Monday, April 29, 2013

Tomas the Cat

I was upstairs hanging up the laundry last night and saw Tomas in the laundry room window. Rather than following me he waited there for me to get the camera. Nice little sunset in the background. Another small moment in my Mexico.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Did a really stupid thing Friday

But hopefully learned my lesson. It's all about learning about this pool. After two pool parties with kids in and out for hours ... the pH of the pool went thru the roof. To bring down pH you add acid. I bought a powdered pool acid but it does not dissolve quickly so sits on the bottom eating away the plastic ... or at least the color.

I didn't buy a floater but those are usually used for Cloro tablets. So I made an acid floater out of a yogurt container. A bunch of ice pick holes in the bottom, put some powder in and enough water to float it upright. The mistake came when I checked it the next day, opened the lid with my face about a foot away. It nearly knocked me down with the fumes. I didn't feel it in my lungs but coughed for half the day and I'm sure it brought on the allergic type cold I had for two days.

So now I read that with a really high pH you are probably better emptying 1/2 the pool or all of it and starting over. I'm also reading that a pool can be maintained with cheaper and easier to use products like; sodium bicarbonate, muriatic acid and bleach and if I can't maintain a balance with them then empty the pool and start again. When the rains start the battle should be constant.

pH and Cloro test

Thursday, April 25, 2013

UNAM protesters removed again

This from International news and it just reminded me of 1998-99 when I was staying with a girlfriend on the UNAM campus.   We woke up one morning and thought it was a Vietnam like landing invasion.   Helicopters, trucks and army/police personnel were everywhere.  Students and many non-related to the cause had occupied the campus for  over  9 months and sorry to say I don't remember their cause (you can Google it).    Even though we were in Campus housing we couldn't leave for 2 days

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's top law enforcement agencies said Tuesday that they were poised to order the removal of a group of masked individuals who have occupied the main administrative building of the national university since Friday.The occupation of the university's rectory tower is linked to a relatively minor political dispute at one of the campus' public feeder high schools, yet the incident has struck a nerve at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM by its Spanish acronym, which has an enrollment of more than 330,000 students this year

 Mexico authorities ready to retake occupied university rectory

Abarrotes Rosita Cerrado

The only store in our little community that really stocks anything is family run and at least once a year they all go on vacation. So, from Tuesday to next Tuesday we have to shop in Melaque or the almost weekly trip to Cihuatlan to Bodega Aurrera. Since I drive Euriel to school every day in Melaque it's not so bad but also easy to forget to pickup a thing or two.  We will survive I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Third floor view

I don't remember taking any fotos from the third floor so when I was up working on the tinaco I took a few more. The first is looking north across the valley with 3 flowering trees in the foreground. A yellow Primavera, a pink Rosa Morada and in front a Nance (Nancy).

The second is looking down of the yard, palapa, the famous new pool and the house roof showing patches of impermeabilizante and fiber on areas that were starting to weather.

The bottom is the new tile on the stairs that I had Hugo install last week. The bathroom below the stairs had some water damage that may have been seepage from above. Now to get some clear sealer and paint it all. I originally thought to cover that space on the stairs with painted talavera tiles but I had these left over from the house. It's nice and clean.

Looking north

The yard

New tile on stairs

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pozole Pool Party

Neighbors came over yesterday for a pozole, beer and pool party. This is the first time they brought grandma Maria over and she seemed to be happy watching all the activity. Maria is 87 and has circulation problems in her legs somehow causing open sores that need constant medication and attention. She walks but not well or far.

The kids had their usual fun in the pool and of course the pool was filthy in the morning. Nahima with her almost manic activities, watering the lawn and the plants with pool water. Kids in and out but at least are taking showers before entering. Stopped by the local pool place today to see what they had for pool cleaning but nothing really. The kid that works there suggested a larger diameter hose, create a suction and use it like a vacuum. Took over an hour today but my 3/4" hose worked well and the pool looks like new.

Way too much pozole so the dogs got some and the chickens got the corn. I made pizza for the kids and saved a piece for grandma which she enjoyed. Another good time relaxing on the weekend with friends.

Most of the adults with Maria in the wheelchair

Kids in the pool

Yari, pretty as ever

Nahima watering the plants

Nahima with pozole

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tinaco work

I tried to find pictures of the way these tinaco bases were made but maybe peculiar to this area or my builders. Anyway, they build a ring of bricks on the roof surface about 3 high, stucco it and fill with sand. The problem with that is water seeps into the sand from rain or an overflowing tinaco (broken float valve). My lower tinaco was causing water to come out between the original roof and the flat tiles above it so I knew it had to be seeping thru the sand. The last thing you want it trapped moisture on cement.

