Saturday, March 22, 2008

One small aggravation at a time....

Even though the posts have been thin lately, life goes on here much as before. The sun still rises every morning from the sea, looking like it's only a day's sail away. And it sets every evening over the island of Provo.

Since discovering that the front step archway makes a nice frame for a photo I have been looking for a new angle on that. I mean, how many tropical sunset photos can I post? Surely, it's getting boring to look at.

Well, this morning just as the sun was coming up in the east, the full moon was setting exactly where the sun goes down in the west. I tried to get the same photo as before, but this time with the moon instead of the sun:

Not as much light to work with, of course. But you can see the light top of the cloud, and the sky brightening from the top down as the sun's rays begin to illuminate what looks to be another sunny, tropical day.

I apologize about the lag between posts. As you probably realize, we have been totally involved in a zillion little, and some not-so-little, details and problems over the past few weeks. Take the normal sort of aggravation most of you know about moving from one house to another. That's a lot in itself. It's a big event you remember all your life. Start with that.

Then add the complexity of taking things from storage that you haven't seen in almost three years. This pile of "stuff" includes many things that are ruined, some that can be salvaged, and a lot of "what in the hell were we thinking???"

For example, WHY did I think I would need to bring Harris tweed sports coats to the tropics? Multiply that idiocy by a few hundred...add rat, mildew, and water damage. Each item of thousands now has to be re-evaluated. Can we save it? Do we want to? There is an assortment of projects accumulating in the garage that need repairs.

Oh, and the biggest complication of them all, moving into a newly constructed house that has never been lived in before. When you move into a house that has been established, just about everything works. Previous owners have taken care of the little things like bolting in the oven, hooking up the dishwasher, and making sure the door latches are installed rightside up. Every day we find at least one more thing that needs sorting out. Yesterday, for example, we discovered the solar hot water accumulator was installed upside down. It's now full of water that cannot be easily drained since the drain is on the high side. So it weighs a few hundred pounds more than it did empty, and it's made of glass....little things like that. Every day.

I started building my workshop bench, starting with a section 8 ft. long. I did that so that it could be moved while our construction crew could seal the concrete floor.

So, they removed the lower shelves, drill press, etc. to make it light enough to move away from the wall, and sealed that half of the floor. Once they are done ( maybe Wednesday?) I will complete that bench all the way down the wall. Looks fairly neat and clean in that photo doesnt it.

But that's because they heaped everything that was in semi-disorganized but recognizable stacks into one huge pile that takes up the entire other half of the garage...

and just when I kinda knew where everything was. Can you imagine what this looked like before two solid weeks of unpacking, evaluating, and hauling stuff up to the house? It was daunting. Still is.

And outside we are constantly reminded that we are still living in a construction site. Despite one garbage truck load of trash hauled away a couple days ago, we still have a 'driveway' lined with machinery, scaffolding, concrete forms, materials..

Those dotted lines are where I am thinking I want to take a jackhammer and cut down into the solid rock that we have built upon. I want to lower this part of the driveway maybe a foot, cut a 'curb' into the section on the left to protect the house and add some landscaping appeal. On the hill to the right I want to cut that edge out a bit more to move the entire driveway further from the house, and give us more room. Like, enough to park a boat on a trailer and secure it during storms. And of course I want to level it. Like I don't have enough other stuff to do to keep busy these days. At least it gives me a good reason to buy another power tool, an electric jack hammer. With all the limestone up here, I suspect it will pay for itself on the first job. But it's got to get in line behind some other more pressing necessities.

This is the solar collector for the hot water. It was bubbling right along in the sun yesterday morning, and I took a close look at it and discovered it was installed wrong. It needs to be rotated 180 degrees in the horizontal plane, which will put it right side up and put the fittings over by the wall protected. Sigh...

As soon as I realized that the bubbling noises I was hearing coming from this thing was water turning into steam, I covered it with a sheet of plywood. Nice to know it works, anyway.

See how everything I can think about these days is house-related? Heck, it's not even that interesting to ME, much less does it make good material for this blog. But we are stuck with these mundane things for a while to come. And nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and everything takes three times as long as we expect. If we are lucky.

To the moving, add the day-to-day repairs that seem to be a part of life here. The little Suzuki transfer case froze up on me last week. I got it apart, and discovered I needed a little bushing under the shifter.No biggie, right?

Well, it doesn't exist here. So, I found one online, and ordered it. It is a $ 14 part. I had it shipped from Utah to Miami, two day delivery so it could be brought down by curly-headed stepson this week. Now the $ 14 part is up to $ 38. I don't even want to add the round trip airfare from Miami...but anyhow I got the part yesterday, and spent a few hours reassembling things through this little hole in the floor of the 'jeep':

(any small 4x4 vehicle here is called a 'jeep'. So we have a Suzuki jeep, and a Land Rover jeep, for example)

So, bottom line here, we have not really been able to do anything interesting to write about. Or post photos of. And that's my excuse, for the most part. Oh, and I am lazy, to boot.

