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

50. Happy Halloween! Let the Building Begin!!

Sunday 10/31- Many of you know that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love (almost) all things spooky, haunted, weird and dressing up in costumes. Unfortunately Halloween like we know it in the US isn’t really a thing down here. As more and more Americans move to Costa Rica they are seeing an increase in things like decorations, costumes, and Halloween parties, but definitely not even close to the degree you are used to seeing in the US. That’s a bummer for me, but the last few years I haven’t really done much to “celebrate” Halloween anyway so I’m sure I’ll survive.

“What about Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos” you ask? Isn’t that what the Latinos do instead of Halloween? Well, that’s what I thought too… but I learned that I was wrong. Dia de los Muertos isn’t a general Latino thing, it’s actually more specifically a Mexican thing. From what I saw, there is absolutely no sign of it here in Costa Rica.

Since Halloween isn’t a big thing here, there aren’t a lot of organized activities going on. I saw many posts on our local Uvita Facebook group asking about activities or parties but didn’t see much for answers. Our neighbors Stuart and Gem told us that they were hosting a small Halloween party for their son’s friends, which I think is what the typical Halloween activity would be. But, since we have all of the inside information about the Mini-golf course, we learned that there would be a party going on there. Well, Loren and Nancy are friends with the owners of a local private school, and the school planned a party for the young-elementary aged kids at the golf course! Loren was so excited about this and has reminded us for the last couple of weeks that we NEED to come down and check it out.

The party was in the evening so we spent Halloween day just like we would spend any other regular day. At around 4:30 we got a message from Loren saying that the adults from the school came down and decorated and that some of the kids were showing up all dressed up in their costumes. We just HAVE to come down and check it out. Well, since we weren’t doing anything else (and I do love Halloween and seeing kiddos in their costumes) we decided to go down there and check it out.

There were mostly kids from about preschool to maybe 3rd grade, and a few older kids which I’m guessing were older siblings of the little ones, the parents, and the staff from the school. Even most of the adults had dressed up in costumes! It was about a 60/40 split on home-made vs. store-bought costumes (there just isn’t the volume of costumes available in the stores here like we are used to in the US), and many of the home-made ones were fantastic and definitely more creative than the store-bought ones. They had brought food and candy down for a pot-luck style picnic and the decorations that they put up just finished it all off. We of course didn’t know anyone there, so we just hung out with Loren and Nancy. We enjoyed watching all of the antics of the kiddos running around, half playing mini-golf and half just playing around. We stayed for about an hour chatting and watching, and then headed back home for the evening. Even though it wasn’t Halloween like I am used to, I’m glad we went and saw how these guys celebrated it this year!


Monday 11/1- Today Ramie and Geiner had a date to go to INS. What is INS you ask? INS is a large insurance company here in Costa Rica, who deal with auto, home, worker, etc insurance. Even though Geiner is the Contractor, it's actually us who has to pull the insurance policy and sign the paperwork. So, since Ramie has to sign the paperwork and Geiner is the contractor and has all of the plans for the build (and, of course, is bi-lingual and can translate between Ramie and the agent at INS), they went down there together to finish up this piece of pre-construction paperwork together. As a note, this type of insurance policy is needed for any construction project to protect the owner, contractor and the workers, in case any one gets injured on the job. This also has to be filed, completed, and approved before we can get the final permits from the municipality to begin construction, which hopefully starts this week. YAY!

(PS. Happy 7 year wedding anniversary to us. We didn’t do anything special to celebrate, but we might have enjoyed a bottle of wine!)

Tuesday 11/2- We keep getting closer and closer to the actual start of our build and the excitement is bubbling over. Every day I wonder “will they start now?”

Today Geiner wanted to meet out at the lot bright and early at 7am. Since we couldn’t drive today. We met him at the mini-golf course where he picked us up and brought us down to the lot. (Quick side note, we later realized that all driving restrictions were lifted as of 11/1 for our area. We could have driven but were so used to not driving on Tuesdays we just assumed they were still active and made Geiner chauffeur us around.) Today is the day we lay out the rooms in the house with string, just like we had laid out the outline of the house, the deck, and the pool a few weeks ago. When we got out there we were surprised to see that some of the guys were already working, finishing up the post that had to be installed for the electric meter so that ICE could come and put in our meter and set up electricity at the property. That would be a great help to Geiner’s crew, otherwise they would always have to run generators to be able to use their tools. When we got there, a couple of the guys kept working on the pole and a couple of them came to help the 3 of us with the room outlines. The guys had posts and strings as well as a transit. For those that are not familiar with what a transit is, it is a machine used in surveying to make sure that everything is level and all on the same grade. It’s like that tripod thing you see the road construction crews looking at when they are working on paving the highway. Geiner had a tape measure, and I had the plan and we all went out and started measuring rooms.

