Sunday, October 18, 2015

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jog!

We've been home for a number of weeks and once again the house construction has become the main focus of our life!  Leaving is always such sweet sorrow and we are so thankful to have good friends, Maryse, Guy and Roberto taking care of our houses and the finca while were away. What a treat to come home and find things just the way you left them.

Since returning, the rainy season has settled in quite nicely. Although we have enjoyed some sunny mornings, we have also seen lots of water!

In our almost three week absence work has been done on the floors and bathroom walls.  Most of the tile work was finished on the floors and the Master Bathroom walls were started.  The progress was exciting to see!

In our bathroom the floors are complete except for grout and the wall tiles are starting to rise!  It was our decision to use the rectangular tiles in a brick pattern on our walls.  The more common way the tiles are arranged here in Costa Rica, it seems, is to stack them in rows standing on their short side.

The area without tile will be the shower.  The floor there will be created with small pebbles making a non-slip surface.  To the left will be our sinks.

In addition to the tile work, a railing was started along side the stairs to our Bedroom.  Interesting to see how it is constructed.

The area at the lower end of the stairs is also starting to look more finished.  The top of this small wall will also have a concrete hand rail.

The stairs are starting to look much nicer and we look forward to seeing them finished.  The tops will be covered with wood while the face of each stair will be tile.

Notice Roberto's smiling face!  He was very happy to have us home and to only have to worry about the coffee! Although Roberto is glad to have less to worry about, he said he enjoyed all the extra walking.  We really appreciate the great job he did everywhere!

As you can see in this photo, the ceiling between the beams is almost complete.  Trim is needed but it is already looking great!

The Kitchen, Dining Room and Hall will have concrete ceilings. The mess in the middle of the floor is the re-bar, pipe for water and electrical to be embedded in our island concrete.

 Below is one option for working on the ceilings.  It's amazing how easily one of the workers maneuvers on the stilts and to me it seems much more efficient than moving scaffolding to where it is needed.

Quickly the tile is being completed in the Bathrooms. This is a little 1/2 Bath that is between the main part of the house and the Studio.

The Master Bathroom too is getting finished  and looks beautiful!

More of the Master Bathroom and also a view of the trim that goes around the ceiling.

The Master Bathroom with the view opposite the sinks.   The shower is to the left and the toilet to the right.

The "hole" in the side of the shower will have a shelf and be used for shampoo, etc.

Tile in the Master Bedroom and outside on the Terraza just waiting to be grouted and lined with tile mop board.

Work has also
been done on the interesting roof line by the stairs.  The area that is left open will be filled with glass and the "roof" will be camouflaged. However, exactly how remains to be seen.

Here a much needed over hang has been added to protect the window below.  Looking forward to seeing this finished.

Grouting has begun!

O.K., enough about the house!  Look how well my pineapples are doing!!  There are three that we will be able to eat--someday!

I lied!  Here are two views of the house on the outside to show the progress!  Even the yard is looking neater! :)

One more priceless sunset with the islands very visible in the Nicoya Bay!!  And, some incredible cloud formations.   The skies here are ever changing and never boring!

Pura Vida!

Off to North Carolina!

At the end of September we headed for North Carolina to organize and supervise the loading of all our household goods onto a container to be shipped to our new house in Costa Rica.  We knew it would probably be more work than fun, but we were looking forward to seeing our friends and enjoying some time with them as well.

When we resided in NC, Don was very active in a couple art groups there and has many friends who are artists in the area.  While there, he was able to connect with many of them at a class that was being held by a favorite artist of his.  In this picture, his good friend Richard Staat, is working on a water color painting.

It seems a good time was had by all, including Don, who unfortunately, has not been able to paint since our move to Costa Rica.  Hopefully, once our house is finished and the finca is working well, there will be more time to pursue this interest.

We owe a huge thank you to our friends Chris and Pam who went above and beyond our expectations and treated us like royalty.  Their generosity, food, lodging, transportation and moral support were more than we could have imagined.  Chris and Pam lived across the golf course from us on the 13th fairway.  In the 9 years we lived there, we wore quite a path from our house to theirs.  Being there was like we never left.

