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

59. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!



 

If you remember, about a week ago we drove 2 hours south to Golfito to see if we could find any good deals on appliances for our house. Of course, we did find everything that we needed, but could only fit a few of the smaller items in our truck to bring them back to Uvita with us. We had talked to Geiner, and of course he would be able to help us out with picking them up and getting them back up to us, but I would hate to have him pull a couple of guys and a truck off of his construction jobs, especially since we know he’s so busy. (Geiner if you read this, you need to take you and your family on a nice vacation! I hear Bocas del Toro is beautiful)! When we had told Loren that we found our appliances in Golfito he mentioned that Randall, the mechanic that lives at the bottom of our hill and also works with the shipping company that is shipping our stuff from MN, recently bought a truck. Down here they call them Bongos, and it’s their version of an all around work truck. Construction companies (like Geiner) have them for transporting materials, moving companies have them for – well– moving things, they transport horses and cows on the back of these trucks, they are good for moving just about anything that is too large for a regular truck but doesn’t need a semi-truck. So anyway, Randall is planning to start something up as a side business helping people move things, making deliveries, things like that. So, over this past week Ramie had stopped to ask Randall if he was interested in making his first job driving down to Golfito to pick up our appliances and asked how much he would charge. He hadn’t really thought about it too much yet since he had literally just got the truck this week, but he said he’d get back to us with a price and when he’d be able to make the run. Randall got back to us with a reasonable rate and said he’d be able to do it this week, so Ramie scheduled a day to pick up the rest of our appliances.

Wednesday 12/22- This morning Ramie headed down to Randall’s early so they could get going on their drive to Golfito. The truck was just a 2 seater, so Ramie & Randall would go down there without me, which was perfectly fine because I had plenty of work to do.

Ramie got to ride along now for the 2nd trip South in Costa Rica (the first time was when Loren drove us to Panama) so he got to sight see again. (Ramie always drives everywhere since I have yet to drive in Costa Rica, so he enjoys getting to look around more when he is riding.) Golfito is a very cute town to drive through, so I’m glad he got a chance to take it all in, and not miss out again because he was concentrating on driving. This would be a 4 hour ride round trip, so hopefully Ramie & Randall can find something to talk about that entire time! Randall speaks very good English, so at least there wouldn’t be any difficulty communicating between them, and he's a mechanic so they have car knowledge in common.

From what I learned from Ramie after they got home, he & Randall talked the whole drive down and the whole drive back. They learned about each other, they talked about Costa Rica, they talked about the US (Randall had lived in the US a number of years ago as well), and Ramie felt comfortable enough talking to Randall that he got to ask some general Costa Rica questions that he has wanted to ask a Tico but didn’t want to offend anyone (We have asked Geiner some of these questions as well, both are good guys that know  and we are comfortable with and wouldn’t take offense to our questions).

Oh, you’re probably wondering, now that we have a washer, dryer, fridge, and stove but live in a tiny little house that’s already storing 2 AC units, a microwave, and all of the other things that we own in Costa Rica, what are we going to do with them until our house is ready? Well, you remember that I mentioned Randall works with the shipping company— well, part of that is that they have a bunch of storage space that they rent out in their warehouse and in a few shipping containers that they keep at the shop. They charge a small fee of $.40 per sq. ft. per month So we’ll just store our appliances there for the month or two until we are ready for them. That’s what will happen with our pallets too if they get here before we are ready for them.

So– there you have it, for anyone that was wondering what we got each other for Christmas this year, Ramie & I bought each other appliances (and I’m totally ok with that!)

While we have been working quite a bit on “house stuff” since we got back to Costa Rica, over the past week or 2 we haven't been going to the house much. While we love seeing the new progress every time we go out there, right now they are working on a lot of things that you can’t really “see” so it’s not quite as exciting. They have been putting on all of the final layers of skim coating (like drywall mud) on the walls and then sanding them to get them ready for paint, they are running and routing all of the conduit in the walls for the electrical, they are working and doing a lot I’m sure, but it’s just not the types of things that are easy to notice or exciting to see progress updates on.




Friday 12/24 - Since no one was working down at the house today because it is Christmas Eve, we decided to go down there to check out where things were at, and of course, like always, we like being there to see these things when no one is working. Everything was looking very good and we are still excited at how quickly things are moving along. There were a few new things that we noticed including the curbs put in around the shower, so we could actually visualize how big our shower would be, as well as the pool structure was all finished and ready for tile. I also wanted to stop down there just to say that we were in our new house in Costa Rica for our first Christmas Eve…. I mean, technically we were in it, but it wasn’t done or ready to live in yet!

 


We also noticed that within the last less than a week our future across-the-road neighbors had started clearing out their land and getting ready to start building, so there would be some more construction going on very soon. These were going to be 2 rental houses (not sure if they are long-term rental or Air B&B, but maybe if we eventually have too many visitors that want to come down at the same time we can put you in the house across the street) 😉

All week I had been thinking about wanting to do something special for Ramie for Christmas and I decided that I wanted to make him some homemade cookies. I have been making him muffins that I actually make out of pancake mix so I wouldn’t have to buy all of the baking supplies yet, but I decided that I was going to go pick up some things like flour and brown sugar so I could make him some cookies. I have been telling him for the last few days to stop at the grocery store when we drive by, but he just didn’t see the need to. So, after leaving the house today, we stopped at the grocery store.

WHAT A MISTAKE!!

