Belize Blog Post 14 - More Roofs Done, More To Go!

Day 102 - January 19 - Saturday
Internet day :)

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So, yeah, I got into Yim Saan for my internet and Curry Chicken day.

Think I caught a bus around noon or 1pm or something like that, and left around 6pm, so at least 5 hours of catching up with the rest of the world.

There are days where the "Tropical Life" are pretty good. Just nice and slow and easy, set a pace, and life is good. Then sometimes I remember what life was like before. Days when I have a car or a motorcycle. When I can go to a store and buy exactly what I am looking for. Days when I can use my smart phone or laptop and get internet when I actually want it, not when I have time to go into town.

These were the thoughts I had, while sitting at the bus stop for almost 2 hours last night, trying to get back to "home". I had likely just missed the first bus as I was walking to the bus stop. Half of the busses are "Non Stop" to Belize City, so they won't let you off at the smaller villages. Busses normally come by every 15 to 30 minutes, but weekends are less often. I'm guessing maybe more like once an hour.

If I'd really thought about it when I first got here, I would have spent the money to buy a bicycle here. It would have been worth it for 6 months, but now I'm less than 3 months from going home, and I don't want to spend the money anymore! But its still tempting.

I found a few more books online that I can read. And I also downloaded the Kindle software for PC, which lets you read Kindle books on your laptop or what ever you have. That makes a lot of sense for a traveler type person, no one wants to carry a back pack of books around! So now as I think about books, I'll search for them online, and download them. Its amazing how many books are available as "e-books" that are out of print. And a lot of them are free too!

Day 103 - January 20 - Sunday
Woke up with my neck out of place. That's never fun! Not sure when it really got started, but I've had that happening a few times a year for the last 10 years or so. I used to have a special pillow that seemed to help some. Just part of being alive I guess!

John dropped by today. He's been staying in with the kids at the Home the last week. So I've had the whole place to myself mostly.

Day 104 - January 21 - Monday
I had to look twice, John's white Rabbit Pickup is back on property. I had thought maybe that had been burried at sea or in the back 40 or something, but its back in the land of the living. It just might be the Undead Rabbit... There might be a Monty Python line in there somewhere... large teeth and fangs?

Anyway, John is moved back to the job site here, so population has again doubled.. from 1 to 2!

I was reading one of my "self improvement" books tonight, and had this idea. More of a tweak on an earlier idea I guess. Its like I had all the pieces a few years ago, but never put it all together till now. Cool how that works sometimes right?

No, sorry, I won't tell you what the idea was. Cause that's just the way I am.

In other news, I fixed the drill press today. That has probably been broken since the late 1940s or so. The story is it was a military surplus item, maybe was from a sunken battle ship or something. Anyway, its been kind of cranky since I got here, so a few months. I was using it today, and finally I decided that if I didn't fix it right, right now, it might just self destruct, and frag me out. So about an hour of fiddling and tweaking, and its in fine shape now. Dad had bought some new belts for it, which helped a lot. Then I fixed how one of the pulleys was mounted to the shaft, tightened and straighened the other pulley, cleaned out 50 years of metal shavings... and then bolted it down to the table. See, at one time, when we first got here, Dad made a nice metal "welding table" which we drilled and bolted the drill press to. Then we had to move things, and the drill got unbolted, to move the table. Later, we figured out a slick way to carry it, and we'd put it in the tool locker trailer in between uses. For anyone who's ever carried a drill press, yeah, that had to stop. They're heavy, awkward, all the weight is on the wrong end, and I think most of the problems with this one are from it being dropped on its head a few times. So now it works, its mounted securely, and as I told John, its now good for another 50 years of service!

In the afternoon I went up on the roof of one of the dorms to help screw down the roofing. Earlier I had said that roof was done, but what I hadn't noticed is they only put in about 30% of the screws. No wonder they got it done so fast! So I worked for a couple hours, and have maybe another day's worth of screws to drive tomorrow. Or someone else can do it, or I'll do it some other time. See, I have to learn that I really don't know what I'll be doing on the next shift.

A few weeks back, my first time up on the roof putting up the "tin" was right scary. Up till then, I'd been walking on trusses and perlins, and while that was a bit nerve wracking, I had gotten used to it. Then we put up this shiny, smooth tin, and OMG, that can be slippery. Especially in the morning when the dew is still out. But eventually I got to trust my boots, and got used to moving around. Today when I went up, it was no problem at all.

Kind of freaks me out now, how far I've come. If I'm on the ground for a few days, I start missing the roof. I might need therapy. Reminds me of a Rush song (just happens to be playing now as I type it, go figure)...
Workin' them Angels... overtime...

Day 105 - January 22 - Tuesday
Wow, what a slacker I am today, I didn't even write anything. Hmmm lets see, what did I do on Tuesday... it must have been pretty exciting. Oh wait, it was actually!

On this day (Tuesday, since I'm writing this on Wednesday, cause I forgot to write it on Tuesday..) I finished putting in all the screws in the roof on the first dorm.

I always feel the need to some how clarify that, because only the first half of the roof is now done. But still, at this point, that dorm roof is now half done. So yeah!

And tomorrow (Wednesday) they'll start putting up the roof metal zinc tin stuff on the other dorm. So technically we're somewhere approaching 40 to 50% of the roof being up now.

Day 106 - January 23 - Wednesday
Today was kind of Misty all day. The guys started putting up the Zincs (metal roof sheeting) on the 3rd building today. I was going to be part of that, but since we can only find 2 of the nut driver tips for the 5/16" screws they are using, I had to go find something else to do. As is, they had plenty of people, because it kept getting wet and slippery.

I did some finish up on the first porch, there was a line or two of screws that needed to be put back in. What happened there was the screws had been put in, then they got the foam they needed to put under the bottom edge of the zinc, so they were lifted up, and then never put back down again. So that went fairly fast, since almost all the holes were already marked and started for me. It would have been REALLY easy, but again, it kept misting. A metal roof, in even slightly damp conditions is kind of like black ice. What helped me today was that the porch isn't as steeply pitched as the rest of the roof... and I guess its less scary because its closer to the ground if I do fall!

By 2pm, after helping some of the guys move a pile of lumber into the shelter under the new porch, I decided I wasn't really doing much, so took the rest of the afternoon off.

Its kind of nice sitting under a porch and watching the rain fall, when I'm not actually in the rain!

John and Stanley went to Spanish Lookout this afternoon to get some more metal and other supplies. I haven't been there in Forever, it seems. There was a while where I went there 3 or 4 times a week, when I first got here. That's something I do miss, just jumping in a truck and going somewhere.

Day 107 - January 24 - Thursday
... Almost Friday ... ;)
It might be the rain we've been having, but I really want to go camping!

See, when I was a kid growing up on the farm, the only time it seemed that we went camping, was when it was raining too hard to go farming.

That also got me thinking about my future life, somehow. In the last month or two, I have been wondering what I'd do after this year, or when I leave Belize, or after I'm done the whole motorcycle tour of the world idea that I started but then got distracted from. There are some obvious problems with riding a motorcycle around the world.

For one, there is a physical limit to how much stuff you can bring along. And everynight I have to set up camp. And I don't have a microwave or a fridge, And sleeping on the ground, that kind of thing. And you can't go across the ocean on a motorcycle.

So then I started thinking about the whole motorhome or van camping, which I kind of like. Except the motorhome I have only gets 7 miles per gallon of gas, where the motorcycle got between 35 and 50, depending on load and other details. Still can only drive on ground, roads, etc.

Then I remembered when we went down to Placencia (on the coast of Belize, on the Caribean, very nice there, by the way) there was a couple sail boats anchored, just off shore. Hmmm what I need next would be some kind of a sail boat. If there is wind, you get a free ride, well, free after you pay for the sail boat. But mostly free. And people can live on boats. And I liked being out to sea when I was in the Navy. So there's something to think about right?


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Anyway, today looked really dark, like it was going to rain at any moment, but it never did.

We got almost all the "tin" up on the second dorms roof (first half). It goes so fast when its not raining! I got a few pictures at the end of the day. Wow, that looks so awesome!

Day 108 - January 25th - Friday
First off, Happy Birthday to my brother Kevin. Dude, we're old!

Today got off to a bit of a slow start, in that there was dew on the roof, so we had to find other things to do. Actually, Mike and I worked on the roof a bit anyway, he finished up some welding we'd started yesterday afternoon, and I did some cutting I didn't have time to finish. We were able to work on part of the roof that hasn't been covered in the zinc yet, so the traction was a bit better.

Then we spent some time inside, working on the showers. I got to try my hand flinging plaster. The guys got a good laugh out of that. Reminds me of a saying I read or heard in a business environment once. "When you're starting off, you're just flinging mud. You're not really sure what will work, so you just fling, and see where it sticks." Well, turns out in my case, it mostly stuck to my boots and jeans, but I think a little bit of it might have hit the wall! Considering the cost of concrete, etc, I thought I'd be better off letting the professionals do it.

Eventually the roof dried, and I was able to put in a whole bunch more screws. At least now we know the roof won't fly away before Monday!

I was planning on going into town this afternoon (since its Friday, the crew got off at 1pm today) but now its raining so I probably won't go in until Saturday, maybe. We'll see.

Day 109 - January 26th - Saturday
Woke up to a rainy day, but its ok, I could sleep in, because its Saturday. That's the best day ever!

Anyway, I caught a ride with John into town, so avoided getting wet, and now I'm at the Chinese place doing the interwebs, so life is good.

More later!

By Carlin Comm posted on 2013-01-26