Little house in Guatemala, week 10-13


Happy Monday! I am guest posting today on Mo Money Mo Houses about the cost of having an extra room, check it out!

With the 13 money resolutions for 2013 series, I haven’t given much of a Guatemalan update since the new year. So make yourself comfortable, this is a big one.

A lot has been happening since the beginning of January, mostly with the new room being built. The three stone walls are ready, and the fourth side of the room will be a big French door (I saw that is what you call a sliding door, although I don’t recall seeing more in France than other parts of the world!).


This is how the walls look from the outside. They are partly buried to keep the level with the upper garden where the house is, and to stay cool during the hot summer days. The walls are pretty thick, around 30cm (1ft).


Those wholes are on the upper part of the walls and are meant to be a natural AC. There will be a mosquito net on them to avoid any animal getting in, and the breeze coming from the lake on most days will refresh the room. We also bought an AC unit against my will that I guess we will use 10 days a year or so. It gets really warm in April, other than that we are always in the 80-90 degrees range (22-30 celsius) which is pretty pleasant.


When you get inside through the French doors to be, that is the bedroom. The weirdly shaped whole leads to the bathroom and walk in closet. There will be a full door behind it, that will allow to either close the bathroom, or just the toilet to the left, allowing access to the bathroom if someone is using the toilet.


That one is an old picture since the roof was not built yet. We were afraid that the room would turn out very dark, and humid but it looks ok. I hope out clothes won’t get moldy, that is the worst thing. I’ll have to make sure I store them when they are 100% dry or that could happen.


Here is the bathroom, it has a small sauna on the left that you can’t see, basically it is a hole with a metal door where we can start a fire from outside to warm the bathroom and sweat to our hearts’ content. The shower already has a skylight and will have a transparent door to make sure it isn’t too dark.


Then the roof was built. It took a long time as the rain started to prevent the workers from doing their jobs. We used the 1,000 or so wooden sticks that we brought from the ranch to do a first ceiling, and hold the concrete, then small stones, then the layer of concrete.


This is the iron and stone layer.


And now, the panoramic terrace is ready! It has a wall to the neighbor’s side that won’t hide the view, and plans are to make an outside kitchen, dining area and lounge.


The floor was painted red.


The terrace is the same level as the old house. We spent a lot of time learning about three way electricity which is basically when you have two switches up and down the stairs and each can turn the lights on or off. We should be able to light a path from one house to the other, with switches on each side. This we had to do ourselves as we only met an electrician and he did not impress with his work. It was actually quite straightforward, but you can’t go wrong since the wiring will be melted in concrete and if the whole thing doesn’t work you just have to do it again with visible wiring.

In order to work on that electric system, we had to install an on/off switch at the entrance of the property. That meant cutting the main electric cable on the street and linking it to a switch. One of the workers said he would do it, that the electric shock was not bothering him. He is still alive.

On the animal side, we have three new guests. The first one is a turkey lady for our fighting turkey. He is so happy with his lady in tow that he spends the whole day inflated making the seduction dance, and almost completely ignores BF, after being in love with him since Christmas.

Check it out! Normal turkey:


Turkey looking good for Mrs turkey.


The other two new guests are old friends from BF’s ranch, a couple of geese. They are quite beautiful and super happy to be there. In the ranch, they only had a very small pool to swim in, and were too lazy to go to the river, now they swim in the lake all day. In the ranch the pool was kind of disgusting to swim in since they were pooping in there and leaving feathers, now the lake takes care of the cleaning as well!


Aren’t they beautiful?


Everyone is living in good harmony, except that the turkeys were eating a LOT of bird food, so now they aren’t allowed inside the hen cage and everyone’s food is rationed. They are free to run around all day so they should eat worms or whatever they eat! Too much food makes them lazy. During the adjustment week, everyone seemed to be following me every time I went down to the beach (where the cage is) just to check if I had changed my mind and would give them more food.


