One-man show, update

The home construction directly across the street from the Hacienda — being done almost entirely by one man, the future homeowner — continues to be a source of fascination. I wish I could do that.

I should take a photo while he’s there working, but aiming a camera at him seems a bit tacky, so I’ve never done it except sneakily. He likely would not mind because he appears to be a very amiable sort, and so does his wife who’s there on occasion too.

But this is the progress as of today. I snapped the shots while walking to the little store in the next block to buy cabbage and carrots for the minestrone I’m making for lunch.

The two-story house to the left was completed three or four years ago, but no one has ever lived there. I spotted a couple, the presumed homeowners, standing on the roof once, and I waved, and they waved back. There is an automated light that snaps on every evening, and stays on most of the night to give the appearance of occupancy.

But I know better, and now so do you.

I’m guessing it’s a retirement home, and the couple has yet to retire. Maybe they live in the United States or in a big city elsewhere in Mexico. Lord knows.

I sure as shootin’ would not have knowingly built a retirement home directly abutting railroad tracks, which that house does. Trains rumble through most nights. Well, all nights except when the teacher union or troublesome teacher “students” are not blocking the tracks somewhere. That is not uncommon, alas.

31 thoughts on “One-man show, update

  1. My dad built his own house, I was working for a bricklayer one time and noticed that the blocks in our basement weren’t set very straight. When I asked my dad about that, he said he did it and it was his first time. At that time he did it himself because that’s what he could afford, and he didn’t want to get a mortgage.

    He did know how to save money, and hard work was just work. I asked my mother about it one time. She told me he lost 35 pounds building that house and he wasn’t a very big man to start with.

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    1. Kirk: So, your father was another impressive fellow. For years I’ve thought that bricklaying would be very interesting. Still do, but I’m not getting into bricklaying at this stage of life.

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  2. I think the only reason why the man wouldn’t want you to take pictures of his building across the street is if he thought you were going to turn him in for illegal work. But I would bet that if he knew that this was just plain interesting to you (and us) he’d be happy to let his building pose for the camera. After all, it’s his work of art.

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  3. Just a thought. Set up your camera at the same location for a daily shot. When it’s all done, do a time lapse of the house going up.

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    1. I like the time-lapse idea. I don’t see any door to the backyard. Do you think he owns the lot to the right of his building? Also, no garage or parking, unless he plans to go between the rebar towers already in place. Which brings up another question: do the bricks have holes for the rebar? Does he have to go to the open end of the rebar to lower it with the rebar in the hole? Just curious..

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      1. Phil: As I pointed out the Karlos, the time lapse is a good idea, but I’m too lazy. Oh, well.

        I don’t know if he owns land to the right side, or how far his property extends behind. We’ll see. Parking too. If there is parking, it likely will be from behind. The rebar towers will be filled with cement, and the walls attached.

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      2. Phil, P.S.: A bit more detail. The rebar towers, all of them, will have boards tied to them all the way up. Then cement is poured in from above. When the cement dries, the boards are removed, and you have concrete columns.

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  4. My dad was like that guy. When I was a kid, he leveled a big area in front of our house (which was set on a hillside) by hand with a shovel and wheelbarrow. He also dug out the basement of two separate houses single-handedly, using the same equipment. And he did all kinds of other projects. When I was in high school, he designed and built a small geodesic dome. For months he constructed triangles out of 2x4s and plywood. While this sounds simple enough, there were two sizes of triangle, and the 2x4s had to set to the edges of the plywood at a slight angle so they could be bolted together. Frankly, he was working at an insane level of precision. But when we hauled all the triangles to the building site, the dome went up without a hitch.

    Anyway, kudos to your neighbor-to-be. I admire folks who just set their sights on something and make it happen.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where a streak of dad’s determination has served us well.

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    1. Kim: Your father sounds like the polar opposite of mine, who did nothing physical whatsoever if it could be avoided. The only exception was walking for exercise. He did that religiously.

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  5. That is definitely not a residential dwelling. I am seeing two separate “locales” for businesses of some sort. There are a number of obvious signs. The layout with its lack of doorways. The middle wall divides them with no openings in order to pass from one side to the other. Both sides of the dividing wall are equal in layout. To the back on the left, each side has two small rooms that to me appear future restrooms or storerooms. I am not sure why they weren’t on each side of the dividing wall as to share water and sewer lines. The rebar cages on each side of what will be the front wall are located in the same relationship to the side walls and the width between indicates a metal roll up door. Nothing shows that indicates a house.

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    1. Antonio: Interesting. You may be right. I just assumed they were building a dwelling. I see your points, but it strikes me as a little early to say that with certainty. Now it will be more interesting to watch. I guess we could ask them, but that would take all the fun out of it.

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    2. Antonio, P.S.: Thinking further on it, I hope you are right. We don’t need more neighbors, but some additional commercial activity on the block would be welcome. We also have a locale with a metal roll-up door, but it’s never been used as anything except my wife’s pastry kitchen.

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    3. Antonio, P.S.: I told my wife what you said. She is a born-Mexican, not a manufactured one like me, plus she’s a civil engineer. She insists it’s a house, so this just got interesting. A Mexican standoff.

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      1. Felipe: Antonio has some interesting observations. I myself was thinking that the place looked remarkably short of windows. I’d add that to the “commercial building” side of the ledger.

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        1. Kim: You and Antonio may be right, but it’s not because you spot no windows. The front wall, facing the street, is still not up. If the builder does not own the lot to the right, he cannot put windows there, and he cannot put windows on the other side either, the one abutting his neighbor. There are windows facing out back. Time will tell.

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    1. Antonio: The suspense can be calmed. I will not leave you hanging. You are 100 percent correct. As we drove out the front gate this morning, we paused and gave the situation a good look. Clearly, it is two locales.

      For those non-Spanish speakers, a locale is a small storefront.

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    1. Antonio: So you had a hidden advantage. Not playing fair. And yeah, I know it’s local, not locale. Just a few minutes ago, I was sitting downstairs in the living room when a light bulb lit up over my noodle, and I thought about my error. I am a flawed man.

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  6. Unfair? Jajajaja My first job after university was revising plans submitted for building permits in the Obras Públicas office in Zapotlanejo, Jalisco.

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      1. Of course! The exchanges were all in good fun. Now only to wonder what type of business will occupy the spaces!

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        1. Antonio: My wife is a baker and hopes one day to open a panadería in our local, so she hopes that is not what will open across the street, even though what she makes will be far superior. She also hopes it’s nothing that sells beer. We don’t want drunks sitting on the sidewalk. Time will tell.

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              1. Well, you can’t say I didn’t try. What’s she waiting for? It’s not like she’s not already retired. And you all built her a bakery. Does God himself need to descend and give her the all-clear personally?

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                1. Kim: It’s just a bakery, not a store, in spite of our installing the roll-up door to the sidewalk during the initial construction. That just provides an option for the future … after I’m pushing up those daisies.

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                2. As you well know, she doesn’t need anything more than a table between the customers and the ovens to be officially a “store.”
                  Alternatively, she could pretend to open for a while when the place under construction gets ready to rent. Or perhaps just put up a “coming soon” sign without any actual follow-through planned.

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