60. Bringing in the New Year with a BANG

Monday 12/27- It’s been a little bit over a week since we spoke to Jose, our cabinet maker. He has had a chance to draw up plans and we’ve had a chance to think more in detail about what exactly it is that we want. We met with him at the house today to take some more measurements and finalize the plans. Once it was all discussed and agreed upon, Jose asked when we needed it ready by? We told him that Geiner said the house would be ready for the cabinets at the end of January. This would give him a month to get everything built. He looked kind of nervous, and said he would do everything he can to get it done by then, but with New Years in there and the possibility that he wouldn’t be able to get his supplies as quickly as he sometimes does, he said he might need until the first week in February. We told him that we could work with that. Since he was doing everything from cabinets and closets, to doors, beds, night stands, tables, and chairs, we asked him to focus first on the

10. Car Maintenance

(Written by Ramie)

I’m kind of a car guy, gear-head, do-it-yourself mechanic kind of person and I would typically do all of this myself, that is if I had all of my tools and a concrete pad to do the work on.  BUT, there is NO way am I going to lay in the grass to do an oil change.  Remember my bug post?  Well the ants here, I mean the ones that don’t live in your house, are not so nice!  They like to bite you and hang on (and those little bites STING)!  If you’ve ever been bit by fire ants, you know what I mean, however they also army ants (in fact, Costa Rica has about 600 species of ants).  Some of these ants, including the army ants are known to be used for stitches.  If you are out in the jungle and get injured and need to close a wound, you find army ants and have them bite you, then you snap the body off leaving the pinchers in your skin.  It’s such a strong bite that it will close the wound.  This is why I’m opting to have my car repairs done by a mechanic at this time… 


So, the search is on to find a trustworthy place to have service done.  Hmm who to ask for a recommendation?  Oh yeah.. we asked Loren where he takes his car to, since we ask Loren everything and he is a very valuable resource to have.  He recommended a small place at the entrance to the road to our house.  We stopped there to talk to the mechanic (Randall) about getting an oil change and just checking things out on the car to make sure it all looked ok. 


Yeah, I know you should probably do this prior to buying a car but things are so much different here. Yes, you can bring your potential car to a mechanic when you are shopping around, but when you are looking at 7 cars in one day, that costs money and time.  So, without knowing when the last oil change was, that was first on the list of things to take care of.  Randall told us that we could come in on Monday morning and he would get it taken care of.  So, when Monday came, we dropped the car off and walked to the mini golf course to wait and to use the internet.  That would give us the opportunity to get a few more pieces of business done since we couldn’t do it from home.  Randall called about 2 hours later saying it was done, so we finished what we were doing, packed up our computers, and head to his shop.  When we got there he explained that everything looks good and it’s in very good condition.  Whew!  That is a good thing since I am a worry wort about the condition of the vehicles I own.  Randall pointed out some small rust starting on the frame rails.  He could fix it or I could.  Knowing we could do that work ourselves we opted not to have Randall do that.  Well time to pay the man.  Randall asked for $80 only $8 of that was for his labor.  This wasn’t even for synthetic oil!  He had no mark up on the oil or filter, that is just the cost of it here.  Thankfully, it’s a small country and you don’t put miles on like you do in the States.  


This is the mechanics shop. All work is done outside on a cement pad next to that white truck.

Based on this and what we have heard from other people, it sounds like maintaining a vehicle here might be expensive, so we'll probably try to bring extra brakes and things like that back down with us from the US any time we're home (or maybe when you come to visit us we'll ask you to pack some for us!)

Also, note to self, have a concrete pad poured at our house that we build to do some of this work myself! 

Oh, also as a side note, this is the same place that can help us ship all of our household stuff that we have stored in MN to here.  On our Costa Rica facebook groups there are just a few highly recommended companies here in CR that can help you ship things here (either by whole container, partial container/crate, or airfreight) and one of them happens to be just a few minutes from where we live.  That is very helpful!  We didn't even know it before, but Dana had emailed Randall when we were back at home asking for some pricing to help us determine if we would ship our beds and bikes down here or if it was expensive and better for us to buy them down here (expensive to ship, probably better to buy both here).  What a small world, huh?


This is Breeze meeting one of the 2 dogs that live down at the Mechanic's shop. I would love to get a photo of both of the Mechanic's dogs together- a Lab & a Sheppard... just like Breeze & Kota just different colors.