Friday, March 5, 2010

We Had Guests for Lunch

Thursday we had guests for lunch, but there’s a lot of background to cover first.

You may remember that we inherited a dumpy shed when we signed up for this Lot #299 at the SKP Saguaro Co-op Park in Benson, Arizona. It looked OK from the outside, but inside it was a mess. Some of you have actually been brave enough to step inside. It's been nearly four years, and Suzy and I have been haphazardly trying to turn that shed into a mini-casita that we could use as a den / office / entertainment center.

That has not been easy, nor has it been smooth. This year, however, we found that we could HAVE IT DONE for us by a professional licensed contractor, locally respected and recommended, at a reasonable price. So we contracted with Salomon Gonzalez to come in and finish the job. This is what the place looked like, including an open ceiling (most of it just foam insulation panels), patchwork plastering of the bare sheetrock, and tacked down area rugs.lIMG_5439

Salomon, with his son-in-law Paco, started Monday, but we had to start earlier. We moved everything out of the main room of the building, either into its already crowded storage room or into our motorhome or into our trailer. You should see our living room right now. No, you probably shouldn’t.

Our living room has also become Suzy’s work office, as she is up to her ears in accepting registrations for the upcoming Chapter 21 rally (Suzy is the Treasurer of the Chapter). So our dining table is covered with Chapter paperwork, and we are back to eating meals on a little folding table as we have done from the start in the motorhome.

At any rate, Salomon and Paco are busily repairing the lousy wallboard job the previous leaseholders had done, as well as the amateurish patching I had done. IMG_5469 They are installing a vaulted ceiling where before there had been only foam insulation tacked loosely to the rafters. IMG_5451

Here Salomon is cutting shims to use where the original rafters are uneven.IMG_5467

IMG_5458 What a neat tool to hold sheetrock up to the rafters while the guys attach it. Salomon calls this “two men I don’t have to pay.)

IMG_5453 IMG_5465

The job will go on for several more days as they texture and paint the walls and ceiling, frame the windows, and replace to totally inadequate front door (made of rough two-by-fours and lined with more foam insulation, all painted gray), and which also is very short – I have to duck going in and out or experience a severe headache. The new door won’t be any taller, but at least it will be a DOOR – with windows!

Because we are so pleased with what these guys are doing for us, and because we picked up a real bargain at Safeway with large trays of chicken drumsticks (13 in a tray for $1.50!) we told them we were going to do a drumstick barbecue on Thursday, and that’s how we had guests for lunch.

100_4445 Suzy made a big batch of her special potato salad, we bought chips and pickles and cookies and genuine full- sugar-full-caffeine Coke. (We drank Crystal Lite lemonade ourselves.) The chicken was superb! Lemme tell you about it.100_4443

It’s easy – just sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the drumsticks, put them on the grill at medium heat, and cook ‘em for about an hour. During the last 10 to 15 minutes, brush them with jalapeno jelly (or jam) that has been heated until it liquefies. That's it! Well, you can add a dipping sauce, if you want (which we did), made of a pint of sour cream, some finely shredded lime peel, a quarter cup of lime juice, a quarter cup of snipped fresh cilantro and a shake or two of salt. Man, that was good chicken!

Now we know how to do chicken on our barbecue grill. Of course, we still want to do more “beer can chicken” now and then.

Stay tuned for more of the casita progress. When it’s all done we’ll put together a web album showing the full history to date of our casita from our first work in 2006 to the completion. In a week or so, we’ll send you a major invitation to come to Benson!

Friends and family, thanks for sharing … Our Life on Wheels.


  1. "as well as the amateurish patching I had done."

    Hey, just a minute here!! Just to let you know, I have a degree in amateurish. Things are generally not done any poorer than what I can do them. Had you called me in on that job before you tried to fix it I could have even done a more worser job than you. Perhaps the very much most worsest of ever........!!

  2. Looks like those guys really know what they're doing in the casita. It will look great once it's all done, I'm sure. Maybe we'll get to see it before we head for home. That lunch looked pretty good too, I'm sure they appreciated that.

  3. What a great idea with your shed. I bet when it is done you are really going to like it!

    ...and that chicken.

    It is simply not fair to show something like that and we can't have any!

    Man that looks and sounds good!

    Ken and Nanette

  4. Looks like you found a winner with that contractor. Sometimes stuff like that can be a nightmare. If you keep churning out great meals for them like the may never see them leave.

  5. How exciting to get your casita finished! I can't wait to see it in August.

  6. Looks like you finally got the right team for the job! Hope it will be done soon and your life resume to normal. I know how hard it is to eat on trays...

  7. It's good to see the project coming along. I know you'll be happy when it's done and you've moved back in. In the meantime, try to be patient with the upheaval!

  8. I believe its a bribe!! You will enjoy your office when you get it done.....Worth the mess. Why should a guy do it when he can hire it done?? Especially when he is 85 years old like you and me!!

    We're on the road to Yuma,,,stopped in Qz for the night....

  9. How exciting!!!! I know it's going to look great when it's done. Can't wait to see it in August!


    ~N~E~E~ and her boys!

  10. You'll never believe it but we are only about 7 miles from you!!! We are Cochise Terrace RV Park off of Hwy 90. We spent the entire day today at Saguaro National Monument and we are tired. Room looks good and now that we know where you are at we may see it for ourselves. LOL LOL Maybe we could swing by tomorrow afternoon... I'll give you a call tomorrow in late morning. Have fun & see you soon!


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