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,
This was a short but busy week. It was full speed ahead
on all items except the core (new) construction:
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%
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
I'm not sure how to interpret the first two comments but
I at least agree with the last. The viewer can make their
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
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
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
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
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.