Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Devils in the details...

I apologize for a paucity of posts lately. Our "laid-back" island lifestyle has been severely impacted by moving into an unfinished house. There are a zillion little details to get uptight about. Like, where's a bowl? Why doesn't this light switch work? WHEN are the cabinets going to be finished? And more. Much, much more.

This has consumed all our waking hours for the most part. This whole situation would also have to happen during the busiest part of the year, visitor-wise. We moved two weeks ago today...and we have workers here at 07:00 every morning but Sunday. BUT progress is definitely being made almost daily.

The winter weather has not been much of a factor, although it's been windy every day. This photo was taken at 7:30 one morning this week:

The biggest issues with the wind have been that we find excuse in it not to spend as much time on the boat as we would like, and it blows dust. LOTS of dust over a still raw construction site. Driveway issues are still bothering us, but not as much. Once you get used to the idea of needing four wheel drive to get to and from the garage, it all starts to seem normal again. Yesterday we had a big honking rolling machine packing the dirt down, and crushing rocks:

It made a big difference to have all the loose rock compacted. This machine has a "vibrate" mode that was a little startling to us. When the driver switched it on, the vibrations travelled right up through the very foundation of the house. We could feel it through the soles of our feet. The water in the toilet bowls was making concentric vibration patterns like a scene from "Jurassic Park". But it's a better place to drive now.

We have been waking up to wonderful sunrises over the ocean. And it's kinda nice to look out the door and see our vehicles parked here at home. Our first official "home" in almost three years.
Ah, the signs of domestic urban life...the Land Rover, the Suzuki, the pile of empty carboard and wood scraps...the "Gradall 524D..."

....uh...that's not ours. But it's been living here for weeks now. Handy machine to have around. Yesterday Romeo used it to finally move the big yellow plastic tank from where it's been sitting for the past year. Hey, one man's eyesore might be another man's windbreak.

Monday we loaded a new gas grill on the boat and ran it out to Pine Cay. While we were there, a tremendous squall line came blowing through. Dooley the Degenerate Dog and I sat it out in a golf cart with the rain curtains down. Looks like a typical wintry scene, doesn't it:

I think the showers brought the air temperature down into the high 70's for an hour or so. Not exactly the tropical scene, is it. But hey, its winter.

Any time heavy rain and dark clouds are part of the equation, Dooley turns into fifteen pounds of spineless mush. Nothing I say will convince him that whatever hairy god he worships is not specifically targeting him with thunderbolts. While he usually follows orders to "stay in the back" of the boat/car/golf cart....all bets are off if he thinks he is about to be struck by lightning. I wonder how his mind works, though. If he thinks that HE attracts lightning...why would he insist on huddling next to ME??

I repeatedly got him into the back of the cart, but the moment I turned my head he weaselled his way back up front between the seats. So I gave up.

Sometimes it's just easier to just put up with a wet, shivering, terrified terrier scrunched up next to you and leaving little muddy paw prints all over everything. It's only sand, it brushes right off as soon as it dries.

We did not take a lot of photos on that boat trip Monday, it was pretty much hit and run and dodge the squalls. Most memorable part of it was assembling the new gas grill. I will say the Weber company does a great packing job.

Once we returned to Provo, we found we missed a little excitement on the road we now call our neighborhood. Seems someone in a rental vehicle missed one of the turns and took a quick and unguided tour of the salina:

That's at low tide. It got a little uglier once there was another foot of water in there. And that's sea water. I know in the US, once a vehicle has been in the ocean it's a write-off. I would expect the rental company to call this a write-off. I would also expect to see this car driving around the island under private ownership in a couple of weeks. If you come down here and rent a car, please remember a few things. We drive on the left. The roads are bad. They are also slippier than they look, with loose gravel over solid rock. There are potential surprises around every corner. And if you are not accustomed to driving a short wheelbase 4x4 fast over rough advice is to slow down.

Yesterday Romeo and Patrick poured the footings to install the solar water heater:

So we should be a lot more environmentally responsible in the next few days when the solar collector itself gets installed. After that, the electric water heater should only kick on sporadically if we don't have enough sunshine. I could see it happening if a lot of people wanted hot showers at dawn, for example. That is pretty rare here.

Sunshine, on the other hand, is not rare at all. And here is a photo of some of it from the new patio. I think this might be the first image of this view without a big yellow plastic water tank in the middle of it:

See, I told you it was getting better.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the posts and pictures. I have been following along since your THT days. Your place is beautiful and well worth the wait. The last picture off the deck is priceless. Thanks again and keep up the good work with the blog!

Unknown said...

Its funny, I am around equipment like that all the time and its neat to get your perspective on it.
Trust me on this one, find excuses to take the boat out! Everything at home will be there when you get back, umm including dirty dishes unfourtunately...

Anonymous said...

Gringo wrote: "If he thinks that HE attracts lightning...why would he insist on huddling next to ME??"

Could it be he thinks your the master of his Universe? :>)

Malicious Intent said...

I remember when my cousin lived on St. John for about 15 years, she always told me there was fast, and then there was island fast. Which is about 3 miles per hour slower than a snail when it came to getting anything done in the islands. Just island life I suppose. Even the contractors worked at snail speed and that was just normal. Things look great though. I bet you cannot wait for this to finally be over.

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to you rnext update. Thanks as always for the vacation!