What’s up with us? Well, a lot and not much all at the same time. How can that be? Well, see it seems like most of what I have to write about has to do with the continuation of our construction project. Not much exciting to write about so its hard to write a blog post. Hence the lack of any new posts lately. I find myself sitting down to write something and I figure if I get bored just writing it, who would want to read it, right? But, I do so love writing so I’m going to attempt to keep this post brief…good luck right! I do have a tendency to go on an on an on….I know this about myself…
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Here’s a bit of what’s on my mind. Our Adventure living here in Panama is feeling less and less like such a huge adventure and more like , just ‘Life’. As the newness of this expat life has begun to fade its really hard to think of things to write about that seem interesting or share worthy, Hah! I know all my friends and family back in California like to keep up on our happenings and I really like the feeling of continued connectivity my blog seems to provide. Its always so great to hear from people and to know that we haven’t been forgotten about. Here are just a few things we’ve been up to and things that just came to me as I typed. Nothing especially earth shattering, but just a bit of this n that! Read the rest of this entry
Oooooop! Sorry, I´ve really been slacking in my writing. First I went on vacation for three weeks then I just seem to get so caught up in my days that I dont stop to take the time to write. So, let me get you caught up on what´s happening here. Well, I´ll begin with our project, the never ending house project! So, we have two new workers that we hired, bringing our total crew to 9 guys now. The main house has all the walls finished and now the roof is just getting started. It should take maybe a month or a little more to complete. Its really fun to see it all come together and to wander around imagining what it will be like to live in it. I´m really excited about how much I like the design and floorplan that we worked so hard to design together. We really put a lot of focus on outdoor living space because living here makes it so easy to spend a lot of time outdoors. Our terrace alone which wraps around the entire back side of the house facing the amazing view is about 900 square feet in size. It will be completly roofed and protected from the elements. It will be like a room without walls! We plan to have our dining room out on the terrace on one side and a living room area on the other end, with an outdoor sofa and some chairs. In the outdoor living room we are planning to have a gas fire pit. There will also be a big wood burning fireplace out on the corner of the terrace. Scott has an outdoor kitchen as well which will be about 200 square feet. The total size of the house, not including the terrace and outdoor kitchen is about 2400 square feet. We will have two bedrooms, a living room a laundry room, the kitchen and a recreation room for our pool table. One aspect that I´m sure I´ve writen about which I´m really excited about is the outdoor shower off the master bedroom. This will be a treat since we can use it pretty much all year around living here. The guest bedroom will have an indoor shower so if its especially rainy or chilly we can use that. Read the rest of this entry
And the construction continues at the Carter propiedad! Before our vacation we liquidated all our workers. Which means that we paid them all the required vacation and decimo pay and basically laid them all off. Scott let them know that they could resume work on the first Monday of our return if they wanted to. But, we didn’t know for sure if they would still want to come back to work for us because we couldn’t assume that they wouldn’t go find different work for the three weeks we were gone. So I drove down to pick them up at our regular meeting spot at 7:15 on Monday moring (right at the end of the bridge in town) and….Gulp, no one came! I was sad, I kinda thought in my head that they all really, really liked working for us and that “of course” they’d all be back! The two indigenous guys , Federico and Arquiles both showed up at the job site ready to resume work but no one else on Monday. So Scott very calmly said to me, “No problem, Shrug, we’ll just move on to Plan B”….Gotta love a guy who is calm and adaptable! That vacation really renewed his “Tranquilo”! hah! So Plan B in his mind meant that we would just let the main house sit on the back burner until the next dry season and for now if none of our crew aside from the two guys showed back up we would refocus on finishing up all the details on the casita. There’s still quite a bit to finish up like cabinetry, soffits, all the outside hardscaping, walkways , steps, exterior painting, stone work on retaining walls, just to name a few things. Read the rest of this entry
