A couple of months ago, I wrote of our two-week trip to Puerto Rico, where we labored like lunatic worker bees to complete extensive repairs and renovations to the home in Ponce that was built by Allysen’s parents back around the era that I was completing my undergraduate education. That was a productive but exhausting trip, and we got a huge amount done, but were left with a lot still to do before we could rent the place. Well, we’ve just finished trip two, which was exhausting on a scale that made our January efforts look like a milk run.
This time Allysen went for a full month, taking a leave of absence from her job. Her brother Andrew came for a while, our daughter Jayce came for a while, and I came for the final two weeks. I will say, as far as the physical surroundings go, it was a lot more pleasant (even in mosquito season) than it had been before. The pool was sparkling, Allysen and Andrew had already scored some nice secondhand furniture, and the work crews were starting to feel like old family friends. But the pace, especially in the last week, was punishing. On trip one, my main job was chronicling the work and making endless runs to Home Depot. This time, I was a lot more hands-on with smaller repairs, plus I kept on making endless runs to Home Depot.
On the flight home, we scribbled down a list of all of our deeds so that we wouldn’t forget. Here’s a small sampler of what we and our contractors accomplished:
- Built a new concrete retaining wall to hold up the parking area
- Widened the brick-lined parking pad, for easier parking
- Repaired the main entry gate
- Installed new keyless entry locks and deadbolts
- Bought and transported nice, second-hand furniture for living and dining rooms
- Had new table tops made by our wood guy for dining and coffee tables
- Bought a modest smart-TV and tested streaming Netflix on it with our cellphone mobile wifi (it worked!)
- Met with the family lawyer and learned how wills work in P.R. (differently from in the states)
- Upgraded the alarm system (with many visits from the alarm company) and trouble-shot false alarms
- Cleaned out gross cupboards in paneled bedroom
- Built new cabinets and cabinet walls in area behind kitchen and closed up the ceiling in that area, to keep out leaves, bugs, rain, and wandering animals
- Bought a modest selection of hand and power tools and used every one of them
- Sanded and painted stairway rails leading down from parking pad to deck, to pool
- Spent many hours repairing the dishwasher, only to determine that it really was dead, Jim; also, learned that dishwashers aren’t that common in PR, and you can’t go to Home Depot or Sears and just buy one to take home with you—so, no dishwasher
- Began the job of replacing all the windows
- Made a serious dent in the island’s supply of rum, lime, and assorted other drinkables
- Semi-befriended two lovely, pregnant stray kitties
- Checked out a few recommended restaurants
- Got up every frickin’ morning at 6 or 7 to open the gate for workers
- Swam in the pool (twice, anyway)!
That’s maybe a quarter of the list. Really. For the most part, we were so busy that we forgot to take pictures! Which is a bummer. But here, in a lighter moment, I did catch Allysen and Andrew:
And here are Estevan and Carlos getting started on the new wall:
The revenge? I arrived home exhausted—and instead of having a nice rest, promptly got sick. I’ve been sick for most of the last week, and am only slowly returning to normal. That just doesn’t seem fair. But I am now recovered enough that I can say this with greater confidence: Please pass me some frozen margarita.