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Monday, May 25, 2015

For Sale

Virtual Tour of Casa Tranquilo

Well, we have finally made all our preparations to move. We are putting the last of our personal effects in boxes. We will probably take much less back than we moved here with. After almost 7 years here (on June 8th), we still had some things in boxes and stored away in cabinets.

So- the house is officially up for sale. I know some of you have followed us for several years, so if you have friends that are thinking about moving here (or you are finally making the move)- let them know that our house is available. I am being shamelessly commercial about this.

They say that location, location, location is important when buying a house and as you readers know I agree! Living just steps from the beach and enjoying the sound of the surf at night and seeing the daily activities on the sand itself of people playing soccer and horses galloping by all through the view from my dining room window, I can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else in Uruguay than in Marindia.

So, yes, I will miss this house and place a lot! If we weren't moving back to the USA, I wouldn't be selling this home at all!!!

That having been said, this house is now for sale. It is an open and bright (with natural light and plenty of overhead lights) airy floor plan. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bath rooms and a separate laundry room with it's own window and outside door and laundry sink (washer and dryer included). It is on a double lot. There are water views from the living room, the dining room and even the kitchen! So you can wash the dishes looking through the kitchen sink window and see the sea, but we also have a dishwasher that is included in the sale. The backyard is fully fenced with a tall block wall for privacy and has a dedicated fenced vegetable garden area. It also has a back patio with a covered Parilla (bbq grill).There are several patio spaces around the house to take advantage of the winter and the summer sun.

The neighbourhood is beautiful and is very walkable (and safe) with 2 grocery stores you can walk to that each have full butcher-shops in them. As most of you readers know, I walk to Salinas to the weekly farmers' market (called the feria) pulling my little wire cart behind me to buy fresh vegetables and fruit for the week and other goods. This same group of farmers then goes to Atlantida to sell in the afternoon on the same day, their wares. So we here in Marindia and Salinas, we get first dibs on the produce, then Atlantida gets what is left! So fresh produce is a big plus for my area. Speaking of walkable, you can also walk on the beach all the way to Atlantida a major town/city away, as it's only an easy 5 kilometres away, and yes I have done it.

The town of Salinas has all the small support systems you may need like a beauty shop, post office, restaurants etc... and I regularly walk there. So I will also miss the convenience of not needing a car in my daily rounds. There is also the available bus system a few blocks away on the main ruta/highway. Okay, enough of the sales pitch!

What a lot of preparation goes into a move, though. There are papers to get for the pets, who are going with us, this time. There are pet "passports" to get and the travel arrangements to be made with the airline. Happy to note that our dog will fly for only an additional $ 200. Now if only I could arrange to fly in a kennel, I could be Denise's pet.

We have noticed that houses here in Uruguay are rarely prepared much for sale. They just show them as they are, dirty clothes strew about, piles of dishes, etc... are often shown in the "for sale" photos.. In the States, it is common to stage a house by removing most of the decorative and personal items in the house. Denise recently learned that the practice of taking ALL of your photos off the wall may not be the wisest course. A few personal photos show a prospective buyer that a real family lived here and that their family could also be happy in the house. But any needless clutter should be removed, and surfaces cleaned and presented with just enough decoration to make the house attractive.

When we sold our house in Seattle, we sold it fully furnished. We expect to do the same here. We're not planning on taking more that 20-30 boxes back. Just the items that we have picked up on our travels.

So, if you have ever had a hankering to sample life at the beach in South America with the Southern cross above your heads at night and a never ending sky meets water view, then Marindia might be a good choice.....  and have I got the house for you....

Monday, May 11, 2015

House Of Straw

I had a chance to pick up a little extra money, doing a few days work in the country- near Punta Del Este. And when I say country..... I mean way away from anyone. Off the grid. UTE has not even put power lines out this far, so we worked off a generator. But what an interesting house this was. The owner has been building on it for almost a year and it is far from finished, even now. A crew of about 4-5 workers is doing the work.

I went with Jim, my neighbor and employer, in 2 day shifts, and camped out overnight, with Jim providing the food. Except for the mosquitos, it was very enjoyable. The second time I went, I brought a mosquito net and had a much easier time of it.

The house, besides being in the middle of farmland (the cows mooed all night long) had a number of interesting features, which made working there a challenge.

First of all, the owner had bought about 25 huge windows, with stained glass inserts (the larger ones arched tops) from a mansion being demolished. And when I say huge... the big ones were 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It was all that Jim and I could do to lift the frame, without the window panels in place. Jim has taken on the task of renovating, sanding and painting the windows. It is painstaking work and anybody who knows me, knows that I do not like to paint. Still, it was a refreshing change of pace and I am glad I had the opportunity.

Straw Light Panel in Place
Another unique thing about this house is the use of straw light panels. The workers have a pit, where they mix the clay and straw together, then stuff it into pre-made forms in the wall. The use of both clay and straw should produce quite an insulation factor. I have heard that there is lots of "green" building going on in the Punta area.

They mix the lay and straw together

Finally- the quincho style roof was breathtaking. It was more a work of art than a roofing system. It looks like it was sculpted. And the inside of the house is going to be very spacious. And while it should prove to be very cool in the summer, I am not sure how warm it will be with all of those single paned windows in the house. Still the straw light panels should provide good insulation.

 On the last day, we got to work on the new (read, very old) front door. It was actually fun to see such work and have a hand in restoring it.

Jim filling a crack in the door
Some of the detail carving
So, while this may end up being house of straw, no wolf is going to huff and puff and blow the whole thing down. When it is finished- it should last a good long time.