Here’s a little update on the current progress on the main house. It’s well underway and I went up to take a few photos of the action. As you can see in the photos there are walls going up already! whoohoo!! They are still backfilling the terrace and the master bedroom and will be pouring the floors in those areas as soon as they have it all filled in with dirt. The water and gas has been run through the floor and the septic is in as well. They are framing up the corners and soon will begin to pour concrete for the begining of all the outer walls. It will still be a couple of weeks until the floor is done. After the floors then comes the walls and then the roof begins. We finally got the approval for our electrical run. We emailed the electrician today and hope to see the work on that begining soon. Scott and I have been doing a lot of work on the computer for the electrical plan inside the new house. Deciding where all the light switches and plugs will go. We have all the light fixture locations planned out as well as the kitchen design and the plumbing design. It feels like we’re pretty well orgainized at this point. Next week we will be going down to Elemec, the plumbing and tile store, to pick out and purchase all those materials. The woman who always helps us there, Dinah, called today to let us know that they’re having a big sale on April 12. So we’ll get it all picked out and she will let us actually place our order after the sale begins. And, one bit of good news….the little dump truck that could, is back again!!! We’re so happy that its risen from the dead and bringing material up here once more! yeah! Can you hear the angels singing again??? I can!! hah! Here’s a few pics from today…
Its not a good day. We’ve decided to just pay the $3,000.00 to the lady who’s car was damaged by our former employee back in July. Instead of pursuing the young man who is legally responsible for at least half of the damage. We know that there will never be any way he would be able to make that kind of money , and we just want to put it behind us and move forward.Ugh! Scott is beyond unhappy about such an injustice. The employee had assured us that he would take care of her damages so we had hoped to only have the repair of our car to have to pay for. Nope. He did nothing. For being honest, trusting people we are rewarded by paying his debt and feeling punished by his wrongdoing. Sigh… Sometimes I wonder about people. And I wonder if he realizes how we have been affected by his stupidity. The time and energy and now money that his bad decision has cost us is just really frustrating. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve been slowly writing this post as we’re moving and settling into our new home. I don’t have internet yet in the house so I can’t publish it quite yet. We’re exhausted, but happy, and really busy trying to get all the last minute things done in order to be able to live in our new casita. As I’ve told you before, Scott is always going in so many different directions each day, so often the small details end up being the last things to get done. Small details like, oh, I don’t know, a toilet! And, running water…Ugh! I don’t care one iota about the ‘no cabinets’, thats no biggy. But….a toilet and running water are two pretty nice things to have in your house. Even the fact that we have no electricity isnt really freaking me out, because I know we have a generator, so we have a source for lights. No problema. But no water to the house….that’s gonna be a bit of a problem! And bless his heart, he actually managed to get the pump, connected to the water tank that feeds the water to the casita all hooked up and wired just before our first night staying here. Sadly, the water guys had been here the day we moved, to install the UV purification and the filter system and when the water hit the casita there were leaks, ugh! We called them and they came the next day, but that meant that we had no water on our first night in the casita…meaning, no toilet! ugh! So, it was sorta camping our first night and morning…at least we had the generator so we could make coffee. Well, we don’t have our oven yet , but one of our workers had actually brought a small microwave here to heat up their lunches when they’re working. Its sitting out on our terrace so I used it to warm up water to use in our French press. Coffee in the morning is a must, especially when you have to pee outside! Sheesh! Can I just enjoy one luxury? Hah!
I know I said one thing I was looking forward to about his new Adventure was simplifying our life, but come on…I didn’t mean quite so simple. A girl’s gotta have a toilet. Paleeeeeease! It is Saturday as I’m writing this portion of the post and we got an email from Price Mart, where we bought our oven, it’s there and ready to be picked up. We plan to go on Monday and get it. So we should have that installed by Monday or Tuesday, we shall see. Of course we won’t be able to use it until the gas is hooked up, which requires an inspection by the bombero’s. I’m crossing my fingers this is a simple process, we shall see. As you may know, I don’t have internet at the moment. So I plan to just keep writing this and just publish it as soon as I can. The internet people are coming on Wednesday to get that all installed, so that should be good. We don’t have cabled internet just yet up in the area where we live so its satellite cable with Planet Telecom. Its 150.00 dollars a month for 2 mb. And so, we shall see how that goes. If we want to increase to 3 mb it will cost $200.00 a month. We are thinking that we won’t get cable TV and try to watch what little television we do enjoy watching just by streaming from Hulu or Amazon Prime. We just have to see how well our internet will stream with 2mb. If its too slow we can change to 3 mb, which should be sufficient. Read the rest of this entry
for those of you who are familiar with our house in Los Altos…does this look familiar?
soooooo many different hummers to choose from…
My favorite light fixture
Richard artistically working on the tile
very exciting, conduit for electricity
Banana’s anyone? A new way to decorate!
the glass sliding door from the terrace
The terrace overlooking our own private jungle!