My solution was to seal the space between the tank and the base with impermeabilizante and fiber material. About 2 inches up the tank, the flat area and down the side of the base. I eventually did the whole roof of the lower tinaco and just started the process on my upper one. It's all part of getting ready for the rainy season and luckily a broken float valve alerted me to it in the dry season.

The upper tan tinaco base sealed

Lower tinaco with whole roof sealed

Upper tinaco - just an interesting foto

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Lizard in the wall

My --kill everything that moves-- cat was checking out a cable drop outlet in the bedroom and making a fuss. I put the cat outside and shortly after heard a noise in that area and saw little feet and a face peeking thru the plastic cover on the cable outlet. I have 3 cable drops on the roof with tubes to pull wire but this one and another are not being used.

Not sure what I would find or how to handle it ... I eventually used a plastic strainer (like mosquito screen), placed it over the outlet and popped off the cover with a screwdriver. Out fell this lizard and I had him pinned up against the wall with the strainer. All I could do at that point was to yell for my neighbors who were in my yard to bring a bucket. In the bucket he goes and gets deposited in the vacant lot next door.

So now 2 of the cable drop boxes on the roof have tape over the holes and the third one still lacks a cover and I never remember to buy one. It will get done this week.

Similar lizard to the one in the wall

Taped cable drop box

Box that requires a cover

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What do you do with ....

What do you do with a section of grass that seems unable to recover mostly due to a dog that excavates to cool off. Basically pave it!! The problem with bricking it all is water drainage from the shed roof above so I decided on that gravel strip. If that area wasn't dirt it was mud and both getting tracked everywhere. Clean is good.

What do you do with a door that you don't use .... brick it in!! For a long time I've talked about filling in the door that was originally designed as a second entrance to the other lot. The lots won't ever be separated so it's only a window for my dog to bark at kids passing in the street. It wasn't very attractive and the metal requires upkeep. I ordered way too many bricks for the patio so Hugo said why not use them for the door. And he needed the work.

New patio with shed roof above

No dirt showing now

Hugo filling in the door

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The end of the season for many

My two neighbors from up north who both own homes here are starting to pack up and close up for the return north. A few more friends that rent for the season have left or will this weekend. Looks like I'll continue being the school bus driver, make a weekly trip to Cihuatlan to shop, use the pool with neighbors, fix broken things around the house and see what kind of weather hurricane season brings. The tropical weather warnings websites will start up in mid-May.

Coming back from school the other evening we saw this young burro with his mom. I asked the owner how many months old and he said "days". They don't waste time getting around.

Also ran across one of the most dramatic fotos of hurricane Jova in Barra. They'll have even less beach this year to protect them so hopefully the big ones will pass us by.

Four day old burro

Hurricane Jova in Barra

Monday, April 08, 2013

The Pool Revisited

I had first put the pool on smooth dirt, so I thought. Trouble came with the weight of the water bringing small rocks to the surface while compacting the soil. Sure enough, two small puncture holes next to each other that the kids found.

Emptying a pool that size is not fast or easy and I hadn't thought where the hose connector should be placed. Started draining just with a hose stuck in the pool like you would siphon gas from a car. As the water level goes down, so does the pressure so the flow slows. After running it into the street I remembered the grey water septic so the rest of it went there.

Brought in a half load of sand so now it has a 2.5 inch sand bed. Patched it and filled it yesterday and last night we filled it with bodies. Slowly learning the PH and Cloro balancing with a test kit and chemicals I bought at Home Depot last week.

Kids from 3 families

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The new pool

Just had to get one this year and they had this on sale at Coppel.   Normally $2500 pesos and was $2150 (200 dollars)  on an Internet special.   You can't buy them here in the winter and they are just showing up now.  Home Depot has them but only larger sizes and this is all I (my yard) can handle.  Later in the year they may be harder to find so why wait.   Kids are loving it already.

It's getting warmer and I feel summer coming.   The challenges will be the number of neighbor kids allowed and keeping it clean.   Chemicals, foot bath and running the filter pump after use.  Much easier, cheaper and less reponsibility than an in ground pool.   Now how to keep a small pool cool in the sun - a pool cover?

Intex pool from Coppel

The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

Sparks Mexico Web
Manzanillo Information
House building in Pinal Villa

Archivo del blog

Expat Exchange