Construction in Island Time: the finale

We arrived back in Bequia in February 1994 bringing Greg’s mother for a visit, fully expecting that the few remaining jobs would be completed.  They weren’t.  We were now over 4  years  under construction.

The day we were to return, a couple of Julie’s masons finally showed up to block up the lower part of the kitchen wall to install the windows.  Our neighbors who had started a property management company and who we had cleaning our house for us, figured correctly that we must be coming, as the workmen had arrived. We arrived to find plywood over the hole and a partially done job.  By this time we were sick and tired of the whole process.  We felt abused; by not being assertive, we let our construction job be pushed aside while other more aggressive people made sure that their work was being done.  We were tired of being compliant and nice so we set off to talk to Julie.

Long story short, though Julie wasn’t planning to have the workmen there to finish the window, thinking we’d want to be left alone for our holiday, we convinced him that we wanted the job done, over, finished.  The masons showed up the next Monday to finish the window job, plus a masonry repair where they’d had to dig out the wiring to the lights for a bathroom and rewire putting the switch outside the bathroom. Somehow the wiring had been crushed, plus it needed moved from one side of the wall to the other, as the switch had been in the shower!  We took back the keys from Julie figuring that anything else that needed done, we would have done ourselves.

We’d warned Mother about the ants and not to have any candy unless it was in a sealed container, and not to leave any food out.  We hadn’t been at the house more than a half an hour getting settled in when she started to scream for Greg to help.  We raced downstairs to find out what all the fuss was and her white purse was now black, just covered in ants, inside and out, and there was a thick trail of ants coming into the bedroom.  We asked her what she had in her bag that would attract ants and she said nothing, but it turned out that she had a bag of dried apricots in a plastic bag that the ants were going crazy for.   BOP insect spray and a broom to the rescue.

Mother kindly offered to varnish railings a couple of mornings while Greg and I got some more painting done, but mainly we showed her the sights, taking an island tour with Eddie to all the highlights, going to Lower Bay beach a couple of times, dinner at the Gingerbread listening to the band.  Mother picked up an admirer at the Gingerbread; one of the older taxi drivers came over and sat at our table and flirted with her, so we started teasing her about her Bequia boyfriend.

Toward the end of that weeks visit, Mother was shopping in Port Elizabeth for souvenirs and we’d gone in different directions while I got supplies for the house.  I went looking for her and was standing on the roadside looking around trying to figure out which way she might have gone, and a man called out to me from the other side of the road, to tell me where I’d find my Mother.  Nothing goes unnoticed in Bequia.

We would continue to come down for holidays and to work on the house, when my father took sympathy and said that he and Mom would come down and paint, and their good friend Jim MacDonald wanted to visit Bequia so he’d come too.  So we planned a trip with me, my parents and Jim and painted until we had it fully painted outside.  What a lot of work.  By this time the metal light fixtures outside were all rusted, so they were taken down and painted as well, and I realized that a different type of light fixture was going to be needed.

We’ve gone through several different materials for exterior light fixtures over the years and finally have nickel plated stainless which are holding up well.

After we moved down full time there would be paint colors changed and additional improvements made, from a retaining wall and a sidewalk across the back of the house and nice wide set of stairs down the one side to allow access to the downstairs apartment without having to come through the upstairs which would allow us to rent out the apartment, a patio out the kitchen side of the house for our rotary laundry line, a parking space for two cars.  Then about 6 years ago we put the electric and cables underground, moved the kitchen into the great room and had new cabinets built with concrete counters, and made the old kitchen into the master bedroom, renovated the master bathroom completely making it into a wet room with a huge shower, added a new private patio onto the apartment,  installed a gorgeous swimming pool and another water tank for the pool water supply,  concreted steps all the way down to the road below our house, replacing the step stone path that used to be there, and had stone put over the concrete steps down to the house and the sidewalk across the back.  Just recently we decided to replace the counter in the master bath with granite, and Greg informed me that he hated the concrete counters so we replaced them with granite too.  Very nice.  I think we are done for a while with renovations, though I’ve been eyeing the other bathroom upstairs thinking it’s looking a little dated, so you never know.

One thing is certain, other than touch ups, we now hire a team of painters and in a week or so, everything we want repainted is done.

Photo shown at the top is our first island dog, Gizmo aka Gizzie

 

 

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