May 27, 2011 – It has been quite the eventful day here at Casa Madera Bed and Breakfast in Nuevo Vallarta. We have a mirador or in english a lookout tower. We have always wondered why. The view is spectacular but really it performs no other use and we are really not sure how they got it built anyway as it seems to break every rule the homeowner’s association has.
The previous owners of the house which became Casa Madera had not kept the maintenance which has required a fair amount of work on our part but that is a story for another day. Today we are talking about the mirador. It was in severe need of painting probably about 4 years ago. It was also something that Heather and I debated about for quite a while. Do we really want to keep it? What do we do with it. Either way it needed paint.
How the heck are we going to do that? At the top it is 4 stories high. There are areas that will probably require scaffolding. Where are we going to get that? There are areas that are not the easiest to reach even with scaffolding. Either way we had to do something about it.
So today I had nothing better to do that would pay me money so I decided to paint it. It was a good idea at the time. It was cloudy and not too hot so I set up gear and went to work. What a pain in the butt. The stucco covering is streaked with gaps that make it extremely difficult to fill with paint. Oh well it is not perfect but I did the best I could with a pole that could reach 18 feet.
The problem is the sun came out so after 3 hours I had to pack it in. I had drunk 5 16 ounce glasses of water and a liter is rehydrating liquid (not sport drinks but actual medicinal rehydrater) and was dying up there. I was half done so I was reasonably happy with what I saw and cleaned everything up.
The rest of the day was to be spent lounging in the pool with a cold beer and a good book. That was going to be after we went to the print shop to print off a letter for the homeowners association about things that needed to be done to the lot next door and the farm land behind us as we have some tree issues.
I got myself cleaned up and ready to go but Heather was still tweaking the letter so she was not ready. I sat myself down at the computer to deal with my email and check twitter and Facebook. About 4 minutes in to that I heard an odd noise. I did not think much about it as we hear lots of odd noises throughout the day with the various work that goes on throughout the neighbourhood during the day. I kept reviewing the days events on the computer.
It was then I heard a much louder odd noise that sounded like a crack and then the sound of crumpling metal and breaking glass. That was enough to get me out of my seat. I made the 3 steps to the balcony to see the pine tree that we had asked the agricultural engineer from the Homeowner’s association to remove 3 weeks ago lying overtop of our Jeep Grand Cherokee.
We were heading to Guadalajara for 5 days to do some shopping, some sightseeing and reconnect with our friend Marco who is living there. Well so much for that. Glass was all over the ground, I could see the roof was caved in, we were not going anywhere.
So while Heather called the Homeowner’s association I emailed the hotel, the kennel for the cat, the friends who were taking the dog and Marco to tell them that fate is not allowing us to travel tomorrow.
Once Heather was done with the Homeowner’s association we called our insurance broker, Juan Pablo. I explained our problem and he said I needed to call the company in my best Spanish and he would call the adjuster and let him know what was happening.
My best Spanish is just like my best French so I deferred the call to Heather who is better at it than I am. She did the report and we went back outside to survey the damage.
While we were on the phone the Tourist Police drove by doing their usual rounds. They slowed a bit and had quite the look at the car but did not stop. I found it quite funny when a second set came through about 5 minutes later and again slowed to get a good look but did not stop. What, were they thinking it was a new accessory?
The best was when the school bus driver brought the boy from down the street home after school. He dropped the boy off and was coming back, he slowed to an absolute crawl…and then stopped about 30 feet past the house and I am pretty sure got out his phone to take a picture. He could have backed up we really would not have cared!
It was about 5 minutes later the workers from the Homeowners association showed up. Looked at the tree and started cutting. They were then faced with the task of how to get it off the car without damaging the garage door or the palapa. That was when the insurance adjuster showed up.
The insurance adjuster showed up! One hour after the tree had fallen the adjuster was at our house. I was involved in insurance claims for 20 years when Heather and I started this odessy and we always strived for excellent customer service but this was something else!
He looked at the Jeep and told me what was going to happen. Did I have the policy? I explained it was in the car as we have been told to do. Until they moved the tree I could not get it at it. It was then the workers motioned us over to get the tree out of the way.
One guy on the front end loader and two Fibba (homeowner’s association) workers and the adjuster were on the tree. They lifted it up enough for me to get into the Jeep and back it out in the street.
The Fibba men started cutting the rest of the tree up while the adjuster and I looked over the mangled vehicle. He announced it could be repaired! Damn. In Canada it would have been a write off for sure which would have made us both happy.
This is a problem with low labour rates ( we like them everywhere else, our problem I guess). Oh well. He wrote the appraisal sheet, told me where to take it. They would order the parts and it would be repaired, I only had to pay my deductible. 5% of the value of the vehicle.
So tomorrow we will take the car to the repair shop, they can see the appraisal, order the parts and the car will be repaired.
The interesting point in the entire dissertation is that the tree fell at 3:00 pm this afternoon. The tree was cut and in a pile by our house and the repair order was done by the adjuster by 4:30 pm.
90 minutes. Unbelievable. I love this country!