Floor Tiles Chosen, Block Wall Built, The Trash Report, House Named, & Neighbor’s House For Sale

Floor Tiles Chosen ~ I needed to start thinking about building the doors for inside the house, but the questions were, “How much space do I leave under the doors for the floor tiles? How thick will the tiles be?” So one day Cynthia and I ventured into the big city to Elmec to choose the floor tiles.

In keeping with our Natural-Industrial-Bling decorating style, we chose a tile that looks like marble but is a much more durable porcelain tile. The tile is priced at about $25 per square meter and is made in Indonesia. It has a lot of shades of gray, some veining that looks like tree branches and leaves (Natural), and some subtle warm tone browns (leaning toward the reds). The tile has a fairly high gloss finish (Bling) and will add a luxury feel to balance the Industrial nature of the house. Here is a photo of many tiles adjoining without a grout line:


Block Wall Built ~ It seems that we have had a lot of down time in the past two weeks, but it is all a blur and I can’t remember why. But we are delighted anyway because we really have something to show. The concrete block wall at the front edge of the big floor between containers 2 and 3 is pretty much done. In my last post, Armando had the footing dug and it looked like this:

P1010642Since then we poured the substantial footing, laid the blocks, and poured a strengthening beam at the top of the blocks. Here’s the first row of blocks:


Notice the area with the two planks; we had to pass over the septic tank so we poured a beam to span the tank.

Now it looks like this from the carport:


You can also see that we have seven concrete support columns poured and rebar placed in the columns. These columns will support the living room/dining room floor.

And like this looking from containers 1&2:


The Trash Report ~ No tale to tell. I keep thinking that little scraps of wood are ready to go to the burn pile, but as you can see in the above photo, small pieces are still useful for bracing forms and making stakes. One piece was practically unusable, but Armando split it with a machete and used it as a paint stirring stick. Much of the scraps that we are using are from the original purchase of 1″x3″ pine that we used to lay out the columns to set the containers on. At some point they will all turn to dust.

We’ve had a few empty paint cans that I now store rivets in, and like the wood scraps, the metal scraps get used here and there too. I think the only thing we have really had to trash is all the cement bags. We save them and make a fire on those days that the mosquitoes are the worst. The smoke makes us quit early so the mosquitoes don’t bother us (insert smiley face here).

We still have a pile of Styrofoam left over from the interior walls, but Cynthia has a secret project for them. Sorry, no details yet.

The Name Game ~ Panama has very few street name signs and doesn’t have street addresses. It is a small country and everyone seems to know where everyone lives. We give directions by saying for example, turn at the lime green house that was hot pink last year and screaming yellow the year before. (People seem to paint their houses every year around Christmas. Cheapest paint wins.)

In lieu of street names and numbers, many people name their house. It just makes sense to say, “There is a party at Villa Such and Such tomorrow night.” So for several years, Cynthia and I have been attempting to name the new house. We call our current rental house, “The Pit.” It seems fitting.

For the new house, we came up with all sorts of lukewarm names that didn’t fit. But today we were standing in the same spot that I took the above photo from. I pointed out how nice I think the angles of the new wall go with the angle on the flying buttress carport columns. I said to Cynthia, “I like how the house moves.” She replied, “The house isn’t moving, it is dancing.”

So there you have it. Our house is now named La Casa Bailando (bye-lan-do) — The Dancing House.

Neighbor’s House For Sale ~ Directly across the street from our new house and one lot over, sits a modest Panamanian house on two lots (we have one lot). An elderly Panamanian woman owns it. Her husband is deceased and her children live in the States. She called me the other day to see if we know of anyone who would like to purchase it. She said that she has a current appraisal of $139K.

The house had a new roof put on about five years ago. We know that there is a problem with the well and the septic system most likely needs work. Both could be done for significantly under $10K.

We have never seen the inside of the house so can’t comment, but it is most likely quite plain, probably a two bedroom/one bath interior. It is probably plumbed for cold water only. An on demand water heater could be installed and still have money left over from that $10K.

So if you have any interest, I would be happy to connect you with the owner (she speaks English and Spanish). But be forewarned; if you play loud music and bother Cynthia, I’ll sneak over and pull your electric meter.

Here are some photos:


Here is the back of the house from the far end of the extra lot. Look off to the left and you can see one of our containers. There are six mango trees on the property (June is mango month).


There is a small patio on the south side of the house. The tower was for a CB antenna, back before there was cell phone service in the area.


There is a generous car port on the west side of the house.

Extra Special Bonus ~ The Banana Report ~ Bigger yet… Way back we fertilized the banana plants. I think it made a big difference because our neighbor’s plant has a mere fraction of the number of bananas that we have. And ours are getting FAT!


And finally, with the rivers delivering less and less sand and gravel due to the dry season, we hurried to order more. No more car in the carport for a while!


That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by.


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