Monday, February 29, 2016

Electric Pole and Door Frames

We got some photos and videos from Dad and P'Pong today.

I thought it was too soon to really have anything that I could post as major progress, but I was wrong. Up went our electric pole and a surprise as well...DOOR FRAMES!

One thing we didn't see when we got the pictures from the first floor walls, was what they did before they actually put up the cement blocks that form the wall. There are holes for doors and windows, but never even thought about door frames. You can see the door frames perfectly placed and waiting for the walls to be built around them in the video above.

The above video shows the guys erecting our electric pole, they are the workers in the orange shirts. Also looking at this video, I noticed that the ceiling/roof of the third floor rooms is not yet poured. Never noticed that until now, so there is still a bit of cement work to do.
In case it is difficult to focus on the door frames in the moving pictures (haha) here is a still shot of the frames completed on the second floor.

Until next time, Aloha!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Construction Video from February 25th

Here are two short clips that Dad took of the apartment on the 25th of February. They are pretty much identical. I like to watch them because you can kinda see the size of the rooms compared to a person. The three women on the second floor perhaps are a little shorter than average, but it gives you an idea ;) Also, the dude going down the stairs in the second video.

**Uploading my videos to YouTube then linking them to the blog looks much clearer than uploading directly to Blogger, so that's what I'll do for future posts :)
Moving pictures, yo!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Front walls and stairwell

I don't want to throw pictures up here every day, but I do want there to be some visible progress from post to post. I could just do a before and after or a monthly update, but seeing each little part (roof, stairs, walls, tiling, doors, windows, etc.) will be fun to look at.
The rooms on the first floor are getting there. Now we can see where the doors and windows will be. That empty space is the stairwell.
Dad sent us some photos from the apartment this week. It appears that they have finished the walls on the first floor and are starting the bottom halves of the walls on the second floor already.
This looks to me to be the wall in the stairwell on the second floor. Rough, but soon to look like the photo below from the first floor.
Before you know it, the window people will be there installing our windows ;) Seeing the door holes and window holes, I am led to wonder how precise the measurements are? Is it a perfect square measured to fit the window perfectly or is it about the right size and they will add "spacers" or something to make the window level and snug within the hole in the wall? I guess I just answered my own question, haha. If it was built perfect size, I guess they'd have to build the wall around the window ;)
First floor stairwell
Dad always does good to get a photo from out on the road, through the fence. I'll always try to put the most recent one at the end of each update :)
You can see from this most recent photo of the apartment that the first floor is taking shape and the second floor walls are going up between rooms.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Bedroom Set

More apartment updates from our visit earlier in February. Nothing much, but a lot of stress off of our shoulders. We chose (in barely the hour or two that we had available before having to fly back to Bangkok) the furniture that will be in each of the twenty rooms of the apartment.

This has been pretty stressful for us. Normally people would just find something that they like, that suits their taste, for their own home. The price is flexible, if it's really nice, you can suck up the extra cost. But for buying twenty sets, price and budget become very important!

Our bank has split up our loan, as I think I previously mentioned, into 7 or 8 parts. The last part of the loan will only be given to us after the apartment is completed and furnished; ready to move in. This causes us a problem as the amount of money that they will withhold for that final "payment" is needed to pay P'Pong, our contractor for the construction. **This only happens like this because the bank doesn't give a loan for the full cost of the apartment. Example, if our apartment will cost $100 to build, the bank will give us a loan for $80. And furnishing it is not included in the loan. So, we had to save a lot of cash before going ahead with the project.

Anyway, we have a certain budget to purchase Bedroom Sets (x20), Television (x20), Refrigerator (x20) and Table/Chair Set (x20). After looking at rock bottom prices on 32" t.v.s and medium sized refrigerators, we pretty much knew that we weren't gonna make budget. But, we had to go ahead and get as much done while we were home, so we went ahead and went to a furniture store and saw what they had to offer.

