Casita Update..

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We’re getting closer and closer with each passing week to moving into our new casita. I have to admit, I’m really really looking forward to having a place of our own. Even though we’ve had really nice places to live in this last year and a half its just going to be so wonderful to have all our stuff with us. Since our container arrived we’ve been slowly sorting through all our boxes. We’ve been deciding what we’ll bring with us when we move into the casita and what we’ll keep in storage until our main house is finished. Getting ready for our Thanksgiving this year we really felt frustrated by the reality that all our things are kinda scattered hither and thither. We have some things here with us where we are currently living, we have a few boxes here. And we have things in two different storage units. And finding certain things that Scott needed for cooking was a huge pain. Yep, having our own place where we can finally unpack is going to be so nice. But, we still have a lot of work yet to do…

We have about 21 days until we plan to move into our casita!! Whooohoo! I’m really getting excited. The tile floor throughout the house will be done this week and they will likely begin to install the tile in the bathroom any day now. Of course all the interior painting is done and as soon as the bathroom is finished we can start to move in. Today Scott is working on installing the front door, right now its not exactly lockable so we haven’t been able to leave much in there. We spent the better part of last weekend working on the design of the kitchen cabinetry. So scott has entered all the measurements into his computer and he now has what he calls a ‘cut list’. This is apparently, a crucial thing to have because now he can start to cut the wood and assemble the cabinets. But….Schreeeeeech!….The wood he has needs to be cut down from block form and the newest development is that he somehow has discovered the need to purchase ‘one more’ tool! Eye roll here! I thought we had all the tools we would ever need, foolish, foolish me! hah! He needs something called a Bandsaw? So, he’s been researching online and trying to come up with the most cost effective way to have one of these tools shipped to Panama. ugh! I foresee a new tool in the near future. As well as a drive to Panama city to pick up these new tool when it’s shipped!

So, when we move into our casita in early January its going to be ‘livable’ but far from totally finished. As I’ve written about already, the electricity is on its way, but will not be totally connected quite yet. The trenches are dug, the conduit is in the trenches, today they are filling the trenches with sand and concrete, (which is the requirement). The plan is for the electrical engineer to pull the wires and do the final connections. Scott has yet to have purchased the wire and we had to order the transformers which unfortunately we were told would take up to 12 weeks to get. Ugh! So, there’s really no way that we’ll have our electricity by the time we move. Oh well! We have a great propane generator that will easily run our refrigerator and lights, our washer/dryer is gas as well as our stove. One really nice thing about living here in Boquete is that houses here have no need for heaters or Air conditioners! So, no worries, we won’t even be cold! Scott has already done all the electrical wiring throughout the house as well as all the plumbing and gas lines…all we need is to hook it all up to a main power supply and we’re good to go!

We’ve received an email from our architect letting us know that he will come by this week to look around and let us know what we may need to do to get our occupancy permit. Then he will also arrange for the Bomberos (fire dept), to come up and inspect our gas lines. There are very few inspections required here, much different than our experience of building in California, thats for sure! Pretty much, from what we understand, I say this because you just never know what information we don’t have…the only inspections are the ones that the Bomberos do on the gas lines and I think maybe Union Fenosa, (the electric company) on the electrical hook ups. I’m pretty sure, after these two inspections and after getting an occupancy permit, we are good to go! Its really not long now.

And its perfect timing because Allan & Kat are excited about coming back to their home where we have been living these last four months. They have been incredibly generous about sharing their home with us and have told us not to worry about or stress about being gone when they return. This is a wonderful thing, and we aren’t stressing about it, just super excited to live in our very own home. To be honest, having a deadline is a really, really good thing….you know how contractors are! Hah1 When I say ‘contractors’, I mean Scott! If we had no timeline who knows when we’d be moving! His pat answer to the question of when a project will be done is …”it’s done when it’s done”…Urgh!!!! Dontcha hate that! Well, I know I do!! Hah! That guy has so many different projects going on at all times, I really don’t know how he does it!

