Thursday, September 30, 2010

30 September 2010

Doug was quite sociable today. He had invited the local doctor for a horseback ride this morning. The doctor has a young woman staying with her from Germany; she will shadow the doctor here for three months before starting medical school in Germany. They both really enjoyed riding the horses.
The two women then came to the house for lunch. Doug gave them the tour while I prepared seared tuna with rice and broccoli and cauliflower for lunch. We had a nice lunch and visited in English as both of our guests spoke excellent English.
Sanchez became ill today. He said his stomach started cramping and aching at about 2 o'clock this morning. By 1o this morning he was very uncomfortable. After lunch, the doctor spoke with Sanchez and thought he had eaten something bad; so therefore he had cramps and a lot of gas. She prescribed some medicine for Sanchez which Doug picked up for him. However, by about 6 o'clock this evening, Juana came to ask if we could take Sanchez to the clinic in town. It is now almost 8 o'clock in the evening and they are still at the clinic. No word as to what Sanchez's condition is. It is so unusual for him to complain about anything, so we know he is hurting.
I added some things to my mural today; a dalmatian in snorkel gear and three seahorses. I felt like the tuna, (yes, the tuna....the problem child) was too big and the dalmatian was too small. So, these two got white paint to erase them and tomorrow I'll draw them in again. I've also got the background paint so I can start finalizing the mural. I didn't take any pictures today because the pencil drawings just don't show up.
I have begun working on a new site for blogging. Once I figure out all the bells and whistles I'll change over to the new site. There have been so many problems with pictures posting and even the narrative posting that I think a change might be good. I will keep you informed on this; I still have a lot to figure out with the new site.
Thanks again to all of you who read my blog.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

28 September 2010

We bought these lamps from a ceramic artist near Cusco by the name of Semanario. He has so many fun and whimsical designs for all kinds of ceramics. I also have a mirror of his where the frame has various tiles of his various designs. We also have a light cover of his that is located out by the pool. Google Semanario and enjoy his work.

Doug and I had another kite surfing lesson today. We met our instructors, Rein and Renzo on the beach at Los Organos. When we arrived, the wind was perfect. Unfortunately, it didn't last long. Doug's kite ripped open a seam and burst a bladder, so he had to swim it in and pack it back up the beach. Rein and I did a body drag with the kite in the water, but our kite had an air leak, so the struts and structure of the kite became rather mushy. We made it back to shore and I walked the kite up the beach. This entailed keeping the kite at about 9:30-10:00 o'clock as we walked up the beach. I felt like I had a good handle on things but the wind and the kite taught me a lesson. The kite got overhead and past 12:00 and I did a face/chest plant into the sand! I bonked my head and had the air knocked out of me, but I survived to tell the tale. Hopefully, I now know what I did wrong and won't repeat the mistake. We stopped at the pharmacy on the way home for some cream to relieve pain in the muscles. It isn't like the icy-hot we get in the states, but hopefully it will have the same effect.

While we were on the beach, one of the fishing boats washed up to shore. It's anchor had lost its purchase and it came in through the waves onto shore. Another boat came to rescue it and tied a line to its bow in an effort to tow it back off-shore. The beached boat was well mired in the sand. Two men off of the rescue boat swam ashore to try to push it back into deeper water. Doug soon went to help them. Shortly there were three other men that came to help. They were able to push and maneover back into deeper water and safety. This is the kind of stuff Doug does; and he makes friends in the process.

Chairman Meow and Stormy have tenuous lines drawn for cohabitation. Most of the time, Stormy is very intent on the kitty. She will, however, come and sit by our sides when asked to do so. It's the kitty that seems to want to stir things up. Stormy settled into her kennel, but the kitty still needed to antagonize Stormy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

27 September 2010

I began traveling to the US on September 8 to visit Doug´s mother. Doug´s mom passed away about 2 am on the 9th, so I was not able to see her. Her quality of life had deteriorated rapidly after being diagnosed with liver cancer six weeks ago. She had said she didn´t want to live if she couldn´t have a good quality of life. She was not afraid of dying. Thankfully, she didn´t suffer long and is now at peace.

