Tag Archives: Building with concrete

Reader Updates

6 Mar

For the last few months we have blogged about the standoff with neighbors, the house construction, and my fall. So what the heck’s going on? Time to spill the beans. 


Roof Porch

Our lovely roof porch is ready for furniture, plants, comfy cushions, a ceiling fan and lighting. I try not to be in a hurry and allow a space to speak to me. The accessories will show up, along with my kitchen stools, all in good time.


Kitchen Cabinets


Bedroom Artwork


New Dresser Drawers

All woodwork is custom made from locally harvested hardwood cedar.  We have bathroom, living room and studio shelves left. The carpintero is a master. He moves at his own pace and complains weekly about the difficulty of the work. The bathroom shelves will be curved. This week he scratched his head while taking measurements and said, “pero sí se puede“, but yes, it can be done. He then preens when I tell him that he is just the man for the challenge.



Ah, the neighbors…we put up what is known as a goat fence on the lower level of the property to allow Luna to be outside off leash and unable to escape. Apparently the neighbors thought is was some sort of claim to their property and tore it down. The municipality will not override the federal marker in the laguna without going through channels, even though we have tons of supporting evidence that it is in the wrong place. Channels take time. I went over to explain to the workers next door that the fence is for the dog only. We’ll see what happens.


The Goddess Kwan Yin

My hip is vastly improved since my fall six weeks ago. I am without pain and I’ve returned to my usual exercise routine of stretching, going to the gym and daily swimming. Lisa’s mom has moved into her own house and things are quiet. Time to finish unpacking and settle in. Life is good. DOS TORTAS


Rainy Day Sunday on Laguna Bacalar

18 Oct

It seems Mother Nature decided to make up for this year’s lack of a rainy season on Laguna Bacalar, all in one week.The birds love it and lord knows we need the rain. The sky is grumbling and showing no signs of letting up. Gotta love it.


Our ramp turned water slide.

It’s been a good opportunity to see how all the landscaping in our new house manages runoff. But mostly it’s been a forced stay-at-home opportunity to relax. We’ll have to do some tweaking on the landscaping, but all in all, it looks pretty good. The big challenges living here are wind and rain. It comes with the territory in this most southern part of North America.

The carpintero came yesterday to install an interior door. His progress is slow since most of his work is done outside. The door is stunning, so we don’t mind waiting. This week we will have kitchen shelves installed. ¡Gracias a dios!


Jose Lewis master carpenter.

We also managed to get some artwork on the walls. Lisa and I bought a lovely wooden wall sculpture in Valladolid on our Tour de Yucatan this past June (2015). The colors match perfectly don’t you think?

Our Lady of Guadalupe, sacred Catholic icon.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, sacred Catholic icon.

I was raised Catholic and The Virgin of Guadalupe has always been the female expression of God to me. It actually seems like our house was built just for her.


View including the porch.

Another piece that we bought on the Yucatan trip was a mother and child mestiza woman. She sits in our little rainy-day bamboo garden.

The bamboo explodes with growth in the rain.

The bamboo explodes with growth in the rain.

While we are enjoying the cool weather and adjusting to life in the jungle, we continue to heal, Lisa from back surgery and me from chikengunya (see We Plan God Laughs) All is well, just very wet.


The Day After Christmas

11 Oct


I call it the day after Christmas syndrome because when I was a kid, Christmas was the biggest deal in my life. My dad would wait until we kids were asleep and work all night to create a huge “wow”. We tip toed down the stairs at five a.m. to a sparkling tree where none had been the night before. Bicycles had been assembled, trains circled the tree, roller skates, and sleds. Of course it wasn’t all at the same Christmas, but it feels that way in my childhood memories.

Early picture looking up from the lower stairs to the Laguna. Before.




Christmas changed over time. As I became older and more jaded, the day after a much anticipated event was always a let down. My expectations were bigger than the thing itself. The “stuff” I acquired  became my happiness along with the adrenaline that came with it; happiness with a bow and sprinkles.





This week could have been one of the largest “Day After Christmas” events in our lives. More than two years in the making, we moved into our dream home AND we got electricity! We could easily see how much work there is left to do. Instead there’s been nothing but gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. No Day After Christmas disappointment here. Just peace and joy in success. We were happy all along.



So When Will The House Be Done Already?

28 Jun

The Tortas are in Tulum visiting our Austin friends Karen and Skip. We are on a hunt for items for our house, tile and light fixtures mostly. Options have increased over the last few years in our outpost of Mexican living. We now have a Home Depot in Chetumal which is thirty-minutes away, woohoo. The style of our house is rustica or pueblo. There are rounded corners, thatched overhangs, concrete floors, stuccoed walls and niches. Mass-produced furniture, lighting and all things made in China are not what we’re looking for. The hope is that Tulum and Playa del Carmen will offer more options.

Ok, so there are some exceptions.

Ok, so there are some exceptions. About $135

We stopped by the property for a progress update on our way out of town. There were a dozen workers trying to beat the rain clouds hovering overhead. Progress over the last six weeks has been amazing.

Front entrance.

Front entrance.

The molds have been made and the concrete will be poured for the arches above the door and windows. Construction out of concrete is a whole new world for us.

Rounding corners with concrete blocks.

Rounding corners using concrete blocks. Amazing!

The workshop aka Lisa’s she-cave is waiting on a part to install the garage door. A carport will be added to provide an indoor/outdoor work space.
The arches have been poured over the doors and windows in this section. To the right is the entrance to the main bedroom and bath. The interior window will allow an open view into the bedroom and close for privacy when desired.

All rooms open onto the porch with views of the Laguna.

All rooms open onto the porch with views of the Laguna.

The stairs leading down to the Laguna from the porch will also provide security allowing the house to remain open to the night breezes.
The trip to Tulum and Playa del Carmen afforded the purchase of decorative tiles for a yet-to-be determined location. It also gave us ideas, like these clay sconces for the porch.

Which do you like best?

Which do you like best?

I liked these. They can also be painted.

I liked these. They can also be painted.

The roof will go on in the next week or so. After that begins the interior detail work of building counters, installing sinks, adding lighting and pouring floors. There will be many trips to Chetumal. And the projected completion date is…the end of August, four months as predicted. Forgive us David if we didn’t really believe you. House construction is the very definition of delays and unforeseen problems. Add Mexico to the mix and many projects languish. To say we are excited is an understatement. Lots of work left to do, but definitely light at the end of this two-year tunnel.



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