I’m up at the job site everyday at lunchtime. I love to walk a round and see what’s new from the day before and what they are working on that day. It’s usually a flurry of action. Guys working on so many different things, my head sometimes spins wondering how Scott keeps a handle on all the projects that are going on all at the same time. Richie and Ricardo have been installng the gutters and Javier and Federico have been working on the repello inside, while Arquiles and Leo were working on the septic system down the hill from the casita and edgar was assisting them.
This week he’s got Leonell, Arquiles, and Edgar up at the site of the workshop digging for the foundation and bending steel rebar in preparation for pouring the cement. As soon as the Casita has gutters, windows and doors the entire crew will begin working on the foundation for Scotts workshop. It’s crucial that we get that workshop built and lockable so that when our container arrives we have a place for all his tools and all our belongings. The workshop is not nearly as much work as the casita. It doesn’t have as many walls and plumbing and things like that. The details are much less crucial and although he’ll have to wire for the electricity, there aren’t the amount of windows, to build in. There will be three big rolling, commercial type garage doors and a main door. So getting ready to pour the foundation means that Scott is also busy collecting all the necessary materials for all that concrete work. Given the fact that the delivery trucks still can’t make it up to the top our our property he has to go back to schlepping it all up there one truckload at a time. Back and forth to Ivan with his loads of sand, rock and cement, sand rock and cement over and over again. It’s a good thing the crew is very good at getting their jobs done without him supervising their every move.
We really do have a very dependable group of men working on this job. I remember back in the states when he would be working on a job, it was always difficult for him to leave his guys alone for fear of them doing something wrong or there were the times he came back to find one or two not as sober as they were when he left them….Ugggg! No, we haven’t had any problems like that with this crew. The biggest problems we encounter on a fairly regular basis with a couple guys is not showing up on Mondays. Scott likes to call this Monday sickness, hah. So, as progress is moving right along I watch in awe as Scott somehow manages to skillfully make progress on all the different areas of work that go into building a house and now a workshop.
There are just a few more crucial materials we haven’t purchased yet for the casita. As you know we have all the floor tile and all the bathroom materials, shower plumbing, toilet sink, we also have the kitchen sink and garbage disposal and all the light fixtures for both inside and outside as well as a security system. We still have to purchase appliances and we have to locate a gas fireplace that we have designed into the living room. Gas fireplaces are not something they have in Panama so we will be having that shipped in. Windows are in the process of being made as we speak and we still need to buy a front door. Given our living situation, we will be moving from this rental in about 6 weeks so its crucial that we get the casita lockable so that we can store all that good stuff in there without worrying about it mysteriously walking off. There are a few other finish materials that we have yet to make a decision on like the facia material that goes on the underside of the eaves of the roof. We decided to go with LED lights for all the canned lights we put in. And of course eventually Scott will need to locate a good wood supplier for all the cabinetry. Whew! This little casita is proving to be a great learning experience for our main house that we plan to build last. We will surely learn all the things we would do the same way as well as possibly things we will do differently. So far though, I must say, It seems as though we are fairly pleased with most aspects of our experience. But , who knows what may creep in, there’s still quite a bit more to do.
We are still struggling with getting the electricity started, although we finally have a guy who is ready to start the job, just waiting for him to finalize the bid with a contract and maybe talk more about details. Water is the next big piece we have yet to address. Our neighbors have given us contact info for a guy that we think may be the person who will help us get started on that process, we have no real idea exactly what that ‘process’ is, but hopefully it’s not as tricky as the electrician has been. We are assuming that we may not actually have power by the time we actually move into the casita, early next year. Hence the recent purchase of a very large propane generator which will provide us with enough power to live there. But, water is a different matter, water is a must for living in a house, so my fingers are crossed that we can get connected sooner than later.
Wow! Its just such an amazing process, building a home in a different country. I know many who would never dream of even considering doing what we’re doing. But, for us, we can’t imagine doing it any other way. This adventure has its challenges, for sure but there aren’t any challenges that would ever stop us. For each challenge there’s always a solution, often accompanied with a headache here and there, but nothing is insurmountable. We’re learning so much and meeting so many interesting and really kind people as a result of this project. From the owners of the materials store, Ivan, who greet Scott with a big smile and a “Hola Scott!” when he walks through the door, (which he never got when he walked into Home Depot! hah!) and so many tradesmen, like the gutter guy and the window guys, not to mention the seven men who are working with Scott 6 days a week. It’s projects like this that draw us together not only with each other as we are constantly Strategizing and designing and planning each step together but it also aides in connecting us to this community with people we never would otherwise have met. Yep, we’re really enjoying our Adventure, it’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly for US! 🙂