I returned from my trip to the US Saturday morning. I left Denver early on Thursday morning and was in Lima at midnight. Friday I took the bus north. It sure felt good to be home.

The day I left I (the 9th) we were in the village of El Ñuro with the elders of the local church. We had been approached a couple of weeks prior to this by the president of the church. He was soliciting help in building the addition to their church. The current population of El Ñuro exceeds 1500 and the church is too small to accomodate their needs.

We went up to see the church and get a feel for their needs. The church itself was a simple structure with steel trusses spanning its width. The windows along each side displayed stained glass windows and it was very beautiful-even though it was much simpler and less ornate than most catholic churches we´ve seen here. The last wind storm we had had taken a small section of the corrigated tin roof off.

Outside, they had begun construction of their addition. There are four walls in various stages of completion with a doorway. There is no floor and no central columns. They didn´t have a plan for the construction, but had ideas for what they wanted. For example, they wanted the roof to slope away from the entrance so the rains could be channeled to a causeway carrying it away for the village.

Doug immediately began to take measurements and to ask questions. Did they want steel trusses in the addition as well? What was their thinking about the roof? What kind of structure did they envision? I translated as best as I could but pretty soon Doug and the elders were using a brick to draw on the outside wall. In relatively short order, we had a general idea of what they wanted. Doug said he´d think about it, draw up a plan and run it by an engineer.

It was nice to interact on a personal level with the residents of El Ñuro. We are hoping to be able to contribute and support the community and become a part of it. Looking at the village and their homes-compare them to ours and you´d think we live on different planets. Hopefully it won´t be us and them, but we can find some common ground to share.

Here a few stories to catch you up on what has been happening here.

Doug was in the kitchen one evening while Juana was cooking. Doug noticed she was sawing away at whatever she was attempting to cut. He asked to see the knife and put an edge on it with the steel. She took it back and was quite pleased to feel the difference. Sanchez came in at that point and inspected the edge of the knife and then promptly disappeared. He was soon back with a handful of knives from their kitchen; all in need of a good edge.

Koki and his family were here for a few days. They all enjoyed the beach, the pool and the house. Their peaceful visit was interupted when Doug stepped off a rock into the water at the beach and was stung by a sting ray in the arch of his foot. It was extremely painful, and Doug just wanted to put his foot in a bucket of hot water. Koki thought he needed to go to the clinic. He consulted with Sanchez who suggested they go to the home of the president of the water for the village. He cut open a lime and spread the juice all over Doug´s foot. He didn´t feel any appreciable difference in the pain level, so they went to the clinic. The doctor at the clinic immediately put Doug´s foot in a bucket of hot water! As long as he kept his foot in hot water the pain was tolerable. He kept it soaking for the rest of the day and wrapped his foot in hot rice bags for the night. By the next morning the pain had disappeared.

Stormy and the kitten have made huge progress toward a peaceful existence in the same house. Doug would make Stormy sit by his side and stay when the cat was around. He would make her stay and gave her lots of praise for doing so. I´ve actually seen them nose to nose without any hissing, spitting or barking. It looks like a stand-off, and eventually the cat will look or wander away. On occasion Stormy will still nip at her when the cat isn´t paying attention. They certainly aren´t friends, but not total enemies anymore. The cat initiates some of the drama when Stormy is quiet by jumping at her with her back arched, hair on end, and hissing. It´s a quick attack, instantaneously over and the cat is off to other things.

Friday, September 10, 2010

9 September 2010

Feedback tells me these pictures didn't come through last night, so I am uploading them again tonight.

I had a bout with diahrea last night so laid low today.

I will be traveling to the US starting tomorrow night. I'm going to visit Doug's mom and family.

