Jan. 10-15, 2005 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #14
Synopsis: Last week I wrote: This was an incredibly
hectic, chaotic, frustrating and yet rewarding week. I hope
not to go through another one like it but think that is wishful
thinking. It WAS wishful thinking and it didn't happen.
Refuse Containment areas
The clay tile (teja) were installed for the roof, flashing
installed, the wrought iron was painted and "antiqued"
and a few other misc. minor details were finished up. The
electrical service is now smack in the middle of the garden
refuse area and when when get the slow moving ICE electrical
company to change the meter the current meter will be moved.
It is now down with the singular exception of painting the
interior concrete to seal it such that it can be more easily
The "teja" is installed and the exterior of the
building is boarded with Densglass. Next week it will be stuccoed.
The rough-in wiring is also installed.
Garden Compost Area
Partitions for three "decomposer" areas were finished
along with one f to house the chipper/mulcher. The front gate
boards will be retrieved from the wood now required for forms.
We will begin to use this and learn our way through it.
We have continued to parge the interior and exterior walls.
We have quite a ways yet to go before we finish this stage.
Unit 103: Significant changes were made: The exterior
was stuccoed and trim painted. The roof tile were installed.
The installation of the kitchen and bathroom cabinetry is
nearly completed. The finish coat of paint will be applied
today (Sunday) and the beginnings of the clean up started.
We have to have it finished, cleaned, and furnished ready
for occupancy by Tuesday.
This stage always involves lots of last minute decisions,
sourcing items which can take for ever to find and get. Lots
of running around and coordination of all the trades and the
materials they need. It is really no more work and is, in
my experience, much easier to built 10 new houses than to
do one renovation. In addition to completing the construction,
we've also been shopping for the furnishings. While we have
a few things, we will have to add many items. This is not
an area that I'm particularly good at and have not been pleased
with what's been done previously so I'm trying to improve
on this. Curtains have been ordered, beds identified for delivery
on Tuesday, pictures, etc. Monday and Tuesday will
be fill in days and we are still missing many things.
Unit 104: This is our next victim. The roof was ripped
off on Monday and by Tuesday the welders had started
to rebuild it. Rebuilding involves a new roof line, and extended
front porch, a new terrace off the back, and a new second
bathroom. The concrete for these are poured, rough-in plumbing
done, and the roof is about 75% completed. Drywall boarding
Comment: It appears to me that work on this unit
is progressing faster than on the previous two. I think all
involved have now learned much from the previous two and it
is showing up.
Unit 108: I now have a conceptual diagram of what
it will be but I've created a bit of a diplomatic mess for
myself by bruising an ego. This is a two storey unit and the
solutions we have been applying to the previous three renovations
won't work. I had some criteria of what to build and some
ideas of the placement of the stairs but couldn't take it
much beyond this. The first proposal from the architect wasn't
very inspiring and left me in the same place. In a casual
conversation with another person (also an architect) he asked
to make a proposal. He did and it dealt with the issues I
hadn't figured out. I have refined it since to the point now
where I think we have a fantastic design. Unfortunately, this
has bruised the ego and has damaged the working relationship
with the first architect.
Comment: It remains to be seen what the working relationship
will be. I'll try to rebuild it but it will require him to
look at why it happened-slow turn around, missed commitments,
constant calling and nagging, missing information (on a number
of things I've been virtually flying by the seat of my pants
with only on-site decisions -eg. Only a conceptual floor plan
for the front bodega and no cross sections, and some hasty
responses to some specific needs. Perhaps he's busy with other
clients and there is a new future with them as the creative
architectural work decreases on this project. I don't know
but so far he's too upset to discuss it. (Note: Tico's don't
like confrontation and problem solving -this is a cultural
difference between life here and in N. Am.) I'll give credit
where credit is due and I have no plans on replacing him as
the architect of record on the project and I'll continue to
recommend / refer him. But I have my own schedule. I have
some fence mending and relationship building to do. It will
take two. The future of this outcome is uncertain.
The renovated units seem to be speaking loudly and clearly
for themselves. Even though the renovated units are not as
full featured nor as large or well built as the new units,
they have individuality, private terraces, back yards and
are detached. Unit 105 is spoken for as is Unit 104. I've
agreed in principle to sell Unit 108 to people who have followed
this project from the beginning. They believe they have others
who may be interested in Unit 107. We have a current tenant
who may be interested in this unit as well. Although it is
way too early for me to consider any commitment or accepting
any offers, I will commit to a price range and work with the
interested parties. I will build and complete first before
completing a deal-I don't want to loose money and I don't
want a dissatisfied customer. I feel that if I build what
he wants and it is consistent with what I feel I can sell,
then if he wants it at the price I can build it for, fine;
If not I'll have a product available for someone else. In
addition, I have people arriving on the property Tuesday who
are looking us over (although they are considering a number
of options. Another person expects to return with friends
in late February/early March; both are looking for a second
home; they will be giving us a closer inspection.
The Parrot: she took a chunk out of Lita and a teenage daughter
of friends of ours. Who knows why-perhaps she was frightened,
perhaps she was jealous-all survived but if it had been me,
it's quite possible one of us wouldn't have. Lita says Hugo
has now had enough and is now "pissing" under her
cage -I don't know if this is true but I think it's great!!!!!!
Lita has been taking some Spanish lessons. She goes on Mondays
and Thursdays with Keith and Terry. She enjoys it but
don't know how long she will keep at it. It is difficult for
her in class; she can't see so feels a bit awkward and she
misses things. I believe the teacher has been told that she
is blind and both Keith and Terry look out for her.
Last Sunday we were invited to a home located on a
mountain overlooking the Central Valley. After an hour's drive
with no wrong turns (I was given a wonderful and accurate
hand drawn map), and after attaching a respirator to avoid
altitude sickness, Keith, Terry Lita and I arrived at an "Alpine"
village. Had we not been in the clouds (which I think are
there most of the time) and had it been warmer - I actually
wondered about snow-we got only a glimpse of the view. After
a harrowing drive down the hill at night-Terry-who volunteered
to drive and probably the last time I'll enjoy that comfort-and
I were ready for a drink
Our Quebec friends returned last Sunday morning and
the bed was re -warmed Monday night with another friend
returning from Canada. On Tuesday our electrician friend
Phil arrived -spent a couple nights with us and then off to
the Caribbean side and is expected to return today. He leaves
on Tuesday and my sister arrives on Wednesday.
On Tuesday friends and friends of theirs arrive for
several days -thus the rush to complete 103.
Terry hosted a dinner party for his visiting sister on Tuesday.
It was Terry at his usual best. The four of us plus Keith
had a rousing evening of pool on Thursday. I was in "stress
relief" mode so don't remember much about it other than
it was a great time.
I'm in the process of buying a replacement car. My current
Hyundai sedan is fine -runs great. I just want an automatic
and in addition, I would like a car that I feel a bit safer
in given some of the idiot drivers I've seen here. A used
Jeep was offered and accepted.
My Canadian electrician will be working with me for the next
two days. He returns on Tuesday and four others arrive.
My sister arrives on Wednesday. It will be another
Brian, Lita, Hugo and Vicka.