Saturday, June 09, 2007

Dynamic Building

One of the things I like about building here in Mexico is that the process is dynamic and fluid and one of the things I hate about building here in Mexico is that the process is dynamic and fluid. When you build a house in Houston you start out with pages and pages of plans where everything is spelled out to the 1/8 inch in 3-D.

Not here. On Monday, Memin and his helper arrived before 8:00 AM and soon La Arquitecta was here too. We were starting on the remodel of the patio but the layout drawings by Alfonso Alacron were not exactly what I wanted to do. Nevertheless, Memin and his helper knew the objectives...get rid of what was there, build in a new bed and fountain and be sure that the slope in the patio took the water away from the cistern and to the drain to the street. So in no time at all Memin had marks on the wall for his levels taken from the point of the drain. And before the end of the day he had almost all the destruction done and the cantera pond that we had ordered before we left for the USA had been delivered.

On Tuesday, Alfonso came to advise us on how to make the beds. By the time he arrived we had set the pool in its place and had drawn the outline of the big bed with calc....similar but not as symmetrical as his layout drawing for the garden. When he came in he laughed and said, "You like things more organic don't you." We worked with him on shaping another bed, on where he wanted to have lighting and how to make sure that it all worked together. He and La Arquitecta talked about how to do some of the mechanics of the beds and the fountain. Just when I think I'm starting to be able to understand Spanish, then I hear Spanish that is so fast, I'm not getting ANY words. But Memin, the helper, La Arquetecta and Alfonso were gathered in a circle talking, asking some questions and nodding heads as the work plan was laid out. What a team we have!

The electrician and plumber have been here and moved contacts and switches and made a connection for the gas grill. We have bought the Laja stone for the patio floor. The Laja stone looks to me to be very similar to slate but here it is called Laja and I guess they get it from around the Laja river. And it will be delivered when Memin is ready for it.

Building anything here is just so different. There are no prefabs to set in place. You want it tall, you want it short, you want it round or problem. Albanils like Memin are truly artisans. We have been so fortunate to have people working on our house who are wonderful people and know what to do or can figure out a way to get it done. I feel like one of the reasons that you feel good when you walk into our house is because every piece of it, windows, doors, cabinets, walls and floors, were made by knowledgeable, caring hands.

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