Scott’s making progress up on our property…I really need to come up with a good name for our property so I can stop calling it ‘our property’…I’ll work on that ! Anyways, He now has three good laborers who are working out pretty well so far. Two are father and son, Ricardo 1 and Ricardo 2, and the other is Archiles. The father and son have worked for one of the construction companies in town and have a lot of experience. Ricardo 2 is also very skilled at welding and metal working which will come in very handy. Already he will be doing some work on making a metal door for the Bodega (shed) that they built to store bags of cement and tools. We also need a nice gate at the entrance to the property and maybe we can get him on that as well. There’s another worker who we have been introduced to who is waiting in the wings for Scott to be ready to add to his crew. This is another very experienced guy who will be very good to have around. Originally we had planned to hire a contractor to do the building of the main structures of the two houses we will be building on the property. But….now that Scott seems to be gathering such experienced men he’s rethinking this original plan and considering moving forward on his own! Yikes! Well, not really Yikes! I know he’s fully capable, I’ve just been a bit hesitant to build singlehandedly, like we did in Los Altos because of not having the knowledge of things like, where to purchase materials, building houses here is done very differently than they do it in the states, the language and possible trouble communicating, and just the general headaches that will certainly come from not having an experienced contractor in charge. I’m a bit conflicted, as you can tell, about our ability to tackle such an enormous project all on our own. Believe me, Scott’s not diving in to such a big decision, he’s weighing all the pro’s and cons very carefully before making a firm decision. This project may well go through many varied and different decisions on many levels, until we come up with a solid plan that we both feel comfortable with. But for now Scott and his little crew of three have been very productive and are getting a lot done. They got the roof on the bodega this week and only the door is left to make it a secure place to lock things up. Yesterday Scott bought all the metal necessary to make the door and Ricardo 2 will be welding it up at his house today.
Here’s a funny little thing that happened this week, I love this….Scott told me that the other day when he was driving Ricardo 1 & Ricardo 2 home at the end of the day Ricardo 1 said (in spanish of course) “It’s customary to buy us a beer after a roof is finished” Lol! We have heard that there is a traditional custom here, when a roof is up and finished they actually have a celebration of sorts and normally there is a traditional meal prepared, I’m not savvy on the name of the stew or dish that they traditionally prepare, but in this case, given that it was just a small ‘bodega’ roof I suspect they were happy to settle for a couple of beers at the end of the day. And if you know my Scott, I’m sure he had no problem with treating them to a couple of cold beers at the end of the day. Smiling, (cuz’ I know that the mention of stopping for a beer would induce a smile on my husbands face!) he said,”No problema, it only needs to be a bar where I can see my truck because I have many tools in the back” And off they went to a nearby bar and Scott enjoyed a couple of beers and treated them to the same. By the way, for those of you who care…the beer in this particular bar cost $1.00 each. Our very first roof-raising celebration sounds as though it was a grand success!
We also had our first payday for our three employees. They get paid on the 15th and the 30th of each month. As I’ve told you, we have an attorney who’s advising us on the proper procedures for hiring and employing basic construction workers legally. She advised us that it is customary to have contracts for each employee and that it’s best to initially hire them for a small project in order to make sure that the worker is a good one and that you want to work with them for a larger project. But we will need to prepare a new contract for each defined project as we go along. The minimum wage here is different for different types of workers, domestic, basic construction, etc. Minimum wage for a basic construction worker is $ 2.72 per hour and it’s our responsibility to deduct 9.75 % for Social Security and
1.25% for Social School. So each day we keep a record of hours worked and have the employee sign a little time card confirming that he worked those hours. We’re still learning a lot about all this and it could be that we’re being a bit too exacting, but right now it’s good to be careful and to try to do what’s right. I must say that so far these guys are all working so hard and it’s only been a few weeks but they’ve been very consistently working 7:30-4:00 Monday through Saturday ! They’ve expressed a bit of surprise at the amount of labor their Gringo Jefe has been doing side by side right along with them. Scott’s just never been the kinda guy to stand around telling people what to do. Nope! He’s gotta get his hands just as dirty and bust his butt right along with em’! That’s just the way he rolls and it’ll never change!
Now that we have a nearly completed bodega the next thing they’re working on is the retaining wall. Archiles has dug the trench all along the road for the foundation of the wall. Ricardo 1 has been bending wire all week in preparation for building the posts and also preparing all the wire that goes inside the wall. There is one area that we can see has some moisture coming from above so that area has a much deeper foundation which will have a drain pipe in it and some gravel? Don’t quote me on this, I’m just trying to remember what I was told, I’m not exactly an expert on retaining walls! 🙂 I think the distance they’re covering with the wall is about 200 feet, it’s pretty far. I took some pictures so you can see the lovely ditch! Cuz I’m sure you’re interested in such things! Ha! Next week should be all about his wall, so I’ll show you the progress as it goes up. I’ve been taking Scott his lunch everyday, since I’m the 4 wheelin’ gal, I just love cruisin’ up there and checking on the progress each day. My big project now is to work on getting a bank account! Which means gathering all the required documents and filling out all the paperwork to get this process going. Ugggg! Here’s a list of what Scotia Bank requires. I’m not sure if this is the same for all the banks:
1. Passport and one additional picture ID(Like your U.S. Drivers license)
2. Two (2) bank reference letters addressed to Scotiabank (very important)
3. Copy of a utility bill (to verify current address, even though it’s not in your name)
4. Copy of last income tax return or job employment letter
5. Three (3) personal references (including name, address, phone number, relationship).
6. Purpose of the account
7. Rental Agreement
8. Immigration Id
9. Letter of a lawyer addressed to the bank that let us know you immigration status.
So, that’s what we’re up to. Never a dull moment! Now if I could come up with a good name for our property! Our good friends already took the perfect name… Hillside Haven! Darn it! Cuz this whole place is such a Haven! Any suggestions???