That’s meant to be pronounced posé which means rest in Creole. That’s what I’m trying to do today. The past few days have been crazy busy for me, but good busy.
I realized when I stumbled on the post that just went up earlier that so much has happened since I wrote that. We’re now into week
44 45 (see, I’m totally lost) of construction and I kind of feel like we’re trying to catch out breath. This isn’t a traditional Honey, We’re Home post but rather more of a summary. I’ll try to do one of those sometime this week with more of a breakdown. Nonetheless, it’s been crazy!
When I did that last post we’d just seen all the stucco finished inside. Well, now all the walls except the upstairs bathroom are painted. Three of the four exterior walls have stucco on them, and one is painted. We’re now doing touchups in certain rooms downstairs, but more about that in a minute.
One of the bigger accomplishments for the past two weeks is that our solar system is up! It’s all up, welded in place and ready to be wired to the charge controlers and battery system. Our batteries are now on their way and we might see them in the next couple of weeks. We need to pour a cement pad for them to sit on just outside the office so we can get everything in it’s place. We could have power in the building and the rest of the site in a few weeks!
My Phone is distorting the posts on the downstairs deck for some reason. I promise they’re straight! Lol!
Another big this is that our windows all got installed this week! The window company had them ready a few weeks ago, but because of some political stuff going on in a town right in the middle of Port au Prince and us, they couldn’t get through. There have been sporadic, violent protests happening for over a month now and everyone is pretty much just done with the whole thing. We weren’t sure when they would be able to install everything, but one day we got the call that they were on their way, and they spent three days getting everything in. Our bosses have started finishing around the window openings, and have almost the whole first floor done, then they can move upstairs.
That’s one of the window installers up there. Apparently he’s really comfortable in his profession and had no concerns about falling out of my bedroom. #doingitwithoutanet
That’s my view from where the sink will be :) Alex was VERY excited about the windows.
Same window getting the holes filled in and the window sills formed. It looks dark because it was later in the day and they had plastic over the windows.
The tile on the first floor still isn’t finished and we’re starting to stress about it. It’s down to all the little edge pieces, but it also seems like our boss hasn’t been on his game. I need to have a chat with him this week to see if everything is okay and to let him know we’ve got a deadline. I feel like he’s just lost his momentum and needs some encouragement.
Abner cutting some of the billions of little edge pieces.
I mentioned touch up painting. I was out at the site earlier this week and was starting to feel stressed because nothing was getting finished. There were all these rooms in half states of being done. For example, the tile was done all through the office, office storage room, entry and downstairs bathroom. But there were things like a window sill needed to be levelled and the windows needed to go in so the bosses could do the window sills/finishing. And then we could do paint touch ups. And then I could clean and seal the floors in those rooms. And then I could start installing things. And then, and then, and then.
Chris and I talked about it and decided it was just time. Time to start getting some stuff done and off the list. Time to get things to a state where we could be installing things. So we made a plan. We set someone to work finishing the window sill in the bathroom, which tool no more than a couple hours. We put someone on touching up paint in the entry, downstairs bathroom and office storage room. Those rooms are now DONE. I can start putting stuff in them after I do the floors. The office was waiting on the windows to go in, but they’re in now and two of the four have finished sills. The other two will get done on Monday. Then we can finish paint touch ups and I can do floors. Then I can do office built ins.
Boss Biren filling in around the front door and squaring things up. Paint has since been touched up, but I don’t have pictures yet :)
We have two of the four exterior doors in place. Abner only has two pieces of tile to put in place to finish the kitchen door way and we’re good to install a door there. We’re going to have him stop working downstairs so he can go measure the middle line upstairs and work out from there to get the entry way done and we can get the door in. Once we can get the doors in we’re in lock up stage and things get a lot easier in the house. It means we don’t have to clean everything up and lock it away every day. We can literally just shut the doors and leave.
