La Corona keeps going up while KR goes down


La Corona enters a new phase of construction – dealing with the rainy season.  The night watch man, Philly, has adapted by moving into La Corona’s kitchen during the evening hours.


Last night the rainy season officially started with thunder, lightning and pouring rain until 4:00AM.   Lilly rode out the storm sitting on my head while licking my ear.   The thunder and lightning blended nicely with the glow and music coming from the clubs on the malecón below.   Apparently nothing dampens a good party in PV.  Since our new temporary apartment doesn’t even have Spanish TV, I watched a DVD of Pride and Prejudice with subtitles to pass the time.  It’s a good movie, especially after a screwdriver.  KR didn’t hear any of this, nor see the season’s first light show, as she was sleeping like a log in the hospital after surgery.

Well, where do we start in catching you up?

How about KR’s new temporary apartment in the large condo building next door to La Corona?  KR moved in this week as it has a pool, kitchen, running water, and all the amenities that the previous place didn’t.  It’s quite lovely with a nice view of the malecón.  As it’s now getting hot, I can attest to the very positive effects of splish-splashing in the pool.

Which I guess brings us to the surgery, as the pool played a role.  After going to one of my favorite restaurants on Saturday night, KR, Harriet (who was staying with us for a couple of days) and I come back to the apartment and started playing in the pool.  A couple of screwdrivers into the evening and I’m relaxing on the float (Harriet and KR say I was passed out with said screwdriver in the float’s cup holder) and KR gets out of the pool and slips on the wet cement floor and cracks a piece of her elbow off.  She’s in lots of pain, so Harriet wakes me and I jump into action – that is I jump out of the pool and jump into bed for the evening.  No sense for all of us to lose sleep, huh?  The next morning I do my part in getting KR ready for the doctor by getting us all vanilla lattes from Starbucks.  Someone has to remain calm during the chaos.

Harriet takes charge in a way only Harriet can.  In short order, the following happens:  a call to Harriet’s doctor gets us off to hospital #1 for a 9:30 appointment; a 10:00 X-Ray (it’s not good news, KR needs surgery); a call goes out to the #2 orthopedic surgeon in town (the #1 is vacationing);  we arrive at hospital #2 (which is brand new and spotless) in which we check KR in before noon, meet with the surgeon to learn tonight’s as good as any for surgery; which KR has from 5:30-7:30; it goes without a hitch but KR has to stay overnight;  I come by the next morning to go over home care requirements; check KR out less than 24 hours and is back “home”.   I’m writing this from the window seat on UA Airways  #363 back to LA.

All of this costs us less than $4000.  Doctor #1 and X-Ray about $100.  Hospital costs about $1750.  Surgeon’s costs about $1750 (as only Sam can do, he found a video of the surgeon on the internet.  Here it is if you’re interested : ).  First round of prescriptions about $120.  Collateral damage is a little tougher to estimate:  the Iron Duke sprung a lead in itsradiator and the electronics counsel on the ceiling fell off while driving back from the hospital.  I walked around the corner and found Hectar, who will fix it on Monday.  KR has her own unique way of looking at costs as she thinks this was expensive – about the cost of the refrigerator she had wanted: )

KR will be a wounded warrior for the next three weeks or so.  Her arm is bandaged in a sling, but doesn’t have a cast.  The doctor says she shouldn’t drive, but we’ll see.  Walking everywhere will probably do her good.

As for La Corona, see pictures below.   We’re well on the way building the new wing, Raphael’s Folly, and it really does add a lot of space.  We’re still waiting on the elevator to put in the shaft that we’re constructing.   The top deck is 80% complete as is the pool.   Our goal is to get most of the outdoor stuff done in the next three weeks.  We then have some serious decisions to make regarding bathrooms and kitchen details, but that’s fodder for the next trip.


I was in DC for a week to attend a DOE conference and took this picture while squeezing between the fence posts with the Blackberry.   Three of four days it rained, but one was beautiful as this picture attests.

ALL politics are local, it seems.  This is a presidential political rally held in the street below KR’s apartment one night.  KR tells me she shook the candidate’s hand, but doesn’t remember which candidate.


KR and I attended a seminar on the upcoming Mexican presidential elections on July 1st.  Very interesting and informative, if a bit confusing.  Most helpful piece of information:  stock up on booze the Friday before the election as no liquor is sold during election weekend throughout Mexico.  This may be taking elections too seriously.

KR and Lilly try out the pool in KR’s new temporary home.


24 hours later and KR is prepped for surgery. Hospital was immaculate, staff was attentive, and the surgeon wielded a sharp and precise knife.


La Corona as of June 15th 2012.  All major structural work is done with the exception of Raphael’s Folly.

