Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Moving to Florida

Wow! Has it been forever since I’ve written on this blog, or what?!

I’d really be surprised if anyone told me they are still reading this thing, but thought I’d update it just in case…

Our newest adventure pertains to our decision to move to Florida. Yes, we’re planning a move back to the States. Patrick is itching to get back to work (go figure)! So we did a bunch of research and found that both Broward County and Palm County Florida have a couple of great schools (believe it or not- I was shocked). Azure will be able to attend a public school again but they have magnet programs for teaching. These programs will allow her to begin student teaching at the local elementary schools while still in high school and also earn college credit! Since she really wants to be a teacher, this will be an excellent opportunity for her to get her feet wet.

We’re all pretty excited about the move but a little sad to leave our beautiful property. If anyone happens to be interested in this great place (1/3 acre plus two houses), we’re selling it for only $152,900 plus we’ll throw in our 4x4 car with a closing before June 30th!

We have four pages of pictures on Photobucket:

Just email us at crhome4sale@yahoo.com for more info.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Break

I obviously haven't posted much lately. For those of you still checking, I just want to let you know that I'll be taking a break from this site for a while since Azure is out of school right now and we don't have internet.

Please check back in early August.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Replacing the muffler- vehicle inspection part 2

As most people know, if a business is busy they probably sell a good product. Patrick and I always keep this in mind especially when looking for new restaurants to try. We actually spent an entire vacation in Germany just eating from the busy street vendors instead of spending a fortune at sit-down places. But I am getting off topic aren’t I? I should be telling you about picking a place to get our muffler replaced. Every day we drive by this tiny hole in the wall shop with a sign hanging out front that says “muflas”. This garage always has cars parked outside and people pulling in and out. Therefore, I knew when we needed to get our muffler replaced that Patrick should stop by this place.

As is his practice lately, Patrick asked a couple locals for recommendations for a mechanic anyway. Both guys he asked recommended this tiny no-named garage. So, a couple days later on the way back from dropping Azure off at school, Patrick pulled up to the muffler shop and asked the guy when he could work on our car. The guy told Patrick 30 minutes so we had time to get gas and then Patrick drove me home. He left me alone about 8:35am and I figured I had some time to read and then get housework done. Boy was I wrong!

Patrick drove up to the house at 9:20am with a huge smile on his face. He made it back so quickly I thought for sure there was a problem but he said the guy actually replaced the muffler and tailpipe. Plus, he was second in line since by the time he got back to the shop a tourist bus had pulled in before him! I couldn’t believe it. Nothing ever happens that quickly here in Costa Rica. The mechanic charged him about $60 which we realize is probably a gringo price but then again probably cheaper than going to a more Americanized garage with English speaking mechanics. Patrick thinks the guy intended to also keep the old muffler to fix and then sell to another customer but he threw it back into the car when the guy wasn’t looking.

I also found out later that we have a used muffler which seems typical around here to buy used products since the hot water heater we bought back in Sept. turned out to be old also but since they are cheaper and work fine I'm not complaining!

(Not sure what we’ll do with this rusty old muffler?)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Vehicle Inspection -Part One

As lucky owners of a vehicle in Costa Rica, we need to have our car inspected yearly by the MOPT (not sure what this stands for but translates into the government’s transportation dept). We’d heard stories about how difficult it can be to pass the inspection so Patrick decided to go a couple weeks early in case we fail we would have time to make the repairs and test again. Inspections are designated by the number of your license plate and ours needed to be completed by end of June.

So, a few weeks ago, we drove to the inspection center near Tibas. About a twenty minute drive through mostly rural area. I love this drive. We arrived slightly before 10:30 in the morning to find a woman sitting outside at a folding table under a canopy. She checked our paperwork against a list of license plates she had typed and attached to a clipboard. Apparently we were supposed to have scheduled a time for our visit. Despite the fact that we didn’t have an appointment, she handed us some papers and sent us into an office. We again handed a woman our paperwork and a few minutes later she handed us an inspection sheet and told us to pay at the next window. The gentleman charged our Visa about $20 and told us to drive around the building and get in line.

Once to the far side of the building, we were unsure which line we should wait in so we just picked the first (and longest line). Luckily, an inspector walked up and told Patrick to go to an empty lane (I think there were six altogether). These lines went through a long garage and appeared to have several “stations” each. I figured I didn’t want to sit in the car during the inspection so I hopped out to read a book at a nearby cement table/bench.

I hadn’t even finished reading one paragraph when I saw Patrick driving around the building. I hopped in the car and waited for him to tell me how in the world he had finished so quickly.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have good news. The car failed the very first part of the inspection –the visual part. He had been told that the car needed a new muffler and tailpipe. Also, the car’s tires were wide and needed to be covered with fenders –this posed a hazard according to Costa Rican laws.

After being told how long of a process this whole thing could be I was quite surprised that we were back home only 70 minutes later. Granted we had work to do on the car and had to go back but like I said – I love the drive!

