Saturday, July 21, 2012

The 3 Little Pigs

Grab this related post Widget!
I often don't know what day it is. This isn't due to the onset of dementia. It's simply because in retirement such information often doesn't really matter. You wake up and it's---today.

Well, that's not exactly true. Many times I have commitments that require me to know the names of the days, but the number itself is irrelevant unless it's a special occasion ("Oh, yesterday was your birthday??" wouldn't make for a happy household).

But I absolutely know today is Saturday. That's because it's the first quiet morning after five straight days of the pounding.

Before I get to that, let me clarify what "quiet" means around here. When we visit our son and family in the States we marvel at the complete lack of outside noise in their house. You see a bird chirping right at the window but no sound reaches your ears. Amazing. That's not exactly the way it works around here.

"Quiet" almost always includes cars, trucks, and buses going by and dogs barking, plus occasional fireworks and car alarms. It's remarkable how your brain tunes out all that background racket, but it really does. Unless I focus on it I rarely notice any noise.

For the past several months, however, our "peacefulness" has been jolted every morning promptly at 7 AM Monday through Friday. Why? Well, there's a house being built right behind our bedroom window.

I begrudgingly have to give the construction crew credit. I can never get anyone around here to show up on time for anything. Greenwich Mean Time could be calibrated based on the arrival of these guys.

When we moved in I thought this lot would forever remain vacant. The street frontage is barely wider than a vehicle, then a bowling alley strip of land runs beside our building and opens up into an enclosed rectangle. Here's how it looked until recently.

I was obviously wrong. Here came a Bobcat clearing the ground. Then trenches for utilities. We dreaded the possibility that yet another mid-rise condo building would obstruct the view that allows me to capture these gorgeous sunsets.

So the bad news is the land is being developed. The good news is our new neighbor is a one story single family home.

I've never had the opportunity to observe a home here being built from beginning to end. The difference in construction technique is quite different from the US. There's no pouring a pad, framing, drywall, siding, roof, finishes, and you're done.

No, the culture here favors the third Little Pig in this post's title. They build 'em out of bricks. Behold-----

This home is literally being built wall-to-wall, taking up every square inch of land. It looks like there's going to be a small courtyard in one back corner and windows across the front. Otherwise no exterior light would enter, but it appears the design includes an "old school" large central skylight.

And as you can see all the walls are created one brick at a time. It will be interesting to see how the electrical system is eventually installed. Check out the steel beams that will support the roof.

Needless to say this style of construction is built to last. Unfortunately for us it also takes forever to complete. Until all this ruckus started 7 o'clock wasn't our ideal waking hour.

It still isn't.

Makes the Latin American tradition of an afternoon siesta that much easier to embrace.



Everything around here is "hand made built", therefore constructions are solid rock. Building technology hasn't come here yet. Wow, I feel sorry for you guys for all the construction noise! Doesn't sound like a great place to retire though, maybe in the country side would be better, or where you're son lives! lol..

Dave Sailer said...

I was wondering just yesterday about how well the buildings there might handle earthquakes.

Some of the newer highrise residences may be built well, but they're taller too, so they'd have to be especially sound.

Your neighbor is lower, at only one story, but brick construction is one of the most dangerous as well, and unless they have a properly designed and built place, it could be a deathtrap.

A steel-beam-supported roof may be some help, but luckily you won't be sleeping there.