Saturday, February 23, 2013

Slices of Life from Belize: January 23, 2013

House Painting

It took a bit of time, but I finally got the motivation to power wash and paint more exterior walls of our house. It's not that I don't like to paint, but it can feel a bit overwhelming at times seeing all the areas that need attention. The place hasn't been painted in 10 years, so there's quite a build up of gunk on the walls that needs to be removed first (hence the power washing). And once you're down to bare cement, well, that means at least two coats of paint to ensure decent coverage.

But then, because I'm a genius in this regard, I realized I didn't have to get everything painted all in one go...just take it one wall at a time. So this past week I knocked out three sections:

Newly painted side of porch, front and side walls of spare bedroom. Pretty! Shiny! Clean!

I couldn't have asked for better weather -- low humidity, enough puffy clouds to provide some relief from the sun, and a lovely breeze. These were way, way better conditions then when I painted the front of the porch in the middle of the summer. I had no idea my body could produce that much sweat.

After I give my arm and shoulder muscles time to recuperate, it will be time to work on the back of the house...

...and the front of the workshop:

Once all that's done, the only thing left to do is paint all 14 wrought iron window coverings on the house, not to mention all those on the shop. Sigh...

Everything is Comin' Up Roses

Actually, what's coming up are cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, and habernero peppers:

I can't begin to describe how cool it is to have all this stuff coming on the vines in February. The tomatoes are probably a couple weeks away from being ready to pick, but I'm already dreaming of all the salsa and pasta sauce that I'll whip up. The cucmber plant, compliments of Dianna, looked a bit peaked early on, but just started growing. So far, the cukes are coming on a couple at a time, which is great and lets us not have a glut to figure out what to do with. The habernero plant is from Fernando. Personally, I'm a bit scared of the heat on these peppers, but am willing to give them a go in some way, shape, or form. And can I just tell you how excited I am that we can grow cilantro? We tried so many times when living in the States, but it would always bolt. In another week or two, I'm going to try growing basil and thyme again. Once the seedlings get big enough, I'll transplant them to this bed, so they can be with the rest of their friends. Can Not Wait!

The Return of the Mystery Leak

So we thought we had figured out what was causing water to leak in our master bath when David discovered the feed line to the sink needed to be replaced. All was well for a bit, but when we started taking showers again, water started puddling up on the floor. Granted, it wasn't as bad as before, but still, it was clear something was still amiss.

The only thing we could figure was that it had to be coming from the shower plumbing. And that meant that tile and cement would need to be chipped out to discover the source of the problem.

The first place David worked on was the shower handles:

The good news was that there was no evidence of leaks in that area. The bad news was that the valves were shot and need to be replaced. And, of course, the local hardware stores don't carry the replacement unit we need. So that will mean a trip to Orange Walk to see if we can find the parts.

The next spot that David worked on was the pipe feeding the shower head:

Sure enough, this was the culprit. See where the elbow joins the pipe there toward the bottom? That's where the leak is. It should be a relatively easy fix. And as he already has knocked out an opening, we decided to raise the pipe up a bit so the shower head will be higher. It's not like we're giants or anything, but the shower heads in both bathrooms were installed pretty low to accommodate the wife of the previous owner, who is fairly short.

Now if all of this plumbing isn't challenging enough, we also have to figure out what to do for replacement tile. The chances of us finding the tile that was used in the bathroom are slim and none, but we'll look in the obvious stores here to see if, by some miracle, someone still carries it. Presuming they don't, we'll have to decide what else might work.

Making a Splash with Tile

Speaking of tile, David picked up a box of these babies:

This will be the back splash in the kitchen. And par for the course, the store that carries these, Creative Tile, had the tiles and the mastic, but no grout. They hope to have a shipment come in this week, but who knows. Will post pics when everything is up.

A Visit to Dr. Sheila

This week it was Olivia's turn to visit Dr. Sheila to be spayed. First she had a weigh-in and she's a whopping 12.5 pounds! Sheila doesn't expect her to get much bigger, maybe 15 pounds, which means she will remain the perfect lapdog size. It also means she won't be too big to sleep on the bed (much to David's chagrin...HAHAHAHAHA!).

Once her poundage was determined, Sheila gave Olivia a sedative. She warned that it would sting and I must say, I didn't know Olivia to yelp in that high of an octave. But within no more than 30-40 seconds of getting the shot, she just slumped like Jell-O on the exam table. David and I never saw anything like it and asked (half-jokingly) if we could get some of that sedative to go for when Olivia and Bronte go on tears around the house.

We picked her up around 2:30 and were surprised that she was so lucid. If you recall, when Bronte when through the same procedure, she was very woozy for a couple of hours after we picked her up. Of course, she then went loony on us for the next several hours. But for Olivia, she didn't experience any of that. Granted, she was a bit low-key for the rest of the day, but no bouts of insanity. Dr. Sheila gave us some painkillers to administer to Olivia the next two days. But I have to say that by the next afternoon, you would never guess this girl had major surgery. She was back to her old self and conspiring with the cat. For example, between the two of them they unraveled the toilet paper from the roll in both bathrooms and paraded it through the living room. The cat pulled down our bath towels and the dog decided to use them as something to teeth on. But their crowning moment was when they got hold of a paint brush. When I was painting outside, I had need of a small brush to paint the window frames. Instead of washing it out, I just wrapped the bristles in plastic wrap so the paint wouldn't harden before the next time I needed it. Unfortunately, I left the brush on the coffee table that's on the porch. The cat knocked down the brush, the dog then proceeded to tear off the plastic and spread the paint on the love seat, the floor, and one of my flip-flops. Fortunately, it's latex paint so I was able to get it cleaned up with a minimum amount of fuss. But seriously, these two are dangerous together.

Age...It's Just a Number (except when it comes to candles)

In spite of the painting, tile work, plumbing, and vet appointment, we managed to have one heck of a good time on Tuesday night. We got together with some of our friends to celebrate the birthdays of Dave, David, and Bruce. Dave had his at the end of January, Bruce on February 14, and David on Tuesday.

From the left: Dianna, Dave, Bruce, Colleen, David, and Dianna's brother, David, visiting from Colorado.

We all met up at Tony's restaurant, located right on the bay. When we've eaten there before, we often were the only diners. But on Tuesday night, they were hosting a big dinner for a number of their hotel guests. Bruce and Colleen managed to snag a table on the upper level, which offered a wonderful view:

We ate. We drank. We were a merry bunch. We did not, however, have a birthday cake. The combined total of the candles for these gentleman would have put the thatched roof of the restaurant in peril.

Coming Up: My Asian cooking spree and why it was all Julie's fault

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