Geppetto’s magic

Waiting for Geppetto.
Geppetto at work this week.
The finished product.

THE PASTRY workshop is finished. The final step, the installation of counters and a worktable, was done by an old carpenter we called Geppetto because his appearance reminded my child bride of Pinocchio’s pal.

Geppetto did much of the groundwork downtown at his shop. Then he and his son brought the bases here in a taxi pickup truck. The final work was done in two days, and we’re quite happy with it.

We had purchased about 15 feet of Formica at a building-supply store here in town.

Now we must move all related cooking gear from the house’s kitchen to this new space.

Before, last November.
Before, last November.
After, how it now looks.
After, how it now looks.

* * * *

You might recall that the solar water heater on the Hacienda roof was removed at about the same time the unrelated work on the pastry workshop got under way in November.

We purchased the heater four years ago, and it was never worth warm spit. This was surprising since it was manufactured by Rotoplas, one of the big names in Mexican plumbing gear. It had a 10-year guarantee and, to Rotoplas’ credit, they removed it and returned the full purchase price of 10,600 pesos.


So we bought a new one, slightly larger, made by another company, Solemex:


The hardware store manager told us they had sold just six of the Rotoplas heaters, and four were lemons. They’ve sold more than 25 of the Solemex and, he says, the owners are all contented customers.

Let us pray that we will be contented too. And it cost only 6,000 pesos.

* * * *

(For a blow-by-blow photo gallery of the workshop construction, go here.)

(For a taste of pastry production, go here.)

19 thoughts on “Geppetto’s magic

  1. Your new space is nicely done as one would expect from you. Cool about the solar water heater. We have considered one for here at the beach where we get 320 days of sun — but we are still on our first small propane bottle tank after 4 years using our instant-on water heater — Just cannot get motivated from there.

    1. P.S.: The pastry workshop has an instant-on heater but with no pilot light. It has flashlight batteries! Since there is no constant pilot light, it will use even less gas.

        1. Don Cuevas: So, replace it! I know you’re a renter, but so what? Appears you’re gonna be there for a good while. They don’t cost all that much, depending on the size, of course.

  2. Geppeto, eh? I see an eponymous Pinocchio pie in the shop’s future. Heavy on fiber, I suspect.

    We may now share the same make of water heater. I need to climb atop the laundry room to take a closer look at it. After all, I still have one good ankle.

    1. Señor Cotton: Heavy on fiber. I get it!

      I imagine more than one make of heater has that battery lighter, but I could be wrong. In any event, yours will be larger. The one for the pastry workshop, due to the little demand it will have (the sink), is quite small.

  3. We bought the same solar heater and have no problem, perhaps I should see if I can return it before the warranty runs out. Thanks for the info.

    So, now that the kitchen is finished, are the treats going to be available more than just on Saturdays? The price now will have to take the new overhead/investment into the pricing of the finished product, or is it still a hobby with prices to reflect that?

    1. Tancho: You bought the same heater, but which one? The Rotoplas or the Solemex? I kind of recall your telling me way back you have the Rotoplas. If so, good luck. They told me at the hardware store that it has been discontinued due to so many problems.

      As for the pastries, things will continue as before. At least, that’s the current plan. It will get her out of the kitchen in the house. Thank God. Maybe I can elbow my way back in there now, and fix a few meals like I used to on a regular basis before she commandeered the whole shebang for most of the week.

  4. Congratulations on a very nice pastry making facility.

    But, I must ask: has it been inspected and approved yet by the local Health Department Sanitarian?

    If I were he, I would give it an “A”.

    Don Cuevas

  5. Wow, the kitchen/workshop came out very nice. And I’m amazed you can get a solar water heater for only 6000 pesos. Such a deal! Why don’t you already know whether it’s working or not?


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we are about to go out and remove snow. Ugh.

    1. Kim: There are, if I recall correctly, six sizes of that specific heater. Ours is the fourth from the bottom. Just two more are larger. The three smaller ones, with smaller tanks, cost even less. The reason I do not know if it works yet is that, unlike the previous one, there is no faucet on it, no way to test directly the water. I have it connected, like the last one, directly to the gas water heater downstairs, which is one of two ways to have it installed. Connecting it to the gas heater, in theory, reduces the need for the gas heater to fire up, therefore saving gas.

      The other method is to connect it directly to the in-going house pipe on the other side of the gas heater. I asked the plumber who installed it to give me the two options. It was already set up to go directly to the gas heater because he had left the connections when he removed the pinche Rotoplas. He’s coming back tomorrow, I hope, to do another installation directly to the water pipe into the house. I will be able switch it back and forth easily.

      Wish me luck.

        1. Actually, there is currently one way to test the water from the new solar heater. It’s a faucet downstairs I had connected four years ago just above the gas heater. I connected a hose to it and turned it on an hour ago. It comes directly from the solar heater. Quite hot! And it’s been overcast here for the past two days.

    2. P.S.: One often hears from clueless Gringos down here that the old inexpensive Mexico is largely gone. That is silly. Many, likely most, of life’s necessities are still far cheaper here. I don’t know what a comparable solar heater would cost in the U.S. (yeah, I know. I could google it), but I wager it’s quite a bit more.

    3. Another P.S.: The total cost of the pastry workshop: the brick and stuccoed walls, the reinforced ceiling/roof, the ceramic floor, the bathroom addition (toilet, sink), the septic tank, the water heater and propane tank (purchase and installation), the custom-made steel sliding door to the street, the nice wooden bathroom door, the steel door out to the Hacienda yard, the big water tank (purchase and installation), with additional pressure pump, that sits on the bathroom roof, the stove and fridge, all electrical and plumbing work, the carpentry, the counters, the shelf, the painting all around, the stone steps from the sliding steel door down to the sidewalk out front, the entire shebang, totaled about $7,000 U.S., which is, I think, about what an electrician in the U.S. would charge to come out to your house to give an estimate on adding a wall plug.

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