Again, thanks to their generosity, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the beach with a view of the Oak Island Pier.  That evening the waves were large for Oak Island and we really enjoyed being there. They live only 3 blocks away from the ocean and my one regret is that we were not able to spend some time there. 

Although most of the trip was work, we had a few moments that offered a reprieve.  This little box turtle was just outside Pam and Chris's door and was great entertainment.

It was fun watching him slowly move toward this large mushroom, and to our surprise, start eating!

Friends gathered for eating, drinking and lots of socializing.  Seeing friends and neighbors, Jimmy and May, Peter and Marilyn, and many more.  Thank you for meeting us for a meal or for just a quick chat!  Wish we could have had time for more.

Chris hamming it up with Jenna and Julian from next door.  The girls are in and out frequently and their company was enjoyed by all and a treat for Chris and Pam.

Leigha, who rents Pam & Chris's little apartment also joined in the fun.  She also added a relaxing oasis to our trip with a wonderful massage for each of us!  Thank you Leigha!  Off to the kitchen for Don to get more food!

It was now time for us to get down to work and wouldn't you know it, something was jamming the door of the storage unit that needed to be opened.  Our storage unit had two doors, one on each end and the end where we needed to begin working would not open!  So...Chris decided he could crawl across the top of our stuff and open the door!  Keep in mind that it was close to 90 degrees and very humid.  The temperature inside the unit was at best unbearable!!  Doesn't Chris have a cute butt?? :)  Don wonders if he has sprouted a tail!

There goes Chris!!  Note the support on his ankle!

Shortly after Chris headed into the nether lands, Don followed! Another cut butt ladies!!

A little further in!

Now, gone from site, I'm standing outside worrying that they aren't going to make it back out!!  After what seemed like a considerable length of time I started very vocally advising that they get out of there!!

Finally, Don returned drenched in sweat with Chris not too far behind.  I, breathed a sigh of relief!!

Unfortunately, the problem was not solved!  There was too much in the way to reach the far side and free the door of the hindering obstacle.  Now the "boys" think they can lift the other side enough to crawl under and fix the problem!!  Off they go to the other side where they successfully opened the door!  Yeah!  A large box holding a lampshade had fallen against the door making it impossible to lift and open.  As you might imagine, the lampshade has seen better days and will be needing a bit of TLC upon arriving in Costa Rica!

Now inside you can see our dilemma.  Our unit was stuffed and trying to work with the boxes and items to check the condition and the number was next to impossible.

We worked may hours and many days but to little avail.  Despite all our efforts, the day we loaded ended up being worse than we imagined!  The mover advised us to check with the trucking company in the morning to make sure the truck would be at the storage unit on time.  We successfully reached the driver who was sitting outside the gate and felt like things were going pretty well.  Next, we headed out with friends and arrived before the 9 a.m. meeting time.  Just before 9 more help arrived and we were ready! moving company to load the container!!   Forty-five minutes later they arrived without a ramp long enough to reach the container!  So..they worked on tying two metal ramps together and started removing our things from storage ready to be loaded onto the container.  Our job was to check off each item as it was loaded.  We had a list of almost 600 items and our friend, Rooster, was in charge of the check list!!  Thank you Rooster!  The rest of us "tried" to keep track.   At this point, we thought we were finally moving forward!!

No such luck!  A large moving van arrived and needed to drive down the aisle where we were working!  Geez!  Now the ramp had to be disassembled, the items returned to storage and our driver  moved the container to the end of the isle to let the moving van proceed.

Needless to say, this was more time wasted and a big problem because we had only 4 hours to complete loading.  After 4 hours we were paying the trucker and mover each $100 an hour on top of what we already had to pay.  Not good!

As an aside, we had been working there for almost 2 weeks and had not seen any large vehicles.  The Monday we arrived to load the area was full of large trucks of one kind or another and then the moving van arrived!