This is the way its suppose to look — unfinished: )  Finishing touches on the entrance way are in progress.

The kitchen takes shape.  Because of the moisture in PV, all structures are built with bricks/cement first, then wood finishing touches added.  No different for the kitchen cabinets and island.  Cement structure won’t warp, thus providing a good foundation for cabinets.

What’s left of the original steps to what use to be my office.  Brick structure straight ahead is the second floor of Raphael’s Folly — the second floor bathroom, elevator shaft, and outdoor living room.  I admit, it takes some imagination to see…

Deep thought.  KR standing in the stairway between the second and third floors, gazing out on the courtyard.  This is obviously pre-accident as she’s using her right elbo.

View from main living room to outdoor living area on Raphael’s Folly.

View of the pool from Raphael’s Folly.  The idea is to have a water fall effect on this wall.

The pool 80% done.  Biggest problem is the “Mexican White’ color of the tiles, which turn out to be Gingo Yellow, which doesn’t go real well with the rest of the floor.  Changes are needed…

The Terrazza is coming along nicely.  The upper structure is done and awaiting solar panels.  Bar/BBQ is at the right.  This view is rearward toward the mountains.

The floor tile goes down.

Sea, boat, cement and tile.  What more can a guy want?

KR knows and is friends with all the workers.  This is Mario, an affable, English-speaking cement carrier.

I get quickly back in the saddle, attending a news conference in Vista Hermosa Park in which the Mayor unveils a UCLA study on the future impact of climate change on Los Angeles — neighborhood by neighborhood.

Later that night I attend a Clean Air Board awards ceremony at the Petersen Automotive Museum where the Mayor, Jay Leno and Bob Lutz are the key speakers.  I’m sitting at table 21, behind the pillar.  Still, the Mayor made his way over and greeted me by first name — with no name tag either!

The next day I’m a speaker and tour guide on the Arts District Real Estate Developers Tour.  Here, the group stops and admires the last big room in the Factory Place complex, which is where I live.

End of the day is a reception on the top deck of the Barker Block condo development one block away from LACI.


UPDATE:  In the week or so since beginning this post, KR has adopted well to her one-winged status.  She can’t really drive, so she’s walking more and taking taxis when needed.   The boys at La Corona have built her a new, easier to use stairs/ladder to the second floor.  It now rains mightily every night, scaring Lilly to no end.  True to his word, Isidro’s crew keep on working whether rain or shine.




7 replies
  1. Ryan says:

    It appears as though there is just enough space for my family to visit…have you considered a fifth and sixth floor design? We wish KR a quick, painless recovery.

  2. Scott and Pie says:

    Hi Karen and Fred, Everything looks great, Karen sorry about your elbow, hope it heals fast, Fred, sounds like your project is doing well
    Scott and Pie

  3. Debbie and Dennis says:

    Keeping up with you is an adventure in it’s self ! Sooo sorry that Karen broke her elbow followed by surgery, thankfully she is on the road to recovery. Remember when I fell over my suitcase at Casa Andrea and hurt but didn’t brake my elbow…the pain was horrible, the entire vacation I was in a sling and it took six months to get back to normal. I feel badly for Karen and send love. Geez, what a whirlwind trying to complete Casa Corona or Corona Hollywood as it’s becoming…much like Chonchos 😉 and you blondie, yucking it up with the Mayor of L.A. and Jay Leno…of course you are!!!!!!
    Sending lot’s of love.
    Debbie and Dennis

  4. Raphael says:

    Alcohol, pool and passing out. Great combo! And I’m tagged as a Folly?
    Karen, you looked so sad in that bed!? 8^((
    I wish you speedy healing.
    House is shaping up nicely and I like the new outside color.
    The view looks outrageous.

  5. jocelyn McCormick says:

    Fred, Amazing what you have pulled together in such a short time. Love reading about your building adventures in PV.

    I am rebuilding a family home with a brother (he is doing the heavy lifting and I am writing half the checks to the Polish workmen) on the island of Texel (island in the NorthSea).

    Speedy recovery to Karen,


  6. Gregg & Tish says:

    Add our list to best wishes for a speedy recovery for the lovely Ms. Rutherford. How is the training coming along, drinking wine with her left hand?

    Love the house, beautiful really and only surpassed by the view.

    Best always
    Gregg & Tish

  7. Aneth Hershfield says:

    Hi Karen: I admire you for all your energy you have put in the Corona project. Congratulation, I hope that everything is healing well with your elbow.
    Enjoy the rainy season. Here it has been, around 112 to 115 degrees. Take care and say hello to Fred Carinos de Peter y Aneth Chen Hershfield

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