Another brick in the wall / Otro ladrillo en la pared

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

TUESDAY MORNING, WE WOKE TO horrendous hammering and we soon heard tile falling and breaking apart. It sounded like someone was trying to ram their way into our apartment. When I walked into my office, it was obvious demolition work was being done in the bathroom adjoining mine. So nice of our portero/super to give us advance warning. He’s not the greatest and does as little as he can get away with.

We immediately worried they would come right through the wall since the walls between our unit and the one next door are 7.5 cm / less than 3 inches thick. The building went up in 1973 at a time when the goal was simply to build places for all the tourists that had begun to arrive. If there were building codes, they usually weren’t adhered to. Apparently the walls between next door and the apartment on the other side are 23 cm / 9 inches thick. Anyway, grout began to get shaken out between the tiles in my shower and bathroom. I went next door Wednesday morning and told the worker about the grout. He agreed that the walls were very thin. I told him that he needed to use less force in his demolition and they would need to repair our walls. He said, “Of course,” and that he would talk to the boss.

Thursday, when we returned from Mesón Salvador, the portero stopped us in the lobby to tell us the workers had broken through our wall. Isabel was cleaning when it happened. She said, she couldn’t believe how hard they were smashing against the wall and wasn’t surprised when they broke through.

I went next door and spoke with a different worker. We again had a conversation about the thin walls between the apartments. He said his boss hadn’t yet seen inside our apartment but they would repair our walls Friday. Argh. A little while later, cigarette smoke came wafting into my office. I returned next door and told him that, since we no longer had a wall, the lit cigarette he had in his mouth and was smoking in the bathroom was wafting into our apartment. I told him (I didn’t ask) he couldn’t smoke in there until the work was completed. He apologized.

About a half hour ago (still the same day), the boss knocked on our door to see the damage. He proceeded to tell me the grout hadn’t been done well in the first place. I agreed. But, thankfully my Spanish is now good enough to point out that, despite that fact, until Tuesday and Wednesday, the poorly applied grout was not falling out; and until Thursday, we had complete walls. So, I wasn’t going to discuss with him the quality of the work that had been done more than 10 years ago. All that mattered was the damage his team had done.

I was about to head out for a walk, but I am now sitting here while the workers come and go. At least we don’t have to wait another day for the holes to be plugged. And, fortunately, none of the white ceramic tiles broke, so they can be reapplied.

I was hoping we’d get a new bathroom out of all this. We’ve wanted to redo it since we moved in. All we did was install new mirrors and add shower doors in both bathrooms. Anyway, maybe this will be the impetus for upgrades. The top photo is the current view from the terrace. So much nicer than the current view of my bathroom.


EL MARTES POR LA MAÑANA, nos despertamos con un martilleo horrible y pronto oímos que las baldosas se caían y se rompían. Sonaba como si alguien estuviera tratando de meterse en nuestro piso. Cuando entré a mi oficina, era obvio que se estaban realizando trabajos de demolición en el baño contiguo al mío. Muy amable de nuestro portero para avisarnos con anticipación. Él no es el mejor y hace tan poco como puede salirse con la suya.

Inmediatamente nos preocupamos de que atravesaran la pared, ya que las paredes entre nuestra unidad y la de al lado tienen 7,5 cm / menos de 3 pulgadas de espesor. El edificio se levantó en 1973 en un momento en que el objetivo era simplemente construir lugares para todos los turistas que habían comenzado a llegar. Si había códigos de construcción, generalmente no se cumplían. Aparentemente, las paredes entre el piso al lado y el piso del otro lado tienen un grosor de 23 cm / 9 pulgadas. De todos modos, la lechada comenzó a salirse entre las baldosas de la ducha y el baño. Fui a la puerta de al lado el miércoles por la mañana y le dije al trabajador sobre la lechada. Estuvo de acuerdo en que las paredes eran muy delgadas. Le dije que necesitaba usar menos fuerza en su demolición y que tendrían que reparar nuestras paredes. Dijo: “Por supuesto,” y que hablaría con el jefe.

El jueves, cuando regresamos de Mesón Salvador, el portero nos detuvo en el vestíbulo para decirnos que los trabajadores habían atravesado nuestra pared. Isabel estaba limpiando cuando sucedió. Dijo que no podía creer lo fuerte que se estrellaban contra la pared y no se sorprendió cuando se abrieron paso.

Fui a la puerta de al lado y hablé con un trabajador diferente. De nuevo tuvimos una conversación sobre las delgadas paredes entre los pisos. Dijo que su jefe aún no había visto el interior de nuestro piso, pero que repararían nuestras paredes el viernes. Ay. Poco tiempo después, el humo de un cigaro entró flotando en mi oficina. Regresé a la puerta de al lado y le dije que, como ya no teníamos pared, el cigaro encendido que tenía en la boca y que fumaba en el baño entraba flotando en nuestro piso. Le dije (no le pregunté) que no podía fumar allí hasta que el trabajo estuviera terminado. Se disculpó.