The hens coming after me

It is quite amazing how animals get used to a new habits in just a few days. Where they sleep, how they eat or at what time… Something we could learn from.

One hen is still hatching and we are anxiously waiting for the first chicks!

On the money side, I have been in total denial about the costs of the work since my last cost recap on December 31st. I think the room will still come to $10K or so, and would have preferred to use that on the land development rather than something that will not produce any income, but as usual I can find three positive things about that too.

  1. we will be really comfortable. New bed, new appliances, cool room. I practice what I teach about enjoying life and money not meant to be hoarded.
  2. the costs are quite low for a room and now I can rent the little house as a whole for a family of 4.

  3. It will force me to put more effort on selling the plots of the 90 acres land, to bring in money instead of sitting on my a** all day.

*start my rant, please hold*

Other than this, I can’t wait to have the workers out of my property. With the rainy days, they have been coming early in the morning (waking me up with all the noise) then leaving at 8am because the weather was bad, only to come another day and bother me again. I know they are doing their jobs, but every day they come and go is as annoying as having them around for a full day.

*end my rant, thanks for holding*

I’ll end this monster post with the life side of things, I was happy to come back to my little paradise after spending a few days in Guatemala City (and getting a root canal, sigh), days are not as sunny as December but it is still heavenly to relax in the hammock and watch the lake, the animals, the waves… Can you believe that with a private beach I barely swim? I avoid it when the workers are there, so it only leaves lunch time, and I am usually busy making lunch, and after 4pm, when it is a cloudy day, it starts to be a bit cold.

I feel a goal coming for February!

A 30 something French girl embarking on a journey towards Financial Independence. I blog about money, travel, simple and deliberate living, freedom and choices. You can find me on Twitter, Google+, or Reach Financial Independence's Facebook Page

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  1. austin dermatologist says:

    I have 30 turkey in my house but I think you have lot better breed. May I know where did you buy those turkey?

  2. Pauline it seems to me, you are building your own paradise and heaven. Nice to see your house development. Wish for your safety there.

    I really like the place it is quite relaxing and cold environment.
    My Wealth Desire recently posted..How To Earn Extra Money From Your Full Time Job in 2013My Profile

  3. It all is looking so amazing now Pauline, you should be proud of all the work you are putting in.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..How to Assess a Prospective New Home for Risk of Bushfires before BuyingMy Profile

  4. Those pictures look great Pauline! I love the turkeys by the way, I guess he’s just being like any normal man. 😉 I can imagine how quickly you’d be spoiled by the surroundings you have…plus you have a private beach! I probably would be finding myself not taking full advantage of it either.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..5 Fun and Frugal Super Bowl Party IdeasMy Profile

  5. Wow this was quite the update! So many pics. One thing that stood out to me was the worker cutting the main electrical line. Is there really no way to do this safely so he would not be shocked? I have started to do electrical work on our house which I am sure is set up much safer with multiple on-off switches (main and individual breakers) and even then I’m very paranoid and check, recheck, and recheck to make sure power isn’t going to the outlet or light that I am working on. Electricity is scary stuff.

    It will definitely be nice for you when the workers are gone, sounds like it shouldn’t be TOO much longer?
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Why Email is Better than Talking on the PhoneMy Profile

    • I’d say another month or so. And no, there was no safe way to grab the street’s cable unless there was a power outage in the whole village but for once the electric service was reliable. We could have called the electric company but they would have taken days and we were unhappy with the previous electrician. Having that main switch at the entrance now means we can turn off the whole electric system of the property and work safely. Electricity IS scary!

  6. Hello, new Turkey Lady Friend (queue the cheesy music)….

    When we moved to Texas, we purchased a unique house that had sat empty for a year AND the previous owner had done nothing with it for the eight years they lived in the home. For the next seven months workmen were here nearly every day. I was so, so, so happy to see them leave….so I get your rant. It sucks, even though they’re doing exactly what you asked them for.
    AverageJoe recently posted..Credit Card Rewards and Changing the Budget for Baby: 2 Guys and Your Money 026My Profile

    • You put it better than me, they are doing their jobs… Except one day they didn’t warn they would come, and they showed up to bang on metal at 630am on a Sunday, they must have heard me complaining because they never dared again. That lead to a fight with my BF saying you can’t blame people for wanting to finish their job faster, and he had a point, except those guys needed to work for 1 hour and 6am was maybe not the best time to.

