Posted by: pennyinparadise | November 30, 2013

Me, My Man & Our Mountain

Some of you have complained that you haven’t heard from me in a while…no new blog postings. That’s because I’ve been very, very busy falling in love. YES, it’s true. After almost 30 years of single life, during which time (as you can see by the previous contents of this blog) I’ve been VERY happy being independent and carefree..making my own decisions, doing just what I want to when I want to. Those who know me probably saw me as the least likely woman to partner up! Well, I agreed with them until recently. Now I’m a happy half of a pair, and want to stay that way for the rest of my life. I’ve truly found the man God(ess) made for me. His name is Jim Wasson, and like me, he and I both turned 70 earlier in 2013, and we both love music, reading, cooking, being creative and in Panama and want to live in Boquete forever. To that end, Jim bought a fabulous piece of land on Jaramillo Mountain overlooking Volcan Baru volcano, the village below, all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

So you don’t stay in suspense over what we look like as a pair, here we are! And, as you can see Boston Becky loves him too.

Jim owns Panama Red Rum here in Panama, but lives in Florida.  We met when he sponsored Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival 2012 where I was handling the marketing.  He's a GREAT dancer, creative and fun.

Jim owns Panama Red Rum here in Panama, but lives in Florida. We met when he sponsored Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival 2012 where I was handling the marketing. He’s a GREAT dancer, creative and fun.

We spent weeks together during the festival, and got to know each other better.  The rest is history.

We spent weeks together during the festival, and got to know each other better. The rest is history.

Don't you think we make a great looking couple?

Don’t you think we make a great looking couple?

Jim was born in this town, Vero Beach, Florida.  What fun to visit his home town.

Jim was born in this town, Vero Beach, Florida. What fun to visit his home town.

Jim is Boston Becky's "boy toy" because they enjoy the same hobby….nap time!

Jim is Boston Becky’s “boy toy” because they enjoy the same hobby….nap time!

Actually, Boston Becky thinks Jim is her "lap dog".

Actually, Boston Becky thinks Jim is her “lap dog”.

The house Jim bought was a small house with a million dollar view, 4,200 feet above sea level on a mountain called Alto Jaramillo, on about 5 acres of land.    It’s nestled in a little valley, and the 5 acres next to it (all jungle) was also for sale, so I figured if Jim was “all in”, I should be too.   So I’ve sold my condo (yes…the one I just finished a major renovation and moved into 2 years ago), and bought the piece next door.   Now we have a full 10 acres of our own private valley on the mountain…our piece of paradise.

The seller had just begun renovation that was very basic, enlarging the kitchen a bit, adding a concrete deck (terrace) out back and enlarging the space to include the old outdoor terrace inside.   It looked simple enough to complete, and so we took it on.   Now, those of you who know me will say “oh, Penny has a new renovation project….she can do that”.   But now I have a partner…one who has BIG vision and wants MORE…BETTER.   So, at this point in time (Thanksgiving of 2013) we have basically doubled the size of the house, completely rewired and plumbed it, torn out all the walls, made new walls and made that concrete deck a wonderful, glassed-in living room…which is no small feat in an earthquake zone, cantilevered out over a hillside and strong enough to hold up an antique spanish tile roof that gains 40% weight in the rain.  Suffice it to say, it has been a challenge.   OH YES, and I need to mention that the contractor doing the renovation died of a heart attack in the driveway 6 weeks after we bought the house.

But….little by little (poco a poco as we say here) it is getting done, and we’re hoping to be in by February 1st.  Here are some photos of the way the house looked when we bought it.   Pretty simple just to finish it, huh????

Original front door

Original front door

Original front pop-out on master side of front of house.

Original front pop-out on master side of front of house.

Original pop out kitchen extension with little roof.

Original pop out kitchen extension with little roof.

Inside original kitchen extension

Inside original kitchen extension

Original new concrete deck terrace overlooking mountain.

Original new concrete deck terrace overlooking mountain.

About 1/3 of the day view (I don't have a wide angle lens)

About 1/3 of the day view (I don’t have a wide angle lens)

Typical sunset view off the concrete deck terrace (soon to be our living room…well, not SOON, but someday).

Typical sunset view off the concrete deck terrace (soon to be our living room…well, not SOON, but someday).

Well, not so simple, as it turns out.   Here is some of the interim work….just to make you appreciate what is soon to be the finished house.  There’s no way to capture what’s going on under the house which, thankfully, has a full walk around for plumbing and wiring work.  This is because the house is sitting out over a hillside.   Since the entire house had to be rewired including conduit, panel boxes, etc. and all plumbing pipes replaced, this walk around was very important.

The casita needed serious drainage help.

The casita needed serious drainage help.

Boston Becky needs to be contained…10 jungle acres are just too much for her to have free reign of.

Boston Becky needs to be contained…10 jungle acres are just too much for her to have free reign of.

Water management on a mountain in a tropical rain forest requires good drainage…we put in plenty!

Water management on a mountain in a tropical rain forest requires good drainage…we put in plenty!

We built in the rainiest months….sometimes the workers created their own big umbrella so they could keep working.

We built in the rainiest months….sometimes the workers created their own big umbrella so they could keep working.

Master sitting room view.

Master sitting room view.

New bathrooms & closet makes its mark

New bathrooms & closet makes its mark

Concrete wall being poured for new master bathroom and closet.

Concrete wall being poured for new master bathroom and closet.

Our office has a great view

Our office has a great view

One day I walked into the master bedroom and through the closet, and there was NO exterior wall in there!

One day I walked into the master bedroom and through the closet, and there was NO exterior wall in there!

Part of old terrace will be our sitting room.  See guys building living room out the window wall?

Part of old terrace will be our sitting room. See guys building living room out the window wall?

Old has become the gallery.  Other side of that wall is our master sitting room.

Old terrace has become the gallery. Other side of that wall is our master sitting room.

CenterColumn

Big beams tied together with concrete walls under new living room

Big beams tied together with concrete walls under new living room

Old roof OFF to tie in new roof

Old roof OFF to tie in new roof

Earthquake+Mountain=Big holes filled with rebar and concrete!

Earthquake+Mountain=Big holes filled with rebar and concrete!

EVERYTHING about the guest side had to be redesigned (read that as torn down and rebuilt)!

EVERYTHING about the guest side had to be redesigned (read that as torn down and rebuilt)!

Terrace becomes a living room

Terrace becomes a living room

Walls Go Up

Walls Go Up

Walls Go Down

Walls Go Down

Terrace becomes a living room

Terrace becomes a living room

So you see, I’ve been a bit too busy to post on the blog.   But thought I’d better catch up or else fall so far behind I never would try.  The house should be finished by February 1.   We will fly back to Florida on Christmas Eve for the holiday with my family, and then pack up the container at Jim’s house full of furniture of his we’re bringing along with new things we’ve bought for our new home.   A 40′ container will roll out of his driveway around January 10, we’ll fly home to Panama on January 14.  Hopefully windows, cabinets and floors will be in place and we can just busy ourselves with painting and cleaning in preparation for the big day when the container arrives.   

Stay tuned for future updates…..and we’ll be ready to host visitors in the beautiful new guest suite around April.  In the meantime, keep in touch with me at my email or by phone.  I’ve got a new US local number which is 321-215-7678.


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