April 17-22, 2006 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #80
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.
Pictures: 101/2 and the lockers, mosaic mural,
roadway w. trees trimmed,
Note: Last week Yahoo instituted new software (in
their quest to reduce spam) which had not been
perfected. It made mailing difficult. We'll see how
it goes this week.
The Story: It has to be the internet, rough
beginnings, and the Keystone Cops
Weather: calm, sunny with daily overcast and
periodic afternoon rains-hot for us.
Units 101 / 102: Block walls are progressing;
substrate is being added and compacted Columns are
Lockers and Locker House: Columns are all finished and
the collar tie is being prepared.
Landscaping: We continue to devote more manpower than
what I want the long range steady state to be. Some
of it is playing catch up, some is finishing of what
was started, and the rest is just plain ongoing mtnc.
We called in the professional gardener to review some
of our problem areas. I had received some advice re.
using more natural products and less chemicals. We
have not used many chemicals over the past year.
Nevertheless, we are going to be using more natural,
products and reduce the use of chemicals. We are not
going to be "organic" but to use no more than we
absolutely need and use only when at a loss to
otherwise achieve the goal.
We had the tall ficus benjamina trees topped on the
east side. This opens the views for Units 121 and 122
and helps prevent leaves from clogging the drain water
pipes. I didn't like the idea of cutting the canopy of
these magnificent trees and hesitated but I had made a
promise to 121 and 122. Now that the trees are topped
and I can see the results from the roadway, it was the
right thing to do. I know it has opened the vista for
121 and 122 so that now each as at least a 180 degree
view of mountains. (Note: in the process we
disturbed two bee's nests-our workers suffered their
anger-and we have managed to break every single garden
light standard regardless of how well we protected
them. This is the nature of construction..)
Rain water drainage: We had a good downpour and found
some of the systems worked; some need more attention.
Electrical System Upgrade: some movement but we still
aren't there. We are still working our way out from
the screw up of the first contractor. We had to
replace the PVC standard up the utility pole because
it was spliced and it had to be continuous and we had
to add 6 meters of high voltage wire which means we
had to throw away 30 meters and buy 36 meters, and the
transformer has to be lifted off the pad, taken to ICE
to be tested (this was supposedly done once but
somehow there are no records). We're hoping that in
two weeks we will have 30 electrical meters and this
story will be history.
Mosaic Mural: it progresses and is nearing
completion. (See picture.) It should be finished
next week. A number of the neighbors are watching is
progress. The two guys doing it are understandably
Dish TV: we've decided to keep this system and to
rejuvenate it with more connections and channels. We
can now receive all the sports and pay-per-view. We
will be able to resell it for only slightly more than
for what CableTica provides as a basic package. It
will be of interest to those who want the N. Am.
sports and movie networks. This will not be a money
maker but it will be a service / amenity.
Water reservoir tank: We've let the contract for the
controls and pumps. It should all be finished next
week. We are getting our well water tested for
bacterial count and mineral content. Should have the
results by Monday. We are not expecting any
problems; this is routine testing-there have been
reports of aquifer contamination -we want to be sure.
Transition: We had an incident where the security
alarm in the tool room malfunctioned probably due to
high temperature. We needed to turn off the alarm.
No problem, get the key which I had labeled only two
days before, enter the code, and . Well, the key
wasn't the same as I had labeled, tested, and had
written the alarm code on. Went to the site
superintendents' office; couldn't find his keys.
Couldn't reach the Site Superintendent to find out
where he had his keys... an hour later he arrives,
finds his keys, opens the lock and kills the alarm.
We had a discussion... the next day one person was
assigned to check every bloody key, and label, and to
ensure that no one, absolutely no one takes and does
not return the master to the master board.
The whole thing reminded me of the Keystone Cops-we
were running around, bumping into things, everything
we tried failed, and it was all suppose to work. The
first test of the key management system failed... Life
goes on ...
Internet: Three steps back on this one!!!!!! We
have continued to experience instability and
unreliability problems over the past three weeks.
We've bought new equipment, we've rebuilt the
telecommunications room and cleaned up the wiring rats
nests and secured connections, we air cooled the room
so no equipment overheating -our instability has
continued. Our system finally failed completely. It
seems to have been a combination of problems: (1)
system design -it finally occurred to Paul (he's not
an expert but reasoned his way through it) that there
was a systemic design fault-we had a small router
meant to split VOIP from Internet before the newly
purchased heavy duty router. We had a weak link at
the very beginning, right after receiving ICEs signal
our signal started breaking down. We had ICE in to
configure the new, stronger modem: they didn't have a
clue. We subsequently found a fantastic guy who,
within two hours, had configured the modem, diagnosed
another problem and solved it, determined that our
wireless system was still operable (despite the first
person's assessment), and recommended getting a second
service provider, (in our case it would be CableTica)
and then we have redundancy (two service providers)
which increases our reliability. In addition, we have
decided to hard wire ALL those houses which were not
hardwired (about 8 houses) in order to better keep
that commitment of reliability. I'm now beginning to
breath easier and see the light at the end of the
tunnel. This has been a nightmare for both Paul and I
since we promise to meet N. Am. and European
performance expectations-to date, this aspect has
lagged. Through all of this, we have been plagued by
people who claim competencies which they do not have.
Hopefully, in this process, we have identified a great
computer and systems support guy-the PC Doctor -he also
Dog: Training has started. Mack is now one week into
it. He's a Grade 5 "heeler" and "stopper"-he still
needs a lot more training on both. Next week, he
learns to sit, stay, and more heeling. We have our
chief mtnc. person working with him twice a day along
with the trainer once a day. Unfortunately, I have
not had the time to work with the dog; I need to and
will on Saturday and Sunday.
Marketing: We closed on 120 this week and the resale
of 108 is on track.
We leased 118 as per the owner's wishes and have a
viewing to lease 119 on the 25th.
We understand that 106A has resold with a closing
scheduled for the middle of next month.
Next Project: No progress on this.
Micky left after a quiet and restful holiday; Terry
arrived for a 6 wk. contract break and moved into his
With Paul gone, I've had to pick up issues which he
designed and dealt with... a learning curve for me.
With the internet system going down, he was going
berserk being in Canada and trying to problem solve
and give instructions by phone... Each day was full,
busy and frustrating but not that stressful. I
continue to hope and believe that some of the
frustrations we experienced this week were teething
problems and that they will disappear when we get our
act together -so far, an elusive goal.
Lita and I took off a couple hours mid day and visited
friends and former residents who now live in Atenas.
It's nice to see there is life after Los Jardines.
Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon