Monday, October 4, 2010

Long Lonesome Highway (of Mexican Saltillo) Tips for those who do the work Americans won't do

I'm not too sure what these pictures show. If I had a better photo device, the difference would be clear.

The hallway is a big U shape. These show the bottom of the U, from the middle looking right and left. The one with the masking has been stripped up to the row of more orange looking tiles. Then I started at the other end and worked my way back to the center, after masking it all and masking the right hand leg of the U as well. The left hand part includes a larger foyer/entryway which was already completed. There's a double door in the middle of the bottom of the U which opens to the pool patio/courtyard. I use that to take out the buckets of dirty water and bring in fresh.

Finally, after using a rag to spread the stripper, a buff pad to scrub, 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper more on some than others, scrub again, go over with rag again, then sponge off, and sponge with clean water, I moved 3 tiles down and did the next three rows. Occasionally I had to scrape off bits of paint and mortar with a pocket knife. That's how I roll. It makes for least risk to nearby carpet or wood, and gets the job done for the result they want.

I also came back, after stripping half way down the hall, with a regular clean water mop. Finally, when it all had two to three days to dry, I put two coats of sealer on. In this situation I found applying with a rag the best bet. I tried mop and sponge mop but you can't get edges well without making trouble and keeping it even with no puddling.

Thanks again to the memory foam platform I made, knees did not suffer. Applying the sealer is child's play compared to the rest. It's surprising how long masking can take, and I'm pretty quick with that. It is definitely worth doing, though. Every once in awhile an errant move sends stuff flying and the paper catches it.

In real life you can tell the difference. They do not want a high gloss finish so keeping it toned down and using the lowest gloss the sell is necessary. But that makes less contrast on the before and after. Even so, it is much better. I doubt it would have been easy to get anyone else to do this as effectively without collateral damage. Especially doing it so it looks the way they specified.

So, it is now done, everything put back in place and the tons of masking paper rolled into big balls and disposed of in environmentally friendly recycle bins.

Don't think I missed the chance to make use of the spa late at night. Once again I neglected to bring the swimsuit. It may be the main thing that accelerated the recovery of strained muscles; the ones which haven't been used in ten years or so.

Unfortunately a mouse tried to avail itself of the spa earlier in the day. I guess it was not a good swimmer. I was too late to rescue it. (as if I would have). This time there was no burial or ritual funeral pyre. I used the rubber gloves and picked it up by the tail, flinging it far out into the backyard area, somewhere near the property line fence. If not over it. Who knows.

I see no upcoming projects of any consequence, and I could not charge more hours than I thought the job was worth. No telling what actual hours were. I'm so not in tune with the hourly wage concept. If I loaf for half the hour, I cannot charge it. Will not. This is why I need to embark upon the sort of thing that pays in a different way. Like a copyright on music or a book, or rights to a design. Not quite sure. If I had the patience to figure out investment, and a little money, I'd do that. But you have to really know what you are up to to achieve success. Some people do, but investment juggling is not for the ignorant.

I'm as proud of doing a good job on a project like this as I was of design jobs in other fields which had more money and prestige. The plan worked, and the result was good. And it was done fairly, honestly, and involved completely voluntary trade on both sides. If I had done this for a city building I would feel less at peace about it.

If it were a taxpayer situation, I'd have questioned the necessity and suggested another way of preserving the floor which may have been less aesthetically pleasing but adequate. Or suggested they use the money to arm decent citizens in gang neighborhoods and declare open season on punks.

It's a great day out here in East SD county. Fog so thick you can drink it. The sound of rain running through the gutter on the cottage, but almost no rain falling. In the clouds and it is in the 60's or lower.

The biggest relief that came out of this project is finding that I can still get stronger. I can work and strain things, be sore, then have my body recover and adapt. With people around telling me maybe I'm just old, blablabla whenever a job kicks my ass, it is good to feel the strengthening process take effect. It means they are just idiots who buy into what they hear, like sheep. I know I am not 20. I also have gone through this many times because I've gone from hard labor to sedentary jobs and lifestyle and back again several times. Always I get totally achy and sore, wondering if I can do it. Then I adapt.

One day I may not be able to do that. Not yet. I'm not able to afford the normal luxury of deciding I'm too old to do these things. It is not an option. I have no pension or automatic income.

I've known people who started in about being too old since I was 35. My hardest labor jobs came about long after that. Some of them I would not care to repeat, but at the time they were what I had to do to make the rent.

The goal now is neither to get too concerned about fitting the prescribed lifestyle laid out by age, nor to settle for always doing menial back tiring work. The goal is to get paid for something more creative and fun.

extra tip: acrylic sealer may seem friendly, but use rubber gloves. If you don't you find your hands will be sealed like reptile skin.


  1. Maybe you should consider opening a boot camp where sedentary people (like me) pick up useful labor skills and get ready to jump off the grid....

    If nothing else, this would give you the opportunity to watch others work, and grow fat & lazy like the despised exploiters!

    But seriously: you know stuff more people should know. Think about how it could be passed along....


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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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