06 March 2012

Quite a busy week here.  The roofers finished the main roof today. It was amazing to watch this crew.  Each day, they arrived on the bus, from San Jose, at the downtown Atenas bus terminal.  Then they walked out to our site.  That's a good kilometer of some serious up and down hill walking.  From our materials yard, they lugged stacks of tile, on their backs, up the mirador stairway and placed little stacks of 8 or 10 tiles at strategic spots all over the rooftop.  They worked like mules, all day, in the sun and then walked away at 5pm to go catch their bus for an hour trip home.  We're guessing that they're probably not each making $20 a day for this.  One of the bigger boys was able to lift a stack of 4 tiles and accurately throw it from the ground up to this guy in the picture.  I watched him do this at least 10 throws in a row -- one right after the other.  Never missed.  Never cracked a tile.

The general contractor showed up with our water storage tank.  This monster is needed because our barrio is only fed by a single 1/2" water "main."  Perhaps you can guess what happens when the dozen or so houses along this road all wake up in the morning and flush.  At times, the water pressure is so low that it barely drips from a faucet.  It can take an hour for the washing machine to fill with water.  The solution is to have a personal water storage tank large enough to hold a day's worth of water.  We're also going to add an electric pump because we don't want this lovely piece of bright blue "artwork" gracing our personal skyline, up on a high pedestal, as is done by many of the locals.  They let gravity give them pressure.  I'm more inclined to give nature a little boost.

The electricians finished pulling the last of the general service wiring, plus the alarm wiring and now they're laying in the breaker panels and the generator power switching panel.

The drywall contractor is gone, having created a virtual mountain of white dust. Fortunately this was one of the highest wind days of the Summer (yes, I know it's Winter -- they're a little seasonally confused down here) and there is just a light film of white remaining, everywhere.

Our resident carpenter is busy working the tenons for the deck rafters to their precision size.  These are socketed into steel "mortises" that I designed after we discovered that the architect's original plans didn't allow enough clearance or strength for old fashioned clay tiles. [His design called for us to have icky thin plastic sheeting for all of the patio roofing.  Eeyoooo.]   There are still a few kinks to work out with these seat-of-the-pants roofing designs but it looks like it's going to work. Anyhow, the rafters are going up and the furring strips will tie across them.

The roofing woods we're using are the most amazing woods I've ever handled.  The main rafter beams are a tropical wood called "areno. This species is so dense that the 2 x 6's, only 4 meters long, are almost too heavy for two men to lift. As it is, there will be a bunch of bruised shoulders when everyone is finished carrying these beasts.

Even the 2 x 2's used for the cross furring are almost comically heavy.  They're supposed to be a "lesser" wood species but they're each quite a chunk of tree. I'm hoping for a couple of 3-foot pieces to be left over so that I can turn them into some scarey-heavy cave man clubs.

So, that's the start of a busy week and it ain't half over yet! Stay tuned. Film at 11.

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