Terraza renovation: shade net

We chose this color because it matches the terraza walls.

THE GUYS CAME yesterday morning at 9 a.m. and installed the shade netting in the upstairs terraza, putting us one step closer to ending this months-long project.

We installed it under just half of the glass roof, the half where we’ll sit.

Most people choose black or some other dark color in these situations. But it’s not the color that reduces the UV rays of the sun. It’s the chemical makeup of the cloth itself. At midday, I stood out there with my UV meter, and it indicated zero.

When I stepped out to the area that’s not below the net, the UV meter went sky-high.

I decided to install the shade netting below the glass roof instead of above, as some people do. There are pluses and minuses to both approaches. Atop would have added some protection against the powerful hail storms we have here on occasion. But it would have complicated cleaning the glass, and the net would get nasty.

Below eliminates those problems, but it also eliminates the added protection against hail. However, the glass is 1/4-inch thick and tempered. Unlikely to break.

We’re still having water issues when a particularly powerful storm passes over, so we’ve ordered yet another canvas curtain, which will be installed next week in the open area to the left where you see the fan palm in the top photo. That means only one of the four directions will be open to the rain. With luck, that will be manageable.

If not, we’ll deal with it, likely with glass, not another canvas curtain.

We’ve already ordered and received from Amazon an attractive set of comfy outdoor furniture we’ll use in this space. Photos of that aspect to come later.

My child bride’s sister who lives downtown on the main plaza in a massive, Colonial edifice that is crumbling from neglect is adding a bedroom to that home. Priorities! Part of the work is a faux-stone facade on one wall. It looks stupendous, not faux at all.

This has captured my wife’s admiration, so we’ll likely be putting the same thing on part of our upstairs terraza walls. We’ll be too elegant by half.

For those new to this seemingly endless, home-improvement project, see here.

View from our sidewalk. Workman is replacing the ceiling fan/light.

The weekend update

MEXICANS VIEW Friday and Saturday as the weekend, not Saturday and Sunday. At least that’s what my child bride tells me.

So I wonder what Sunday is. Maybe it’s just the day you go to Mass.

This business of Friday and Saturday being the weekend is akin to Mexicans’ thinking that a week has eight days instead of seven, and two weeks amount to 15 days instead of the 16 they would have if one week has eight.

Where’s the logic? There is none.

These are a few examples of why I say living in Mexico is like living in Alice’s Wonderland. There’s always a huge cat grinning in a tree somewhere.

Phil in Arizona emailed me yesterday, asking about the progress on the upstairs terraza dome. I’ll tell you what I told him. There is none. We’ve been shopping for glass, which turned out to be a whale of a lot more costly than I anticipated.

I finally got a price of 98,000 pesos, which is a bit over $5,000 in dollars. The initial price I got from the first business I asked was a stunning 280,000 pesos, almost $15,000 U.S.

That’s what I paid for the Honda CR-V new, and it’s one-fourth of what we paid to construct the entire Hacienda. Sure, those were 10 and 16 years ago, respectively, but still.

On Wednesday, I made the 50 percent deposit on the 98,000-peso deal. They say it will be installed in two to four weeks. Don’t count on two weeks. With luck, it’ll be four.

* * * *

Stunning stupidity

In one week more, I’ll have a story to tell. It’s a very Mexican story, one that made me steaming mad, and I do not get mad easily. I’m still mad.

It’s a two-pronged story of stupidity. But, for reasons I will explain in another week, I cannot get into it now. It may bring bad luck. I am superstitious.

And as things stand so far, all is well. Fingers crossed.

Progress report on the dome

Now that is a blue sky. Frame only partially painted when I shot the photo.

THE BLACKSMITH and his boys finished the installation of the dome.* But it still lacks most of the paint. They began to spray it Monday but ran out of paint.

A visit to the paint store revealed that no more of that shade (Seacoast Red) would be available till Friday, mañana. So we hope they’ll finish the paint tomorrow.

As you can see, it’s partly red and mostly still brown.

A guy from the glass store came yesterday for measurements. It’s gonna be a whale of a lot of glass. We should know the price by this afternoon. We’re bracing ourselves.

An earlier post on this huge project is available here.

Here’s how it looked before the work started. There had been a relatively small roof of red clay tile up there, but we removed it before taking this photo.


* Mexicans call these things domos (domes), and they come in various forms, some actually domed and others flat like ours. Most have aluminum frames and polycarbonate sheets. Others are steel and glass. Domos are very common in Mexico.

Ton of steel



WE’RE INSTALLING a metal-and-glass roof over the upstairs terraza, as some readers may recall. This decision was made after 16 rainy summers in which the upstairs terraza turned into a small lake, rendering it useless for anything.

The lake problem resulted from the builders’ not installing the terraza floor with any incline toward the small drain holes. It is level. This was done because we did not explain adequately that the space above the downstairs bedroom was going to be open.

Maybe even we did not know it at the time. I don’t recall. We hired no architect, and we were winging it. It’s akin to being your own lawyer at your murder trial.

We lived with the annual six-month lake out there until a straw broke the camel’s back last summer — a small leak into the bedroom below. We had previously replaced some of the ceramic tile in the terraza because it had buckled. That happened twice in recent years. But the leak did the trick. Serious action was required.

Two neighbors of our Downtown Casita had installed a glass-and-steel ceiling partially atop their house, making a nice roof patio. It looks good, so we decided to do something similar. They told me what it had cost, and it was reasonable. And they had hired a contractor to handle everything, making things simpler for themselves. Smart.

I contacted the same contractor, but he never responded. Screw it, I said. I’ll do it myself. And it will cost less.

First, we hired the same blacksmith who did the work on the neighbors’ house. After he installs the framework, we will buy the smoked glass elsewhere and pay to have it installed by that separate business.

The blacksmith arrived Tuesday with four guys to deliver the steel beams and columns, depositing them in our yard. Be back later this week, he said, to do the installation. While the neighbors’ price seemed reasonable, I had neglected to notice that our upstairs terraza is far larger than the domo (that’s what it’s called here) over their home.

We were flabbergasted at the quantity of it all.

The size of our framework dwarfs that which tops their house. After the installation, the metal will be painted the same color as the Hacienda. Rojo costamar. Seacoast red.

But first the blacksmith must return and install the frame. Hope he doesn’t take long. You never know with those folks. It only needs to be fully done before the rains start in June.

But I want it done far before then. We’ll buy some patio furniture. Maybe throw a fiesta. You can all come. Whoopee!