151. So Many Projects To Catch Up on

Tuesday 4/30- As we’ve mentioned in prior posts, since Ramie and I have been so busy with tax season over the last couple of months, there are many projects that have been pushed off, postponed, and maybe kind of ignored for a while. Now that tax season is over, Ramie has some more time on his hands where he can pick back up on some of those projects on his “to-do” list. Loren had reached out to Ramie way back at the end of February or early March to fix a ceiling fan at one of the rentals that he takes care of. It wasn't a huge priority as the fan still sort of worked and it wasn’t in a super important area like a bedroom or living room. At the time he pushed it off and as the time passed Ramie also may have forgotten about it. Loren reminded him of it last week and today Ramie went to fix the fan.

It was an easy fix, as he suspected, and only took him an hour. He probably could have done that back during tax season, but it gave him something to do today when he didn’t have anything else on the agenda.

Wednesday 5/1- Our friend Mike and his sister Janet (who has never been to Costa Rica before) are here for a couple weeks. We’ve told you about Mike, who we met on our 2nd trip to Uvita when we rented his house. It was an instant friendship and we’ve stayed in touch ever since, even renting his house again for our 3rd vacation to Costa Rica (you might remember that that was the house where we made the final decision to move here full time). Back when Ramie was having all of the problems with the ATV axles, Ramie reached out to Mike to see if he’d be able to bring the appropriate CV grease to make the repair, and Mike was nice enough to bring it down so that he could rebuild them…..again. The theory is that we’ll keep those rebuilt axles for spares, since the new upgraded ones have been ordered and are on their way. We made plans to get together with Mike and Janet later this week to pick up the grease & catch up.

Friday 5/3- Today was our typical Friday, I worked and Ramie played around in the yard. Ramie got a hold of Geoff earlier in the day and asked if he could borrow a tool, since Geoff was going to be out and about he offered to just stop by to drop it off. He dropped in right around dinner time, and since we were already grilling steaks and had an extra one on the grill, we decided to ask Geoff to join us for dinner. Sorry Tracy, we will cook your liver and onions for you soon enough! Let us know when you’re ready!

Saturday 5/4- It's exercise time again! We are hoping to make this a Saturday morning ritual, at least for the short term, so today we met up with Val & Marshall at 6:30 and had another nice long 4.5 mile beach walk. I will say that after last week's walk my legs were sore for a few days. I’m definitely not used to walking that far any more, and walking in the soft sand is just that much more of a workout. We got home, quickly changed out of our sweaty clothes and took a quick shower to rinse off all of the sand and salt, then headed to Benny the Chiropractor for an adjustment. After that, we made a quick stop at the grocery store and were home early enough for Ramie to make his famous coffee cake for our lunch date later today.

Today we were getting together with Mike and Janet around 12:30 for lunch. Mike & Janet made some delicious spaghetti, eggplant and a salad that was much fancier than any that I ever make at home. Ramie’s coffee cake for dessert was a hit and we ended up leaving the majority of the leftovers with Mike & Janet so they could snack on it, although, by the sounds of it, I don't think it will last long! Ramie also got to pick up his CV grease that Mike brought down, now Ramie will have another project to do soon.

After spending about 4 hours with Mike and Janet it was time to head home to spend some time with Skye, veg out and watch some TV. Later in the evening, around bedtime, we got our first real good hard rain of the season. By good hard rain I mean the rain that is so loud you can't hear the TV even when you have it on max volume with the soundbar. This time of year that’s only a “once in a while” occurrence, but once we get into September & October that’s how we live most of our evenings.

Sunday 5/5- Today was essentially a chores day for both of us. We have lots of things that we want to get done, things that have been postponed and pushed off for a while. The number one item on the list was to give Skye a bath.

It’s not that she was stinky or anything, but we try to do our best to give her a bath once a month before we give the tick prevention drops. After Skye was all clean, Ramie’s next job was to “till” the raised garden and get it ready for planting. The soil gets super hard during the dry season, even if we regularly water it, so today’s job was to break it all up, and then to add fertilizer, vermiculite and perlite to retain water and make it more fluffy and suitable for growing. When we had all that done, and since we’ve been getting some nice rain showers recently, we decided that it was time to plant some seeds.

Since we have not had great luck with the regular lettuce varieties that we had been planting, we decided to try some specific warm weather lettuce varieties. These are supposed to do well in high heat areas, I honestly don't remember all the different varieties we got, but we planted a little bit of each of them. We also planted some bell peppers, which we haven’t had any luck with at all in the past, but we keep trying. We still have plenty of jalapenos growing in the garden, those grow like weeds and are just about the only thing, along with arugula, that do well in our garden.