  7. I’d imagine that it’s exceptionally frustrating to have workers come early in the morning and then leave because ‘the weather is bad.’ A house is in the process of being built directly behind me and I’m often surprised at how the workers work through some of the cold/rainy weather here. I figured they’d pack up their bags and go home a little more than they have. I wonder if the difference has anything to do with culture?
    Jason @ WorkSaveLive recently posted..Making Extra Money: Start a Blog or Write for Others?My Profile

    • We pay them by contract, not per day, so they basically lose money for not coming to work. One day they had made concrete mix and it started raining, they stayed not to waste the concrete and left at mid day, on the next day it was not raining but they said they didn’t want to work because yesterday was too hard. I tried to imagine them in below zero temperatures working on a road or something hard, I don’t think they’ll last!

  8. The progress you are making is so cool. And the geese are beautiful. That will be great when you can start to host visitors in your house.

    I understand why you don’t want to go swimming while the men are working there. I would find that hard too, but I love to swim and would so want to be in there everyday.
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..How to Stretch Your Travel Budget: Free Home Exchange AccommodationMy Profile

    • Oops, geese, not gooses, I’ll correct that, thank you! Spell checker seemed happy, so I thought it was the way to call them.
      I have started swimming with shorts and t-shirt, but the weather has been pretty cloudy lately, which is not inviting. Although I am pretty sure the water is warmer than the air!

  9. Love your pictures! Everything seems to really be coming along.
    Michelle recently posted..$3,340 in Extra Income, Life, Wedding UpdatesMy Profile

  10. As always, I love reading these!! That outdoor kitchen and patio area will be amazing when it is done. The views are fantastic, too. Here’s hoping you are able to get everything completed and start renting out your current place quickly. It’s also nice that you’ve found motivation to work on your land development :-)
    Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted..Valentine’s Card Ideas – Frugal and RomanticMy Profile

  11. Pauline, it looks absolutely gorgeous! What a little paradise! I love turkeys, too. Years ago, we had friends who had them, and the 40 pound tom would come and stand on your feet, pleading to be picked up. Then he would let you carry him around forever. He was like a little puppy! Congrats on the great progress, Pauline, and thanks for sharing!
    Laurie recently posted..Prosperity: For Better, or for WorseMy Profile

  12. Your BF must be crushed. He was replaced so easily. I’m telling you that all you need is a goat or two and maybe a cow to milk. I love the comment about the French doors. Probably the same for French fries as well!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Work Less, Live More-Transition to Part Time WorkMy Profile

  13. Thanks for the huge update Pauline. It seems that some great progress has been made. I enjoyed all of the pictures.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Dang it! I Fought My Emotions and They WonMy Profile

  14. Certainly look like you’re making progress. I love the wildlife. Reminds me of the last apartment complex I lived in which was like a zoo, full of birds, and turtles, and cats, and squirrels.

    But watch out for the geese. They can be mean.
    My Financial Independence Journey recently posted..Cardinal Health (CAH) Dividend Stock AnalysisMy Profile

  15. I’m loving the terrace. It looks awesome! Love these updates and glad they’re back!
    Budget & the Beach recently posted..The Financial Pros and Cons of Getting OlderMy Profile

  16. I’ll make the goal for you – swim at least four times a week throughout Feb 😀
    Savvy Scot recently posted..The Life of a Safe Adrenaline JunkieMy Profile


  1. […] exception when one stays home sick and the other one can’t park that day, all the way from Guatemala. If you decide to take in two tenants to share the space, draw contracts with strict hours, and […]

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