Hace aproximadamente media hora (todavía el mismo día), el jefe llamó a nuestra puerta para ver el daño. Procedió a decirme que la lechada no se había hecho bien en primer lugar. Estuve de acuerdo. Pero, afortunadamente mi español ahora es lo suficientemente bueno para señalar que, a pesar de eso, hasta el martes y miércoles, la lechada mal aplicada no se caía; y hasta el jueves teníamos muros completos. Entonces, no iba a discutir con él la calidad del trabajo que se había hecho hace más de 10 años. Todo lo que importaba era el daño que había hecho su equipo.

Estaba a punto de salir a caminar, pero ahora estoy sentado aquí mientras los trabajadores van y vienen. Al menos no tenemos que esperar otro día para que se tapen los agujeros. Y, afortunadamente, ninguna de las baldosas de cerámica blanca se rompió, por lo que se pueden volver a aplicar.

Esperaba que pudiéramos conseguir un nuevo baño con todo esto. Queríamos rehacerlo desde que nos mudamos. Todo lo que hicimos fue instalar espejos nuevos y agregar puertas de ducha en ambos baños. De todos modos, tal vez este sea el impulso para las actualizaciones. La foto superior es la vista actual desde la terraza. Mucho mejor que la vista actual de mi baño.

Wednesday / El miércoles.
Thursday / El jueves.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

28 thoughts on “Another brick in the wall / Otro ladrillo en la pared”

  1. Damn! My eyes weren’t up to reading the small print this morning, but when I saw the pictures I sucked it up, squinted and read. Man, oh, man! I probably would’ve just gone to a corner, sucked my thumb and cried before eating a massive dose of a not good for me at all cake. But, that’s just me 🙂 I hope you do get a remodeling out of this. Well, maybe someday. Hugs and kisses to you both. Sheesh!

    1. Deedles:
      I wasn’t delighted. But it was resolved more quickly and better than I had expected… except for when the boss tried to turn it back on me because the original caulking wasn’t as good as it should have been. I see, so THAT’S why there are two huge holes in my wall. It was the unattractive spackle.

    1. Mary:
      It was a relief, although an inconvenience, when the guy arrived to do the work yesterday. The guy that did the actual tile work, was great. The other two guys are the demolition guys. They cleaned up before he started and then cleaned the tiles for the redo.

  2. Bad grout or good grout it was in between the tiles until the workers started hammering!
    Hopefully they get you fixed up right!

    1. Bob:
      Exactly. And that’s what I told “el jeffe”! Thankfully, he left it at that. Anyway, it looks even better now than it did before. The tile guy even redid the grout on another part of the wall unaffected by his cohorts.

  3. What a nightmare. This is why I always want to live in a detached home, if possible, and never share a wall with a stranger. Yikes! Hope it gets repaired to your satisfaction quickly.

    1. Sassybear:
      Neighbors two floors up renovated their kitchen. Their work crew knocked through the floor to the ceiling below. I wonder if it was the same guys.

    1. Debra:
      All told, it went well. A shame about the little manipulative hiccup from the boss.

  4. I can’t even see what the tiles are /were adhered to! Glad your Spanish is up to the task – I hope your Mitchell is up to the task as well! And keep gazing at the view from the terrace.

    I took some sunrise photos this morning, and a happening sunrise it was. Two container ships, one cruise ship, a small fishing boat, and a water spout(!) were visible from our dock against the dawn backdrop.

    1. Wilma:
      There used to be brick and stucco beneath the tiles. It’s back again. I’ve seen one water spout here and it was so exciting, but I didn’t get my camera out quickly enough and I then had it set incorrectly. Are you planning on blogging again?

  5. OMG! Now THAT would be a a pain in the butt!!
    Did they not realize they were in an apartment building?
    Happy things will be resolved.
    The cats must have been going crazy!

    1. Jim:
      This company has done work in the building before. They should know better. Almost all the buildings of this vintage have the same issues. The cats are always stressed after three hours with Isabel. She moves around too much… and they hate the vacuum cleaner. So, this sent them right over the edge. They spent the entire day and most of the evening in SG’s office.

    1. Robyn:
      These are all privately owned apartments, so the portero has no responsibility for the repairs unless someone is paying him extra to do them. Thankfully, the company doing the work was responsible and responsive. So, the bathroom looks better than it did before. Too bad they didn’t complete destroy the shower. THAT would be a really nice improvement. Most of the apartments are second homes. Some are vacation rentals, as is the one next door.

  6. What a mess! I’m glad Isobel was there to witness it in case your super or building owner tries to wriggle out of his responsibilities here! Let’s hope things are repaired quickly and to your liking. If not, unleash Dudo, Moose and some lawyers on him, LOL!

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      The apartments are individually owned, so the responsibility lies with the owner of that apartment, a vacation rental. They’re very nice, but not here. Thankfully, the contractor took complete responsibility and didn’t waste any time. Sure, I’ll unleash Dudo and Moose and they’ll run and hide in a closet.

  7. I would be SO OVER that! And even after you put a bug in their ear. That’s just lack of care and insulting.

    1. Mistress G Borghese:
      Yeah, it was especially frustrating that the first guy didn’t tell the second guy to ease off. But it’s fixed and it looks so much better than before. The third guy (the finish guy) was a pro. He even cleaned the shower and mopped the bathroom floor!

    1. Chrissoup:
      All’s well, and better than before. I hope they finish the work soon, though. The noise through the 3-inch walls is unpleasant. At least the demolition is done.

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