This is a view of the kitchen from the living room
The tile is looking good
the living room with a gas fireplace in the corner of the room
this is the bedroom, love those wall reading lights!
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… Read the rest of this entry
This is the computerized rendering of the workshop. We use a program called ‘Punch” to do all our designs…
The workshop/man-cave is really coming along. This week they’re starting work on the roof structure. We purchased and had delivered, all the cariolas and the metal zinc . It’s going to be a pretty big roof! So I think Scott’s expecting it to take around 3 weeks or so to complete it. As you look at the photos of the workshop you’ll notice as you face the front of the building there is a room with a black water tank in it. This will be the water storage room. We have enough room for four huge tanks. We plan to collect water from the aqueduct to filter and purify for drinking water and we’ll be collecting all the gray water from the bathrooms as well as rainwater from the gutters to use for agricultural water.
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The water storage room. This is a small tank, we have not gotten the big ones yet…
Our latest adventure isn’t a fun one or an especially happy one. I thought about calling this post “Live & Learn” or “Lesson’s on Trust”, or possibly “How we Learned our lesson”…Pfffffft! But, although we trusted someone and that trust was betrayed, it wont stop us from continuing to be trusting people. This experience may just serve as a reminder of the necessity to be more discerning as to who we give that gift of trust to, but we wont stop trusting people. It’s just not the kind of people we are. Both Scott & I have a natural tendency to trust people until they prove they don’t deserve it. This mindset could be called a gamble or it could be called foolish by some. But I’ve found that most of the time its proven to be more of a benefit than not. Although there are times when we get let down and face disappointments, even feel rocked by how wrong we were in our assessment of someones character, I’d rather put out positive, generous energy than walk around feeling suspicious of everyone I come into contact with. Read the rest of this entry
Today I took a few pictures and I thought I would share them with you, so here they are….
All this traveling and leaving Boquete has created a bit of a difficult crimp in our project, but progress continues in spite of it all. Luckily for us, we have a very dependable crew of hard working guys who we can trust to continue doing what they are supposed to do even when Scott isn’t there to watch their every move. It’s not everyday that you end up with men like that. It means a lot to us that we can leave them unsupervised for short period of time and come back to see that they kept working hard and doing a good job. And our neighbors are also a huge help when we have to go out of town. Al has very kindly taken care of giving the guys their pay when we are gone for a payday. It is something that is more helpful than he even realizes. We are so blessed to have such amazing neighbors who I can tell will be like family to us when we live there. I often marvel at our good luck. 🙂 Read the rest of this entry
Not only is it good to be back home, but it’s also great that we feel so ‘at home’ here! After living in this house since Sept 1st, (7 months! wow!) It’s become, “HOME” to us. I felt comfy in this house from the very first time I came to see it with Daniesa. It’s a funny realization, having gone to live in a temporary spot for a week, just how much we were looking forward to being back here. I’ve written about how nice it will be to be in our own home with all our own belongings, and it will indeed be nice. But that’s not to say that this wonderful house is not a perfectly comfy and homey place to live. After all, I’m learning that old saying ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’, happens to be quite true! Oh, I may miss having my own ‘stuff’, but I never realized just how easy it could be and has been, to make a place a ‘home’. It’s really true that it’s a state of mind, and not simply material possessions that make a place a home. In my adult life I can count on one hand the amount of places I’ve lived. I really haven’t moved around all that much. Which may be the reason why I attribute my deep-seeded need to feel as though I have a place to call my home. I’m a ‘nester’, for sure. I love to create an environment where I feel I belong and where I can be myself. It seems as though most of the people I’ve known in my life have moved around and lived in many different places. Not me, I normally like to put down very deep roots and stay put. I lived in my house in Los Altos for 20 years. For me, even though I chose to leave my ‘home’ and start all over again someplace totally different, even ‘foreign’ I still have a deep need to nest That being said, I have to say I’m learning to redefine my notion of what ‘home’ is to me. What that ‘re-defined’ notion is…I’m not exactly sure, but I’m more certain about what it’s not. One thing I’m learning is that my home isn’t defined by my pictures on the wall and furniture that I picked out and purchased nor is it my paint colors on the walls or plush towels in my bathroom. I know these things are not what make me feel as though I’m ‘home’, because I have none of it and here I sit in this house that is merely a temporary stopping point for us and after being gone for a week, I walked in the front door and felt a sigh of relief at being ‘home’ again. Sigh! I’ve always known in my head that material things weren’t what really matters in life but this is one of those times in my life when my head and my heart are actually connecting and a realization is becoming, ‘Truth’. This heart of mine is at “HOME” here! Mind you…..this doesn’t mean I won’t be extremely jubilant to unpack those ‘lush’ towels from our container when they arrive!!! Hah!
