Good morning everyone! Over at Make Money Your Way I will talk about buying an investment property and renting your own residence. Click here to read more…
Hi there! A lot of things have happened since my last update, mainly around the house. There are no contract workers building anything anymore (oh, quiet mornings!) but the handyman is still there full time, and aside from his morning routine of watering the plants and washing the deck where the ducks and turkeys love to spend the night, he has been doing some DIY around the house.
He re-painted the whole house, which after the rain season was all muddy.
We paint with lime which is dirt cheap, around $5 to paint the whole house, but as a drawback, you need to do it at least once a year. He also painted the entrance wall again so our Airbnb guests can easily spot the house and its name. Now we just need a little sign perpendicular to the road so it is easy to find from your car.
Inside the house, he put better mosquito nets in both rooms, and I sealed them with petate, which is a kind of mat made of aquatic plants, not only does it give shade to keep the rooms cool, it also prevents the bugs from coming in and looks quite nice.
He did some neat little doors for the shelves so no bugs or dust gets in:
And did all the ones in the new room:
I haven’t seen a scorpion in month. The only concern on the old house is the thatched roof which is old and starting to rot in too many points, making small fixes not worth the effort. An option is to tear it all down and thatch with new leaves, which would set me back at least $1,500 just for the leaves, plus 2-3 workers for a couple of weeks. The handyman could do it all himself but that would take longer and in the meanwhile if it rains, well, it rains inside. And I couldn’t rent the rooms during that time. Another option would be to replace the roof with laminated plastic tiles like we did the other side of the roof, it shouldn’t be over $500 and only a couple of days’ work, but the palm roof looks so nice and it really keeps the house cool. The latter would also last longer, while palm roofs barely last 8 years.
He also did a wooden ramp in the garden as the stairs are pretty steep, so you can hold it while you go down, and partly covered the stone stairs in cement so they are still steep but not as rugged.
We had a scare the past few months as the lake was rising and rising and it never seemed to stop raining, but now the sun finally showed up and the lake is going down.
There were lights under the deck for night swims but now that it is all under water, that ugly hanging wire is the only way to get light under the roof.
Worried that the deck may fall apart as the waves were banging against it, we took down a few planks but were able to put them back now, which is a relief, as the guests couldn’t enjoy a fully functional deck during that time.
The heavy rain also washed off the grass so we planted some more.
The animals have had to move to the back of the property, hoping they would make less noise, and also stop eating the grass and plants that we try so hard to grow.
Turns out the rooster was still pretty loud so I killed it, without waiting for them to produce a third generation. It was either that or the guest house business. I’ll buy some chicks just for eggs from now on, when those get old.
Now that the little guest house is running in full speed, I wanted to buy some nice pillows and bed covers. But in my town, choices are very limited, mostly to synthetic junk made in China. So I hit the paca. The paca is like a giant thrift store, where all the items are shipped from the U.S. I never understood if they actually buy things there or if they just get donations to “the poor people of Guatemala” and sell them at a markup, but here it is, the biggest store in town. You have to try your luck and get there a few times, knowing you will never get anything that matches, as most items are unique.
I did find small decorative pillows from Pottery Barn at… $3! 100% goose feathers. My best bargain was probably my duvet, which is also 100% goose feathers and cost only $4 for a king size. People here don’t use duvet covers, so I had a hard time getting one of the staff to understand what I needed, but once she started looking in the sheets, I found a beautiful white cotton duvet cover for $7. After that I went to Miami and bought a brand new one at Target for $60 which isn’t half as nice.
Here is my bed with the duvet, duvet cover and the Pottery Barn pillows:
I found a dozen of good quality pillows for the price of one crappy synthetic pillow at the supermarket. And other duvets for all the beds in the house, as it got pretty cold those last months and sleeping under a duvet was heavenly. Now it is getting hot again so they’ll go in storage for a while.
Another project was to add some curtains in the main room, but sadly the paca didn’t have some used matching ones, as my French doors are 4 meter wide, so I went to the tailor and bought the drapes in beige, then got some plastic rings in dark brown that look like wood, and the village’s sewer put it all together. That is the final result:
Nobody ever comes past that window as the room is against the property wall but it keeps you from waking up with the sun if you want to sleep in.
And before we go, here is how you carry your child on a motorcycle, Guatemalan style:
Motorcycles also LOVE the left lane… See you!