Sunday, December 5, 2010

It gets worse before it gets better

 More scenes of destruction. A narrow corridor is opened up to enlarge the bathroom. A new wall will separate it from the guest bedroom in back which will get its own bathroom, though not right away.

Coming from a temperate rainforest climate, I'm a little iffy about punching holes in the roof for wiring, but I'm assured this will not leak, once patched, and the conduit for the wiring will withstand the furnace outside.

The hot water tank has a leak and needs to be replaced. So we're going to take the opportunity to switch to a solar hot water system. Now trying to assess the options and requirements (do we need a hydropneumatic pump to increase water pressure? What kind of anti-scale system will treat the hard water so sarro doesn't build up in the heater and elsewhere?) Water softening technologies seem to be a matter of great debate online - I wonder what others have found to be effective?
The wiring conduit will run along the roof  - hope this works!

The walls are for tall closets in the bedroom

Plugging the door opening in dining room
The bathroom was so hideous, this seems like an improvement


  1. Your project looks pertty good, all things considered. On my house when they went to put a "little hole" in the roof, about three square meters came down. What could I say when I stopped by and discovered an enormous hole in my bedroom ceiling? "Nice skylight guys, but I think it's just a little too big."

  2. Hey, I just found your blog and like it. We are looking a house in the area where you live. What is your feeling about a house near two Salas de Fietas? Any comments appreciated!

  3. That's a good question, Anonymous. Noise was a key issue for us, perhaps it is less so for other people. We decided against a house in a different neighborhood in part because there was a big sala de fiesta nearby. I understand some are noisier (more successful?) than others. I know there has been some mention of this issue on the forums.
    When I was house hunting I would get on the bike at night and ride around the houses I had seen that day, to see what it sounded like, whether it felt safe, whether there were lights on in the neighboring houses, what was going on in the street. Sometimes I asked neighbors for info about the neighborhood. A bunch of places got crossed off my list because of the night vibes, especially if there didn't seem to be people living in the surrounding buildings.
    Good luck with your search. I'd love to hear all about it.
    So far, this has been a great experience and a lot of fun.

  4. Marc, I like that relaxed attitude about things that go a bit sideways. Even the delays and minor setbacks have been an interesting part of the journey.

  5. Debbie, what a great idea to get out after hours and see what is going on. My hubby and I stayed in downtown Atlanta one year during the Christmas holidays, thinking that it would be very "holidayish". Instead, there were very few people downtown and we were the prime if not the only target for "panhandlers". A group of them insisted that we wanted to buy CD's from them.

    We too are looking for the right area in Centro, and it is very hard to know looking via the internet. Do you have an opinion as to the areas of Centro that would have good night vibes? I have read that the popular areas for the restored colonials are Santiago and Santa Ana. Are there other areas that we should consider? We will want to be able to bicycle and walk to nearby museums, restaurants, and of course MELL. We just listed our house in Chattanooga, TN and plan to retire by mid-year 2011. (Yipee!) Any and all advice would be welcomed! Deborah (and Phil)

  6. Hi Deborah and Phil,
    I'm far from an expert on the question of best neighborhoods since I'm pretty new and still learning more about the neighborhoods with each trip. Other, more experienced bloggers could tell you much more. Yucatan Living also did a good article on the Neighborhoods of Merida.
    Much of Santa Ana and Santiago are definitely prime spots, along with La Ermita de Santa Isabel.
    My other impressions: I am told Chem Bech and Chuminopolis are becoming popular, though a year ago most people didn't seem to know where they were. Itzimna is beautiful and fairly close to the action in Centro (though perhaps not quite walkable) and definitely more expensive. The blocks east of Paseo de Montejo are really nice and convenient. Some of the streets in the Centenario neighborhood, near the zoo, are really nice too. A number of people I have met have bought beautiful houses south of the main market. I haven't spent as much time in that neighborhood but hope to get to know it better.
    I feel a little uncomfortable about walking alone through the main market area at night because everything is shuttered, but then, I'm a big chicken.

  7. Deb,
    On water treatment, I did considerable research for our farm near Buffalo (an area with much limestone and gypsum) and decided to forego softening via resin balls and salt. Instead, I installed a 4-ft tall charcoal filter, with a backwash timer; and I added 6 powerful ceramic ring-magnets from Edmund Scientific around the waterline where it enters the holding tank. That was over 20 years ago. Last year I had to have new activated charcoal replace the old stuff. I'm happy with the choice I made.

    The water is significantly improved, but without that slippery feel characteristic of typical softening. Charcoal has a tremendous affinity for trapping various minerals which are then flushed by backwashing (every third day). However, it is a poor reducer of bio agents. So I put a 9" polypropylene line filter ahead of the big charcoal filter, to keep the charcoal from clogging with bio growth. I change that every 3 months.

    This has worked well. And the proof of the effectiveness is evident by the fact that my on-demand Bosch water heater has never scaled up in over ten years.

    Hope this helps.


  8. Hi Eric,
    Sounds like a fantastic system. I haven't heard of anything like it in my reading and questioning on the subject. Are you thinking of doing something similar in Merida?