It’s Friday and Scott decided that given the fact that his crew kicked but this whole week and got the entire floor of the casita poured, he would give them tomorrow off ….paid(mind you, Saturdays are a short day, they only work 7:30-1:30). He had expected to only finish the first two pours this week, which were the bedroom/bathroom/closet and then the living room/kitchen/entry. But they managed to work so efficiently that they were able to do the terrace today, which is the last part of the floor. And so he asked me to round up a case of beer and get it chilling in the cooler so they can have a little “Friday Treat” after they finish work for the day. He’s such a nice Jefe! I must tell you, that guy really is building a pretty good relationship with his crew. I wonder to myself if they’ve ever worked with a guy like him (sounding just like the proud, biased wife that I am!). He isn’t the kind of guy who stands around giving orders, oh don’t get me wrong, he gives plenty of orders, but he gives them while he’s sweating and working right along side of them. I could tell that at the beginning the guys were a bit baffled by this foreigner who was working just as hard as they were working. One time while they were unloading a bunch of stuff from Scott’s truck, one of the guys tried to take something from Scott and Scott said, “no” and pointed to the bed of the truck where there was a lot to unload. The guy just kinda shrugged and went to get a load out of the truck. It’s just not in Scott’s nature to do it any differently, he’d never stand aside and watch as others did all the work. In the states I don’t think he had a crew any larger than 3 or 4 guys at one time. He’s up to six employees now and I sure hope they’re appreciating how good they have it working for someone like Scott who is honest, generous and hard working. Even though he always treated his employees in the states with the same kind of appreciation and respect that he’s treating these guys here, It always made me so mad to see them lie or steal and work as half-ass as they possibly could get away with until Scott had no choice but to fire them. It was very frustrating at times to go through workers time and again who were just plain lazy and many times pretty dishonest. Scott’s just a good guy and he conducts himself with such integrity I often worry he’ll get taken advantage of (although, I know he’s not gonna let that happen). He told me this week that one of his guys didn’t have any rubber boots, which they needed to wear when working in concrete. So he asked him what size shoe he wears and he went to Melo and bought the guy a pair of boots! Ahhh…that Scott! Of course one of the other guys saw this and proceeded to show him the big hole in the bottom of his boot! Uggg! No, He didn’t run out and get that guy boots! He may be generous but he’s not a sucker! Humph! These guys really do work hard. And Scott appreciates it and makes sure they know it by being fair and by treating them with integrity. I mean, come on…A cooler full of ice cold beer on a Friday!! Whataguy!!! I think he’s building a good relationship of mutual respect and appreciation and that’s never a bad way to deal with people in life. Hopefully it pays off with a crew of guys who are loyal and who appreciate Scott as much as he does them. So far, so good.
When we signed the lease for the house that we’ve been renting we agreed to this one week away at a hotel payed for by the home owners. That was back in June when we did that . So We gladly agreed to this and knew is was coming. You know how it is though….it felt at the time, like March was so far away. And here we are, all packed up, living out of our suitcases again. Hmmmmm….how time does fly by! It sort of feels like a subtle reminder of our semi-homeless state in the beginning of this adventure. That nomad, gypsyish state of living that we so gleefully set off for nearly a year ago. I can’t believe it will be one whole year in May since we arrived in our new home and started an entirely new life. This new home in Boquete, Panama, that we’d dreamed about and planned for for such a long time. It had been seven long years of research and travel and preparing not only us but also preparing all the people around us as well for what would be a major shift in our lifestyle. When we first arrived we spent the first two months living in a temporary apartment, not unpacking all our belongings because it was just a short stay until we secured more permanent lodging, no need to get too comfortable. It was so wonderful to make ourselves comfortable and unpack everything once we moved into the house. Even though it isn’t our house, it was ours for at least 10 months. And ten months back then felt like a long time. We’re nearing the end of our lease on the house, the owners are relocating from the states to begin their retirement in July. So, now what? Well, we don’t know exactly quite yet. Here in Boquete there’s a fairly large amount of people who rent out furnished casitas to snowbirds who love to escape the harsh winters in Canada and other similarly snowed in spots in the States. By July many of those snowbirds have flown back to where they live and there’s a good selection of places available. We shouldn’t have too much of a difficult time finding our next spot to live. Except that we’re a bit limited due to the fact that we have a cat. There’s a lot of landlords who, understandably, prefer not to rent to us poor suckers with pets so it can be a bit tricky. Read the rest of this entry
I thought I’d post a few photo’s of Scott working right along side his workers. That guy just never ceases to amaze! He’s really in his element
giving everything he’s got to create something beautiful! And I think you’ll all agree, that foundation wall is mighty beautiful, indeed! I think the only thing I’ve heard him complain about so far has been the fact that he has to wear jeans to work instead of his customary shorts that he almost always wears! Oh, Poor guy! He really hates to wear ‘big boy pants!’ But honestly, he’s already seen several snakes and here, you really don’t want to risk having bare legs for poisonous snakes to have access to! So…..Jeans it is! And I gotta tell ya, one reason he’s movin’ along pretty productively with the foundation may just be so that he can get busy working on the interior of the project when he can go back to wearing shorts again! Ha!Ha! Just today he actually said just that…”I can’t wait to start working on tile and cabinetry and interior stuff so I can get rid of these Jeans!” As I lovingly roll my eyes! We had to buy him three pairs of jeans from Price Mart because he didn’t bring any. And I already need to take them into town and have them mended, ( NO I don’t sew!) One pair lost a belt loop and another pair managed to get a huge hole in the knee after getting snagged on a piece of rebar….so one more good reason to have been wearing jeans. That tear in his jeans could have been skin!! On this wardrobe note, I gotta just make mention, about the fastidiousness of the workers here in Panama! They are very talented in managing to work an 8 hour day without getting even remotely close to as filthy as my sweet hubby! I swear! Its funny, Scott says they bring an extra pair of jeans that they put on ‘over’ their good pants and then at the end of the day they take off the dirty ones and clean themselves up a bit before going home! They really are neat-nicks about their appearance! I cant imagine what they must think of this Jefe they are working for! Scott is “Pigpen” ! Ha!Ha! That guy comes home looking as though he had rolled around in dirt and cement! There have been a couple of occasions when I had to drive a worker home at the end of a day and I swear he had put on cologne! Well, tomorrow I get to get in on the action up there, kinda! Scott has been making trips back and forth from Ivan (the supply place, not quite Home Depot, but sorta kinda) to get truckloads of sand and rock and bags of cement. So tomorrow they need to start building the new form for the next side of the foundation which Scott needs to be there to help with. So I will be doing the driving back and forth. I’ll go with him in the morning for his first load so that I can meet everyone and they will know who I am. They will load all the materials into the truck and I’ll just deliver it up to the property and keep going back and forth. I’ve got a good audio book loaded onto my iphone and I’ll be happy to do a little something to help so that Scott can focus on what needs to be done to get rid of those damn Jeans….BUILD THE FOUNDATION!! LOL!! The Adventure Continues….
The fun part of building a house is when you get to go shopping!!! Yipee!! I’m right, right?? Faucets, sinks, floors, light fixtures, whoooohoooo! Here we go!! We’ve been slowly researching where to purchase all these wonderful materials locally for our casita. There are plenty of places to find nice fixtures and even many brands that we recognize. For our bathroom we got Hansgrohe fixtures and a Toto toilet. We were glad to see so many familiar brand names. All of the fixtures we found at a really nice store in David called Elmec. We had already been on the Hansgrohe web sight and written down the style numbers of the things we liked, which made our shopping much easier. Dina (our saleslady) just showed us what they had on the showroom floor and then looked up other things on the computer and if they didn’t have the exact model then she found one that was comparable. Right now we are just purchasing materials for the casita and down the road we’ll go back for all the things we want for our house.
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I’ve been working on getting a bank account established here. This has been my next big project. As I’ve told you before, they make you jump through hoops to open an account. I wonder how hard they make it in the states to open an account if you aren’t a citizen? Hmmm? So I went into Scotiabank (on the advice of both our attorney and our realtor) to give Ana all the documents she requested, Two years tax returns, copies of passports and U.S. drivers license, copy of utility bill for the house we rent, copy of rental agreement, a letter of recommendation from my bank in the states just stated that we have been customers in good standing for at least two years, a letter from my attorney here in Boquete vouching for our intention to settle here in Panama, and a copy of the deed to the land we purchased…whew! I also had to fill out an application that included three panamanian references, which was pretty funny because the bank manager who I was dealing with, Ana, happened to know personally all the people who we know. Funny, it’s a small town. This was helpful because she knew how to spell their names and what their addresses were, ha! And she saw where we currently live and it turns out she’s my neighbor as well! The final thing the bank needed was to contact the bank manager in California to confirm her letter of recommendation. So I email Susan at my bank in Los Altos to give her a heads-up that she would be receiving a correspondence from Panama, hoping to make it go as smooth as possible. Good thing I did that because they contacted her via email immediately yesterday and she forwarded me her response. Looks like we should be good to go, I hope! I’ll go down to the bank on Monday and see if there’s any other information they need, but I feel pretty organized. Read the rest of this entry
Scott’s making progress up on our property…I really need to come up with a good name for our property so I can stop calling it ‘our property’…I’ll work on that ! Anyways, He now has three good laborers who are working out pretty well so far. Two are father and son, Ricardo 1 and Ricardo 2, and the other is Archiles. The father and son have worked for one of the construction companies in town and have a lot of experience. Ricardo 2 is also very skilled at welding and metal working which will come in very handy. Already he will be doing some work on making a metal door for the Bodega (shed) that they built to store bags of cement and tools. We also need a nice gate at the entrance to the property and maybe we can get him on that as well. There’s another worker who we have been introduced to who is waiting in the wings for Scott to be ready to add to his crew. This is another very experienced guy who will be very good to have around. Originally we had planned to hire a contractor to do the building of the main structures of the two houses we will be building on the property. But….now that Scott seems to be gathering such experienced men he’s rethinking this original plan and considering moving forward on his own! Yikes! Well, not really Yikes! I know he’s fully capable, I’ve just been a bit hesitant to build singlehandedly, like we did in Los Altos because of not having the knowledge of things like, where to purchase materials, building houses here is done very differently than they do it in the states, the language and possible trouble communicating, and just the general headaches that will certainly come from not having an experienced contractor in charge. I’m a bit conflicted, as you can tell, about our ability to tackle such an enormous project all on our own. Believe me, Scott’s not diving in to such a big decision, he’s weighing all the pro’s and cons very carefully before making a firm decision. This project may well go through many varied and different decisions on many levels, until we come up with a solid plan that we both feel comfortable with. But for now Scott and his little crew of three have been very productive and are getting a lot done. They got the roof on the bodega this week and only the door is left to make it a secure place to lock things up. Yesterday Scott bought all the metal necessary to make the door and Ricardo 2 will be welding it up at his house today.
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I think I’m going through a bit of a transition in my life at the moment. I just said goodbye to Scott for the day, as he left to go to work at our property. He has a worker now so today’s his first day of being accountable to someone who’s expecting him to be there at a certain time. I’m really glad he’s finally got someone to help him with the physical labor up there but… now I find myself feeling a bit …..Ummmm let’s seee, what word do I want to use? Disconnected? Free? Unfocused? Discombobulated might be the best word….It’s that same ol’ “Now What?” Kind of feeling. For lack of the proper description, I’m not exactly sure what my role is or how I’ll choose to define my purpose right now. Oh, I have a short list of things I need to accomplish today, go to the gym, pay our rent, make some phone calls, bring Scott lunch, clean the kitchen, fill up the hummers food, but I gotta tell you, without a routine I’m just a bit…. lost. It just occurred to me as Scott was driving down the driveway that he’s beginning to have a routine. And I have yet to actually discover what my routine will be, besides going to the gym, which I love. I have a few small goals that are tumbling around my head but I think at the moment I just need to focus on me and I gotta stop getting myself so caught up in feeling guilty about not having a clear, set routine for my days quite yet. In my head I know it’ll come. I’ve spent my whole adult life being so intensely focused, it’s so foreign to me not to have a clear path to follow. Don’t get me wrong, It’s not a crisis or a huge problem. I’m just sharing with you the fact that today I feel as though I’m in the midst of a transition. Since our move Scott and I have been kinda attached at the hip and we’ve been doing most things together. This morning I’m realizing that he’s got a new routine that isn’t mine. Whew! It’s both Freeing and unfamiliar at the same time. Well, I’m off to the Gym now…..I’ll figure this out later….or, maybe I’ll just play Words With Friends! Ha!
