Well, actually, lots is going on. Our life is busy and fun and a little frustrating at times and crazy productive with a bit of exhausting thrown in on occasion. So, if your wondering what happened to my regular blog posts that used to keep you updated on a regular basis…well, life gets in the way most everyday. I wish I had the time to sit and write more often, but what with all this work going on up here at our property and Spanish classes three days a week, grocery shopping , laundry, socializing, happy hours, driving down the hill everyday to buy gasoline for two generators, working in the garden, ahem, you get the idea! I keep busy and hardly have time to sit and write , which I really miss. I keep thinking, “One of these days I’ll have more time to write and catch up on my blog”. But, it seems each day just flies by faster than the last.
It’s about 8:00a.m. and I’ve got a few minutes so I think I’ll share a tiny bit, (yeah, right, a tiny bit? Pfffffft! I’m so darn long winded, lets just see how “TINY” this ends up being! hah!) of what’s going on around here these days. First of all, let me say that I’ve been thinking a lot lately about just how much has changed for me in this last…ummmm, about 29 months! We’ve been living in Panama for nearly 3 years!! Sheesh! In May it will have been three years since we picked up our lives, and began a new one here in the highlands of Western Panama! Unbelievable! When I think about how much I’ve learned and how different I feel today compared to those early days of getting settled here, I feel so happy. I’ll write a more detailed post about that when I actually reach that three year anniversary. I’m just sayin’ life is good and it just keeps getting better and better as time is passing.
So, my day is just beginning and I have a ton to do. I’ve already driven down the hill to pick up our guys. I’m constantly amazed at how many Panamanians one can fit in the car! Can you believe I can squeeze up to 8 guys in my car!!! hah! Yep! One in the front seat, four in the back seat and three squeezed into the way back! Good thing they’re little guys! So, at the moment we have ten guys working up here and the progress is going well. The main house should be ready for us to move into it by about Marchish. This is the goal. Mind you, It will be ‘livable’ but not totally finished, as is our way…eye roll here! Humph! I wonder If I’ll ever get to live in a house that is actually completely finished? All my Ca friends know what I’m talking about! Shrug…oh well, I’m not one to complain…well, mostly!
After we get moved up to the main house Scott will be able to focus on doing all the finish details on the casita. The cabinetry, the interior doors, the iron railing on the terrace, all the exterior painting, and there’s still quite a bit of outside hardscaping to do. Then when its totally done we’ll start to look for renters. Of course if we happened to get some visitors before we get renters, we’ll have a nice place for them to stay, ‘Hint, Hint,’ to all my friends back in California! We actually have some friends who have told us they want to rent it, but we shall see if they’re still interested when the time comes. But, we’ll have a nice guest room in the main house so no problem if the casita gets taken.
As far as the progress of the main house, the repayo is coming along, (this is similar to stucco and is done on all the walls inside and out). The windows are ordered, the metal structures that support the drywall for the ceilings are in the process of going up right now. As soon as we have the windows installed we can start installing drywall on the ceilings then we can do paint and then install floors, and Scott will build the bases of the cabinets so that we can get granite installed. at this point we consider it ‘livable’…when we have sinks , showers, and toilets and floors and windows and exterior doors all in we should be able to move in.
The last remaining structures to build are the covered carport, and the small bodega for storing garden tools and such. Because heaven forbid that Scott would have room in his 2,000 square foot workshop for such trivial things as garden tools! Pfffft! We also have plans for pouring more concrete for two more parking spots near the main house. We also need to get our big gate installed at the entrance to our property. The other day we had a car drive in that we didn’t know. You see, our drive is so long and it probably seems like a road to those who are just exploring and driving around up here. So, our gate will have an intercom which will reach either us at the main house or our tenants in the casita. And we will have the ability to open it remotely when we have visitors.
