Friday, September 2, 2011

Construction and different points of view

Now that we have a house there are a few things we want to improve here and there. Which means we need to delay moving in until we get things done. In Brazil (as I imagine most developing countries would be) you hire the labor (1 guy for the wood work, another for putting tiles, one for the plumbing and a painter in our case) and buy the materials separate. They first come to the house, evaluate the work and set a price. This worked for the first 3, but the painter charged an absurd amount, which means we could start on the rest of the work while looking for another painter.  Thankfully my brother gave me the contact of the first 3 guys as they had worked on his house and were reliable.

The woodworker came on Monday and brought a nephew to help him. He is very nice and works fast, which are big pluses. The tile guy brought 2 people to help him set tiles and flooring, but they came only on Wednesday. So my schedule has been to wake up at 6:30am, go to the house, check with the workers was it missing (despite having bought all the material they wanted beforehand there is always something they forgot and needs to be bought asap). Then rush to the construction store and get the stuff, then go home, shower and get to work. At lunch I go out to buy the other things needed for a house to work, like a bed (Monday), a mattress (Tuesday), more construction materials that were forgotten (Wednesday), a fridge (Thursday). These purchases require going around 5-6 stores, asking for the price and whether they deliver, then going back to the best option and buying it. Back to work and finally head home around 7:30pm, go by the house to see what they have done, and crash. It is exhausting but should be rewarding once it is done.

Today A. accompanied me in the morning routine as he arrived last night. He is very different from me in regard to how to get things done. I, at this point in time, just want to get things done and move in, whether that requires more effort on my side or not. A., on the other hand, wants to do less work himself and hire someone. I explained I already tried 2 painters (the second one wanted me to go pick him up where he was working across the city, go to the house to give me an estimate and then drive him back... that did not happen) and have no more ideas on where to find another. So I am willing to paint the house this weekend and get it over with. A. planned to play cricket on Saturday, so that day he is not available. Meaning we could do it Sunday, but he is still trying to get a painter instead...

Gardening is the next issue... the yard is overgrown and although it has several nice fruit trees they need space to survive and sunlight to bear fruit. I worked on the yard the whole past weekend and although I made considerable progress there is still a lot to be done. I need help to cut some larger trees in the backyard but am willing to do the rest myself. A. wants the gardener (who is charging USD75 a day, a pretty high wage for here) to do everything, including manicuring work with small plants, which is the last thing on my list.

How to solve this impasse? Do it myself (which I consider sort of unfair since he's already away the whole week) or delay it until we find someone to do it for us? Anyone with renovation experiences out there?

And the painter is still to be found. 

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