Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So Close, But So Far Away

I just received some new pictures of the progress that is happening around the house. As the completion date gets closer, it just seems like we have such a long way to go until we can move in. It's amazing all the details that are involved in the move from the US to Belize. And we are just at the beginning.

Front door and entryway with tile medallion.

Kitchen cabinets with center island.

We are just getting together all the information required for the QRP application and hope to submit it to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) around the first of June. This is a copy of the application, the documents that are required to be submitted with the application, and the fees that are due at various stages of the process.

That is also the date we have set to put our house on the market. We hope to have all the improvements and painting done by then. Some of the things we did to improve the look of the house have been so easy, I wonder why it has taken me so long to do it. So, we improve everything, make it just the way we like it, then move. At least we won't have to improve things in the new house. Just everything outside the house.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Doors And Cabinets Are In

Our cabinet maker, Ravey Gongora, has recently delivered and installed our cabinets and doors, as we get even closer to finishing the house. The front door was installed, so the house is almost complete on the outside. We are still trying to figure out what to do with the front patio area.

The doors from the bathrooms to the bedrooms and from the living room to the bedrooms are all in and look beautiful. Made from all hardwood. No pressboard or plywood here.

And except for a few minor changes, the kitchen cabinets and island are just about finished. Our black quartz counter tops look nice as a contrast to the red tamarand counters.

I'd like to go back to Belize to see the progress first hand, but it'll have to wait. We're waiting on pictures from the contractor, which will probably happen on Monday or Tuesday, after the patio windows arrive and are installed. Then it's just the finish work left to complete.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's Getting Closer To Being Finished

It's been almost a month since I left Belize, and the work on the house continues unabated. The window and patio door replacements are to arrive this week, and Ravey has just about got all the interior doors ready to install.

The tiling throughout the house is almost done, with only the bathroom showers left to finish. The living room and kitchen will be the first areas to be grouted so that the kitchen cabinets can be installed next week.

Looking from the living room into the guest bedroom.

The bathroom from the guest bedroom.

From the guest bedroom to the living room.

Living room and kitchen.

The temporary master bedroom.

The outside of the house is getting close to being finished and all the stucco work is done. The house could be finished, except for a few items, by the end of the month.

The pool equipment room with my outdoor kitchen area on the side.

View from the future master bedroom and patio.

As the house gets closer to completion, it really forces us to get moving on selling our home up here in the States. I'm sure it won't happen as quickly as I'd like, but hopefully, it won't take too long. There are no other homes for sale in our tract, and the few that have been on the market, have sold rather quickly. So I guess it's time to stop writing on the blog and get back to work.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Our Soldier Graduates From Intel School

Mischelle and I this week, made a long trek from Camarillo, California to Fort Huachuca(Wah-chou-kah), Arizona, to watch our niece, Josette, graduate from the Army intelligence school she has been attending for the last six months. She will be promoted to PFC at her next assignment, which luckily is going to be in Washington state, not Afghanistan or Iraq. She graduated near the top of her class, and is studying to be an interrogator and eventually wants to work for the CIA or FBI.

A fellow soldier she originally met in boot camp, Jennifer, has been her friend and roommate through the intelligence training, and is originally from Honduras, Central America. She is off to paratrooper school in Bladdenburg, Germany for three weeks, as soon as the graduation is over (graduation was over at 10AM and her flight was at 1PM), then it is on to her first assignment in Afghanistan from there. We all hope she is going to be safe in her new assignment and same for all the others that are being sent overseas. It happens that quick. I'm sure there is a lot of "on the job" training.

We picked up Mischelle's mom, Fay, on the way to the graduation. Mischelle's brother, Ron, his wife Betty, and Josette's friend from high school, Dana, also flew in for the ceremony. So there was a nice contingent of family members and friends to help her celebrate.

The graduation was a structured ceremony that you would expect from the Army. A few speakers, special awards (one of which Josette received the day before at another award ceremony) and the handing out of the diplomas.

We're all so proud of her and of all her fellow platoon members.

After the ceremonies, Josette had to do all the paperwork to get cleared from this base and get her new assignment in Washington state. She was hoping to have some time off between assignments, but that wasn't possible. So her commanding officer took the extra step and assigned her to a recruiting office back in her hometown of Las Vegas for two weeks. She gets to go in for a couple of hours a day and do some paperwork, then she's off for the rest of the time. And she gets weekends off. Not too bad.

The rest of us all went back to the hotel to lounge around the pool for a while.

That evening, Josette had chosen a Greek restaurant in town for her graduation celebration. My Big Fat Greek Restaurant was a true example of a Greek dinner, with all the traditional food, the smashing of plates, dancing and pyrotechnics. Gyro's, lamb specialities, licorice liqueurs, ground meat wrapped in grape leaves, falafels, greek salads, ah, what a meal.

I'm sure the Fire Marshall wouldn't be too happy with this display of pyrotechnics but the restarant sure was fun.

Friday, May 7, 2010

High Winds and Waves

Our neighbors in Belize, Pip and Jason, sent pictures taken recently of the seawall and beach area of our lot that shows the seawater washing over our seawall and completely covering the beach area. The winds had been up in the 25 mph range for the better part of a week, and coupled with the waves and tides, it was pushing the water back into the bay and flooding some coastal areas.

Normal tide and no wind.

Recent high winds and waves.

It was really a shocker to see the photos. I had seen the pictures from Dave and Dianna's blog (winjama.blogspot.com) on the recent flooding in the canal and lots in their area south of Corozal, but I thought it wouldn't be as bad in our area of Consejo because we are on a small point in the bay and we are on a south facing beach. I guess I have to rethink my options on the seawall and beach improvements. It was a real eye opener.