The heat wave has broken. Kind of sort of. A five degree shift towards cooler temps has made sleeping easier but the sun retains her power. I found the stickiness oppressive and could not play fiddle or type on my laptop. Swollen, sluggish finger refused to cooperate. The positive side of oppressive heat? Daily trips to the beach to swim. Chava is a maniac. He leaps into waves face first and is so deliriously happy to swim we have to keep an eye on him to make sure he isn’t swept out to sea. He rocks a bright yellow life jacket that gives him a few inched of extra breathing room in the foam with the added feature of helping us spot him in the surf. We have a seafaring pooch and are keeping our eyes peeled for a foamie (a style of surfboard) for Chava to call his own.
The kids are getting back into the groove of classes, too. Last year’s debacle of lying and corruption and bribery and impeachment has not destroyed our little kingdom. We’ve got a tidy group of so far well behave learners and we are continuing on our merry way with song and crafts and words.
The casita project is also back underway. Burt and our neighbor Marco wired the place last week. In our area there are two common ways of wiring a concrete block house. Unlike in the US where wood construction is the norm here most homes are built with cement block. Wires cannot be easily passed through cement. Wiring method number one is to gouge a pathway through the block and then place wire in the carved thoroughfares. A plasterer comes back and covers up the gashes. It’s tedious and messy and seems like a lot of hard work. Method two, the chosen method of our crew, is to lay conduit in between the blocks and concrete structure. Then wire is passed through the conduit. This method is neater but you have to be able to visualize where you need wires when there are no walls and there’s the sticky problem of passing wire through narrow and convoluted paths of conduit. Burt and I spent the summer wondering how this feat of wire transportation is managed. That’s where Marco came in. So there’s rafia, lubricant, a vacuum, a lead wire and the three cables for power transmission and some special pulling, grabbing tools. First a length of rafia with a small balloon is literally sucked from one hole, an outlet or light fixture spot, to the circuit box area with a shop vac. Then a piece of thin, steel wire is attached to the end of the rafia. I call this the lead wire. The rafia is then pulled and the lead wire is drug through the conduit. If that is successful (i.e. no broken knots, concrete blockages, tangled wire) then the three power cables are attached to the lead wire. White, black, green. Hot, cold, ground. Now three heavier, stickier wires must be pulled through. I think the lube is applied here. I only worked the pulling end once so I’m not certain. I pulled and pulled and pulled. I was pretty excited and then my lead wire knot came undone when the power lines were only a foot from the exit. They’d traveled 40 feet and the drag finally overcame the knot. I guess this is common because Burt shrugged and said, “Now we do it again. I’ll tie a better knot.” Sounds good. Anyway, the wiring is done with only a few preconceived light fixture holes in the wrong location.
Now Burt is installing steel studs for the wall partitions. Last week we laid the shower floor. Burt had gathered 5 gallons of flat, smooth rocks over the course of several year’s of beach visits. I was in charge of layout. Burt made mortar and poyred it on the floor. I embedded stones. I tried to distribute the sizes, textures and colors. The stones are in and they are perfect. There was no time for decision fatigue or an inner critic monologue. So even if I’m not satisfied I will never admit it. They are perfect, dammit. See for yourself.
Today I worked cat recovery at the spay and neuter clinic. Animal obsessed people are terrible communicators. Okay, not all animal obsessed people are terrible communicators but the leaders of the three factions that came together to run this clinic are terrible communicators. I kept my head down and my mouth mostly shut. We lost no cats.