At any given time Scott is juggling eight employees. And he has them all split up working on different projects all over our property. And while they are working on everything from electrical to, repayo , tile work , painting , roofing, welding, plumbing, concrete work….Scott spends his time not only overseeing what everyone is doing but also running all over the place arranging to have all the materials on site and ready to go. He’s very strategic with all the work being done and very good at instructing the guys to do the work how he wants it done. Often times he has to stop and teach them how to do a certain task differently than they would normally do it. Just yesterday he had to help Javier and Daniel to create the form for the arches on the terrace of the workshop. They had some kinda shotty looking arch made and Scott took them into his workshop and had them help him use one of his cutting tools to create a perfect arch for their form. He said they had never seen that done before and I imagine were very impressed. Many of the big tools that Scott has are likely very uncommon for these guys. Like the big tile saw that he has Richard and Carlos using for the floor in the casita. He taught them how to use it and they are loving it! They really love all the wireless drills too . I think these guys are in tool heaven. hah! I suspect our crew have been learning all sorts of different and more efficient ways of doing many things. And Scott is an endlessly patient teacher too. He never gets angry and is also very open to suggestions from them of ways to do things differently. Our workers aren’t the only ones learning new things. Scott has also been learning a totally different way of building that he never experienced in the states. Building with cement instead of wood has been incredibly different for Scott. I think he’s been enjoying the challenge of building our new home and learning so much.

It won’t be long now and we will be moving our things into our new casita. There’s really not much that I love more than sitting outside in the evening with a glass of wine and my binoculars and just marveling at nature. The casita is situated in a lovely spot surrounded by trees. There are endless different critters out there in the jungle and its just so exciting to spot them while I sip my wine. Just sitting here at Allan & Kats place I’ve seen so man different critters. We saw armadillos, huge iguanas, little bunnies, of course there are snakes but we don’t often see them alive. The Panamanians kill any snake they see. I’m particularly interested in the birds, just tonight I spotted a Crimson-crested woodpecker..or maybe it was a Lineated Woodpecker…hard to tell, they’re so similar. But so incredibly beautiful! And did I mention the hummingbirds? I’m sure I did….I’ve been trying to identify all the different species that are right this minute swarming my feeders! At any given time there are at least 20 hummers and I have picked out at least 4 or 5 different species! I love my hummers. I really hope someday to spot a sloth in our little jungle. Our workers have told me that they’ve seen one but I have yet to have spotted it and will be so excited when I do. Yep, I’m in heaven living here in the middle of so much natural beauty.

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17 responses »

  1. Wow, it looks fantastic.. is there where guests will stay when house is finished. If so you may have this Australian visiting even though she is aging rapidly..LOL… I do hope you kitchen in casita comes to fruition at a smarter pass then Los Altos. Great job Scott ..Love Elaine

  2. I wonder if you could post “looking to borrow bandsaw” on Expats in Panama facebook page or Expats Exchange forum, and perhaps find one to rent from someone. Surely someone has built a house or something in Boquete, Pedasi or even the city without shipping one to Panama? Or is it a guy thing that Scott would love another tool lol? LOVE THE PICTURES and the paint colors!

  3. Holly, your casita will be beautiful. Love to look at the pictures; it looks like there is gentle snow falling while looking at the photos. Chris

  4. It’s amazing how much progress you and Scott have made in the 8 weeks since we last saw your casita — and I’m sure it’s even more amazing when you consider how much Scott has done on the workshop and with the electrical situation. Congrats!

  5. Holly, I love looking at the pictures, the Casita is much bigger than I thought it would be, how great that you will be able to move in, in a few weeks…I love the colors you have picked out. How nice to move into a place knowing that your loving husband built it from ground up. I love the recessed lighting, and the light fixtures you picked out. Can’t wait to see the rooms furnished with your stuff, please send pictures once it’s all done…Merry Christmas to you both
    When you get a chance I would also love to see pictures of the work shop.

    • Hola Edie! Thanks! Of course, I’ll show more of Scott’s workshop, its pretty impressive! He’s already gotten that 2000 sq. ft. all filled up with wood!Crazy man!! but wood translates to cabinets for me so…..

    • Hmmmmm….Let’s see, I would not have brought so many shoes and all those clothes that are still sitting in the storage container. I would not have brought the really thick, plush towels for the bathroom, they’ll never dry in this moist climate!! I’ll have to wash those darn things after every use! Other than that, I honestly can’t think of much else that I would NOT have brought, and what I wish I had brought…nothing really comes to mind. Part of this move has been about feeling sort of freed from all that materialistic accumulation. And we really want to try to live with what we have available to us here, but I”ll have to let you know how that goes! 🙂

  6. Thanks for introducing us to Boquete! You have a fabulous place. We look forward to seeing photos as the projects progress. Joanne an d Ron

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