And, in other news…Scruffy is doing great! She’s been such a wonderful addition to our family. I can’t imagine having a better dog than her. She has really settled into our life so easily. She’s well behaved, loving, fun to take with me wherever I go. She is mostly off leash and just loves to explore all over our property. She will go outside and come back an hour or so later just covered in stickers and filthy! Looking very proud of herself and so happy. So, she gets brushed at least 3-4 times a day and she gets a bath about every other week. She has made friends with all our neighborhood dogs and she and our cat Copper seem to have established a ’tolerance’ of a sort , for one another. The only ‘bad’ thing she’s done so far is to steal a hamburger from the counter one night as we were watching TV. I must say, she was extremely stealthy in her maneuver to swipe that burger! We didn’t hear a thing! hah! Personally I think she deserved it, given the talent it took to be so sneaky!
And, you may be wondering if we have electricity yet…nope…Humph! We’re still living on power from our trusty generator! What’s taking so long? Well, we’re so close! The last thing we need is the main wire. We have ordered it from the supply store our electrician sent us to and they have informed us that it will be at least another month until they get it. So, this is frustrating because we have a ten day trip planned for November 20th and we’ve arranged to have house sitters come to stay and keep our pets company as well as just stay in our home. So, we decided to connect our casita to our big propane generator that we purchased to install at the main house as backup for when Boquete has power outages. Long story short, we got that puppy running over the weekend only to discover that it sucks up wayyyyyy too much propane. It emptied a 100 gallon propane tank in one day. We have two of those 100 gal tanks and it normally takes 6-7 weeks to go through one. So…that’s not gonna work! At $60.00 a tank, we think that’s a bit on the costly side, don’t you? Ugh!
So, plan C…we’ve talked with our wonderful neighbors, Kat & Alan, and they have given us permission to tap into their electricity at their house! Yep! As we speak Scott has two of our workers pulling wire and connecting us via conduit from our place, straight through the jungle , which isnt nearly as far as going down the road. We may be up and running by this weekend if all goes well! I swear, we have the most wonderful people as neighbors. We told them we would gladly pay for their electricity bill while we are hooked up to theirs and do you know what they said? “Don’t worry about paying us, we are happy to be compensated with Scotts home made pizza and some wine!” hah! With any luck our electricity will be installed soon after we get back from our vacation. The most important thing to us at the moment is to make sure our house sitters don’t have to drive down the hill to buy gasoline everyday and then trudge out to the back of the house every morning and night to deal with starting and stopping that generator. Its one thing for us to deal with that, but another thing entirely to expect someone else to do it! Ugh!
We’ve had so many great milestones as far as getting different aspects of our infrastructure installed up here at our property. First it was water, we had to connect ourselves into the local aqueduct and install a water purification system. Then we had to install the pipes to get water to the main house and to the workshop and the casita…done! Then we needed, as you remember….a road to our property! That was milestone that pleased me to no end! I’ve been ever so pleased to drive along on my beautiful clean, not muddy and slippery concrete road! I’ve been surprised by my newfound appreciation for roads! hah! who knew? Now, lastly, the ever so important electricity, we’re so darn close!
I’m going to look back someday at this time we’ve had and feel so grateful for so many things that I never even thought about when I lived in Los Altos. We took so much for granted in our former life. Funny how your perspective can change. This is one of many things I’m really appreciating about this new life living in Central America. I just love the feeling of persevering and of working hard to figure out how to overcome obstacles. I may whine and moan a bit as I travel through these set backs and challenges, but in the end when we’ve gotten past something that took so much time and energy to overcome its rewarding beyond words to have figured it all out together. I know….this life we’ve chosen may not be your cup of tea, but its most certainly our cup of tea and we are loving it!
I am so impressed with your energy and “get ‘er done” spirit! Someday maybe we’ll see the fruits of all our love and labor.
Nice to have an update on your progress, Holly. It looks like things are moving right along. I’ve been following along faithfully but I know life does get in the way and you are too busy to post but that is just fine. Blessings!
Loving the progress photos! It’s been enjoyable keeping up with your blog. We will finally be making our first trip to Boquete next Friday night! I’m so excited.
Love hearing your updates Holly and I especially love your “we’ll figure it out and get it done” attitude! We think about you and Scott all the time! Miss you guys!