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New Construction

Lease / purchase

Phase 3: The construction of the remaining 11 residences.

Scheduled to begin in November with completion expected
by January 31.

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Progress Report

Dec. 20-25, 2004 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #11

Note: This was a short week: only 4 days of work.
The crew wanted Dec. 24 off. We start again on Monday, Dec. 27.

Construction

This was a short but busy week. It was full speed ahead on all items except the core (new) construction:

Renovations

Unit 103: The exterior stucco work was finished; the interior drywall work was finished; the first three coats of paint were applied; the; window moldings installed inside and out, The roof tile are about 1/3 finished; kitchen, bathroom and bedroom cabinets 80% installed; front entrance way 90% finished.

Electrical fixtures and outlets purchased but not net installed. Windows are yet to be finished off. This unit should be completely finished and ready for occupancy by Dec. 31.

Comments received to date range from:

"It reminds me of Disneyland", or "It kinda looks like the entrance too a T.G.I.F. Restaurant"; to " beautiful, very nice, and certainly much nicer than before".

I'm not sure how to interpret the first two comments but I at least agree with the last. The viewer can make their own assessment.

Unit 105: The roof has been restructured and the tin substrate installed. Flashing will follow. The rough in wiring and plumbing are completed, Exterior boarding and window moldings are virtually complete and the base coat of stucco has been started. Some drywall boarding and taping has been done. The kitchen and bathroom cabinetry has been ordered. We now have a design for the entryway which is being framed. This unit should be completed by mid January.

These two units are going to be finished up prior to starting Unit 104 which will be similar to Unit 103 but with a few variations. We are beginning to work on the design for Unit 108 which will be a very different design-two story with substantial square footage. What I expect to end up with is a two storey, at least two bedroom s(one facing east and one facing west each with a wonderful view), 2 1/2 bathrooms, large living room, large kitchen / dining area and a large terrace.

New House Construction

Plumbing rough-ins continue and are now completed for all houses. Electrical rough-in continues on the last two houses. The backfilling, leveling, and compacting of the interior substrate continued with one house left to complete. The leveling of the walls for the screed lines which are necessary for the parging or "repello" started.

The paperwork has been submitted for the re-application process but nothing will happen on it until early January as the government is shutdown for the holidays.

Front Wall and Gates

All the columns have been completed and moldings attached. The chain link fence and block work between the columns have also been completed. Stucco has been applied to about 40% of the area. Energy efficient fluorescent light fixtures controlled by a photo cell have been completed on 6 of the columns. I expect the balance of the work to be completed by Dec. 31. The sidewalk is now completed along with the street curb. The cement floor for the garbage and garden refuse areas has been poured and the area is now ready to begin the front and roof enclosure. The east gate is also fully functioning as well and all adjustments have been completed to the west gate. The planter boxes have been planted with fast growing flowering vines of alternating blue and pink flowers. The bamboo which had been removed was re-planted behind the wall in an area bounded by block and metal to contain the roots and is expected to recover from it's drought. The beginnings of landscaping the "green zone" between the sidewalk and curb (about 12" wide" has started complete with an irrigation system. It's now up to Nature to complete.

Warehouse / Laundry / and Employee Change area

This building was sited and footings started. We are assuming we can proceed on this building as it is less than 40 sq. meters (38.6 sq. meters) and represents non-habitable space. Here the description is called a "bodega". It's located at the front of the property. Since the architect didn't design this, we'll have to do it as we build-not my preferred way but this is a simple structure and with some thought, should be able to be parallel pathed.

The composting and plant propagation area was relocated to the rear of the property where it is more reclused.

Construction will begin again on the 27 and end at noon on the 31st. at which time there will be a pig roast and party. The construction people postponed it from before Christmas to after. I expect there will be some 40+ people as that is the size of the construction crew.

Misc. I sold the pick up truck and traded a saw for a Vonage VOIP equipment and account. I wasn't using the pickup and the saw was not being used enough now to justify keeping it. The Vonage VOIP phone system probably is more useful for me and for the property in the longer run. In both cases, the purchaser was the former owner of the property, Don Paul, who has returned to CR to kick start his life here again. Like a lot of technology, the advertised "plug and play in 5 min. is a myth. As of now, the system is not yet functioning but I have hopes of living long enough to experience it.

