Saturday, January 31, 2009

De-carpeting the world, one house at a time

Alllllllllmost there... ALMOST!

God I cannot wait to be rid of the nasty stench from this filthy junk.

All that's left now is hauling out the bags and yanking a bit more tack strip and staples.

My hands are blistered.

And in other news, I'm closing on this house on Tuesday! Huzzah!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Boiler

It looks a little scary... but I'm pleased to report that the hulk is working like a dream.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

On returning to Honduras

When I think of Honduras...

I think of Baleadas – thick, tasteless wraps sold on the street and in convenience stores, stacked in tinfoil pyramids – cold, with beans and salty quesillo of unknown age and origin.

I think of lychees, hawked by children in 10-piece bags, their blood-red hairs crushed into plastic submission, looking like sea-urchins… purveyed by street urchins.

I think of flooded streets, market lean-tos painted watery green with amorphous figures huddled underneath against the driving rain, chewing tiny bananas and looking at me as I cower too, below a store awning across the street: drenched, myopic, alien.

I think of internet cafes with no connection, hotels with mildewed walls, sullen staff, and the smell of a hurricane on its way.

Broken-up sidewalks.


Chickens roaming dirt roads, pecking at old chewing gum and fruit pits.

El Pico Bonito.

Rainbows at Golosón Airport.

Miles and miles of pineapples... sprouting prodigiously up out of the clay, bound for everywhere else in the world.

Men who cut the pineapples - their heads wrapped in t-shirts under the violent sun.

I think of my grandmother frying maduros and eggs (the smell of heaven) and of my aunt shelling garbanzo beans, fanning herself intermittently, a chunk of ice bobbing in a glass of South American wine at her elbow.

I think of driftwood and trash and seaweed, of cheap rum and unwashed gringos, and of Sopa de Mariscos with a whole crab claw in the center, served with a plastic spoon.

I think of greasy paper napkins and glittering Garifuna waiters, in bowties.

And the smell of the sea.

I think of tilting, stinking streets, blaring music, and a sun which burns my forehead in seconds. Pouty little girls beckoning me into the air-condition shops: “Pase(n) joven!”

I can barely hear their voices.

I think of homes on stilts which pose -like rabbits frozen in fear- along a blustering beachfront, and of my dying grandfather’s words:

“Oh, just leave Honduras to the Hondurans!

But Papá… ¿Cómo?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Greasy Kitchen Ceiling

I have a pretty tough eye when it comes to houses. I've seen a lot of disgusting stuff in my day, and I like to think that I'm able to look past it. Indeed, I can tour at a home with caved ceilings, dead animals, frozen puke and yanked pipes, and STILL squeal with glee at a buffet or stained-glass transom... you see, I am an optimist.

And I like to transform things.

However, I am here to tell you that new house 1.0 (aka the next-door house) was NASTY... even to me.


I'll spare you photographic documentation of the worst. It's really too gross for mass consumption. (Let's just say it involves excrement.)

However, I will show you the ceiling which I had to wash this afternoon, prior to painting:

(Unlike your average slumlord, I DO wash before I paint. That way my paint will actually stick!)

But never fear, this too shall be rectified.

And this house will become sweet even if I have to carry a barf bag along as I work on it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Moving right along...

Carpet-ripping was the only task I could think of which didn't require water, so that's what I've been doing at the house next door.

But yesterday was dewinterization day! Huzzah! Brown water and spraying radiators aside, I think it all worked out quite well.

Now I just have to babysit the 10,000-year-old boiler to make sure it doesn't quit.

Time to start cleaning...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'm just sayin...

This kind of stuff makes my heart palpitate:

(Thanks to JN for the photos.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I made an offer on another house today.

I'm not sure which scares me more: getting it or not getting it...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Even more ugly

This actually kinda makes me want to puke.

(But I will transform it, don't worry.)

Ugly Duckling

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Okay, I'm back.

No pics yet, but for those of you who remember that this blog started out as a tale of my purchase/restoration of the cottage, I am pleased to announce that I am now also the proud owner of the dump next door!

(You can see a thin slice of its decrepitastic-ness in the picture linked above.)

And now for the surprising news: I am moving there - at least for a while.

By myself.

I am actually quite pleased to finally become a real Northsider!