One More Phase of Remodeling Finished!

For the past 5 or 6 weeks our place has been taken over by workers making some changes to our outside space and inside working on our kitchen.

Finally all is completed and Joe and I can start to clean up the dust that was left behind while they worked.

IMG_2936We had the bamboo fence added to two walls and it has turned a beautiful tan color. It was treated for bugs and then varnished.

IMG_2937Our driveway was plain concrete so we had that resurfaced and topped with granito and then varnished.

IMG_2938We also had the one section of our back yard covered in cement and they topped that with large outdoor ceramic tiles and granito to make a nice patio.IMG_2939I hated the way the top of the cistern looked so we had them put the granito on that as well.

IMG_2945The last item was the new gate with a built in door and a roof to protect it which was just completed this past Saturday.

Now everything needs a nice coat of white paint.  Well not right now, we need a break from workers.  ja ja

Out and About

David Zambrano and his family are our neighbors living only two doors away from us.  David has been our Go To person for any issues we have on the house.  He is an excellent electrician and plumber. Several weeks back he had an accident and has been flat on his back since.

Yesterday he was out and about in his wheelchair.

IMG_2942Always smiling!  God bless him.

If you live here and can come by and visit I know he would appreciate it. Laying in bed all day can be very boring.

At his last doctors appointment he was told he could stand with the help of a walker and take three steps, three times a day. Progress. Keep him and his family in your prayers.

Sad Day Watching Your House Being Torn Down

Over the past two weeks, Sergio and Nellie and their family have removed everything from the one house on their property.  Doors, security bars, roofing, timber beams, everything that they could remove they have removed. With the earthquake the house could not be repaired and needed to be torn down.

Early this morning the backhoe and dump truck showed up on our street.


It was hard watching this lovely family as the heavy equipment rolled down our street and within 30 minutes their house was gone and the lot nearly empty of all memory of the house.



IMG_2921Within a few hours a tent was carried down the street and set up on their now empty lot.


Hopefully they will be able to rebuild one day soon.



Construction Continues

The back of our house had only one meter from the back wall to the next yard with only a one meter high wall separating the two yards. This needed to be replaced as it was built many years ago with decorative block that was falling apart. It was one of the things that the earthquake made worse. We removed this small wall as well as a concrete walkway which was slanted towards the house and trapped water there. New columns were constructed along with an over eight foot wall made with brick and skim coated with concrete.

The completed job is wonderful. Now we only need to allow the concrete to set and completely dry before we can have it painted.


We also had a patio built under the tree in our front garden. David suggested we buy outdoor ceramic tiles and fill in with granito. For the past several weeks Maestro Carlos has worked daily making a beautiful patio and walkway. This coming week we will have the driveway and top of the cistern coated in the granite. Once that is completed they will acid wash it and give it a coating of varnish.


Now they are working on a new column for the front gate as well as a more Jubilado  friendly entrance ramp. Once completed we will order the gate as well as the two portones for the new wall at the back of the house.


Carlos is standing on the sawhorse, he is a wonderful concrete maestro, Juanito is the boss and we have had them do several things on our home over the past several years.  Actually Carlos worked on putting in the original interior walls when we bought this house.

David Zambrano has been instrumental in making this work possible, without his guidance we could never have had all this done is such a short time. Get well fast David.

Finally Kitchen Cabinets

When we moved into this house we put a basic kitchen counter in the kitchen.  Several months later we added shelving underneath along with a wood work table.  It has taken me almost four years to decide what I wanted in the way of kitchen cabinets and finally a few weeks ago I placed the order.  Please first understand, if I did not have my neighbor and friend David Zambrano to assist me this would never come to pass. His contacts, artistic insight, innate ability to understand me, abilities as a maestro and supervisor, and his total acceptance of us make him and his family so special to us.  Today the cabinets have been installed and now I can finally put all my kitchen items in closed cupboards or up on a shelf and off the counters. Notice Helena, David’s wife and alter ego, in the first picture carefully watching to be sure everything is just right!

IMG_2892 IMG_2897

Jorge and his crew did a beautiful job. We could not be happier at how the cabinets turned out. IMG_2895

It took both Joe and I most of Sunday to figure out where everything should go. Below is the first draft, you know I will need to make a bunch of changes before I am totally pleased with how everything is placed.

IMG_2901 IMG_2903 IMG_2904

Tropical Garden

We have several projects going at our home in the past few weeks. Last week the bamboo fence around the yard was completed. Billy and his son worked hard to get it just right and we bid farewell to these wonderful craftsmen.


