Little Antonio, the Cabinetmaker

A week or so ago, my Canadian landlady, Nonie, asked me to get in touch with a local woodworker/cabinetmaker (i.e. “little” Antonio, to differentiate him from my friend/handyman/gardener/pool guy Antonio whom I shall refer to by his nickname Zaca hereafter to avoid confusion) to find out about little Antonio making an entertainment center for the house here in Joco.

We already have a pretty nice table upon which the TV, DVD, satellite box, phone, and modem sit, but the wires from all those things are not covered up at all, so compared to the rest of the house with its lovely Mexican furniture, it’s kind of a mess.

Since I didn’t know what Nonie wanted, she sent me a photograph of what she would prefer the new cabinet to look like so that I could share it with little Antonio.  It’s a lovely piece that will be a great addition to Nonie’s home.  It’s rustic, so that it fits in with the rest of the furniture, and it’s functional.  Form and function combined in one great piece!

So I had the pictures printed out, along with the text about the dimensions, and was totally [I thought] prepared for little Antonio’s visit on Saturday morning.  All I had to do was convert inches to centimeters, hand the cabinet maker the photos, and get an estimate from him!

Wrong, my friends, so wrong.

I have never in my life had anything built for me.  Not a building, not a house, not a room, not even a piece of furniture.  Therefore, I had absolutely no idea of how many other questions arise or how many decisions I would have to make on my landlady’s behalf.

Before little Antonio arrived on Saturday, Zaca and I had taken measurements on the wall where the new entertainment center is to be.  Then we measured what’s already there and measured again using the new specifications to make sure that the to-be-built piece would fit nicely.

And everything looked great.  The new furniture wouldn’t overwhelm the wall, nor would it stick  out so far that it encroached on the walking area to the bookcase located next to it.  The TV would be at a proper height for viewing and the DVD player and satellite box would easily fit into the glass-paned second shelf as Nonie wanted.

[As an aside, I would like to mention that I could perhaps have found something similar to the cabinet that Nonie desired in some furniture store in Guadalajara, but Nonie wanted to be able to give some work to a local person.  After all, little Antonio is the man who built many things in her house, and she has been very pleased with his work.  If he could come up with an estimate for a comparable piece at a comparable price, Nonie preferred to give him her money instead of giving it to some big business.]

That’s just one of the things I love about having Nonie and David as my landlords:  that even though they have not been able to spend much time down here in their house for the past few years, they remember how much it helps the local economy to have things done by local folks.

Little Antonio arrived on his bicycle about 10:30 on Saturday morning.  You may be thinking that little Antonio is environmentally-aware and/or the kind of eccentric artisan that is treasured as the “real deal” in the U.S., but not so.  Little Antonio rides his bike places because he does not own, and likely cannot afford, a car or truck.

I ushered he and Zaca into the house and, in my horrible Spanish, explained what we would like him to build.  I then thrust the photos into his hand and looked forlornly at Zaca, pleading with my eyes to have him translate what I was trying to say to little Antonio.  But Zaca just nodded at me and said, “Go ahead.  You’re doing fine.”  (And that’s one of the reasons I love Zaca so much.  Even though my Spanish is laughable, he encourages me to try it with him and with anyone else.)

The first thing that little Antonio did was, of course, whip out his measuring tape and we all measured everything again.  Little Antonio made note on the back of the photo printouts about the specifications (in centimeters) that Nonie desired.  And I thought we were then finished.

But, again, faithful readers, I was wrong.  That was merely the beginning.  So, of course, there will be more on this subject!

About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
This entry was posted in Fun Stuff, General, Lake Chapala, Travel, Work in Mexico and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Little Antonio, the Cabinetmaker

  1. gped2 says:

    That’s a nice story, Barb, but I cannot help but wonder if you could see the YouTube video commercial that popped up at the end of this article (the B&W video featuring a sexy young blonde with a big “tookas.” I wanted to copy it back to you, but I was not given an option to “copy image.”

    • Barbara says:

      Ed, For once I didn’t post any video links, so I have no idea where that came from! And I can’t see it when I go into Edit mode, or when I just open the blog post to read it. Very, very odd!

      • gped2 says:

        That is really weird. It was a youtube video advertisement of some kind, but I did not opoen it, so I do not know what was being advertised. Just now, when I went back to your block “Little Antonio, The Cabinet Maker,” the advertisement did not show up (DUH)! I know that Word Press and Google do often post advertisements on peoples blogs, so guess that is what happened. Who knows?

  2. Gaby says:

    yes! my new Toshiba laptop started screaming all these messages to me that things were UNSAFE!!!!! yowzer!
    ps: can’t wait to hear the ending to this story. but wait! maybe I’ll get to SEE the finished product in person – as I’ll be there NEXT WEEK! YAY! Gaby

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