Once that was done, it was time to get going on some sewing. Way back in January or so we bought the fabric that we knew we would need for the outdoor patio furniture seat covers. Skye has her favorite spot on one of the cushions, and since the rains are coming, we want to try to minimize the muddy paws on the light gray fabric. Now that I finally have some more non-work time, I wanted to get the fabric cut and ready to go. I knew it was probable that I wouldn’t get the whole project done today, but if I could at least get the fabric cut, I could take the next steps as I had time during the week or next weekend. My plan is to do this in little steps and have everything ready to sew before I take out the whole sewing machine setup. I got all the measurements that I’d need and I called in my trusty helper to come and do the final measuring and cutting. I hate cutting fabric so I leave this part to Ramie on the big projects, plus, if they don’t turn out I have someone else to blame it on since I’m not the person that did the measuring and cutting! 🤣 

Skye opted to lay in the grass with her ball while we were working.

After the fabric was cut, folded back up, and put away for now, it was time to blog, blog, blog. This used to be so much easier before I had a job and when we had time to do fun or interesting things. Now it’s hard to find time to write and sometimes hard to find anything to write about. Thankfully Ramie has stepped up and started writing the first drafts for the majority of our blog posts. He gets the ideas formed together and then I go back and do the proofreads, edits, and put my perspective on it. After I had enough of working on the blog, and before the end of the day, I absolutely had to make time for the pool! Afterall, we moved here to try to be able to relax more and have more down time. 

Monday 5/6- I know we’ve been talking a lot about what Ramie does all day, but honestly, that is because he is the only person that has anything exciting going on. I'm still a slave to the computer, don’t see that changing in the short term, and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about work! Fortunately, the boss at my main job is in the process of hiring two new people that will be starting at the end of this month. Unfortunately, neither has any experience so I will have to train them in, and one is a college student who will only be an intern for a few months, but at least I get to train them like I want to without any argument from anyone else.

While I was working away, Ramie was out in the yard and noticed that the area where our cuneta ends and drains to the street culvert was plugged up and must have overflowed during Saturday's rain. This also made him realize that the place where it overflowed has started eroding the hill along the wall. This got him to thinking of a solution, and in true Ramie fashion, he came up with an idea to fix the drainage and erosion problem. The fix will involve installing some smaller cunetas and some additional concrete. Recently, Loren also asked Ramie to replace a faucet that is leaking at the house he was just at when he had to fix the fan. Ramie’s mission for today was to run around town to find a faucet and all of the supplies to fix the cuneta. The actual replacement of the faucet will wait for another day though.

After he had the supplies, he did start working on the cuneta project today, though. The first step was to dig out the side of the hill, followed by laying the cunetas in place and puzzling out the best way to put it all together. Once he had it laid out in a way that he thought it would work, he asked me to check it out and give him my thoughts on it. It looked like his plan was going to work really well, and we kept our fingers crossed that it did indeed work. He then mixed up the concrete and got to work making it permanent and finishing it all off to make it look as good as he could. 

Now, if the main cuneta gets plugged up it will overflow onto the smaller one and run down the hill and into the drain at the gate instead of just flowing down the hill along the edge of the wall and making it's own riverbed. If this plan works like it’s supposed to, the excess water won’t erode the hill anymore and cause more problems like it did last weekend.

Wednesday 5/8- Today was the day that Ramie coordinated to replace the faucet. When going into some of these repair jobs, he just doesn’t know how it’s going to go.

Some jobs turn into a real pain in the butt because of the way the house was built, the insufficient space they allowed to make repairs like this, or the amount of rust that has built up on the old part. Thankfully, as it turns out, this faucet wasn't one of those jobs and it only took him a half hour to finish.

Around 2pm the mountain disappeared. What? What does that even mean!? From our backyard, we typically have a nice view of a nearby mountain where we can see all the way up to the top. When it disappears from our view behind an ominous looking cloud, that’s our queue that there is going to be a heavy rain happening in about 5-10 minutes. If we notice the mountain disappear, it gives us just enough time to get the laundry off the line or the tools packed up if we’re doing a project outside. Sometimes if you listen closely, you can hear the rain coming in as well. Today we were ready for it, and boy was today’s rain a good one! It came down hard and fast, and without any breaks. Around 5:30 Ramie went to check how much had accumulated in the rain gauge and was sure to empty it at this point because there was no sign of the rain stopping any time soon.

There was already about 5” in 3 hours.

The plants along the creek in our lower property have really grown up and gotten thicker so we can’t see the creek as well anymore to tell how high the water was so Ramie decided to brave the rain to go check it out, and to see if the drain that keeps part of our lower property from becoming a wetland needed to be cleared out so we didn’t end up with an unwanted pond. Of course, being a daddy’s girl, Skye wanted to follow him. She’s not a big fan of getting wet, but by the time she reached the lower property she was soaking wet. She’s no dummy and decided to run back to the carport and sat under the cover of the roof to watch dad play in the rain. Ramie noticed that the creek was just a couple feet down from the top of the banks, which means that the water level has risen at least 8 feet from it’s normal trickle. 

