Belize Blog Post 11 - The New Year - Big Things Coming!

Day 81 - December 29 - Saturday
Internet Time!

Day 82 - December 30 - Sunday
I did a little bit of catch up welding today, on one of the dorms. Almost got rained on, I had finished up, put the welder away, then it rained pretty hard for a while.

A few of us stayed up late talking, pretty exciting what we're looking forward to in the new year.

Day 83 - December 31 - Monday
New Years Eve
I didn't actually end up working today, exactly.

First I got the parts I'd been waiting for, for the washing machine. Turns out they have been here a week. We could have used them for this last group. But no matter, we have them now, I put in the new controller for the motor, and it works fine. I ran a couple loads through it, and its all good to go.

Next I need to replace a couple plug in recepticals in the laundry closet, because the GFI are tripping too much. Once I have those replaced, I'll put the dryer back on top of the washer and we're all done. Otherwise, there would just be no room to work at all!

This afternoon we got ready for the kids holiday party. I got to help putting the gift bags together, so saw that the kids got a lot of fun looking stuff, some school supplies, some grooming stuff, and lots of candy. It was pretty fun this time, more gifts, and fireworks. Got some good pictures too. Even some rain! Nice to see that the new roof is working, no leaks at all where its finished.

Day 84 - January 1 - Tuesday
First Day of the New Year. Good time to sleep in!

Today was a no work day. So as it turned out, there was a sink full of dishes that I got to do, and the floor in our eating area was completely trashed, from all the little muddy feet going in to use the restrooms. This being the same floor that was cleaned very well yesterday. Good thing about heavy duty ceramic tiles, is they're pretty easy to clean. I grabbed a garden hose, a good scrub brush, the mop and bucket, and some dish soap. Spray it all down, soap it, scrub it, spray to rinse, then use the floor squeegee to push the excess water off the steps, then a quick mop to dry it, and we're good. I'll have to keep that in mind if I ever get a place, have a good hose handy, and maybe a floor drain.

John and I took advantage of no lines for the washers, and sunny windy conditions for the clothes lines, and got caught up on laundry. That's something to keep in mind, laundry is a bit of a gamble when there is a group here. Not that it would go missing, just that it seemed that laundry was running constantly while they were here.

After that, it was time for some yummie left overs for lunch, and then jump into looking at the pictures from the party. I started with about 1100 or so pictures, and then picked the best 200 or so, which will eventually get posted online.

Think tonight I'll try to get to sleep before midnight, should be easy enough to do, since we're back down to a crew of two, John and I. Most of the last group is gone, the remaining 2 are staying closer to the kids now.

Day 85 - January 2 - Wednesday
The crew is backtracking a bit, we're making a final push to finish Building D, the one we started on originally. Funny how that works, the roof is nearly finished, but then the 2 dorms have half a roof started, and the main front building has half a porch and some trusses up. Anyway, we had to wait for some specific metal to arrive, and now its here. Should be done in a day or two now, they got a lot done today.

I spent the day in a small room, with my ear plugs in, cutting a whole pile of short pieces of metal. Start with a 18 foot "C-Channel" and when you're done, its all 7 1/2 inches long. And a pile of grindings. We'll be welding those onto the ends of the trusses, its the part that the facia and soffet attach to.

Kind of a rough day for me, I guess its all the holiday breaks, it was hard to settle into working today. Plus I was missing the sunshine, I was in a small room, in the area the roof is done. Oh, and they were hammering on the tin roof, so that didn't help either!

So, lets see, what kind of problems did I run into today. I had 4 or 5 cut off wheels for the small grinder break up on me. That always gets your attention, one minute you're spacing off watching the sparks fly, the next you're ducking from the shrapnel. Then we don't have a big wheel for the 14" chop saw, (it also uses grinder abrasive cut wheels, just bigger) so I was going through the reject pile. We always save the cut wheels, for days like today, when we don't have a new wheel. There are some cuts you can only make with a new wheel, and some others you can cut when the wheel is really small. So today, on the cuts that could usually be done in one chop, I had to turn the piece over several times, to cut all the way through. Its a pain. Except when I'm cutting detail and angles, when its just impossible to cut and flip. So then I'm using the small grinder to finish a cut.

I'm trying to focus on getting the job done, not on all the silly things that annoy me through out the day. Some times it works!

Oh, and then there was the time I went to move the big welder out of my way, we weren't even using it today. So I just unlock it from the table I was using, and push it into the next room. Its on wheels, so its pretty easy to move around.

