This And That ~ A Bunch Of Little Things

Since my last post two weeks ago, we’ve been all over the place.

The first week I was without Armando. Seems that he was sitting at his uncle’s house at 6:00 Sunday night watching a game on TV. A drunken neighbor came to the house and somehow managed to hit Armando in the head with a beer bottle. It broke, resulting in ten stitches at his left temple. It looked like the medic used a shoelace to stitch it; I thought the wound was worth thirty or so more subtle stitches. But his care at the clinic was nearly free; I think it is $2 per visit. The drunk was brought before the magistrate and was required to pay Armando’s week’s pay and all medical expenses. I think he was also given a stiff fine. The man had 24-hours to pay or he would have had to go to jail for six-to-eight months. He found the money and paid and once sober, offered a full and sincere apology to Armando. Armando is now wearing a hat.

One day I painted the wooden ceilings in the house we are renting. I’ve needed to wash them every few months to remove the mold, but with the paint fairly well eaten away, this time I just painted over the whole mess. So far so good, and the paint has an anti-hongo (anti-mushroom) additive. That one-day task gave me lots of gold stars on my forehead in the marriage department. I also swapped out a crappy (no pun intended) old toilet, and Cynthia touched up some wall paint here and there. This will make our rental experience in this old wreck of a house somewhat more palatable for the few more months that we will have to occupy the place.

At the new house, we finished the door on the outside bathroom. It is made of PVC pipe covered with a piece of Sunbrella fabric. It won’t rust or need painting:


We’ve poured some more concrete. The stair landing/hallway floor to the second bedroom is now done. Here are before and after shots:



We made a big decision about the floors. For a long time now we had intended to just finish the concrete nice and smooth. But with some of the concrete now in place, it seems like too much industrial and not enough bling, especially with the gray metal ceilings. So tile it will be, but not just now.

We also poured the floor in the bathroom off the second bedroom, but it isn’t much to look at in a photo.

Armando has been stuccoing the tile backer pieces in the laundry and bedrooms:


A dicey little job because the mud wants to slip off the wall. It took Armando all day to do this one 12-foot strip. Most of the time was watching the mud dry just right so he could work it. But now it is nicely finished where the wall meets the ceiling. We’ll paint it later.

Every time we mixed concrete, we would mix a little bit extra, and over the course of a few weeks we made the steps that lead up to the future hydroponics greenhouse. Here they are all poured but still needing a skim coat on the front faces:


The fern garden on the side of the carport is starting to take hold, as are the weeds in the greenhouse.

In preparation for pouring the large floor slabs, which will happen in two weeks, I welded a floor extension onto the master bedroom. Our original plan was to have this wall (the entire open area in the next photo) all windows. But the west sun would really pour in the heat and we wanted more air movement. So the new plan is to have four glass doors, two stacking left and two stacking right, opening up onto a small porch. The security bars (same design as the front gate) and window screening will make the three walls of the porch extension:


I sloped the porch down a bit to the outside because we are sure to get blown rain entering through the screens.


The doors will be in line with the container walls; the security bars will rim the porch. The bi-fold doors will open into the porch. I’ll put some temporary supports under the porch before we pour. After, the floor will be self-supporting.

And in our free time Armando and I hung the last of the galvanized steel ceiling panels:


So we’ve been all over the map, but much of what we have just done is in preparation for pouring the larger floors. We still need to install electrical conduit and a whole lot of rebar before we pour.

Bonus Photos: In the past week Cynthia roamed the yard with the camera. Here are some photos of what is offering in our yard right now:


Bananas! Still six more weeks or so to go (the big flower at the bottom has to fall off first). Local bananas are so sweet.


Every banana gets its own flower.


One day Armando brought a handful of tiny red-flowered shoots and shoved them here and there in the garden. These prolific plants are Cockscomb.


Ornamental Red Ginger. I like the scalloped-edge leaves.


Ginger flower closeup.


This is a delicately-flowered wild ground cover that sprang up above the septic tank. Looks like there are more buds ready to pop in the upper left corner. If you run your finger over the leaves they clam up tight.

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





11 thoughts on “This And That ~ A Bunch Of Little Things

  1. It seems like all the last pieces are falling into place more and more rapidly. Delightful. Thanks for posting lots of photos!

    • Hi Lynn, Yes! The parts are falling into place almost lickity-split. My goal is to have the floors all poured by 15 January. Then it is doors, security bars, and windows and getting a bathroom up and running and we can move in. I’m hoping March but that’s a lot of welding and tile work. As always, we’ll see.

  2. Where in Panamá does this mix of industrialism, labor and beauty take place? You mention mold, but that could be anywhere. It is obvious it is not the capital and I feel it is distant from áreas llenas de jubilados but I remain curious.
    BTW, my best to Armando. At least there is a “bit” of justice for him -but not enough in my opinion-.
    Feliz año nuevo y más sobre su labor de amor.

    • Hi Alex, We are in the El Valle area, which is in the mountains at about 2,200 feet, a two hour drive from the city. It is cooler here, 65-to-85, whereas the city is much hotter. But the humidity is still high, so we get a lot of mold and mildew (mildew is baby mold) in just about anything that can contain moisture. Like my stacks of tee shirts and work pants. Or shirts hanging in the closet. Or towels hanging on the towel bar after just one use. It is a constant challenge to not smell moldy ourselves! In the new house we will have a very large closet with a dehumidifier in it. Can’t wait.

      I’ll tell Armando that one of his fans sends him regards. I don’t think he even begins to understand to what extent his accomplishments are followed by the outside world; a world that he has such little understanding of. Now at 30 years old, he has been to Panama City only three times.

      Thanks for your comment, Feliz año igual. Fred

  3. Hola Fred,

    I love the new door for the outside bathroom, it allows for privacy and low maintenance, great idea!! Tell Armando that he needs to start his own construction business in Panama city. You guys are awesome and I look forward to your updates.

    • Hi Manuel,

      Thanks so much for your comments. As to Armando, you couldn’t pay him enough to move to Panama City. I’ve been telling him for the past five years how very fortunate he is to have El Valle as his home, that he has started believing it! He’s been to the city only three times in his life. Although, perhaps I can talk him into accompanying me to take a ride on the new Metro subway. Now that would be exciting, even more so than the one time that he has been in an elevator! Thanks again, Fred

  4. Happy New Year Honeys,
    Looks like much is coming along. Yippee. Sorry to hear Armando got hurt. I hope he is feeling better now.
    I love the flower pictures. Before those weeds get too established in the greenhouse, smother them with black plastic and/or crisp them out with a propane torch. (The torch approach is easier when nothing near it can catch on fire!). Horticultural vinegar may be worth looking into later on. That, or another visit from your organic gardening compost maven (wink).
    Lotsa Love dear ones,

    • She who loves to play with fire and torches might have to take the hand-held torch out there sooner than later. Armando cut them back with the weed wacker this week, and while there’s less to burn, I think I’ll take advantage of your suggestion.

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