Now, Ramie and I had gone out there with a can of spray paint a couple weeks ago and did the same thing, but we were not trying to be exactly accurate, we were just trying to get a general feel for the house. These outlines would be for real. This is what they would start basing the house off of soon, so we had to be precise! Granted, yes, they would go back through and square everything off to make sure walls were straight and corners were 90*, but for the most part, where the strings crossed is where they would be putting in the structural supports for the house.

We started at one corner of the house and moved our way around making sure that we put strings everywhere there was supposed to be a wall. Ramie and I were glad to see that most of our spray paint lines were in the correct places, and the ones that were off weren’t off by much. It took a couple of hours but we got everything laid out where it was supposed to go and got to “walk through” our string house. Right now it feels a little bit drafty, but I think given some time it will turn out alright. 😉



 

We were standing around talking to Geiner some more about house things when one of his guys showed up with the excavator on the back of the truck. This is a good sign!! Now that the equipment is out here things should hopefully really get moving!! Geiner went to unload it so we stood around watching. They didn’t use ramps or anything like that, they backed the truck up to the hill that goes from the road to the property a few lots down and slowly and carefully, using the help of the bucket, lowered the excavator from the truck to the hill, held itself up by the bucket, moved the truck out from under the excavator, and lowered it to the ground. Wow! You’d never see them unload a piece of equipment like that in the US! Geiner is the main machinery operator, we don’t really know if any of his other guys operate the excavator or not. So, since the equipment was out here, and we were ok with hanging out and watching for a while, Geiner started excavating the area where the culvert would go, along the side of the road and under our driveway. We have seen just how much water sits and gets mushy in this un-maintained road that we live on, so a culvert was a must here! Geiner dug a trench down the entire front of our property that was as wide as the bucket on the excavator (about 2 feet) and about 3 feet deep. They would install 18 inch concrete culverts from the edge of our property on the neighbor side to where the road stops at the end of the cul de sac and it slopes down toward the creek. 18 inch culverts sound huge (and they are) but I guess if the city ever decides that they will begin to maintain our road, they require this size and if you put in something smaller they will dig it up, install the larger ones, and charge you for it. We figured since he was out here doing it anyway, we better just do it right to begin with. 



 

About the time Geiner was finishing up digging, a delivery truck from one of the local hardware stores showed up with our culverts. It was like magic! He just knew what to bring, how many, and when to arrive! Watching them unload the culverts was like something you would never see in the US either. The delivery driver hopped up on the back of the flat bed, unchained them, and more or less just rolled them off the side of the truck onto the mound of dirt that Geiner made when he excavated the ditch. In our heads (and quietly to each other), Ramie and I were just thinking “Hey- we paid for those, don’t break ‘em!”. Fortunately, none of them broke, they were unloaded in less than 20 minutes, and the delivery driver was on his way back to the store. Geiner finished digging the ditch/trench and came out of the excavator to find out if we were ready to go home yet? 






 Since he was our ride here, and it was now around 1pm, he figured we’d be ready to go. About that same time it started to rain. We decided that we were happy with what we had seen, and since if it started raining too hard they probably wouldn’t be able to work anyway, he brought us back to our truck. In less than the 15 minutes it took from him to ask if we were ready to go home, to the time we made it to our truck the sky just opened up and it started POURING! I guess it really was a good time to go home!

We made it home and did our thing for the next few hours. It rained hard like this for quite a while, but it eased up quite a bit before it got too late. Geiner messaged us later saying that the permit came through from the municipality so we are “officially” good to go on building AND we could now go to Asada (water) and purchase the water meter and schedule the install. The guys would need water out here to start doing the concrete work when they got to that point. Geiner went back out to the property this afternoon and discovered that we now have our own tiny waterfall at the front of our property after the hard rain that we got.




Well, that waterfall won’t last long, that’s where the driveway will go, but it sure looks good!

Pura Vida, we’re building a house!!



Comments

  1. Congratulations on starting the house and on your anniversary. Gotta go find a nice beach, till next time!

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    1. Thank you so much! Its been an adventure getting to this point..

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  2. What did you guys dress up as for Halloween? And exciting on your house!!

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    1. We did not dress up for Halloween unfortunately, we didn't even think to bring anything like that with us down here and weren't thinking ahead enough to plan any costumes of our own. We are sooo excited about starting the house too!! Thanks for following along :)

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