Sunday, April 25, 2010

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Now that I'm back home, it was time to pop over to the Camarillo airport to see my "brothers in the air", Mike and Jeff. It had been a couple of months since I had last flown and I was anxious to fly. I got there around 10:30, hoping that the morning fog had burnt off. Not quite yet. The ATIS report said the ceiling was nine hundred feet and patchy. Seemed like a good time to go over some ground instruction and do a pre-flight on the plane. Soon, the fog had burnt off, we had the thousand foot ceiling we needed and it was time to fly.

It was a beautiful day, and although we had a 10 knot crosswind, there were several people at the airport, ready to fly. I was a little rusty in the beginning and my first attempt at a landing was a little shaky. The crosswind was making it tough to land. But after that, I settled down and it was time to have some fun.

It didn't take long to get back in the groove. Great instuction from Jeff and a few takeoff and landings and I was back as "pilot in command". Almost. I was able to get about three hours of flying time in yesterday and today and I hope to be flying solo in a week or two. Time to hit the books so I can pass the written test.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back at Home

After almost six weeks in Belize, I'm back home in Camarillo, to start the final push to sell the house, pack the belongings and move to our new home in Belize. Mischelle did a wonderful job in my absence to keep the home front going, getting our IRS and property taxes out on time. All the bills are current and paid and the house looks great with new flowers planted and the yard trimmed. I guess since everything is OK, I could head back to Belize, but Mischelle will have nothing to do with that. It's my turn to take care of everything on the home front.

We went shopping the last couple of days to pick up various items for the new house. They had some umbrellas on sale, so we had to pick up a couple of new ones. While we were there picking up the umbrellas, of course, there were other things on sale that we decided we would need (like to have) in Belize. A weeks' paycheck later, I think we just bought out the entire store. New pots and pans, assorted cooking utensils, dishware, etc. And after a trip to Home Depot, we've now have all the fans we need for the house along with all of the plumbing fixtures for the kitchen, bathrooms and showers.

What an experience it is picking out every detail for the house. When you buy a new home from a developer, they have a pre-set list of tiles, carpeting, wall colors, cabinets, etc. to chose from. Doing it yourself adds a whole new layer to building a home. Then there's the other factor. Finding what you want in Belize. It's getting better, but still leaves a lot to be desired, just because you'll need to visit so many places to find everything you may want. And in the end, they may not have what you want, so then you just have to make do. Decisions, decisions.

We decided in the end, to get a few items from Home Depot and ship them down, paying the shipping, taxes and duties. The selection is much better here, and over the lifetime of the product, the price is not that much more to get what we want instead of just settling with what is available.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We'll Take Care Of It

After the initial shock of the "Oh Shit" moment wore off, things have settled down. A call to WinDor, a recheck of the sales order and a defining moment when WinDor admitted to building the wrong size transom across the top of the patio doors and that they will replace them and get it on the next shipment out, which should be by the end of the month. That was a big relief.

It's my last day here and my flight leaves out of Chetumal at 3:30PM, Mexico time. With Mexico ahead by one hour, the flight leaves at 2:30 Belize time and that means I need to be at the airport by 1:30. But you never know what it's going to be like at the border. It could take 15 minutes to cross or it could take two hours, depending on the Mexican side. So it looks like I will be out of here by 12 noon.

The tile is being installed today in the living room. I think it is going look wonderful when it is done. The kitchen cabinets and interior doors will be installed later next week.

Maybe I could change my ticket again. I'd really like to stay and see the finishing touches myself. But, I need to get home so we can start to get our game plan in motion. Time will really move fast now. So much to do. It's going to be different changing from Belize speed to California speed in a matter of hours. I'm not looking forward to that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An "Oh Shit" Moment

Most of the doors and windows are now in. The guys finished installing all the windows, except for one bathroom window that was not measured correctly, but WinDor has a rush order on it and will have it made by next week.

Both of the bedroom doors are in and the side door will go in tomorrow. Only a couple of more days before I leave and I'd like to see more done. Doesn't help when most of the Corozal area lost power for a few hours.

But, now came one of the reasons why I stayed for the extra week. As the sliding glass door frame was moved over to the opening, it seemed as though something was wrong. It seemed to be a little short. Nah. It couldn't be short. It can't be short. Oh Shit! But there it was, three inches short. And it wasn't just one of them, it was both of them. Oh Shit!

Last time I looked, 8 feet is 96 inches, not 93 inches. But the tape measure confimed the was short. Damn. Now what? A call to my contractor. What happened? What can we do? How much will this mistake cost? When will it be fixed? What can we do???!!!

Settle down Perry. Take a deep breath. Slow down and speak slowly into the phone and tell me exactly what the problem is.


Oh Shit! They can't be! Are you sure???

But no matter how I measured it, it was still 93 inches! Now what? Let's look at our notes with WinDor just to make sure we said 8 feet, not 7 feet 9 inches. Yep. Eight feet on our notes. I guess it's time for a call to Windor.

Hi Drake, it's Perry. Hey listen. You know those patio doors you sent down a few weeks ago.


Well, we have a problem.....


That's what I thought you might say.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another Sunday Board Meeting

It's Sunday, and it's a beautiful day here in Belize. The wind that has been blowing for the last week, has died down to almost nothing. Just enough to keep it a little cooler as it heats up during the day. There has been virtually no bugs during the entire time I've been here, just a few mosquitoes here and there.

Things are really starting to happen at the house. A large portion of the windows were installed Saturday and has made a big difference in the look and feel of our home. The windows and the stucco together, really seem to make the place change from a concrete shell to a home.

The bedroom, bathroom and patio doors will be installed on Monday and it won't be long until we can seal the place up. That's a big step because it will allow the installation of the cabinets and fixtures along with fans and other important items.

But, today is Sunday, a usual day of rest. Not for me. It is a tough, seven day a week, work schedule during my entire time here. I had to attend another board meeting, this time at the Don Quixote Resort, to discuss with the various attendees the trials and tribulations of building in Belize.

Tom and Terri, have a house across the street from us, are now in Belize full time and their house is completely finished, except for the extras. Mario and Karen have property in the Shores and Mario is currently the contractor for a house being built nearby. Dave and Dianna, of Winjama, have a home in town and are expanding their homestead with the addition of a guest house. And of course, our hosts at the Don Quixote, Tanya and Kayo.

We started off the meeting by immediately calling for a sushi and beer break. After all, you can't do good work on an empty stomach.

After the break, we broke into discussions of building in Belize, buying Mexican beer in Belize and the trouble getting good avocados and lettuce. After much discussion we have decided to secede from Belize and form the Republic of Consejo. Tom will design us a flag and we have already decided on a motto. "We don't give a shit". Then it was time for another beer and brauts break and to enjoy the pool.

Another tough day at the office. But I can't wait until tomorrow. I love this job!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Windows Are Here !!!

It has been just over a month since I arrived in Belize. The main reasons to be here was to finalize the doors and cabinets, pick tile for all the rooms and to see our windows installed. The doors are almost complete, the bathroom cabinets are done and the base for the kitchen cabinets and the island will be done by next week (Belize time). The tile for the entire house is due to arrive by noon today, from Mexico. They will start the tile installation in the kitchen and living room first, so they can begin to install the kitchen cabinets, some time next week. But the painting will hopefully be done inside before any of the tile goes down, so we need to squeeze some time in for those guys. But if the tile needs to go in for other parts of the project to continue, the painting will have to wait. Things are really starting to move and it will be busy here for the next few weeks.

But, the best thing is that the container that had our windows came in last week. It cleared Customs Tuesday and the windows were delivered yesterday to the job site.

Along with the windows came our kitchen counters and sinks, electrical plugs and switches and pressure pump for the sprinkler system.

They had to cut off the vinyl wood frame attachments on the windows so they would fit properly in the window openings.

Once that is done, the windows will finally be installed and the final push to the completion has begun.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Easter Sunday Sarteneja Sailing Regatta

It's Easter Sunday here in Belize and everything is closed, including the Chinese stores. Last year the police actually took some of the store owners to jail for not closing on Easter Sunday, so it's a big thing here. Most people were off all day for Good Friday, which is a holiday, then had Saturday, Easter Sunday and Monday, which is another holiday. A nice four day weekend for most people. My contractor gave the guys the option of an extra Saturday's pay or take the day off. About ten of the guys decided to work, knowing they still had two more days off after that.

I had planned, with a couple dozen other people, to take a boat over to Sarteneja to watch the Easter Sailing Regatta. So we loaded up at 9:30AM, at the Mayan Seaside dock, for the hour plus boat trip over to Sarteneja.

Casablanca Hotel and the Customs station with Bob and Martha's apt. right behind it.

Winds had kicked up a bit and the seas were a little choppy. We were in two pangas, with about 12 or 13 in each one. As we moved into the bay, the first 5 minutes gave us an idea of what to expect for the rest of the ride. Patches of not so bad water, then patches of bone shattering pounding, as we went into the wind and waves. It would have been just as bad if we did the 3 hour drive over the road to Sarteneja. It can pound you just as bad. Gordon and Illianna had the best plan. They flew their private airplane over. Eighteen minutes, no bumps, no spray, no problem. Some people have all the toys.

Our boat ride was the longest hour, with the waves, the spray. the pounding. I wasn't even able to take any pictures of the trip over except just as we arrived at Sarteneja. But what a beautiful village as you arrive from the sea with all the sail boats, ready for the regatta.

We docked at the pier, just before the start of the first race. Boom, the sound of the starting gun, and they were off. It was a beautiful day for the regatta.

People were lining the pier, watching as the boats raced to the first marker. For me, I headed down the pier and into town.

There was a local band from Corozal playing some great Bob Marley songs, just after the beginning of the pier.

Locals were showcasing their artwork and conservation groups highlighting kayaking and backpack tours. Vendors with rice and beans, even fresh coconut milk. Not too bad. I even got a frilly straw with my coconut.

But Capt. JIm said it's time to gather the sailors, cancel shore leave and head for home. We gathered on the boat, expecting to get the same ride as when we arrived, but were pleasantly surprised when the sea was fairly calm and the trip was made in less than 45 minutes and was quite enjoyable.

I bought some art work from the local vendor and the shirts off the Belikin distributors back.

I'm back at the Don Quixote Hotel, as I struggle through another day at the office. More decisions to be made. Isn't it time for another Belikin?