August 1-6, 2005 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #43
Contact phone numbers
New York 315-279-6711 // Toronto 416-907-5758
Cell 506-305-3965 // Land 506-282-4142 Ext. 101
NOTE: our land line in CR has changed;
we are now integrated into the compound network.
Permit: We are still waiting for Friday, August 12. (at least it's not Friday 13).
Comment: SETENA: In the last year or so, the current government, in it's infinite wisdom, decided to increase the role and responsibility of this environmental review agency. But like many government decisions, here and elsewhere, they did not think it through very well because the wanted to move on to the next law Here, brownie points are made by making laws -not by enforcing them. They did not increase the budget so the same staff is expected to do substantially more work. The organization is receiving loud criticism from a number of different directions. It was explained to me, that the current government cannot now admit their error; correction, in whatever form, will have to wait for the next government -which can not come soon enough for me.
New Construction: On the triplex (114, 115, 116). Drywall framing and boarding work has continued as well as the creation of the entrance to 115 -the corner unit.
Unit 107: This has been the focus of one group of people this week. It's still not finished although it is very close. The back yard has been landscaped -sod and plants. We transplanted two banana trees to the back yard and bought four coffee plants. (Aside -I asked the workers to locate the coffee bushes in the best location; when I returned, they had placed them in the shade; I protested; they said it was the best location for the best coffee. I looked at them and asked them if they were real "campesinos" (farmers) and they assured me there were -I believed them so the coffee bushes stayed put.) The inside has been mostly painted and mostly cleaned -the finishing off is likely to be completed by Wednesday. The cabinetry work, including all 92 door and drawer handles have been installed. We have some specialty painting to be completed on the wrought iron work and some minor granite work to be completed. The designs for the tempered glass shower doors have been ordered -it takes about 15 days to complete this process. Decorating will have been done by this time next week. Curtains have already arrived.
Appreciation: The painters (three young Nicaraguans, dedicated to doing a wonderful job and not complaining) have been having a difficult time. They have worked late several nights. Imperfections in drywall that cannot be seen during diffused daylight show up under direct night lighting. Large walls are always subject to this problem. We had tried to get the electrician to finish off the recessed lights so that we could see the problems but had been unsuccessful until I pulled on the steel toed boots. Wow!! They deserve my praise and appreciation.
Roadways and Rainwater Mgt. System: This aspect was very disruptive and caused chaos throughout the week. When installing the gutters for the houses and for the roadway, we had made provision to divert the rainwater into a subterranean collection and absorption system. This was to be located in the roadway. This week saw the creation of four large absorption pits -huge holes in the ground backfilled with large river stone, capped with smaller gravel, a membrane installed and then lastre on top. All the drainage lines are directed to the nearest pit and then the pits are interconnected. In the course of doing this, we snagged numerous electrical cables and punctured water pipes. It was patience testing time for cars / trucks for servicing 107 and for the residents living on that side. That work is now mostly done.
The backhoe and dump truck were new to us. Both were fine but I want to single out the dump truck driver. His truck is a dual axle, older Mack, diesel with a huge air horn which he LOVES to operate. We've kept him busy removing soil from the footings of 106, the absorption pits and connection trenches and back filling with lastre, gravel and river rock and topsoil. It happened that there was no more river rock in San Jose to keep us going. This guy made two trips to Guipales (half way to Limon -a 90 min. drive by car and probably 60 min. in his truck) to get the rock to keep us going -one load was delivered at 8 pm and the other at 6am. I don't know when he slept. Just incredible commitment.
Phone System Upgrade: This has been anything but smooth and seamless. If I allow myself to think about it, it has been closer to a disaster -late in almost all aspects, continuous bugs, missed deadlines, re-negotiated contract (I came in in the middle of this one), multiple changes, incompatible equipment, possible deceit on the contractors side, and still a half assed system... I'm certainly not happy and there are two people who know that. I now have a couple problems which I never expected to own -and someone is not likely to get paid until they assume ownership and fix the problems.
Marketing: We put pen to paper on closing another unit. It was certainly mutually rewarding turning this unit over to the purchaser -he has wanted a "home" for some years, feels he got a great deal, loves the property and the development. Besides, it doesn't hurt that he's got a positive cash flow on it.
I've accepted a verbal offer on Unit 110; paperwork is expected to follow.
Telemarketing campaign: Two of us are still working on it; there have been a few rough moments this week with others who were involved but those issues are more or less ironed out. We hope to be ready to test the system by midweek. Most of the material has been or is well on it's way to being created / finalized. This will be an interesting experience.
Next Project: Virtually no progress on the 35,000 meter parcel I love so much. I just don't have the money and need to rely on others. Their priorities are not mine. I don't think it is going to happen.
On Sunday, I may take a look at a smaller project on the beach. I'm more curious than serious but one never knows. I've rejected two other opportunities on the beach because of lifestyle considerations and my wife's disability. We'll see.
Weather: It didn't rain at all this week; we've had to water.
My week has been mostly to do computer work several hours in the middle of the night and then nod off by 7 pm. Tonight is was 6pm.; I'm not getting invited out much lately.
Lita and Vicka are as tight as ever. One day when I was in the hammock, she came out with Vicka perched on the end of her white "blind" cane. The bird was having a hell of a time as she was waving it around her and hitting everything in site -the bird was ducking and scrambling. I think she's trying to train it to be a "seeing eye" parrot. I don't think it's going to work.
Hugo was observed stalking the parrot-it's probably just a matter of time although I'm not sure who will win this scrap.
Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot.