February 27 - March 3, 2006 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #73
Contact phone numbers
New York: 315-279-6711
Toronto: 416-907-5758 // 416-461-2203
Land: 506-282-4142 Ext. 101
NOTE: the New York and Toronto numbers are "local calls" for people in the area codes; calls from outside the area code will be billed at the normal rate from the caller's area code to either the "315" or the "416" area code.
The Story: The next project (hopefully) and our trip to Granada, Nicaragua
Weather: boringly beautiful and windy.
Unit 119 will be finished this time next week. Unit 120 should be finished in two weeks.
Units 121, 122, and 123:
121: we continue to finish the details
123: final cleaning stage
Units 101 and 102: This area is now a vacant plot; all remnants of the previous house have been removed. We do not yet have our permit but are promised it soon.
Landscaping: We’re still playing catch up from the two previous gardeners. We’ll have to assign several more people to advance the finishing details I want done.
Electrical System Upgrade: No visible progress; we wait. Our subcontractor has disappeared.
Lockers and Locker House: The footings are being prepared; the rebar cages are being laid and tied together and the vertical structural columns added. These will, when combined with the concrete, form the structural element necessary to support the upper levels.
We’ve buried a 2,500 liter rain water tank as a reservoir. To this we will add a pump and a float switch which, if needed, will take the water from the tank to the aqueduct which will move it by gravity to the front of the property and into the 24” culvert we put in under the sidewalk.
Marketing: Our accountant was away for the week —seeing an opera in Sacramento, California!!!!!— so we were crippled in confirming all the paperwork we needed to close on units. We’re still working on that.
We had a guest on site the other week who is a professional photographer. He gave me a disc with a number of very high resolution pictures garden pictures of Los Jardines, all nicely framed with beautiful color. He has others he took of different scenes in CR. I hope to work with him to have some blow-ups made for wall pictures.
Transition: Physical changes to the office are virtually completed. We have to reorient some wiring. Filing cabinets and other office equipment is now installed and operating.
I’ve put together a 12 pg. Orientation document designed to answer the frequently asked questions and address those that should be but aren't. In addition I’ve included useful information about the surrounding area, conveniences, restaurants, car rentals, etc. which might be helpful to new arrivals.
I’ve also been working with the new staff to train them on preparing a home for a guest. The first occurred while we were in Granada and all seems to have gone well. We’ll see how the next goes when I give only general instructions on arrival preparations.
We have found the piece of land (2.8 hectares / 28,000 meters / about 6 acres) which we hope to make our next project. It is located just off the main roadway linking San Jose/Escazu/Santa Ana/ and Ciudad Colon and is a little before Ciudad Colon. It is fairly long and narrow, gently rolling with a undisturbed soil and having natural clefts. We feel that many of the lots will have excellent views by taking advantage of the natural topography and the surrounding mountains. The end of the lot overlooks a HUGE canyon and the vista beyond. Even though the land is more expensive than some we’ve seen, less civil work has to be done and the zoning give us the flexibility we need and will allow us to make up for the additional cost. We are continuing to gather more information on it. From our perspective, this meets abut 90% of what we were looking for.
Our week was dominated by our planned trip to Granada on Friday. Preparations were made to care for the birds and especially the parrot whose always a problem because she’s so mean. Hugo decided to take a walk-about and not return on Friday morning. We left not knowing where it was or IF he was. We had sent out search parties around the property and on the neighboring property. Fortunately they didn’t find him but we still didn’t know what had become of him. He showed up later on Friday and we were e-mailed. Guess he just wanted to vent his feelings about being left again.
This time we had a companion —he had to leave the country and like company. The bus trip was it’s normal three movie-roast chicken-fresh sour dough French bread and wine picnic. We had not made reservations at our favorite hotel because I couldn’t remember the name of it but they had vacancies when we arrive so all worked out. The Cocibolca Hotel (2) is a 5 mo. old, 27 room, two storey hotel with great staff. (Note: there is another hotel by the same name/same owner —it gets confusing but it is the new one which we like.) This time we splurged and we had a room with TV and air conditioning —$35— Rooms with fan only were $25. Breakfast was available at an additional charge. It’s beginning to feel like home —they remembered us from three month’s earlier. The owner was again having a birthday party and again he invited us —open bar and wonderful food— and again we met some interesting people. It’s only about two blocks from the main square and the street leading to the square is lined with great restaurants having a variety of cuisines —Mexican (2), Nicaraguan, Mediterranean, French, Argentinean plus a few others. We never left the street —the margaritas, the bocas, the different tastes— we couldn’t eat and drink enough to wander further. We tried flying back but couldn’t get a reservations until Wednesday so we decided to return by bus... fine except that it broke down at the border —they shut off the idling engine and couldn’t get it started. With only three taxis at the border and with a premonition that a replacement bus would be long in arriving, we decided to hire a taxi for the 6 hour drive —$150. Certainly more than the $10 bus ride but that wasn’t going to happen within my time frame.
Granada continues to be a great escape and we look forward to our return in a few months. I think we will try flying next time —Nature Air— $200 return, 2 hrs/ one stop in Liberia. This will give us more time to drink and eat in Granada.
On our return Monday afternoon, Paul had all in hand and I am just further behind on all fronts especially paperwork, writing contracts, and figuring out decorating details on two units.
Lita’s 50th birthday is on March 16. This will have to be a special day. For once I know what I will give her but aside from that, it has to be special —a party different from the others in some way, shape, and form. I’ll have to work on it. Since her birthday is also what we consider to be our anniversary (when we met) it’s always special to the both of us. She’s carried her age well and looks almost as good as the day we met 20yrs ago.
Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot.