while he's at it, he'll also have him dig a curving 'sidewalk' between the casita and our future house. We decided to use brick, so we'll also have him haul sand from our pile at the front, and smooth that out so we can easily lay the bricks.

As I've mentioned before, once the gray water system is done, we can begin using that corner of the lot as a depository for all the building materials left over/collected. That will allow us to clear off the slab of our future house, accomplishing two things at once: (1) we won't have to see the messy clutter of junk material every time we look out the casita (which faces the slab), and (2) it will stop the metal bits and pieces from staining our nice smooth cement slab. Although we do plan to stain it ourselves down the line, I'd rather we have a bit more control over what and where it gets stained. We'll also finally be able to get the stuff out of our neighbor's yard (who has been beyond patient!). He let Ivan put stuff there back when we first started building, before we got our fence up, and there was a greater danger of things "disappearing". There's not a lot there, but still...it's kind of embarrassing that we've lived here five months and he's still got our junk in his yard. 

We were here while the guys did all the work on the front of the casita, and it was fun to watch the progress each day. Then Wednesday afternoon, when they were about ready to start pouring the sidewalk/patio, we loaded up the car and headed to Sta. Rosa. The timing for the trip worked out well, since it would have been a pain for them (and us) to be here when they poured the sidewalk/patio because we couldn't have easily gone in and out of the casita while it set up.

We had a few days between renters, and decided to have our monthly missionary get-together out there. And one couple did join us, but the other family couldn't make it. Not that they didn't want to! In fact, they had planned to use the house this week for vacation, and I know they're disappointed it didn't work out.

They couldn't come because they still can't use their "new" car. They bought a used vehicle from another mission in northern Argentina, and one of their missionary families brought it down a few weeks ago. But because all the government offices are closed in January, they came without the requisite transfer paperwork. The other mission hired someone to take care of the paperwork the first of February, and supposedly that person did, but the paperwork which has been "in the mail" still hasn't arrived. And without paperwork, they don't dare use the vehicle. I've mentioned the numerous traffic controls they have here, and if you get stopped without the appropriate paperwork, they will impound your car and cause you all kinds of grief until you can produce said paperwork. So meanwhile our missionary friends are sort of stuck.

It's a real bummer because Steve's mom is visiting right now, and it would have been lovely if they could have gotten away as a family while she's here. We're all still hopeful the paperwork might arrive in the next day or two, so they might still make it out for at least a few days.

We did enjoy those days with Joe and Gail, however, and then headed home on Sunday afternoon. It was so fun to get home and see the patio! It's small, but then so is the casita. We cleaned off our plastic chairs and inaugurated it, although we didn't stay out there long because the weather had suddenly cooled way down.

In fact, looks like we're in for a spell of cooler weather, and I must say I'm enjoying it! It was in the low 60s yesterday, which meant we wore jackets all day (even inside, since we didn't want to turn the heat on, it was in the low 60s in there too). We turned the air conditioner off before we left last Wednesday, and I don't think we'll have to turn it back on for at least 10 days, if the weather forecast is right. It's supposed to gradually get warmer, but even next week the highs will only be in the high 70s or low 80s. My kind of weather!

Lots of rain in the forecast, though, which is why it's probably going to be a couple months before we can paint the casita. From everything I've read, we'll need several weeks of rain-free weather in order for the cement to properly and completely cure. Oh, and I was happy to see that y'all approve of the proposed yellow-with-white-trim that we're planning. Go Team Yellow! 

This is the rainiest summer anyone can remember. Which has been good for our lawn, but not so good for other outside projects. Although even the rain isn't enough to really help portions of our lawn. Those parts up front where the previous lawn came back are doing great, but the portion Ivan planted is not doing so well. In fact, the first area he cleared and seeded, and initially grew so nicely, has completely disappeared! We aren't sure what the problem is, but our theory is that the seed we used isn't good. Because the second area he cleared and seeded, and initially did well, has also started to die. Major bummer! But hopefully getting some good seed will fix the problem. If it's an issue with the soil, well, that's fixable too, but not as quick or easy.

This is going to be a busy week, as we have lots of get-togethers on the schedule. I'm looking forward to cooking a couple meals, along with putting together picada for a few meriendas with friends. For one of the meals I'm making the roasted asparagus and caramelized mushroom quesadillas that we liked so much recently. One of our friends absolutely adores asparagus, and he sounded excited about trying a new dish that features it. Maybe we'll enjoy some of our get-togethers on the new patio!

I'm also looking ahead to next week, when I hope to get started on the bathroom. As with the hallway, I expect it to take three days: one day for sanding and prepping, a second day for sealing and a third day for painting. The ceiling in the bathroom is really tall, and I'm not looking forward to painting it while perched on a ladder (considering my fear of heights) but as I used to tell my kids: "It doesn't have to be fun, it just has to be done." And I DO look forward to having that done!


Skoots1moM said...

slice of patio: eager to see it!

mix of plants in the pots: have fun deciding what to use...

one of TanĂ­'s guys to come finish digging: good...so much better for Ivan's back

messy clutter: my closets desperately need cleaning out...
maybe soon

weather had suddenly cooled way down: it's been cold and rainy here the last couple of days...glad to hear you're not sweltering any longer

Grass can be a tricky thing...hoping it gets better for yours.

roasted asparagus and caramelized mushroom quesadillas: yum to the yum!

bathroom/hallway: wish i was there to help...that will be a lot of work...you be EXTRA careful.

I enjoyed last week with my birthday festivities...we went to Red Lobster for dinner...so good!
The girls took me out to dinner at a local italian restaurant this past thursday and that was really good also...here's to year 54!
can't believe we're so close to 55...but there are really good discounts in several of the stores for me when I reach that one...do you have discounts there for 55 and over?

hope your dinners turn out great!

The Bug said...

So glad you guys are making progress down there! I can't wait to see a pic of the final product (& I know you can't wait for it to be final!).

I saw this yesterday & thought of you - although I'm not sure this would be appropriate for your space I was fascinated by how she just decided to do it & went for it - reminds me of you :)


Nel said...

Sounds like you guys have been busy! Can't wait to see pictures! Thanks for sharing.
until next time...nel

rita said...

Interesting to read this after we've been together a couple days. You must have had to postpone all those get togethers. We will forever be grateful that you were able to come back and we had our whole family together for dad's memorial.

I agree with the others: we want photos of patio, el frente de la casita y mas. ;-)