Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A New Home In Panama Part Two

Skipping forward five months…

So, we have electric now, and what a joy...not so much for the lights but for the freezer for food and for charging the computer and cell phones. We had our first Hoo-Rahs sitting one night in the outdoor kitchen, using the Dremel and sander under electric lights. I have the cordless drill battery charging and look forward to finding something to drill holes into sometime soon. The same night we marveled over the yellow, bug-light light bulbs on the front porch and danced to some music by Iron and Wine. It really is a group and not a metaphor for punching a wine cork out of a bottle with a three inch nail or screwdriver. Actually, this works in the absence of a cork screw.

The drawback with the new electric is that I can now see everything in the house considering I have only a few wood shutters that kept things looking dark and "rustic". Now they look dreary and cobwebbed. This can be a drawback. I will give the place a good dusting and cleaning, then go to low-watt bulbs and relax.

Enjoyment for me is my morning coffee with a waltz-around in my nightshirt and work boots to see what seeds have not spouted and which plants have succumbed to insects and excessive rain. I never know. Amazingly, a rotten potato I threw out the back door has taken root and I may have a small batch in a few months if the grubs don't find them first. The squash has done extremely well, but unfortunately most of the vines crept up around the coffee plants, strangling a few and I had to agree to have the vines ripped out. The sacrifices I make are immense.

We realized that we slept better than we have in a month..that is… since the electric was turned on. It has dawned on us that we had semi-carbon monoxide poisoning from repeated evenings watching Avatar over, and over and over again, the DVD being powered by the generator. Avatar not being my choice...but someone else in my household. This is why it is a good thing to be able to see the outside from inside between wall boards. Great hedge against a silent carbon-monoxide death. Air circulation is a good thing for stupid people. Trust me.

A video of our progress to be uploaded soon.


Monday, August 29, 2011

A New Home In Panama Part One

It was hard to leave Chile, and somehow, I will always have a part of me there. But, that’s another story, too long and difficult to write about, or think about, for that matter. Ever onward…

After Mister’s three surgeries in the US, we came back to our old stomping grounds in the Western Highlands of Panama. A place so lovely and rustic and cool that driving up the 250-plus curves towards La Amistad, it felt like a home-coming. I clunked right back into my old life without a stutter. Mister had found an old coffee farm while I was back in the US taking care of my mother. He called me one night.

“I found a place,” he said.

“Really?!?!?!” I absently replied. I had heard this five times since I had been back dealing with home services for my mother, medical appointments, Division of Blind Services, transportation services, painting and sorting out details, watching Home and Garden TV and Oprah. This was the tenth place he had “found”.

“This is it,” he rattled. “I bought it. And, it has a house on it!”

WooHoo! Hhmmmm. Ok. Well. After our long and varied adventures, I, in no kind words, had told him as we left Chile, that I, “am not going to keep starting over”. I thought he understood. As it turns out, I meant I was in no mood for living like a pioneer. He thought I meant I didn’t want to camp again. The “house” aka/place turned out to be something in between.

We began camping/pioneering. There was no electric, but to his credit, there was good water, an indoor flush toilet and cold shower. And eight acres of coffee, bananas, and fruit trees. The floor of the house is cement, and the windows were cut-out holes with wood shutters. A blank slate, I conceded. Mister was ecstatic over the acreage of coffee, however had not thought through was that would involve when it comes to care and upkeep. Creating a livable space from the house would be my domain. As it turned out, so would figuring out the business of the rest of the eight acres. Have I ever mentioned he makes me wonderful coffee every morning? See…there are trade-offs after all.

We hauled in a bed and our clothes. I bought a small generator to run a little washer. After the first week we painted the outside of the house because I could not bear to look at the four odd shades of pink. There was no point painting the inside because it was so dark. I did sweep the walls and knock down the old bird’s nests. Sparing the tedious details, we made the place habitable. We bought kerosene lanterns and beans and rice. We put two rocking chairs on the front porch and started life in Panama.