The place was a ZOO! I mean, really, who would have expected what seemed like everyone in town to stop at the grocery store on Christmas Eve?! So, we grabbed our basket full of items and then waited in line for far too long to check out before finally getting to head back home. You know, if I wasn’t determined to make these darn cookies I would have never waited in a grocery store line for that long for what was only like 8 items!

We got back up to the house, turned on the yule log, (you know the log that burns and plays Christmas music, and you see a hand occasionally stoke the fire), made ourselves some bloody marys, and then hopped on some video calls with the family. Since we obviously wouldn’t be able to spend Christmas with our families, we did the next best thing we could come up with. We first did a video call with Ramie’s family. They all passed around Taylor’s phone and we got to say hi to everyone. Probably about 15 family members. We were just tossed around like a rag doll, person to person. Floor, ceiling, wall, carpet, someone's lap, someone's nose hairs, despite it all, it was all very special to us and we loved every bit of it. Then, it was time to play the gag gift game, and we decided that since Taylor has unlimited data and we didn’t have anything to do for a little while, that they could just set up the phone facing the living room and we would watch them play their game. It was funny, and silly, and everything that we would expect from a Christmas game with this side of the family! Also since we were actually both visible on the phone everyone decided that we should be included in the annual family Christmas picture. Honestly I'm not sure if anyone can even make us out, but we were there for Ramie’s family Christmas (even though we didn’t get to sample all of the delicious food and goodies that are always there).

Ramie's family's Christmas gathering that we virtually participated in


 

After we were done with our call with Ramie’s family, it was time to call mine. Christmas Eve at my family’s is a much more low key event. We all got to talk for a while and catch up on the things that have happened in the last month since we came back down here. We had a nice time chatting, and when we were all done, my plan was to bake those cookies. 

My family's Christmas picture taken at Thanksgiving when we were home

 

Well, I didn’t really feel like doing that, so instead I just threw some stuff together for dinner and we relaxed the rest of the evening.



Saturday 12/25 - MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Yesterday on our calls with the family we got asked the question “what are you going to do for Christmas”, and the answer to that was that we didn’t really have any plans. After thinking about it a little bit more throughout the evening and overnight, I decided that I wanted to go to the beach for Christmas. Why? Well, just to say that I did it! When you live just about your whole life in the frozen North, going to the beach for Christmas sounds so foreign. Well, that’s the reason I wanted to do it now- mostly just because I can! Yes, a tropical beach on Christmas sounds like a great plan!

I was very disappointed when we woke up to a dreary rainy gloomy morning. Our original plan was to get up early and go, but it just wouldn’t be fun if it was rainy. So, instead we relaxed out on the porch drinking our coffee and relaxing. After a while we could see that it was trying to clear up a little bit so we decided that we would give it a try. We put on our bathing suits and headed to one of the closer, more popular beaches near us. We didn’t figure there would be many people out there on Christmas Day, so that’s why we decided to go there. This is a pretty popular beach and is often very busy. My theory was wrong, and today was pretty busy just like any other day. A busy beach with a lot of people wasn’t really my vision of my Christmas morning beach trip, so we decided to keep driving and headed to our deserted secret beach that we hadn’t been to since September. We did what we always do, kick off our sandals and leave all of our stuff in the car, and start walking. 



 

We walked up and down the beach, spent a couple of hours enjoying the sun, sand, and waves. We looked for interesting rocks, shells, and shark teeth, but unfortunately we never found any shark teeth. Ramie hopes that one of these days he will find a shark tooth! We did however find a very brilliant blue crab that was in a small pool of water and watched that for a while. We walked much further down the beach than we ever have before and enjoyed every step of it! On our way back and close to our car we noticed our normally deserted beach had people, granted they were just silhouettes in the distant ocean mist but still, 6 people! Don't you know this place is a secret! No one knows about it. Ok, since it's Christmas I’ll share my beach. It really turned out to be a very nice morning weather-wise, and eventually we figured that we had enough sun and were ready to go home to bake those cookies. 



 



Since I was going to have the oven going, I decided that I would make a batch of muffins each for Ramie and I first, and then while those were baking I would mix up the cookies. I asked Ramie what his preference was, and he decided on peanut butter cookies. That worked out for me since I had all of the ingredients for these. Well, I guess baking cookies in the tropics is slightly different than baking them in MN. I followed everything that the recipe said, but our dough stayed very very soft. You couldn’t really make balls, forget about making those signature fork marks on the top! I got frustrated so I handed it over to Ramie. He didn’t have any better luck, but decided that presentation wasn’t all that important to him so he just put the blobs of soft dough on the pan and we put them in the oven.


  They might not look the greatest, but he assured me that they were absolutely delicious! He said that he would definitely like to make these again!

While we were finishing up baking our cookies, we got a call telling us that Santa had come and tiled our pool for us!

Actually- that’s not quite what happened. But, we did get a message from Geiner saying that he had 2 guys down there tiling the pool today and they had some questions. I mean what kind of boss makes his employees work on Christmas day?! Ok, I guess they volunteered. He wanted to know if we would be available to stop by and see what they needed and answer their questions. Well, we didn’t have any other plans for the day since the beach and the cookies were done, so we headed back down to the house. Sure enough, the tile was almost completely finished in the pool! We didn’t spend long down at the house, we answered the couple of questions that the guys had and headed back home for the rest of our Christmas afternoon. 



 
Wouldn’t you know it- not only were we in our house on Christmas Eve, we were also in our house on Christmas Day.  

Pura Vida and Feliz Navidad!

 

No, we didn't make this- I just found it on the internet, but I might have to do this next year!

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