Next time: replacing the muffler and adding fenders

Friday, June 6, 2008

Type of Tree?

I know it’s been a while since I last posted to this blog. We continue to have bad weather here. Lots of thunder and lightning accompanied by several inches of rain per day. Luckily this happens mostly in the afternoons and evenings with our mornings be somewhat “dry”. But it’s still impacting our use of the computer and internet connections.

I’m hoping someone can help me identify this tree. The branches and even the trunk are not very wide –I can almost get my hands around it. The tree is very spongy reminding me of cork yet I’m almost sure it’s not. Last month the tree started to flower and now it’s covered in tiny clumps orange berries (green when not ripe). I have no idea what this could be but the bees love the flowers and birds & squirrels love the berries. I’ve noticed in my bird book that some of the birds say they enjoy mistletoe and the photo shows them eating what appear to be these same orange berries…

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rainy Season is here!

I think it started sometime last week because ever since then we have been averaging about an inch of rain each day. Today it’s really coming down. Our rain gauge is reading 1½ inches already in just the last half hour!

Patrick says that the weather men are predicting more than the usual number of hurricanes to hit this summer so we are sure to have lots more rain to come (Costa Rica never actually gets hit by hurricanes but we get the effects of the rain). Patrick made sure he went down into the trench and removed all the fallen tress from last season’s storms. He also did some more trenching around our house and cleaned the gutters a few times. Hopefully we’re prepared…


I wrote this post on Friday but due to internet connection problems couldn't post it until today. We ended up with 2 1/2 inches of rain on Friday and both Saturday and Sunday we received about the same amount. "They" blame tropical storms...
The photo shows the run off from our gutters into a barrel to help slow the erosion.

Monday, May 19, 2008

First movie in Costa Rica

We attended our first movie in Costa Rica yesterday! We met some of Azure’s friends and their parents in Escazu to see the new Narnia movie –Prince Caspian. We were lucky enough that Cinemark was showing the movie both subtitled and dubbed since the Flores mall only had the dubbed version. The movie was busier than we expected and we didn’t get the best of seats but we all enjoyed the movie very much and I’m sure we’ll do it again.

I liked seeing the Spanish subtitles –it actually helped me understand the movie more since I’m slightly hard of hearing. The best part had to be ticket prices. At approximately $3.40 we can’t stay away anymore.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New "toy"

Patrick finally bought himself a machete yesterday. He’s been jealous of the men in town that walk around proud to have a machete slung around their shoulder or hanging from their waist. Of course, we went the cheap route and Patrick didn’t get the scabbard…

As soon as we arrived home from the store, Patrick was outside wailing on the dead banana trees (after they produce fruit, the tree dies and a new one springs up in it’s place). To his delight, the blade was too dull to use. I watched him a few minutes later sparks flying everywhere as he used an electric grinding stone to sharpen the blade. I didn’t even realize he had brought my Grandfather’s grinding stone but I know he was loving every minute of it. Then he really went to town on the trees.

Now we need to mulch some of the trees and we’ll have some great fertilizer. Then hope some of the new trees grow quickly to fill in some gaps (the trees mature after only one year!).

Anyone need a haircut?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fire at Paseo de las Flores Mall

Yesterday we needed to make a school payment so we drove to our bank (which happens to be in the local mall). When we arrived around 3pm, we noticed several fire trucks. Then we saw that many store employees were gathered outside the mall. Next we were unable to even enter the mall parking lot because the gates were closed and chained.

Unsure what had happened but sensing it not a huge emergency due to the laid back attitude of the fire dept., we parked outside the gates waiting to get in. Eventually (about 30 minutes later), a security guard told us that the mall would not be opening until the next day so left to pick Azure up from soccer practice still unsure what had happened at the mall.

When we arrived home, we didn’t have any water. We did the usual troubleshooting by checking the guest house and the meters but found no water available and the meters on. We waited to make dinner until 6pm and with still no water finally decided on simple peanut butter sandwiches. We still didn’t have any water when we went to bed to read at 9pm but fortunately about 9:30 we heard a faucet that Azure had left on dribbling. Yeah! We had water again! I quickly took advantage and filled an empty pitcher and the coffee pot with water just in case the water was off again in the morning. But luckily we had water when we woke up this morning.

I still don’t know why we didn’t have water last night, but I was able to find out about the mall online. One of the local papers, La Nacion, posted an article about a fire at the mall that started at 12:20pm yesterday. Apparently the fire started in a storage area and burned out 3 stores. No one was hurt and the fire dept is investigating the cause of the fire.

We still need to make our school payment so hopefully the bank is open today. At least I feel better knowing what happened at the mall since normally I feel in the dark about the things happening around me.
(photo from La Nacion)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Baby Robin

We've had a lot of baby Robins in our yard lately. Ilike watching the Mom and Dad feed the babies.

This morning I heard a thump in the kitchen window. I found a baby Robin just sitting there staring at me. I think he was stunned but he flew away soon after I shot this picture.