Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An artsy BBQ

I decided to go with building a BBQ and a brick patio instead of tiling my living room, and instead of putting in some shelving in my kitchen, and instead of finishing the tiling my bathroom....there is so much work that I want to do yet. I feel the outside is more important as that is where I spend most of my time. Where the bricks were going to come from has changed a few times, when the brick were going to get here has changed a few times what the bricks were going to cost changed a few times.  It has been decided that my land lady's son is going to do the work, and my Mexican cousin will supervise. There is a pile of bricks in my yard that were left over from the my new fence that got built this summer and so I get the guy started on the BBQ first while we wait for "other" bricks to arrive.  I draw him a plan and he understands what I want ( I think).
 Then the whole project gets stopped before it has even began because the Island has no water, you need water to mix concrete. As soon as water was back (4 days) on he gets started, I mostly watched, I was going to help but as soon as he started I realize that it was not going to happen like I thought....thing are just done differently here and I have never worked with bricks and concrete or used a thin clear hose with water in it as a level, or used string to square things up, or mixed concrete with the exact amount of gravel, sand and looked a little finicky ( like mixing bread dough) or tapped a brick exactly in the right spot to split it in half, when I was done tapping my brick it shattered into little pieces. I decided to help by sitting on the back steps and asking questions and looking up the Spanish answers that he gives me in my dictionary and run to the store every once in a while for cold drinks, very helpful I was.
 As I am sitting and watching my BBQ take shape I see this project getting bigger, maybe it would be nice to have a shelf above the work space, 2 shelves would look more balanced, and you need a place to hang your utensils, then I think a sink would be nice, one of those beautiful Talavera sinks, how about a built in cutting board, this could be a project that has no end....he thinks I am just being funny, he doesn't know me. Maybe I will build the sink when he is done, I've learned so much about brick laying, I could do it. When he is almost done he tells me that he has never laid a brick in his life until now, he's a fisherman, he says now that he has learned he might built himself a BBQ like this too, I ask if I should help again...he laughs.

Once his work is done mine begins, I need to go into Mazatlan to buy some tile to put on the top of the two ends to make a nice smooth and easy to clean work space. Then I want to put some decorative tile along the edges and I plan on adding some shelves above the work spaces and of course some arty touches like some wall pots with herbs. Still pondering the sink. the end of all this is a ways away yet.

His work is done, now mine begins. 

We start measuring and laying out the string to make where the boundaries of my patio is going to be, I want all the space laid with brick that is not garden space. He pull out his trusty clear hose that is filled with water to see how level the ground's not level at all, of course. He asks if I want it level? Sure I say. Then we will have to haul in lots of sand he says. I try to explain I don't mind if it is not completely level. He asks if I want it wavy, he makes some very dramatic wavy motions with his hands, really steep up and down waves, the kind of waves that would sink a tuna boat. No, I don't want it to be that unlevel, even a drunken sailor would get dizzy walking on that patio. I say I don't mind if it is a little unlevel but not like that...making the waving motion. Then we will need lots and lots of sand he says again. I am thinking he is not understanding what level of unlevelness I am looking for.
 The part of my brain that houses my golf course irrigation stuff gets triggered (thought I had that shut off) and I am trying to eye up the land looking to see where the water will all drain during the rainy season, not that I am here then but I still don't want all my bricks to sink in a sink hole created by a big puddle. I try to explain that I want it all sloped to the back of my property so that the water can run into the jungle in the back, he still keeps making the drunken sailor wavy motions in the air while I am making more of a slow slope motion. Just then his phone rings and it seems his ship has come in, or is ready to leave, either way he is outa here, might be back tonight, if not tonight, possible in 2 months when his voyage his over. He take off, leaves me with string and hose and 1000 bricks piled up in my back alley. I suddenly feel so lonely, he's been my companion for 6 days.

If this project was in my front yard I am sure all my neighbours would be offering to help me. My neighbours across the street got tiles put in their home last week, and it all went down like an Amish barn raising. There was so much excitement and fun, food, music, and laughter, women sitting in plastic chairs in a circle, laughing and chatting (probably heckling the men) and the men working away. Pots, bowls and dishes with food got carried out and in all day. But no one can see into my back yard, I could work away there all day no one would know. I need some Amish friends.
I spend the afternoon moving my string around and daydreaming about what plants I will plant and where. I notice that it would probably be a good idea to paint the house (that was on the to do list too) before I plant plants up against the house....painting is yucky work, I hate painting. Once again, some Amish friends would be nice.

As you can see a coat of paint would really spiff this place up, I plan on planting big plants up against the house of  the right side, would make sense to paint first. 

See my boundary string, lot of room for plants
When I go to bible study that evening I get handed a 400 page book (in Spanish) that apparently I agreed to read last week. I just got through reading "Curious George" in Spanish, it had 12 pages with about 12 words on each page, there is no way I can read this book. Sometimes when I don't know what is being asked I just say yes, I should stop doing that, but saying no sounds so harsh. I think I need to go back to saying "possibly" when in doubt.

The germinated seeds from my papaya today. 

totally off topic, it is so hot here that the seeds in the papaya that I cut open this morning had already germinated in the papaya....seriously. I carefully took them out and put them in a pot of dirt. We'll see what happens.  

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