Wow, I just can’t seem to do it! No, I’m not backing out of traveling to the Philippines! I’m talking about managing construction on a site that is 8,000 miles away from me. You see, my wife and I decided we would do some upgrading and remodeling of her moms house for her. Well, it is also for us, because I want things to be as comfortable while we’re staying there as possible. I found out that the bathroom at my mother-in-laws house has a low ceiling. Low enough that I might have an issue showering. So, I decided to go ahead and add the extra concrete blocks to give it full height(as this was addition some years ago) and make it big enough for a Kano. And, since my mother-in-law is being so kind as to let us stay there while we search for a place to live, I also decided I would pay for a complete Kano version bathroom. Trust me, I’m not bragging. If anything, it shows how much of a spoiled American I am! I told her to put in a nice shower area (I do like the bucket though) and a new toilet and sink, plus electricity with switch and light in the ceiling. After all, I might need to use the CR in the middle of the night. Ok… it’s pretty much guaranteed.
So, here’s where it gets complicated. You see, I’m not in the PI. I’m still sitting on my butt in the U.S. in Michigan. Oh, and did I mention that translating my desires isn’t happening as clearly as expected? Yep. It’s the construction news grapevine! It’s like the covert spy movies say, “It is never as it seems”. What does this mean? Well, I tell my wife what I want to do. She tells her Mom. And her Mom tells her son-in-law/contractor. Something is definitely lost in the translation, because when I see a drawing on FB (that’s Facebook to all you non-users) they don’t look anything like I was thinking.
Of course, this needs to be worked out, but how can it be done? Obviously, the contractor has skills in building, and some of the things he has been told could not work, because they have somehow been told to remove walls and doors and add doors, etc. WHOA!! Back that horse up! I didn’t say that! Where did all this come from? I have no idea. Lost in translation? So, while my wife and I try to figure it out, we get stressed. Well, I do, and then she does by default. Why? Because I am confounded as to how this could possibly happen? What is so hard about making the changes I ask? It’s a simple enough task.
Well, in comes my reasoning. Women. Oh? Yes, you see, us men like to KISS (keep it simple stupid). But, the women had other things in mind. But, they don’t know that you can’t just knock out a load bearing wall and expect the ceiling to float in mid air. I will admit that MOST of the stress was caused by me. You see, I studied Architecture and Construction, and worked in it prior to my law enforcement career. So, it seems simple enough to me, but… in retrospect, maybe not so much to someone with NO EXPERIENCE in the field whatsoever. So, now what do I do to remedy this?
Well, there’s WAY too many people between me and the contractor. I had to eliminate them. Since my brother-in-law is as good in English, I went to my other brother-in-law who is better at it, and then he sent my requests to the contractor directly. That done, the work should be getting started soon. I hope!
It is, after all, rainy season now. They need to get a new septic tank dug, laid, and sealed in, and an old chimney removed before the rains come too hard. After that, they can get to work on the finishes of the walls, and then tiling, etc. I also threw in another surprise… I’m having all of the tile redone in her kitchen too! She wasn’t expecting it, but I know she will be happy with the gesture. She has wanted it done for a while, so I hope she will be happy.
Now for the interesting part. They wanted me to choose the color of tiles, toilet, sink, etc. Hey, it’s not my house… you choose! It’s my gift for allowing us to stay until we find a place. I hope she finds something she likes, maybe the tile she chose for the rest of her house last year. That would be a nice flow of color throughout. But, I’m no interior designer… I just know what I like.
I hope the construction goes smoothly, and isn’t hampered by the rainy season which is about to begin. My last thought for you out there reading this… the one thinking about building something while not being able to be on site… don’t!
Until next time, paalam, ingat, and God bless.