This week has been filled with activity. I managed to break my Jeep. Funny noises followed by the oil pressure light!!! Archie confirms a new engine is needed. I am glad it happened when it did because two days later I would have been heading to Midland to pick up Josie after her thanksgiving visit to see our children and, of course, the grandchildren. Thank you to the two very kind Double Diamond ladies who gave me a ride back to Terlingua and whom I owe a nice dinner and a good bottle of wine for their kindness.
Moving right along, Josie was back from the frozen north in time to see the first concrete pour. Our crew laid almost 32 yards of concrete in one day and it looks great. We had four cement trucks deliver concrete and we used three and a half of them. We are looking at doing another pour next week when we will need another two trucks.
While delivering the concrete the very first truck had to back up to the kitchen wall. While still five or six feet away, an ominous crack was heard and the entire wall moved. Heavy as the truck was, if it was able to damage the wall from that distance then the wall was severely suspect to start with.
Oh dear! (That is not what I said in reality. I leave the actual words to your imagination.) The wall in question was well constructed using good concrete and reinforced with heavy rebar. The one slight problem was that the ends of the wall were not tied into anything, they were just floating. This is one of those circumstances where you just shrug and move on. No one was at fault, not the concrete truck driver or our construction crew. We never dreamed that the ends were not tied in but there is nothing we can do now. I am unprepared for a wall weighing around 7,000 lbs falling on an employee and diners tend not to enjoy brick and concrete dust in their dinner. The wall had to go. The problem was that it also held up the Pizza oven and the entry door. Ouch. We have now disassembled the pizza oven and put the components into storage. It should make a valuable addition to the new BBQ kitchen as a pizza and bread oven.
While we have now been compelled to remove the old kitchen wall we are viewing it as an opportunity. This now enables us to expand the kitchen, which should in turn mean that we will be able to turn food around a little more briskly than was the case in the past. We are also going to rebuild the main entry because that has been hit by termite damage and needs fixing so we are tying the two projects together. At the end of the day we end up with an enlarged kitchen, an upgraded entry, a bug and rodent proof airlock door behind the iconic “mine door” and safe walls in the kitchen. What’s to complain about?
We are planning on having another pour of concrete next week and that will mean that we will have laid almost all of the new concrete floors. The balance will probably be done by hand. We are rapidly approaching the point where we can move on from the floors and complete the walls. The weather is simply delightful and we are enjoying working outdoors but soon we could see some cold weather and it would be nice to have the walls completed by then and at least part of the roof on. The next two weeks should remain nice with lows in the mid 40’s and highs around the 70 mark. Near perfect conditions.
I have been ready to criticize the concrete company in the past for the poor scheduling. On Tuesday they did arrive. They were prompt and efficient. They did a great job and were courteous and obliging. They had great equipment and mixing on site is clearly the way to go. Despite our earlier problems I am delighted with the results. As an aside, the first truck to pour concrete was operated by a driver called Glenn. Somehow that seemed very appropriate.