Then I'll take off for Denver to visit my two sisters. I'll be gone for about two weeks.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

9 September 2010

We are really getting close to being done with the house. Chino, José and Freddy continue to make the final repairs and clean-up. Chino replaced several tiles today that were broken or otherwise damaged after they were laid. José has concentrated on the touch up painting and cement work while Freddy has been on clean up duty. Today, Freddy broke up the concrete pad down at the worker´s camp, so it is now completely gone. There is still a tremendous amount of clean-up that will need to happen around the property, but the repairs and final touches are coming along well.

The other thing we are lacking are the railings between the levels in both the master suite and the living /kitchen. The glass guys have been working on the railings in the dining room for the last couple of days, and just about have it done. They also still needing to complete the screens in the upper cupolas of the roofs of the at least two bungalows. I wish they would just finish one project and then move on to another. For example, last week they worked on the screens; but now they are working on the railings rather than finishing all the screens. It wouldn´t bother me so much except the flies are terrible. You can´t sleep past 7:30 am because they come alive as the sun warms up the room. At this point, they are relentless so you might as well get up.

The pool is full, and we have been taking advantage of it almost everyday. We had a crash course on chemicals and maintanence, but found out we don´t actually have chemicals and cleaning equipment. What we were using, belongs to Georg. We have now ordered what we need and it should be here tomorrow. Sanchez has been wonderful about checking the chemicals and cleaning the pool with the brush and vacuum.

We talked with Juana a while back about working for us. She indicated that she would like to do that at the end of the construction project. We have also talked with Sanchez, as he has been spending a lot of his time down here. He has taken the time to learn about the pool and its maintanence. He is often around helping workers with various projects. And he has always been available to help with pouring diesel in the generator or changing out the gas (for cooking) tank. He has adopted us as part of his domain, and has provided security as well. We sat down with both Juana and Sanchez to talk about what might happen next. Juana is very happy with our offer. Sanchez basically told us he would do what work he could for us when he wasn´t working or obliged to Georg. Through the grapevine, we´ve heard that Sanchez would also like to work for us and resign his position at Georg´s. We´ve let Sanchez know he would be a very welcome employee; but we didn´t want to create any problems with Georg. Both Juana and Sanchez would prefer to live in one place or the other; which isn´t an issue for us. If they live at Georg´s or here; we don´t care. At this point, Juana will continue to cook for the crew until they are gone and begin working for us at that point. After a couple of months, if all goes well, Sanchez may choose to join us. We didn´t anticipate that Sanchez would want to make a change...
We got a chance to see Jay this morning. We haven´t seen him in well over a month so it was nice to connect. Unfortunately, we didn´t have much time but he will be out to visit Saturday, and we´ll catch up then.

I started on the dolphins on my mural today. The base colors don´t seem to have much contrast, but I think when I get the accent colors in, they will be awesome. José made my funky and out-of-whack tuna disappear by painting over him. For me, I think the problem with the tuna was its overall shape. It just wasn´t quite right. Now I will have another opportunity to make it better.

We had the generator serviced again today. It is supposed to be serviced every 150 hours. Right now we are running it about 12 hours a day. We have ordered a solar system from the US which should arrive in the next few weeks. Both quotes we received here in Peru exceeded $60,000. The system that will be shipped from the US, including shipping, will be about $16,000. We will still need to buy the batteries here in Peru, but that shouldn´t be a big deal.

The dog and the cat are still having spitting/barking encounters. I really think the kitten could fend for herself. It´s just hard to watch Stormy be so relentless in wanting to get at the cat (to eat?)! Someday they will have to come to terms. We´ve managed to keep them separate, but it always requires prior planning. Even the workers know to keep the two separate!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

