Magi Azul - Caribe Beach House

Enjoy my family's adventure living on a Caribbean island as they build a boutique vacation beach house. Get a peek at island living and join me in some mischievous musings!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lost in Translation

It has been a trying week. My last blog that I could not print was titled "Pissed." Now you know why I didn't publish it. I have debated on the basis of being true to my subject matter that my previous blog should indeed be printed. But I detest whiners, complainers and nit-pickers, and I don't want to join that rabble. However there is a valid argument and good correlation between nit-pickers and excellence. Unfortunately I don't know if you can be one without being the other. I prefer to call it attention to detail! (Spoken like a true nit-picker.)
My first challenge this week was perfecting a lime paint color with my husband, who gruelingly mixed and remixed paint himself until his lime blistered fingers could take no more. After "a little more yellow," "a little less gray," "no, a little less yellow" - he finally said, "It's perfect," out of sheer exhaustion. My husband went from "I like warmth," to saying a silver gray-white was perfect. I DID want a cool-toned wall, but not that cool. But I am nit-picking now. So I am acquiescing to pale dove gray walls. Believe me it could be worse.
Then there was the utter gut-wrenching despair when our sun-bleached wood planks for a loft floor got stained rustic red. It's a long and complicated story as to how this happened. But needless to say our rustic red floor has now been sanded down again. But now because of the rustic red fiasco, my husband wants to paint the cabinets clear. I am horrified that we may end up with yellow streaked cabinets and have the knotty-pine look. So now between my husband,our architect and myself there is an emotional Bermuda triangle.
But the piece de resistance was our "multi-tono" floor. When I saw the sample I was told it was multi-tono gris (my translation - various shades of gray.) This is where my title "Lost in Translation" comes in. I did not know that the sample floor I was looking at was unsealed and that most unsealed stone floors look grayish. And wouldn't you know that the one tile my husband put water on was gray, so I thought it was great. Stan was complaining, I mean expounding, that he did not want a floor that looked like gray concrete, so I jumped on the "multi-tonal gris" verbage to get my husband to see the light and agree to my beautiful, soft gray floors. Little did I know that I would end up with burgundy, terracotta, pink, white, and almost no gray in my floor. Then whenever I spoke to my architect I was sure to emphasize "multi-tonal gris." But somehow the gris got left out of the translation. Anyway I am now trying to come to terms with the utter abolition of the word monochromatic in my design scheme. I am trying to convince myself that the varied hues ( I can't bear to say the term "tones") of stone will add a "hint" of color to the rooms.
Anyway I think I have begun wallowing in whining and complaining.
I could go on, but I won't. Monday in my journal I wrote Romans 5:3-4, "...we glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulations produce perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope." Well I hope and do believe that I will make it through this "tribulation" and in the mean time I am really developing perseverance and character. I also have to sit back and say, "If your biggest problem is that the stone tiles in your Caribbean home are not gray enough, then you have it pretty good." I guess I can't complain, whine or nitpick too much. I need to accept the fact that when you are an American in Mexico, some things are just going to get lost in translation.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hammock Time.

I am sitting in my hammock on an overcast, windy afternoon enjoying the reprieve from the blaring sun. Soon I will head to the lot to see the new cooper sinks that are supposed to have arrived. Hopefully the carpenters will begin laying the wood planks for the floor of the loft upstairs. The pressure of making decisions is diminishing as the house's main structure is nearing completion. From now on, for the most part, it will be a matter of making sure the plans we have made are implemented correctly.
Yesterday we met with our aluminum window manufacturer to discuss modifications to my arched windows. I was happy with all the windows except for the arched ones, but they will be fine after his modifications. On the sea side of the house we are forced to use aluminum because of the brutally corrosive nature of the salt spray. Wood windows rot, swell and require constant maintenance. Lucy, my architect, contractor, and designer, found aluminum from Spain that looks as close to wood as I have seen in aluminum. I am very pleased with the results.
Today after researching lime paint on the web, we have decided to use this non-toxic natural paint on the house in place of normal store-bought paint. Lime paint has been used in the Mediterranean and Mexico for centuries. In addition to being green, it has natural ant-fungal properties and bugs do not like to crawl on it either. It reflects light exponentially due to tiny microscopic crystals that form during it's curing process. That is why it is often used on many historic buildings. It develops a beautiful patina over time and actually penetrates into the surface and bonds with it so when applied properly there is no flaking or peeling. Stan is going to mix up a batch and try some out. Sometimes I think he should have been a chemist. He really gets into test analysis whether it be the soil in my garden, our pool water, or our drinking water. If it has test tubes and colored water he will be out there reading his results. Well now he is totally into researching lime paint to make sure we have the perfect mix.
Soon we will be ready for paint. The block walls are finally beginning to look like a house now that the acabado (the texture or stucco like coating) is over most of the front. I know the workers were going nuts when I kept inspecting their work saying "no ballitos." (No little balls.) Our texture is supposed to have a soft uneven texture the undulates a little. For the most part the workers were doing a fantastic job, but then when you weren't looking all the sudden this chicken pox or ostrich skin, bumpy texture would appear and of course it would be front and center on the house. I told Lucy there was a fine line between old world charm and cheese, and that I didn't want the house to look like a Disney Land Castle. She understood perfectly and soon she was hollering with her Spanish accent, "Marr-cooss!" I love how she does that! I don't know if he does, but he always comes running with a smile. He is our foreman. All our workers are so hard working, pleasant, and very good at what they do. These short Mayan men are as strong as oxen, never drink on the job, are punctual and seem to have a gentle and genial disposition. I am honored to have them working on our home.
Well it is time to get out of this hammock. I can't wait till it is hanging at the new house. I love looking out from the patio or my kitchen window to scan for passing dolphins or sea turtles. The later are quite common right now since it is their season to lay eggs. From our lot I have seen one bobbing on the waves several times. I can see a misty curtain of rain heading this way over the ocean. If I hurry I can make it to the lot before it does. Hasta Luego!