Like the wireless internet, it takes time to sort our way through it. This system has performed quite well over the past month to the point where it is not even on our radar horizon of needing attention. That is sometimes the measure of "progress".

Our Lives

As the U.S. and Canada are experiencing bitter cold and miserable weather, here on Christmas Day at 10am. the breeze is blowing, clear sunny skies, 75F / 23C, the water falls are working (after a power outage earlier this morning) and the fountain is doing it's thing.

Lita and the Parrot: Lita have instructions to a couple of the workmen to build her a parrot house. She got a picture from a magazine and somehow a birdhouse appeared. It is now attached to a bamboo pool, waving in the breeze. She can put the parrot on it and it doesn't seem to be able to get down. Lita decorated this structure with lights to which I strongly objected but she listens to her own band. I consoled myself by thinking that the parrot might bite the power cord, Unfortunately, the parrot isn't in the house when the lights are on. Perhaps Lita will forget to bring it in one night and.....

We found a great restaurant in Santa Ana-it's only been open a couple weeks. I was tired of fish and chicken-I wanted a steak. This is usually problematic here because the beef is usually very tough-it is not aged nor finished as it is in N. Am.. For the equivalent of $5.50 I got soup, about a 12 oz. delicious New York strip, baked potato and sour cream, assorted vegetables, and coffee. Note: in a coffee producing country, the N. Am. concept of a" bottomless cup" of coffee is non-existent-except at this restaurant-and it was excellent coffee. They don't have a liquor license so I bought my own bottle of wine from the liquor store across the street-no corkage fee. For $1,80 Lita had soup, fried rice and shrimp, French fries, and a large green salad and coffee. It was all either of us could do to finish our plates.

It was suitably impressive for us to arrange a Christmas Eve dinner party there for "friends without families". We organized 8 people for a fixed plate dinner: It was relatively expensive (6,000 colones) or $13 USD-cream of spinach soup, garlic bread, mixed green salad, the most delicious, moist roast pork I've tasted in a long time, an interesting salad, desert, and coffee. The food was absolutely delicious but the service was terrible-nevertheless, we'll return and help them help themselves. Lita had too much champagne (a half a glass) and enjoyed herself. On the way out, we were each given a "doggie box" with more of the same for Christmas Day.

After a delightful nap in the hammock, I was awakened to the words "margaritas are being served at the large pool". I'm there!!!!!! Six hours later, I've returned to the computer. Wow!!!! I don't know why the politicians can't solve the world's problems as fast as we did. I've still got time for a James Bond movie.

Our friend Keith arrives on the 27th to return on March 30. Another friend from Quebec who I haven't seen for many years arrives with his wife on the 28th; they will spend a few days with us.

Our orchid garden is beginning to show signs of success. Orchids are not very exciting as they don't bloom very often but I've plunked my favorite hammock right next to them. I have no idea what type of orchids we have. Some which are planted in the ground have been blooming for the past month. One of the others which is hanging around a tree trunk has a large spike with multiple flowers and I'm now counting 10 more spikes from some of the other orchids. I bought two more orchids the other day from a guy along the street-not the showy orchids but nevertheless additions-I want to get number of others. However, I first wanted to see if we were going to be successful at this venture. It appears we are. However, what we are not yet having success with are the bromeliads-not one has "bloomed" since we bought them. I'm thinking they are planted wrong-too much water. I'll experiment with them and ask more questions.

I had occasion to review the log I wrote one year ago. We had just completed the concrete pour for the floors on the first five houses-we had a long way to go and lots of issues which had not yet been defined as well as resolved. We had not yet added the 2nd. swimming pool, the three new ranchos, the walkways, etc. A tremendous number of things have changed here over the past year. Sometimes we seem overwhelmed by the learning curve we're going thru to manage and maintain what we have created. Sometimes I'm humbled by the end result. Certainly not everything has been easy but with persistence, patience, a clear vision, a sufficiently detailed plan and an element of good luck, we've been able to accomplish an awful lot with few failures along the way.

From Lita, Brian, Hugo and the Parrot.. Enjoy your Christmas, family, and friends.

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