7 September 2010

I woke up late today and quickly got around to go get the groceries. Theglass guy went with me so he could buy another sheet of glass. I also bought gas for the cooking stove, petroleo for the generator and groceries for Juana.
Once back at the house, we met with the architect and did a walk through of the house with the man of the glass. He is also the one that has installed the screens for the windows. There are several issues with the windows: some of the screens don't fit well, there are no locks on some of the windows, and others just don't fit well. We are told by Koki that these things will be corrected...we shall see.
We then spent at least a couple of hours discussing the stair railings and railings across the lofts of the second level. It will an interesting project as the stairs and lofts will have the same kind of railing as across the terrace. One of the problems was that the stairs flex as someone walks up or down them; therefore the glass and the railing couldn't be anchored to the stairs. Suspending the glass across the length of the staircase posed some problems as far as the weight of the glass. We finally came to an agreement on how to approach the railings. Workers have already drilled holes throught the tile to locate the posts. The hard part, I think, will be cutting the glass into the right trapezoidal pieces to fit.
We were also supposed to do a walk through with Chino, one of the maestros. We have fewer issues with his work; and most of what he needs to do yet are small fixes....things like chipped tiles of missing tiles or grout. We never got that far, but have confidence in Chino's work that this will get done.
Right now the workers are watching a "futbol" match on the TV in the living room. This is a soccer match between Perú and Jamaica. I made a large bowl of popcorn for them, and explained that when men got together in the US for a game, it often meant popcorn and beer. The beer was offerred later. Last time I checked, the score was even at one all.
I did get a chance to design one of the dolphins today. I´m hoping to be able to apply this design on the wall tomorrow. It is one of my favorite designs. I´m still thinking I will redo the tuna.
Today was an overcast day with some mist....the closest thing to rain we get. There was a pretty heavy mist this morning, but it didn´t effect the roads going into town. Because the ground here is so full of clay, it can get really messy when it gets wet. It never did get sunny, and was overcast all day long. I think in all the time we´ve been here, this may be only the second day like this. I wore long pants and long sleeves all day!
We also had the opportunity to locate the soap dishes, toilet paper dispensers, towel racks, and hooks in all of the bathrooms. We asked Juana to give us her input in the servants´quarters as it is possible she and Sanchez may be living there.
We´ve heard through the grape vine that Sanchez would like to resign his position with Georg and work for us. This becomes a rather touchy subject as our relations with Georg are already strained. We have approached his wife, Juana, to work for us full time helping us to keep the house clean and she has accepted our offer. Sanchez has been around listening and learning how the pool functions, and how the irrigation system has been set up. He has spent a lot of time on our property, and has a good handle on how things work here; the pool and the garden. We have told him, he needs to make his own decision; work for Georg or come to work for us. But he is the one who needs to make the decision and tell Georg of his decision. We do not want to hire Sanchez away from Georg. But then, our ideal situation would be to have both Sanchez and Juana working for us. They are the sweetest couple and are so willing to do whatever needs to happen.
Again, we have enjoyed watching the US Open tennis on the tube. Even thought the commentary is in Spanish, we still enjoy watching the game.
I was able to talk with Blaine tonight. I don't get the opportunity to talk with him as often as I would like, so when we do connect it is really special.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

5 September 2010

I spent some time this afternoon finishing and revising the tuna on the mural. He didn't come out the way I had hoped to tried changing some of the colors. I had wanted him to be red and pink; in recognition of the color of the meat. The tuna here also has yellow fins, so added those today too. The next part of the mural will be the dolphins. I am very excited about them...can't wait to get them going.

We enjoyed watching a few of the US Open tennis matches today. It is so nice to have TV again; even if we dont really watch all that much. These TV's also have USB hook-ups so I can play stuff downloaded to my computer. One program we have really enjoyed is, So You Think You Can Dance. I haven't found it on any Peruvian channel, so have been downloading the episodes onto my laptop. These should play on our TV.

Chino spent a large portion of his day tiling the maid's bathroom and shower.
The service zone will the last building to be completed. The first room is the battery room for the solar panels. This will probably double as my sewing room, as there just isn't room enough in my studio for weaving, knitting and sewing stuff. The next room will be the maid's room; basically a bedroom with a bathroom. The next room is the laundry room. It will have two large sinks, and a washboard. Underneath these will be storage space. We will also have a washer and lots of room to hang the laundry to dry. We actually already have a washer, but it arrived with significant damage. We are trying to figure out how to get compensated for this and get a new machine. It has proven difficult as no one wants to accept responsibility for the damage....and it could have happened a couple of places along the way. Frustrating! I am tired of taking loads of laundry to the laundry service in Los Organos. They take 2 to 3 days to get it done. And, I've lost a couple of pieces there.

The guys with the screens have been working, slowly, to get each building enclosed. The flies have been horrific and we can't really control them until
everything is enclosed. We were hoping to get the master suite enclosed today, but they have one section yet to complete.

I made a chupe de mariscos (a seafood chowder) last night. We were able to find 5 langostas (the Pacific coast version of lobster) in the market for 8 soles(about $2.70). To this I added shrimp and a white fish which they sell for ceviche. The prices for groceries here are amazing. I can buy a quart sized bag full of various veggies and seasonings for $. 30. In itself it would give you a meal of soup. I can buy $.30 worth of carrots and have close to a pound. We can eat well, for less than $3.00 a day.

We went swimming again today. Oh, how wonderful it is to jump in and just go. I find I am terribly out of shape, but I figure if I get into the pool each day, and do the same or more distance than the day before, I will build back up to where I used to be. The water, for me, is a bit cool. It isn't uncomfortably cold, but is cool. During the summer, this will probably be a bit warmer, but welcome in the heat. During the winter here, the air is still very warm, but it doesn't seem to heat the water as much as it will during the summer.
I found this scary fellow on the ground. All those spines look as sharp as they are! And that beak of a mouth looks truly dangerous! It is a blow fish and amazingly enough it dried in it's puffed condition! Kind of looks like a hedgehog!

The dog and the kitten continue to spit and bark. Stormy has not let up her obsession with the kitten, except Doug has been pretty harsh in disciplining her when she goes after the cat. I've tried to give them equal time; equal time outside, inside and attention. It is still a drama.

We visited the local welding shop this afternoon. The owner is Perico's brother. I asked him to make me two rings with a three inch diameter for a hammock. He had some stainless steel rods that he said he could make into rings. We'll see how these turn out, and then I'll have yet another project to work on. Right now I have way too many projects! On the positive side, can anyone have too many projects? At least it is preferable to have too many than not enough?!?!?

This afternoon, a mototaxi driver stopped by. The driver is the husband of the woman who came to the construction site to sell ceviche to the workers. His son also has the water truck that delivers potable water for El Ñuro and to us. He came to solicit contribution to the expansion of his church in El Ñuro. He wasn´t asking for money; but asking for donations of materials and/or labor to expand their church. We told him we hoped to be a part of the community of El Ñuro, and would contribute as we could. I´m less likely to contribute cash; but am more than willing to contribute my labor, and supplies to accomplish their project.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

4 September 2010

We arrived in town this morning to discover that our market stall had moved across the street. As we approached the old location, I heard Mocho call me to show me the new store. It looks really nice from the curb. There probably isn't as much room as they had before, but everything was nicely laid out and produce was spilling out onto the sidewalk. Mocho said something about being close down by a government, they just moved into their building across the street. I don't know if they will later open up the original stall again or not.

After coming back to the house, we watched some of the US Tennis Open. Both of us really enjoy tennis; playing and watching. Unfortunately, we have not been able to play at all here. The only tennis court in the area that we know about is on private property and the owner is not interested in letting outsiders use/rent his court. Eventually, we will also have a court in our develpment. Homeowners will share the cost. I don't know that it will be built for another year yet, but it is in the plans.

In the afternoon, I returned to paint my wall. The newest addition is a tuna. I haven't finished him yet, but he has been my biggest challenge so far. I was hoping to do him in reds and pinks as that is the color of the meat. I wasn't really wanting bright red so I mixed it to soften or mute it and what I got are the colors you see. I still need to add the yellow fins and accents. The nice thing is, I can always change it. It is just paint on the wall.

There is a soccer match between Peru and Canada tonight. The workers asked if they could watch the match on our TV. No problem. They are now spread out in the living room watching the game. Doug has gone into town to deliver the plumber to his bus, and will pick up some popcorn (if he can find it). I figure they might enjoy the American tradition of popcorn and beer while watching a game.

The work on the screens progresses. It seems like this team of two men work extremely slowly. They are hand making every screen for every window, door and opening under the eaves. Today their project was a double sliding glass door into the dining room. In this door, there are three panels. One is fixed and the other two slide open; therefore we can have one or two panels open at a time. I think the biggest challenge for them has been how to anchor the screen panels at the bottom. The doors are done though, so hopefully they will begin on the screens under the eaves. The flies have been terrible; but there isn't much we can do until everything in enclosed.

The glass man is supposed to return tomorrow to build the railings for the stairs and the lofts. There are still a couple of windows that are missing that he will have to install. All of the windows in the service area will need windows....and hopefully screens as well.

Chino has been working in the laundry room building a couple of cement sinks, a drain board and a cabinet below. The structure is built and he is now adding tiles. We didn't expect the tiles; we expected just smoothed cement. It will be nice when it is done.

The pool currently has the right balance of Ph and Chlorine, so the plumber is leaving tonight to return to Chiclayo. That means Doug and I are on our own as far as the pool maintanence goes. I think we will find a routine that works, but it may take a little while before it becomes part of our routine.

I think I will change the name of the kitten to Bug. In the mornings, she will wake me up. When I open my eyes, she is about two inches away staring at me. She has beautiful green eyes...and they are huge. It is either "deer in the headlights" or "bug."

I am beginning to feel like I am settling into a new home. Some of this has seems so surreal; other parts have felt like I have been on an extended vacation. But reality is settling in as I am needing to clean floors, toilets, etc.; I can sit and watch TV (granted mostly in Spanish, but there are several English challenges.) It feels pretty darn good.

Friday, September 3, 2010

3 September 2010

I haven't had a chance to blog in the last few days. So much has been going on. Koki arrived on Wednesday. We began going over the final details for the construction. It seems like we have a long list, but most of it is little stuff. The major stuff left are the railings in the dining room and the master bedroom, and the rest of the screens around the eaves.

Workers have put in a set of stairs going down to the beach access. The terrace in front of the living room is now extended to the deck around the pool. The outdoor faucets are now secured in cement casings, and the outdoor showers are being set up.

The pool is looking really good. Doug and I will take a swim later this afternoon. The plumber finished all of his work on the pool yesterday. He then gave us a crash course on pool maintenance and how all the pumps, filters, etc. worked. It all made sense, but it was a lot of information to absorb at one time. Plus it was in Spanish, and so I was translating for Doug. The plumber had marked each part of the equipment and drew arrows to show the direction of the water flow. The guardian for Georg, Sanchez has been down here much of the week. He's learned a lot about how the pool works too, so maybe between the three of us, we can figure it out. Can't wait to swim again; and this time there will not be any yucky green stuff!
The mural is progressing. I've added a turtle and started on the tuna this afternoon. The parts and pieces are really starting to come together. There's still much to do!

Doug arrived in Mancora Thursday morning. It was really great to see him after his three week plus trip to the states. I've had a lot of decisions to make on my own, and I was a bit anxious about heow he would feel about them. He had a lot of questions, and found some additional things that needed work. I think overall, he was comfortable with my decisions.

Both sets of indoor stairs have now been replaced. The new steps have a six inch rise whereas the others were anywhere from six to seven and three-quarters. Much nicer. All the doors are now in as well. The screen guys have been hand crafting screens for the sliding glass doors as well as the spaced under the eaves. They've had to be really creative in how they put them together so the wind doesn't push them in and out.

And yes, we now have DirectTV. This is when I first really believed this was our home; when the TV was on and I was eating dinner. It has been fun to watch some of the US Open tennis matches. We don't really watch much other TV but we do enjoy the sports.

Well, I'm off for a swim.
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