November 1st, the fourth or fifth “deadline” for La Corona’s completion, is fast approaching and I’m obsessed with watching the clock. I’m determined to project manage the final phase from 1500 miles away to insure that we overcome the “It’s Mexico” mantra that KR and I have taken up.
Who am I kidding? Certainly not KR, Isidro, Jaime and the 20 or so workers that have hand-built La Corona in the past nine months. Instead of talking about all the things that have been accomplished so far (the half full view), let’s focus on what’s not done (the glass is half empty view):
- The main kitchen has bones, but nothing else
- The “guest kitchen” is still only a concept in KR”s head
- The master bathroom hasn’t been started
- The pool bathroom hasn’t been started
- The living room bathroom hasn’t been started
- No shelving have been built in the living room, master bedroom or man dungeon
This “half empty” view is too damn depressing, so let’s go back to the “we’re almost there!” view. The outside is largely finished except for the security covers. With the exception of the guest kitchen, the first floor is pretty much done (the guest quarters part of the house). The second floor is painted (thank god!) and is ready for the final elements (see kitchen, bath, etc.). The pool and pool deck and the top floors are all pretty much done. Our “master suite” is still bare walls, but they’re painted at least. Perhaps most important, I love what’s been done so far and can’t wait for the rest to come on line.
Nine months after first starting construction we’ve finally completed THE DESIGN of all elements, even though not all the designs are committed to paper yet. Is this normal? Probably not, see the “It’s Mexico” mantra above. Part of the problem is “It’s KR’s Way” as well, as she’s fine with the lets-design-as-we-go approach to building a house. KR scoured every tile store in Puerto Vallarta and couldn’t find what she wanted, so she and Isidro went to Guadalajara last week to buy tile, sinks and light fixtures. Even though we have a CostCo and Home Depot, PV isn’t LA when it comes to finding things KR likes. Hence, we didn’t complete the design of the master bathroom until today.
Less than 30 days to go…
“It’s Mexico” also refers to the idiosyncrasies of construction Mexican style. For instance, there are no wall lights, electrical socket covers, etc. that are level. They all slant to one side or the other. Ninety degree angles are not the Mexican Workers’ friend as doors and windows are most often not square, the first time around. The second time is usually closer. Hence, no door stays open, as it either automatically closes or opens because its not level. No rooms are square. No walls perfectly in alignment with a ninety-degree angle. It’s just the Mexican way…
“It’s Mexico” also has lots of positives, of course. Everything is hand-made, which means you can get it done YOUR WAY, sans 90 degree angles of course. You want the socket over there, no problem. You want the windows to look like this? Let’s talk with the carpenter and explain what you want. You want a custom made counter top that combines parrota wood and slate? No problem.
Which of course explains to a large degree why its taken us nine months to get this far: )
The “It’s Mexico” also comes with a night watchman who gladly mixes yours truly his nightly tequila cocktail while swimming in the pool. It comes with workers who can’t wait to plant the latest flowers Karen buys, and argue with her about the right way to plant them. And when they don’t like where Karen puts them, they switch’em when she isn’t looking. And it comes with workers who gladly go pick up the 600 lb old wood couch KR has bought from some garage sale and hump it up a couple flights of stairs — all without complaint.
I keep telling myself the finish line is THERE! Right there! That we’re getting closer and closer and closer and someday it will all be done. But, of course, it’s never going to be done. This is Karen, after all.