Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hurricane Prep

One of the things we do have to deal with down in the Baja is the real threat of hurricanes. While we were building our casita the number one issue that Bill wanted addressed at every part of the build was "where will the water flow?" In our palapa this was especially important as we didn't want the floor to be completely level, but to gently slope out. We were lucky that we had a little storm come through as we were building the additional palapa connecting the main palapa to our house, and saw that, not only were there leaks around that addition, but there was standing water in front of the kitchen sink. We had them tear out that portion of concrete and redo it so the water would flow. Now that we've had our first big storm of the summer we are anxious to hear/see how it fared. Our friend, Monze, is keeping an eye on our place while we're gone and I have an email out to her to get a report.

Our hurricane preparations included sinking a portable water storage (tinaca or pila) into the ground and hooking it up to the city water and our house. It has a pump and will refill automatically; we can get water for our entire home as usual if the city water is shut off, albeit with some major conservation as it's only 1100 liters (~300 gallons). In addition to this we purchased a 7000 watt generator and installed a direct hook-up to our home so we can run our whole house, including one air conditioner if we do not have electricity. We also purchased several gas cans and filled them up with an additive for fuel storage. Unfortunately we realized a little late in the game that it would have been wiser to purchase a dual propane/gas generator instead of just gas, but eventually we will switch this out. For now we've tested everything and it seems to work just fine.

Top right corner you can see the pipe for the water that is flowing into the pila.

In addition to the above we had covers made for all of our appliances in the palapa. Eduardo who has a little open-air shop down the street from us came over and measured, several times, and made us fabulous water proof covers for our fridge, stove, washing machine, island and sofa - which, was too large to get through the door of our casita to store.

Fridge cover complete with a zipper down the middle so we
can get inside if we're there during a storm.

Washing machine

Cabinet - he did a great job on this - the corners are gathered to fit tighter and
he made a flap that goes over the wall, which we have tied down
to a cinder block to prevent "flapping"

You can see the sofa and island covers here. He made gathers to go around the feet of the island and Wayne
told us to put it and the sofa up on cinder blocks. The sofa also has a large piece that comes
from the back and goes underneath and velcros completely around the front and sides.
We covered everything we could with tarps and sand bags.
And last, but certainly not least, we had wooden shutters made to go on all of the windows, except our sliding glass door which has permanent metal bifold doors that can lock from the inside or outside, in case we are there during a storm.

Our friends, Mandy & Jasper, had similar shutters made and we admired them so much we
had Sr. Gabriel make us one too! Eventually we'd like to have these on all of our windows. 

Michael made these shutters for our windows, they are a blank slate for some murals, me thinks!

We were advised the importance of "being there" our first summer to see exactly what happens with our property during a big storm, but we had to get up here and clean out our storage unit and spend some time with my grandson, which took precedence. Next summer we will stay at home and are really looking forward to it.

This year we stayed until the end of July, which is the latest we have ever stayed. Last year we left the first week in June. The town really empties out and just has this peaceful buzz to it that we loved. It got hot, for sure, but we'd find ourselves at the beach most afternoons and it was delightful.

Sarah and I at the violins for kids fundraiser

Hanging on the beach with Suzanne

Blas always "makes a good picture"

The gang all hanging out at the beach - Sasha, Monze, Suzanne, Sarah, Bill and moi

Monday, August 8, 2016


Well we did it....built our little casita in about 4 months! We moved in at the end of March, right smack dab in the middle of tax season. Unfortunately, I got a really bad bug that was going around and was laid up for 2 weeks right at the end of our move. The kitchen was all unpacked but Bill had to do the majority of the moving himself, especially the clean up of our old place. But we made it through and almost immediately we were both commenting to each other how much we LOVED our little spot of heaven! A few months later and we are still saying that. It fits us perfectly and when the weather got hot and sticky we had a super comfy chill space. I was even doing my batch cooking outside in the palapa in 90 degree heat, but with the fans and breeze it was ok.

Towards the end...no doors yet and the wall isn't finished

Looking at the outdoor palapa kitchen & family room from the casita.


Entrance to the casita with the storm shutters.

Front door

Itty Bitty Paint Brush party to paint the gate.

Just one of our fabulous sunsets, oh and check out the purple we painted on the gate.

Comfy chairs and TV!!

Farewell dinner by Sasha at Caffe Encinalito

El baƱo

A peak into the shower

Utility room.

Garden beds all ready for planting
Digging the hole for the tinaca (back-up water tank)
Many of these beach days with Mike and Cathy

We are now in the USA, spent a little time in LA with my adorable grandson, Justice, and hung out with our friend Susan in Marina del Rey. Bummed I didn't snap one pic of Susan the entire time we were there. But she did join us for this sushi dinner - not exactly relaxing with an 8 month old, but super fun!

Justice flying through the air from one parent to another!

On our way north we stopped to spend a few days with friends, Peace Blossom & Cuco Man in their new home in Scotts Valley (Santa Cruz). They invited our friends over to hang out and it was so great to see hasher/burners Pix, PT, Lumina & Griffin. 

On the streets of Santa Cruz

 We spent the last week in Nevada City pet-sitting for Chris & Christina, Baja friends. We absolutely love it here - got a free week at the gym, hit the farmer's market and went to my first "Dead Revival!" I could live here in a minute - we will be coming back to pet-sit again for 3 weeks in September.

Out for Thai 
Bill photobombing his doppleganger, Chris (who's house we are at)

Next we head up the hill for a couple weeks in Tahoe where we'll be working hard to clear out our storage unit, oh joy! But I'll get to see my son and our friends, and just being in Tahoe is the best 

OK one more of Justice!