Monday, January 23, 2012

Mary's in Wonderland

I've heard that Mary from South of Zero is in Cuenca this week. Everyone can meet her at the California Kitchen on Friday this week - everyone but me. There has been so much rain this year that the driveway in La Paz is totally washed out. I made arrangements a couple of weeks ago for a bull dozer to regrade the driveway and he's coming on guess what day. I'll never be able to get his equipment back out there if I stand him up. So to Mary from South of Zero - I hope you have a great time in Ecuador, I know you are in good hands.

Digger has been really busy this week.  As soon as I find out what tools and clothing items she has taken and where she has been hanging out, I'll let you know. She has a degenerative hip disorder, which is the main reason we adopted her, to give her a good quality of life for as long as she can stand it. She's 6 months old; I kinda expected her to be dragging her butt by now but so far it is just affecting her left hip and she is doing pretty good as a 3 legged dog.

The east wall of the bedroom is finally at sill plate level for the roof rafters. On the north end of the wall, where the loose brick is sitting on a notched block at the 5 foot level, is where the 4 foot arch will go as an entrance to the front porch. There will be a total of 4 arches in the front porch. I think that is too hard to visualize - I'll just show you when I get it done.

The value of real estate along the newly paved Panamerican South Highway has really gotten pretty expensive. I didn't pay to much attention to it until recently when 80 acres went up for sale to our south and I can see new construction about 1/2 mile to the north. When I went to pay my property taxes a couple weeks ago and had to redo a bunch of paperwork, I decided to calculate the increase from when I bought the property a year ago. 3000% - that is three thousand percent in official pay taxes on appraised value. When I bought it I knew I paid too much but Barb wanted it. Now it appears it's worth about twice what I paid for it, I guess I should pay more attention to what Barb has to say - I wonder how her stock picks are doing ?

Monday, January 16, 2012


There has been a lot of rain this year, not that I would know the difference, but the locals in La Paz are complaining about how cold and wet the weather is this year. Sounds like a good excuse for my lack of progress, truth is there is no fire under my butt, it will get done ........ never. That's the plan, to have enough to do to last the rest of my life. If I die tomorrow I will have succeeded, if I don't die for 3 more years then I may have a problem - guess I better drag my butt a little more.

Three months ago I had an issue with ladders, so I made a couple.
I can make the platform any length I want but I weigh 200 pounds and I am not real sure of the elasticity of eucalyptus. So far so good, we'll see how it does when the roof rafters go in.

Barb has finalized the plans for her garden space, the green house and a starter house for chickens. She cut me some slack on the chickens, originally she wanted the brooder house done before May but when she realized how big it was she decided she would rather have the Guest House done instead. I'd say I am pretty lucky to have a wife with some common sense.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Transfer Taxes

The begining of the new year is tax time in the U.S., it is in Ecuador as well. Last February I bought the land in La Paz but because I didn't have my Cedula then I had an attorney buy it for me, to save a whole bunch of problems. A week after the purchase I transferred ownership to myself - I thought. It is a lot easier to transfer property than to buy it without a Cedula. I sure paid enough to have it done and went to Nabon personally to have it recorded in the register of land records. Fast forward to last week, when I went to Nabon to pay my property taxes. The system works the same as paying a utility bill in a small town, women start a conversation with another woman in the front of the line to get ahead of you and men just butt right in front of you, if you let them. I deal with the men but I haven't figured out how to deal with the women. They get pushed around so much in Ecuador I figure I should let it go, so I do. At any rate I had to wait a long time to get to the pay window, just to be told to come back the next day when a specialist would be there to set up my account. Sounds like trouble to me.

I went back to Nabon the next day and went through the waiting in line thing - got on the wrong side of a popular local when he tried to cut in front of me in line. I eventually got to the pay window; they were waiting for me and hauled me into the office to get me straightened out. I got the account set up and the taxes paid but there was a question about who owned the land, so upstairs to the Register of Land Records I went. Another couple of hours, another $145.00 and come back tomorrow for the documents.

The transactions in Ecuador are pretty straight foward and make a lot of sense but the paperwork is just out of control and the number of people and departments a simple transaction goes through is just mind boggling. Ofcourse once the accounts are set up things move pretty fast. It takes less than 5 minutes to pay my electric bill ( I pay in Cuenca for my service in La Paz ), I pay in Cuenca to avoid the lines in La Paz; it is a central system so I can pay anywhere. Once the bank accounts are set up you get free executive banking services without having to wait in lines and the list goes on.

The bottom line is this - Hardheaded doesn't work in Ecuador ( the rules are the rules ) but stupid works really well.