Sunday, July 08, 2007


Making Repairs

We've been trying to get a carpenter to come to our house since the first week we were here in Monteverde. The roof on the porch has two leaks, the roof on the casita sounds like it is going to blow away in the next storm and most of the screens in the main house have holes in them courtesy of some homeless cats, I imagine. Oh, and Jumper demolished the cat door when we left her here alone on the porch one day. I don't know what she could have been thinking. We did find people to help us to get the gardens under control, but carpenters must have plenty of work because everyone we asked would make an appointment, and then not show up. I've noticed that that it a cultural trait here; no one will ever come right out and refuse a request.

When Ricardo offered to loan me his carpenter I was thrilled. It's actually a father/son team, which is great. They came over Saturday morning and I went over with them everything that needed to fix. I don't have a ladder that is high enough to reach the porch roof, so off we went to Ricardo's in Monteverde to borrow his extension ladder. I no longer have a roof rack on the Land Rover (that's another story), so the guys made a makeshift rack using some boards some old foam, and tied the ladder to the roof. Then we headed to the ferrateria (hardware store) where everything is behind the counter, and you ask for everything one thing at a time, and then the invoice is written up by hand. We bought a few kilos of different sized nails, some screen and the plastic stuff to fix the leaks in the roof. All of the roofs here have something called "laminas", which is plastic sheeting that allows the sunlight to come through the roof. They are something like skylights, except that they aren't transparent. The idea is that they allow the warmth of the sun to enter, because it can be very damp living in a cloud forest, and it keeps the house drier.

Next, we had to do to the "deposito" (wood store) to buy the wood to fix the casita roof. By this point I was running a little low on cash, so I asked the carpenter how much he thought it would cost. I got the stardard answer: "Depende". I love that answer. It's pretty much the standard answer for any question you might ask here. Turned out that our good friend Victorino who used to own the Ranario is now running the deposito, so I didn't have to worry. Then the wood got put on the car roof with the plastic sheeting and the ladder.

All in all it took us about two hours to pick up the material, which wasn't too bad, but the guys forgot to buy a special kind of roofing nail, so they had to go back to the ferrateria.

So far they have fixed the screen porch off the kitchen and cleaned out two of the porch laminas. They'll be back on Monday.

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