Our first day of working on our property. Scott began early while I was a the gym (Im working hard to strengthen my ankle). In order to begin the staging part of this project Scott’s building two pen-type things to keep the gravel and sand contained for mixing with the concrete. He began his day early by driving up there with a truckload of concrete blocks that he picked up yesterday evening, unloaded them at the top of the lot then drove back down the Ivan to pick up the next load. While he was there he decided to go ahead and let them deliver a load of blocks, (500) two loads. He picked up four loads of gravel which he unloaded himself. The delivery guys don’t have a truck that would make it to the top of our property so they dumped the blocks at the bottom, Scott loaded them into his truck then drove them to the top and unloaded them himself…he’s really gotta get ahold of some workers!
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And the construction project begins with Scott’s shopping spree and a beautiful new Concrete mixer! Although there are many things yet to finalize before we actually ‘break ground’, setting the stage (so to speak) is a big job. We are currently working with our architect to finalize our design for the casita. Today we spent some time in his office going over a few changes and modifications to the plans and walking through the electrical plan the the roof line plan. I had to decide exactly where we want to have all the wall plugs and light switches as well as the actually lights we will have in each room. So we went room by room and laid out where each light fixture would be located, like canned lights, sconces, ceiling fixtures, etc. We also discussed the windows and what size and where each window would go in the house. It seems like we may be fairly well done with the plans and so when he’s finished drawing them up we will review them once more before he begins the permit phase of the project. As soon as we have a blueprint in our hands then we can begin the process of interviewing contractors.
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I think its safe to say that building a house is a pretty big project. We’ve done it before but not quite like this! Last time, although it was a very big project for us at the time, it doesn’t even begin to compare to what we are preparing to do here. Not that we’re planning to build a great big, fancy house , but here in Panama there’s just so many things to consider, from actual building materials to labor laws, the installation of actual infrastructure (water & electricity), dealing with a different language and even getting a bank account established, we have so much to investigate and research not to mention tons of questions to ask (often in Spanish!). Our house building project in the States was a totally different experience but it has prepared us for many of the aspects of building and designing a home. I suspect much of the process will be familiar to us but much is already proving to be very new and different.
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No, I’m not talking about ‘dirt’ as in gossip, I’m talking about a piece of land to build our home! Yes! We finally found a piece of property here in Boquete to purchase for our new home. A couple of months after we got here and got a bit settled we slowly began to look around for just the right piece of land where we could build a house and really settle in here. We haven’t been in any hurry and have not wanted to rush into anything but just thought we would try to be smart and start getting acquainted with the real estate market here, begin to learn how the whole process works here in Panama.
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I’ve accepted the fact that there’s just no way I can have a clean house while work commences and sawdust is flying ! Every time I attempt to dust or organize I have to empty yet another closet so Scott can build shelves. It’s amazing how much junk is stuffed into my coat closet , and boy does it spread out when it’s transferred to the pool table. Do we ‘really’ need ALLLLLL those coats??
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I would like to introduce you to the most amazing closet! I just had to share!! It’s almost done, just need to install the drawers. I know…. Why am I leaving???? Adventure ! Remember?? Scott is working hard! Cheers!
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Scott’s in the process of getting our house ready to sell by February or March of next year (2013). You may wonder,” what needs to be done?”. Well, mostly all the finish work. He needs to do a lot of woodwork, cabinetry , baseboards, the exterior of the house and detached cottage needs to be painted and our front walkway is getting stamped concrete, also the backyard needs to be seriously cleaned up and landscaped.
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