Over the past week the bamboo has soften to a beautiful tan color from the original green from the fresh bamboo.  Billy and his son sprayed it for bugs and then sprayed it with a varnish.


Investing in the Local Economy

Ever since we moved here to San Clemente our neighbor David Zambrano has helped us with so many jobs around this house I can no longer remember all of them.  While we were staying in Manta, David took care of our home, our yard and our plants.  When we came back my plants were more beautiful and lush than I could ever had gotten them.  I do feel he has a green thumb.

David is great with electrical or plumbing problems but on occasion he has done some small woodworking for me as well as small concrete jobs along with a bit of painting. If he cannot do it he will find someone who can.

When the earthquake hit on April 16th, Joe got me out of the house but we were in shock, we just sat on lawn chairs out on the driveway.  David and his brother Pilli made a quick check of all the neighbors and then came back to get Joe and I.  They walked us through our house sweeping a path through the debris as they got us into our bedroom and found us shoes, shirts and flashlights. They found two folding chairs on our patio and walked us down the street to a waiting car, where we were treated like royalty and taken up the hill to Pepita’s home to wait out the tsunami warning.  David came back several hours later and took us to our home. Again, he needed to sweep a path to be able to get to the bathroom and into bed.  I cannot explain how much this meant to Joe and I.  It took us days to stop trembling when we felt an aftershock and some of those aftershocks measured over 6.

Now we are starting the work that we have been planning for the house for the past year.  This is the time to do it, this is the time to invest in this community so it can heal. If you have projects that you are looking to do in the next year, I ask that you do those projects now, infusing money into the local economy.

So far we have contracted to have wood cabinets built for our kitchen, a block and concrete wall built at the back of our property and bamboo fencing for two additional walls in our yard. This is not replacement for damage done it is all new items that we were planning to add over the next several years. Next we will be hiring maestros to build two doors for the back walkway as well as a new wood gate for our drive.

Many people are not working right now, have no income coming in and have damage to their own property. If you are living in Ecuador and are thinking about investing in your property and can give work to those in your community please do it now.

It will make a difference in the quality of life right here in Ecuador.



Finishing The Walls

When we bought this house we never thought to look at the one side of the house that faces an empty lot. When we finally looked, part of one wall of the house and the entire security wall on that side were unfinished.

San Clemente 6.21.2014 006San Clemente 6.21.2014 003I talked to our neighbor David about having it finished and painted so he hired a maestro for us to handle the concrete work. It was completed in one day with two maestros and one assistant. The following week David completed the finish work and paint. Ta Da!

San Clemente 9.6.2014 003San Clemente 9.6.2014 004San Clemente 9.6.2014 010Now this section looks so nice it’s time to have the rest of the house painted….

New Lifeguard Stand in San Jacinto

Several weeks ago while we were in San Jacinto we noticed that a life guard stand had been built right on the beach.  What a great idea having this added for safety.

San Clemente 4.8.2014 106On some busy weekends lifeguards are stationed up and down our beaches.

San Clemente 4.8.2014 107

Shelving for The Salon

I have a stack of drawings with all the things Joe and I want to do inside the house.

Salon Shelving 2013We decided to live in the house, get a feel for what we really needed in the way of storage and then have the work done. We have looked at flat pack shelving units as well as talking to several craftsmen. After Max completed the installation of the shelving in our storage closet as well as under our sink and counter we decided to talk to him about our plans. We pulled out our stack of crude drawings and had him take a look. He said it could be done and he would be happy to help us so off we went to the wood shop in Charapoto and purchased the wood, took it to another wood guy who glued 7″ wide boards together to make the size I wanted and Max started the process of sanding, painting and putting it all together.

Our rooms are small, only a little over 9 feet wide, so leaving it natural wood would have made the rooms look even smaller – so everything has been painted white. That was a difficult decision as I really do like the look of natural wood, but we had to compromise to make it look good, next we will be painting all the doors and trim work in white as well. But that was not part of this job.

San Clemente 12.22a.2013 003Above. Max is working hard to make each shelf even, the wood here is a bit wonky and much coaxing needs to be done to get it to be straight. Bless his heart, he used hundreds of wood screws to secure the shelving to the walls.

San Clemente 1.3.2014 006 San Clemente 1.7.2014 005It is beautiful!  Thanks Max you did a wonderful job. All we need now is a flat screen tv for the large open space on the right hand side and it will be perfect. And now, on to the next item on our wish list. . . . .where’s that drawing?