We HAVE managed to get on the boat a few times, but two of those trips were night crossings to another island and there are no photos of the white knuckles. Going through images from the last couple weeks, I do come up with a few that are not house related. For example, yesterday we went to the marina to check on our boat. There was an awesome catamaran tied up at the dock, a boat we have never seen here before:

La Gringa and I are both sailors at heart, and we are very interested in catamarans. This one is pretty interesting, a bit different from the production cats we see all the time.

We have been dreaming of a much smaller version of this kind of boat for ourselves, a boat called a "Gemini". There are a bunch of reasons why, and if any of you sailors out there want to discuss it I will be happy to do so. We love talking about boats. We are pretty much ocean people, in case you hadn't noticed.

Last week we ran across our friend Roosie at the marina. He is now in the slip next to us, and he just bought a "new" used boat himself.

It's a big step up for him from the boats he has been running. He does have some outboard issues to sort out, but he will.

Passing through Leeward, we get a view ( whether we like it or not) of the new "Nikki Beach" resort going in where Leeward Marina used to be.

Now this is purely my own personal opinion. (I can do that on a blog, right?) But I think this thing is hideously ugly. It looks, to me, like what you would get if Disney hired Carmen Miranda to design a cathouse for the rich and famous. But that's just one grumpy gringo's opinion. I am sure many people will like having it there. I just try to not look at it when we go by.

On the other hand, we also get views of boats going in and out of the boatyard near the house. To me, that's a much more pleasing sight:

Ahhhh...that's more like it. Good thing we didn't buy a house lot in Leeward, I guess.


LeoinSA said...

I sorta hate to say it but you are wrong Gringo.

Obviously I can't speak for other folks that come to this blog on a regular basis, but for me it's your documenting the 'small stuff' that makes this so very very interesting.

You excellent pictures don't hurt either, but I do really enjoy seeing the TCI through your eyes - and words - La Gringa's also!

So please do continue to post about what you consider 'trivial' matters as that is really the great attraction and is what keeps bringing me back time and again.



literacylady said...

Jim and I are with you all the way on the Nikki Beach Cathouse! It's a good thing you didn't buy/build on a lot in Leeward. By the way, what do they call this form of architectural design, where they mix colors and styles across building facades? It's not "New Urbanism," but probably somewhere in the literature around that "school of design" there is a word for this "movie set" type of look.


Anonymous said...

I was trying not to be TOO negative about it, believe it or not. And if that comment was from another "anonymous" I would probably have not dwelt upon it any in print. But I still have an ingrained tendency to say "Yes, m'am" to English teachers..

I don't know what to call that Nikki Beach style. I would imagine a word for it exists somewhere in the fringes of something.. I cannot get used to looking at it. It makes me wonder if Timothy Leary ever dabbled in hotel construction . Or perhaps someone important is related to a brilliant young architect who is only working in Crayola so far..

I would be surprised if it ever gets favorably compared to anything by Gaudi in Barcelona, any two stones from the Taj Mahal, or a Taco Bell in San Diego.

But what do I know. It's going to create jobs...and income, and you can easily see it from ten miles at sea. I cannot answer why someone would want to see it from ten miles at sea. I personally would be content if it faded from view at a hundred yards.

NautiG said...

Hey gringos, wish I was down there with you on my Gemini!

Anonymous said...

You are in Florida, right? I figure once you get over to Bimini, the farthest you would have to be from land sailing from there to the TCI would be the last leg from Mayaguana to Provo, and that would only be 25 miles offshore right between the two islands.

Trade winds have been blowing hard all winter. Would save a bundle on gasoline.

NautiG said...

Unfortunately, it is time to head north. Duty calls.

I look forward to reaching the promised land another time.

Good luck on your Gemini Catamaran search. Let me know if you need any info.

Malicious Intent said...

Lovely pics as usual. Can I use one of them to make a shirt for my son's walk? I want to put his picture on a background that says Jonathan's World. I was thinking of one of the pics above would be perfect.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sure! Tell us which one you like and we can email it to you full-size if you wish, as an attachment.

Whichever one it is, we probably have several like it, as well. We take a lot more photos than we put on here.

The ones on the blog are half size, some of them cut to 25%. You should get better resolution if we sent you the original.

Anonymous said...


You should sign up for Flickr and just upload all your photo's there at full resolution. I can imagine you would end up with a pretty good following there too. Then you can also link back all the photo's from your blog to the flickr page.

Its a little more work but I think alot of the people who enjoy your photo's and the blog would appreciate it.