Before bed, Ramie made sure to empty the rain gauge again, but this time it was only about 4 additional inches. The rain was slowing down to become what I would call a "light rain", and it finally stopped completely around 9:30 that night. When Ramie woke up the next morning he checked the gauge again so we could get a total of the rain that fell from 2:00 to 9:30 pm. In those 7.5 hours we got 9.3 inches of rain, and during the total 24 hours period we got a total of 9.9”. Yep I would say it's the beginning of rainy season! Oh, and along with the start of the rainy season we discovered some bad news; we have a new roof leak in our master bath.. UGH! Let’s hope it was just a fluke!  

Friday 5/10- The new axles that Ramie ordered for Dusti arrived this week and Ramie was up and at 'em early this morning to get a start on the replacement. He started with his morning routine of coffee, cookies, and the daily games that he plays on his tablet, but wasted no extra time before he started getting his tools out to get to work. It didn’t take long and he was already tearing Dusti apart at 7am. He quickly discovered that he didn't have a socket that fit the new axle nut, so he made a call to Randall who was fortunately also an early riser, jumped in the truck and was back home about 10 minutes later with the socket that he needed. It was a little after 8:30 when he came back in the house with all of his tools already packed up and said that he was done. Wow! I suppose since he already had it all taken apart before he started and had recently done this once before, he knew exactly how to install the axles and it was much faster this time than the first time. He had to return the socket to Randall, so he took Dusti for a quick test drive to return it. When he came home he was proud to report that there was no more clicking and clunking sounds coming from the axles and no grease sprayed out like after the last "fix". It had never been that quiet since the day we got it, so I’d call it an improvement! OK, now no more spending money on Dusti for a while!!

What was next on Ramie’s agenda for the day? Well, he decided to get on the roof to see if he could find the area where that rain was able to leak into our bathroom. After the big rain on Monday when we discovered the leak for the first time, we had a few more evenings where it rained, not nearly as hard, and we continued to get water dripping from the ceiling above the vanity and knew that it wasn’t a fluke and would need to be fixed before the height of rainy season in a few months. Unfortunately he didn't have any luck finding a suspicious area. We talked it over and decided that it would probably best just to replace that section of roof to fix the problem and not have to worry about it any more. He reached out to our handy contractor Ivan to ask him to come by to take a look at it and give us a price. This would be another project on our “to-do”, or at least our “to get taken care of” list.

Saturday 5/11- One part of today’s plan was to organize the dry room. Over the last few months it has turned into a catch all comparable to the junk-drawer, just on a whole-house sized level. This would be the first chore today and we got started on it by about 8am. As we were going through all of the things that have accumulated, found new homes for things that needed to be moved and put things away up in the crawl space above the door that we wouldn’t need to get at regularly, we even found things that we didn’t need or want any more. While it doesn’t seem like people use Facebook Marketplace down here like they do in the US, people post their “for-sale” stuff on the local Facebook pages, and that’s where some of these things would go.

It was time for a quick brunch break before continuing on with the rest of a productive day. The other items on the to-do list for today were to work on writing the next blog posts and to continue working on those cushion covers that we started cutting the fabric for last week. Ramie volunteered to work on writing the blog if I wanted to start sewing the cushion covers. Since only one of us could work on blog writing at a time anyway, it sounded like a good plan to me!

Ramie sat outside at the picnic table where we do a lot of our computer work, and I set up my sewing station at a temporary table in the house.

Skye the helper dog wanted to help too!!

Skye tell me where I should pin it.
OK mom, make sure you don't get your fingers in there. 

With Skye's approval, Dana got to work.
Sewing the cushion covers was a team effort, as so many of these sewing projects end up being, and I would call for Ramie to help me with something every now and then. When I finished the first one, we realized that the covers wouldn’t be turning out quite like we had envisioned. We just wanted simple drawstring covers to go over the covers that originally came on the cushions.  Something that we could easily take on and off to wash. That doesn’t sound too complex, right? Unfortunately, since we were using thick waterproof outdoor canvas, it didn’t wrap and bunch around the edges and corners quite like we were hoping it would. I think if we were using a normal thinner fabric they might have worked better. Is it pretty? Not really. Is it effective to prevent muddy paws, dirt, and fur from staining the light fabric, and will it be easier to remove and wash than the zipper cushions? YES! This means that it works for its intended purpose and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.
First cover done. Its not pretty but its effective. 

Skye in her normal spot... we couldn't disturb her to test the covered cushion there yet.

Eventually, once she got out of the way, we tested out the new cover on her spot, of course, she always has her favorite squeaky ball. 

I didn’t finish all of them today because the first one was a learning process and took longer than it should have, but at least I got one finished and put on the seat where Skye usually sits. Since I had set up the sewing machine on the spare table instead of on the picnic table where we eat all of our meals and work on our computers, at least I could leave the sewing area set up and finish the other cushions whenever I had time this week.

Pura Vida!