The House Whisperer


“A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

My husband is a fine house whisperer. This morning, our washing machine broke for the sixth,  seventh, eighth time. Ron ordered a special part from the United States and I brought it back for him, but when he tried to put the part in the machine, it didn’t fit. Because he is a man of many talents, he creatively patched the new part and made it fit. It’s not like we can return the items we order from the U.S.

One of the biggest things we’ve learned in living in Nicaragua, and especially on a small island, is that we have to rely on ourselves to be the handyman and woman. Locals will tell you they know how to do electrical and plumbing work, but we’ve found their skills to be sadly…and sometimes, horribly lacking…like the time our workers plumbed our new bathroom, and we turned on the water for the first time. Water sprayed everywhere.

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More things to consider are that appliances and other items we buy in Nicaragua are usually not of the best quality, or the latest product, and the directions are in Spanish, making it difficult to translate. Electronics, like TVs, cell phones, and computers, are at least double the price, too.

Ron has learned to creatively repair what we buy in Nicaragua. As for me…duct tape is my answer to everything. Honestly, I couldn’t live here without Ron because he comes up with some unique solutions for building and repairing.

IMG_3851Sometimes I long for the convenience of a modern Lowes or Home Depot. Most of our hardware stores are small rooms where you have to ask for the item and they search for it in their storage room in the back of the store. With pictures, mime, and Google translate, we usually get our orders. However, not everything is available in Nicaragua.

Ron is building a chain link fence for our new puppy, Cappy. After reviewing wonderful YouTube videos of how to install a chain link fence, we thought the process would be easy. Unfortunately, the hardware is not available in Nicaragua. Instead, Ron is using PVC pipe, cement, and rebar to create a strong chain link fence for Cappy. If it were up to me, I’m sure duct tape would be part of the process.

IMG_3849Have I told you how grateful I am for my husband, the house whisperer? He now has a master and a task for life…especially considering we live in Nicaragua on a small island, in the middle of the sweet sea, in the middle of Central America.

And, Cappy and our three cats will be happy, too. I think they’re tired of sharing the space.
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Have you worked on home improvement projects where you lack the basic supplies and materials? How did your projects turn out?

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7 thoughts on “The House Whisperer

    • See? Duct tape is an important “tool”, right? I’m so grateful to my house whisperer husband. He can create the most unique solutions to repairing things because we lack so many building materials here. I think everyone has a special talent, some just haven’t discovered it, yet.

  1. Our Ron’s must be cut out of the same mold. Do it yourselfers and improvise constantly. Most projects work, but a few need a professional. We raised our kids with the motto, “hand down, wear out, make do, do without.” In other words…come up with a solution, first. It has helped them as adults with their own home improvement scenarios and playing fixit, but,of course, HD and Lowe’s are close by.luckily we have a small marine hardware close by that carries a lot, or we would have to travel the 20 miles+ to the box stores. I read from a blogger that she takes a roll of duct tape on all travels. 🙂

    • What a great motto! We’ve always lived with a similar motto. I think that is why we have been able to acclimate to living in a developing country with less hassles. Here’s a problem with duct tape in the tropics…it doesn’t stick for a long time. Eventually, the wet climate dissolves the glue on the back of the tape. Looks like I’ll have to find another Debbie fixit solution. lol

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