We ended up special ordering twenty sets as shown in the photo below. We also got a glass table with two chairs set for each room. These items came to exactly half of our budget. I expect another 70% of our budget to go to the Televisions and we are well over budget unless there is some crazy sale on electronics between now and next time we go shopping.
Our small rooms will have a queen size bed (5 foot we call it), a closet and a vanity with stool. Add a TV (hopefully wall mounted), table, chairs and a fridge and it's a tight squeeze.
Even though we are finding it hard to stay in budget, we are happy with our choices up to this point. We are especially happy that we were able to take care of the Bedroom Sets during this trip home so that Mom or Dad don't have to do it by themselves later.

We also got to go with P'Pong and choose lighting fixtures, tiles for each room and the walkway, bathroom mirrors and towel hangers, hot water heaters for the showers, toilets and sinks, etc. It took quite a while, but we got through it and pretty much stayed within the budget that he set in the overall cost plan of building the apartment. One or two things we went over the per-unit price, but several things we were well under so it all will even out in the end.

One stressful thing in the way of current events in Thailand: Pae's airline is in the middle of a pilot strike. That's all I can say. As Nok Air is one of the main domestic carriers here so we feel safe as far as Pae's job goes, but as things heat up in the negotiations we are nervous. This is Thailand (TIT as we say) so literally anything can happen whether it makes sense or makes absolutely no sense. We'll hope for the best, Pae will fly whenever called upon to do so and I will do as much as I can at school and away from school to keep the cash flowing to pay for our ongoing project.

Until next time ;)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Foto- February 19, 2016

It is always hot here in Thailand. As such, our fan is running nearly 24/7. Bubble really likes the fan! He will sit on the couch and just sit there, facing the fan with his tongue hanging out. He really seems to enjoy it.
Our couch is in the middle of the floor, so the back of it is facing the fan. Bubble actually stands on his two hind legs, rests his "armpits" on the back of the couch (paws hanging down) and stands there, windblown hair, looking happy!

Where is the weight coming from?

Jumped on the scale this morning and it read 72+ kilograms. What's that, 158 pounds? No big deal really, but I've been running at about a steady 68kg for the past few years. This extra 4kg is a lot extra to carry around at my normal running pace ;)

I came to Thailand at 75kg (165 pounds) fresh from working in the corporate world as an accountant. Fast food twice a day, Dunkin' Donuts and coffee daily, sitting at a desk.

The first few years in Thailand, I paid for a gym membership and would always go and lift a little and do all of the classes; spin (bike), Body Combat, Gym Ball workouts, Abs workouts, Body Pump (weights) and whatever felt good on the day. At that time, I stayed around 72-75kg but it was more muscle than fat (although I kept my secretary butt, haha).

I got sick, food poisoning, one year and dropped to nearly 65kg in less than two weeks! After I got better, I evened out around 70-72, which felt fine.

Running long distance boosted my metabolism and having Pae basically living in Australia for a few years, I ate a lot less than I do now. Since I started running I am a steady 68. Until recently.

I think a steady diet of coke (chips, candy, sweets, donuts, etc.), my morning coffee, my lack of training time (running), stress at work and just an overall laziness to really take care of my body sees my weight just rocketing up back into the 70s.

I wouldn't mind 70-72 if it was not all situated around my gut ;)

Well, this tells me something I've known for nearly a year now but haven't wanted to admit or deal with. I need to make some dietary changes followed by jumping back out on the road for my weekly long runs. With the 10hr Ultra Marathon coming in two months, you'da thunk I'd be all over that, but again, I've been lazy and have chosen to spend more time at home than out in the heat. **My long runs for 100km training need to be anywhere from 3-5 hours long, running mixed with walking. Now that Pae is home, I don't like spending that much time away. Priorities people ;)
Well, I've thought it, now I've spoken it. I don't feel healthy. I will do better. I promise! That may not mean losing weight...perhaps just redistributing it ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pajama Weather

There is no winter in Thailand. We have two seasons; summer and rainy season. A few weeks ago, we got some cooler air from up north and it was a good chance for us to wear sweatshirts and for some little white thing to wear a new pair of pajamas ;)
Bubble and his little ducky pajamas
It's hot again so we'll have to wait until next year for some "cooler" weather and hot cocoa, tea and pajamas!!