In preparation for being able to start actually putting things in the house I’ve been a busy bee at home. I spent this week working on the interior doors. I had stained them over a period of a couple days in the past month, but they needed varnish. This week I got out my spray gun for the first time and went to work. Upside – spray gun is awesome and works really well to pump out a lot of work. Downside – I didn’t get enough varnish. Boo! I got 4 doors completely done, so that’s something. Only 5 to go. I only have one side of varnish left to do on those though, so it should go pretty fast.
In between varnish coats on the doors I decided to get cracking on the downstairs bathroom vanity. Once the paint touch ups are done in that room Evens can start installing the fixtures, so there was no reason to wait.
One of the challenging things about buying wood here is that it’s often the lower grade stuff of what is made in the US. We can get planed wood, but you have to be really careful when picking boards out because some of them are warped, or aren’t squared on the sides. They call the planed wood “prepare” (preh-par-eh). The other type of wood I can find is what they call “bwit” which means rough. It’s more true to size, so a 2×4 is almost exactly a 2×4. But, it’s rough and either needs planing or sanding.
When I started the vanity I went to work using a friends table top planer. They had a team bring it in to do their cabinets, and unfortunately they hit a knot while planing a board, and it bent a blade. They were able to fix it to finish the job, but didn’t realize that the other blade had also gotten bent. When it wasn’t working the way I expected it to I opened it up to find one of the blades was really bowed and needed to be completely replaced. I have a couple of options and will know which one to go with in the next couple of days. In the meantime, I got out my sander and went to work.
When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for a vanity in that bathroom I knew it didn’t need to be anything complicated. People would just be using it to wash their hands. We didn’t need a ton of storage because there’s a storage room right across the hall. I was good with a lower open shelf where I could just put a basket with extra rolls of toilet paper. I found a picture on Pinterest that gave me some ideas and was the jumping off point. From there it was just a case of drawing up my plans and getting started.
As I got to cutting my wood there was one section of a 1×12 that I had to cut off because it had a knot and split down the middle. I was going to junk it when I got an idea. I already had the sides on and decided to see what the front would look like with the knotty piece. It was a bit warped, but I figured if it didn’t work when I nail gunned it on I wasn’t any further behind. I trimmed everything to fit and nailed it on, then stood back and got giddy. It added so much unexpected character. Done! The next part was the top. I had fallen for some thick rough cut 1×8’s and planned on using them for the top. I cut them down and then started sanding them down. There were saw ridges all along both sides. One side was more pronounced than the other, so I thought I would sand down the latter. When I was sanding the rougher side just to get the splinters off I started liking the character of the wood and decided to see what would happen if I sanded in the grooves. It gave a fun, rippled look to the wood, so I changed up my plans and decided to use the bumpier side for the top instead.
After I got it all together I used two different stain colors to get a mix I liked (Early American followed by Mocha). I varnished it with this rub on satin finish that I found here that I like. I used it on our bed and it protects without it looking glossy. It’s easy to use too. No brushes to clean!
Chris came down to check on me and we popped the sink in to see what it was going to look like all together. We have silver faucets for both bathrooms, which I think will look great. I love how it turned out!
I also managed to get two stools that will go at the counter in the kitchen stained. No, I didn’t make them. It’s something I definitely thought about, but when I was at the company we bought our drawer slides from, they had them already pre-made there so I decided to be realistic with my time frame right now and just buy them.
With the stools, vanity and half of the doors done I fell like I’m actually accomplishing things. I still have a HUGE list of stuff, but I think once I get into making the cupboards it’ll be more assembly line stuff so it’ll go faster than I think it will. Parts of it feel terrifying to me, but it’s good to learn new things, right? Lol!
The hardest part of building is honestly Alex. If he’s home I get no peace. The hours where I can work while he’s at school are amazing and productive. When he’s home he’s stealing my tools and getting into everything. Exhausting. I keep reminding myself that he’s like this because he has an amazing brain and just wants to be part of things. But, so hard! Lol!
I’m heading to Port tomorrow to do one last big shopping trip. My goal is to get the last major things on my list so I don’t have to personally go back into town myself. There will still be small things to get, I’m sure, but I hopefully won’t have to take any more days to go get them.
Have a great week!