So lots of things have happened and I haven’t been keeping up with the blog lately. We’ve had a couple of visits to the island lately but they haven’t always gone as planned. Vacation/project time seems to always collide causing plans to get screwed up-no matter how hard I try to make things flow smoothly. This last visit also saw Babe throw a power steering pulley right in the middle of picking up supplies. While at the hardware store the power steering started to act funny.
I thought that the pump reservoir was low so I opened the hood to check for a leak with the engine running-only to have the pulley shatter and go flying! Turns out the pulley was made of plastic and had fatigued. It had started slipping and then finally broke while I was looking at it. Good thing my face wasn’t in the way! I was able to limp the truck the couple of miles to a garage that I knew next to the condo and Junior (the proprietor) was able to fit a replacement the next day-and yes, he made sure that the replacement pulley was made of metal. That and a screw in a tire which came out in the condo parking lot. George noticed the hiss from the tire as he got out and found the hole with air blowing out. Again, luck was with us. There is a tire place right opposite the Amigo shopping center and I was able to zip over to them before the tire had a chance to deflate.
On to the condo renovations:
My goal right now is to get the the back yard done to control the overgrowth that is non-relenting. No matter how hard I try to keep the weeds down in between visits, they find their way back-which bodes well for growing things when we are down there but no so much when we are not.
This visit saw the laying of the pavers, again a Home Depot project. This is phase three of the project. Phase four will be the raised beds that will line the walls plus the addition of gravel in all areas that are not covered by the beds, decking and pavers. In the end it should be a pleasant area to relax in. We have future outdoor projects still on the list but they will only happen once we are down permanently. Editions like the like the outdoor kitchen plus BBQ area, etc.
We still need to change out the A/C units in two of the bedrooms with the quieter ones that Bill and George gave us for letting them use the condo while they were looking/closing/renovating theirs. But, I’ve already cut the filler plates (having installed one in the master bedroom) so actually fitting them will be an easy task. All in all, the projects are quickly narrowing down to the stuff that can wait until we are down permanently, so trips going forward should be much more relaxing and enjoyable.
Our last trip this January did have some nice highlights. We had our first dinner party! We’ve been going to Las Vistas Cafe regularly when we are down and have always been charmed by Gladys, the owner. Bill and George have become great friends with her so it was a natural the we invited her and a friend plus Bill and George over for an evening. Dean did sous-vide short ribs and I did my mother’s recipe for peach cobbler, only with mangoes, Unfortunately mangoes were not in season-yes, they do have a season-so I wound up using canned, but it still turned out well.
We didn’t do too much going into the surf although we did spend my last afternoon at Macho beach lazing in the water and that’s always the time that I am reminded why we made this decision. I know that this is a bit of a non-sequitur, but one of the things that the island does have is way too many abandoned pets. The entrance to Macho beach has a pride of cats that some of the locals feed, which we are glad of. There is also a pack of dogs that we see from time to time wandering about near the beach. Sadly, after I left, Dean informed me that one of the small cats was hit by car. When we finally get down, I wouldn’t mind volunteering for the rescue shelter to help these unfortunate pets.
Well, the good news is that the condo is finally feeling like a comfortable place that we will enjoy living in. The complex has been painting the building in earnest with only a couple left to be done. Our building is going to be one of the last ones but it is on the agenda for this fall when the painting budget has been replenished. But with us done, the whole place will look so much better! Speaking of the complex, there are a few foreclosures left for sale, however the banks are still looking to unload so deals are still to be had-and we wouldn’t mind having a few more neighbors that we know.