Nov. 8-14, 2004 // CONSTRUCTION LOG # 5
We had no rain and nothing by dry, mostly sunny weather the
entire week. The trade winds have started and we are entering
the dry season.
The entire week was devoted to footings; the backhoe had
done it’s work and now it was time for shovel work to
clean up the trenches, put in the first layer of granular
base , compacted, to level the trenches. Following this was
a plastic vapor barrier, then the re-bar reinforcing cages
were installed, wired together including the corners (very
important). This was followed by adding the columns for wall
reinforcing, wall intersections, and wall terminations. In
addition, all the reinforcing re-bar which is buried in the
“hollow” section of the block and then the cavity
is filled with cement. These vertical re-bar reinforcing rods
are then tied into a “collar tie” which forms
a structurally sound wall which meets seismic code requirements.
Saturday we poured about 50 cubic meters of cement, complete
w/ pumper truck to reach the far corners of the buildings.
All the concrete is then vibrated into the crevices around
the rebar and rough leveled to the level line. The walls of
hollow block will set on this. When we get up a couple rows,
we’ll level and backfill the area inside the “houses”
as well as outside around the footings. That’s the task
for next week.
The main structural footings are approximately 20 cm (8”)
deep/high by 50cm (20”) wide and full of steel. The
cost of the concrete w/ pumper truck is approximately 51,000
colones/ M3 (cubic meter) or $113 USD. It was a good, stiff
slump (thickness) without a lot of excess water and was controlled
throughout. We used exactly 52 Cubic meters for the footings
for 7 , -- 1,300 sf houses. Many of the footings were “ground
locked” meaning that the backhoe trench served as the
form; in about 1/2 the cases, the trenches were not exact
and the trenches needed modifying thus making the footings
wider than they needed to be. In those areas, we formed them
w/ wood which will be reused for the forms for columns and
collar ties. Now to keep the footings wet such that they dry
and cure slowly.
Houses 121, 122, do not, as per last log, fit correctly on
the property largely due to inaccurate measurements by the
architect re. the location of one of the original units (124,
sic 123). We tried various iterations and relocations but
nothing really worked. The solution was / is to tear down
124/sic 123 and in the total location build another 114, 115,
116 combination unit. The final siteing has not yet been done;
hopefully on Tuesday.
We have reviewed the renovation requirements for 103, 104,
and 105. This plans should also be ready by Wednesday of this
coming week. Now that the rainy weather seems to have left
us, it could be time to begin working on those units. Two
of the units are now vacant but we have commitments for them
later so now is the time to complete the renovations.
The container should arrive on site Tuesday; it has been cleared
thru Customs. I’m not sure I would do this again. My
experience was that there seem to be a number of sleazy, non-transparent
business practices along the way and people who, at the Toronto
end either didn’t care whether it cleared customs in
the destination country or were just plain incompetent. I’ll
be having a follow up “chat” with them on my return.
We had a friend from the marina in Toronto drop by for a
few hours before his flight back. He’s taken Lita’s
karaoke machine back with him to try and either get it repaired
or to replace it. She dropped it one too many times and buggered
up the electronic circuitry. She and the parrot are not now
singing duets together.
We treated ourselves and friends to a Lebanese restaurant
this week which was o.k.; not fantastic but a change. Last
night was pool night a one of the local places; the guys won
but not because we were good; only because the girls were
worse…..but we had fun and that’s the main thing.
Hugo has changed his strategy from ignoring the parrot to
actively competing for attention. At times when the parrot
is on the loose, he’ll “lower himself” to
approach me for stroking. I took a picture of him on his back,
all four legs up in the air, with head titled back to keep
an eye on the parrot which was on Lita’s lap.
Sunday was the last rain we had all week. It was the culmination
of abut 36hrs. of semi-constant hard rain. He was pissed off
and attacked me several times during the night because he
was bored and mad that he couldn’t go out..
The Parrot : I can tell several stories but this one is the
Those of you who have followed aspect of our life, know that
the parrot has a bad attitude; she’s mean and nasty
and full of the devil. What I haven’t mentioned is her
vocabulary which as awful and not fit for polite company.
Now she had this before Lita bought her. Almost every word
out of her beaky bird's mouth is rude, obnoxious and laced
Lita has tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by
only polite words, saying “no”, playing soft music,
singing, stroking, etc. and anything else she could think
of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.
Finally, list week after a particularly rude comment in front
of some very religious friends, Lita got fed up and she yelled
at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. Lita shook the parrot
and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. Lita, as much as
said, o.k. , I’ll fix you and she put the parrot in
For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.
there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that she'd hurt the parrot, Lita quickly opened the
door to the
freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto her outstretched
arm and said in effect:
"I believe I may have offended you with my rude language
and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate
transgressions and I fully intend to do
everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."
We were all stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.
As Lita was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic
change in her behavior, the bird continued,:
"May I ask what the turkey did?"
HAPPY AMERICAN THANKSGIVING!
Gotcha, didn’t I?????
Brian and Lita