Except when the front wheels fall off, like they did today. Well, shoot, that's no good! Anyway, so they fall off, but it is kind of where I was planning to put it anyway, so I just left it. Figured all the guys were up on the roof, so I'd wait till they came down, and get help to lift it up and put it on blocks and find a way to fix it. Then I got working and didn't really think much of it. Sounded like the plan was not to do any welding for a couple of days, so no big deal.

Except in the afternoon when Stanley dropped by, and saw the welder sitting there with no front wheels. I guess it would have been a good thing for me to mention to him, earlier in the day, that I broke the welder. Especially since I had talked to him a few times about other stuff. Guess it wasn't high on my priority list then.

See, as it turns out, the people who loaned us the welder, "Word At Work", are sending a group of about 24 people, here, tonight. So they might be upset with us for breaking their welder. Suddenly I had the whole crew helping me fix the welder! Ok, really, when it broke, I was pretty sure it looked like an easy fix, it just was too heavy for me to do it myself. So I wasn't worried, even. But really, what are the odds of today being when the group gets here, that loaned us the welder?

Happy New Year, right?

Ok, so around 7pm tonight, this new group decended on us like locusts... Lots of energy, enthusiasm, and bouncing. Apparently they're pretty excited to be here.

Welcome to the Jungle :)

Day 86 - January 3 - Thursday
Another fine day of welding on the roof today. Today Mike and I teamed up again, he and Kevin put down the perlins and welded one side, then I came along behind and welded the second bead. That all went really well.

The "Word at Work" crew is here as well, they worked on a few projects, the big one was working toward finishing the porch on building A, that the Dani Johnson group started. With the heavy part done, now its mostly just putting down the tongue and groove planking, so that's going really quickly. Some others were painting the primer on the new trusses, so they don't rust. We only paint the welded areas, the trusses are galvanized, so they won't rust on their own, but the welding burns the galvanized layer off.

After lunch time, Stanley brought his truck and trailer loaded with more roofing steel, so the whole crew unloaded that together. That made things go a lot quicker.

When I got back up on the roof after lunch, I had an inspiration on a platform for the welder. For the last few weeks, I've been trying to find a better way to get the welder around on the roof. I can reach about 10 feet, so if I put the welder on the top of the wall, I can get a lot done. But I can't go up to the peak of the roof, so there's about maybe 1/3 of the roof I can't get to. Prior to this, I've been putting a plank on the truss bottom chord, and then sliding the welder along the plank. That gets me about 10 feet at a time, then I have to slide the plank, carefully, so I don't drop the welder, or myself.

So today, I was picturing a sled that I could put the welder on, and slide it on top of the trusses, over the perlins. I took a few minutes and dug around in the scrap pile, and it didn't take more than a few minutes for me to weld up the working prototype. By the end of the day, it had proved itself useful, and when I came down, I tweaked the design a bit. Nothing fancy, just a platform. some hooks that grab onto the perlins, and a cargo strap to keep it from falling off. But now I can safely hit the top of the roof, and the welder rides along happily. Life is good again!

Today's the day my Dad and Step mom arrive in Belize. They're regulars here, so everyone is always asking when they're coming back again. Mostly when we're together I just call her Mom, but since some people read my blog and know my Mom's in Canada, that would be confusing. So, Gwen - Mom is in Canada, and Beryl - Mom is in the US, and its Beryl and Dad who are here now. Well, I've not yet seen them, but they'll be rolling in any minute now.

There were some local ladies here today selling their hand made stuff. Usually I don't buy much, but this time I saw some stuff that seemed extra cool, so I bought some.

Tomorrow is Friday, and its time to go renew my Visa again. Hard to believe its been a month already. Not such a bad deal, really, $50 Belize ($25 US) and I get to stay in the country for another 30 days! That's less than a dollar a day. Sounds like an infomercial or something!

Day 87 - January 4 - Friday
We worked until about noon, I actually stopped a bit early since it was raining. I got my Visa renewed with no problems. Well, except the computer was down, so had to wait about an hour for them to accept the money, but the actual renewal went well. I managed to get rained on a few times, in the tropical HEAVY MONSOON style as sometimes happens.

Had a quick stop over at the Home to talk to Mariana, who is leaving on Sunday, we ended up walking over to the Bull Frog for a late lunch / early dinner / supper something. There was more rain, and good conversation. Am meeting some great people here, but the keep leaving! The good thing about these groups is I know I'll see them again, somewhere.

Day 88 - January 5 - Saturday
Went to church today. It was full, the big group was there.

Later I caught a ride into town with the Word at Work group, we took a quick Ice Cream and Knick Knack break at the Art Box, which has some truly amazing handmade stuff for sale. And the ice cream was very good as well. Then I jumped out at the Yim Saan for some internet, which is how you're reading this now :)

So there!

By Carlin Comm posted on 2013-01-5