Finished Roof, First Floor Walls and Problems With the Neighbors

Here is the latest progress on the apartment as of February 7th. We just spent the weekend back home trying to choose tiles and furniture for the apartment. Quite a whirlwind of the stress of both choosing something we like and trying to fit it under certain budgetary constraints. We did it though. I'll make a quick post showing some of the things we chose for the apartment a little later.
The flight back home from Bangkok is less than an hour. Sometimes the drive to the airport can take longer!!

The roof is pretty much up already. The walls are going up on the first floor.
The roof looks finished

There was a lot of talk about the electric pole that we had to buy and have yet to install. The apartment actually blocks the place where we would like to put it, so we may chop a portion of an overhanging piece of the mini mart out to allow for the electric pole. Doesn't bother me at all. Those who understand those things are the ones making that decision ;)
Here is our electric pole. We had to buy it and will have to pay for its installation, etc. At the moment, it's just laying on the edge of our property with all of the other extra material. Funny, huh? We own an electric pole, haha!
The roof is assembled and looks nice. I like how it is slanted. Not sure if the reddish metal beams are going to change color when we decide the color of the apartment or not. We walked up to the top floor, it was very windy and felt nice. We looked into the distance (two streets away) and could see mom's house and apartment.
P'Neung, P'Pong, Pae, Dad and Mom discussing the mini mart and the electric pole which will go a meter or two to the right of the pole you can see in the photo. We'll have to cut a piece of that overhanging cement off first.

Up top we could see just how close the next door apartment was to ours. The owner has actually been to our contractor to complain about how close we are building. The contractor apologized, but it's not our fault. We are building it legally. Her existing apartment complex is the one that is built wrong.
Pae, Mom and Dad at the north end of the third floor
The law requires an apartment to be built at least one meter from the edge of the property. Theirs is very close to that meter limit. Also, theirs has balconies opened towards our property. The law requires a building with balconies be build at least three meters away from the edge of the property, and again, theirs is barely a meter.
The rooms are beginning to take shape

Ours is a meter away from the edge of our property, directly facing their apartment complex, but as we just found out when we visited the property, we are not going to have an outwards facing balcony. This seemed strange to me, but it was designed that way, because of the building code/laws. We ended up building so close to our property limit because we may eventually build our "forever home" or another "wing" of the apartment on the other half.
Workers are usually families (moms and dads) so you often see children at the work site, playing and running around
I saw the back walls going up and was surprised that they were going up all the way to the ceiling. I asked, "Where is the balcony opening going to be???? It is then when they explained the building code to me and explained that our balcony would open sideways rather than outwards (hard to explain).
Children of construction workers playing on site; no helmets, no consideration for safety at all

Anyway, our structure is totally legal, whereas the neighbors preexisting structure is illegal...just in case she wants to come to us and complain again. She also complained that her tenants are moving out (four rooms so far) because they are losing their view and sunlight. I can see why that would be a problem but that's probably another reason why their building should have been built the required three meters away from our property (which was previously just an empty lot).
Pae and Mom on the second floor. The next door apartment is about two meters total through that blue tarp.
Another complaint was that there is algae growing in the bathrooms in their apartment because of the lack of sunlight. That sucks to be honest, but, nothing we can do about it. The contractor (P'Pong) gave them 500 baht, about $15, for the inconvenience. I found out about that and didn't really feel good about it. Perhaps it's the Thai way, or just the nice person way, but I don't want to set a precedent.
One thing I've always found a little funny, is how when there isn't enough space for another cement block, they throw in a couple bricks, haha. I wonder if this is standard practice? I see it all over in pretty much every construction site here.
Can't make everybody happy. I hope we can get along with the neighbors when it's all built and all is said and done. It would be awkward to have an ongoing feud with them.

Can't wait for the "walls" to go up, meaning having the cement covered. I'm very curious what will go over the cement blocks. A layer of cement? Some dry wall? We'll find out soon ;)
Saw a couple spots like this along the wall being worked on. Not sure if they built it with broken cement blocks or it broke after they built it.
That's the update for this week. Dad promised more pictures soon ;) Overall, our quick two day trip was good. We got a lot of "shopping"done and spent some good time with the family.
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