Well, the addition is finally finished. Except for painting the porch and the outside of the building. It took four months to get here, with the usual, expected delays. Right now there is about zero unemployment in this area, and it’s tough to find workers. Most of the men who worked on the addition were related to my landlady. I will say that when they showed up, they worked like fiends, but getting them here at all was the hard part.
In the interests of a final burst of speed, I volunteered to paint the inside myself. A mistake. My unhappy knees have not enjoyed the ladders or painting near the floor. But it’s finished now.
And I’m IN.
All in all the building experience – or rather, the experience of living in a building under construction, was not completely miserable. Yes, I had to live in half a room instead of a whole one for about two months, but I met some wonderful people and learned a lot of new Spanish. I also learned how to lay tile using only sand and cement, and how to put up a false ceiling. Not that I plan to personally do either of the latter two in what remains of this lifetime, but it’s always good to know how. I never know when someone will ask me the next off the wall question. (Not kidding.)
Plus, not to be ignored, I now have almost twice the space I had before! And, amazingly, I have this space for the same amount of rent as before (which is less than most people’s cable bill in the States)! As an aside, if you are willing to live with the people, to genuinely love them, and to live without only a very few of those things you “had to have” in another climate, in a different time and place, you will seldom find yourself paying “the Gringo tax.” And your cost of living will drop dramatically.
For example, when I reference “doing without,” I don’t have hot water, but I don’t need it. A hot shower just makes you hotter. What I want is cool water, so the water line is buried and there is nothing so refreshing as a cool shower. If I want some really hot water for a specific use, I can boil it.
For $300, plus installation costs and about $60/mo for electricity (I only pay about $20 now), I could have air conditioning, if I wanted it. What I have instead is what all the locals have, a covered, tiled porch, which will soon be filled with plants and comfortable places to sit and eat or read. There is often a nice breeze, and when there isn’t, I can move the fan out there.
The landlady and her family spend a lot of time on her porch. At night, she has AC in the bedroom, but I find that a fan does just fine nearly all the time and it cools off nicely by about 10 pm.
I have great internet service (hardwired, with CableOnda), pretty reliable electricity, and although we had a water shortage for about two months (which was handled by giving us water for two hours in the morning and again in the evening), the rest of the year it was plentiful, clean, and reliable.
My wonderful landlady has now decided I need a garage – well, a carport – for my new car. I expect it will be a tin roof supported by poles, but that’s perfectly fine with me. It will be dry, and I will be grateful. If she weren’t almost 20 years younger than I am, I would feel like I had acquired a new, extremely indulgent grandmother.
I had hoped by the time this went to publication, to have more of my projects complete, and with photos. So far I only have curtains on the front window, but I have planted all the pots and seeds are germinating in eggshells for placement elsewhere. The knee has been acting up, so I’m a bit slow these days. On the plus side, the OTHER knee has had no issues for several months, such a nice change from both of them being unhappy.
But the very best part right now is that the addition is complete, and I’m IN. Yay.