To continue with the story, the container returned, the ramp was "fixed" and loading began at a frantic pace!  As things were loaded and numbers yelled out a number of them were the same--NOT good. We were quickly affixing new numbers and trying to keep everyone and everything organized!  In addition to the 3 men from the moving company we all were pitching in to help load!  We are so grateful for the friends that came to help: Lois and Jim, Rooster, Beth and Garrett and Leigha!  They all did a great job and most of all kept our spirits up through a very trying experience! :)

Tired and hot and a bit discouraged by how chaotic the job was  completed, the door of the container was locked, bills were paid and we waved "good-bye" as our things left. First, the container was to be driven to Savannah, GA, where it would be loaded onto a container ship, the MSC Luisa, headed to Limon, Costa Rica. Once in Costa Rica it will, hopefully, survive customs and then be driven to our home in Berlin by two or three smaller trucks.  All, by the way, during hurricane season! :)  The trip should take from 4 to 6 weeks, door to door.  Our container left Savannah, GA, on September 24th, and we are currently in finger crossing mode waiting for word.

Pam's kitty, Abby, waiting for our return at the kitchen window!

 My best friend and guardian angel, Pam, as we have to say "good-bye" after a wonderful visit.  So many good times and good memories!

Our flight to Oak Island, NC, was a bit long.  We ended up staying 24 hours in the Charlotte Airport, just 4 hours away from, Oak Island before arriving at Myrtle Beach!    Definitely an experience but not one we wish to repeat!

On the trip home we stopped in Miami, also a red-eye, but this time only a 9 hour stop over. 
 Hanging over our head was this ultra light with a wheelchair seat.  Shot this picture especially for you, Pam! :)

What we found on the floor was equally interesting!  Actually, quite beautiful!  The floors were highly polished concrete embeded with brass sea figures that we loved.  In addition to the sea figures, crushed shells were scattered in different directions.  All very creative, shiney and a joy to walk.

To say the least, sleep was illusive and very uncomfortable!  Why do airports have to be so cold?  Our journey over, we were happy to return to our little town of Berlin and our comfortable bed!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

A Peek at Windows!

A little over a week ago we returned from our trip to NC to over see the loading of all our material goods onto a 40 foot shipping container.  The container was supposed to leave Savanah, GA, on the 24 of September, unfortunately, in the middle of hurricane season.  Our trip to NC, and the ensuing adventures, will be in a later blog.  Today, we are catching up on the sample windows we saw before leaving.

A few days before we left for North Carolina, Cesar, Isaac and two other employees arrived with a sampling of our doors and windows on this trailer. The windows fared o.k., however, some of the glass was in pieces.

 The color wasn't exactly what we had imagined so, we went back to the paint store to try again.  Hopefully, our second choice is closer as it is our last chance!  Don ad Isaac are fitting the Dining Room window.  Originally, these larger windows were to have lintels at the top but the sample arrived with windows all the way to the top.  After seeing the windows in place and what would happen with the addition of the lintels, we decided we liked them just the way they were.


Leaning against the side of the house are the sides pieces of the Dining Room window that will open.

Also in the Dining Room, this 
arched window will also open to let in lots of Berlin's fresh air.

Sliding right in!

Cesar and Isaac are working on putting the Kitchen door together.  Except for our large French doors, all the doors are Dutch doors opening at the top while the bottom can remain closed.

The bottom is almost done.

Now for the top.  That's Don talking on the phone, a rare site!

Just a little tweeking!  This door, like the other doors, will have a lintel at the top.

Cesar looking pleased at the "finished" product!

It fits but needs a little work before it can stay, including repainting.                                      

The arched Dining Room window.

While the windows were being tested the usual work was also going on.  Beams were going up in the Dining Room.

Progress with the beams even with a few interruptions.

This is the view from our Bedroom Terraza.

Starting to look finished on the outside.

 A little "adjusting" has been done to the second floor roof line to give us an overhang to protect the window.  When it is complete the gutter people will have to return to lengthen the gutter.

Most of the walls are now finished smooth and covered with primer.  Marco does great work and lives in the bodega on the property.  We even find him working if we stop by on a Sunday.                      

A rather interesting view of the Bell Tower!  It's a long ways up there!

                              Pura Vida!