Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Cold Hard Facts

Gorgeous Restaurant At Santa Lucia

Today I was thinking about our last days in Ecuador and I remembered one night in particular after we had met with the architects. Mom, Rod and I decided to go to dinner, naturally the discussion turned to the house renovations. Mom and I were going on and on about the ideas we had for the house and I guess Rod had dollar signs dancing in his head. Being the level headed one of the bunch, he had to lay down the law or as we would say in the South, We had to have a “Come to Jesus Meeting.”

 It was not a pretty sight and was soon apparent that the grandiose plans Mom and I had made would have to be reigned in and more realistic. The whole time we had been in Cuenca, Mom and I had run the streets and stopped into every hotel that caught our attention, all the while making notes for our own renovation. Of course it didn’t help that the very first hotel we stayed in was at the top of the budget and most of the other hotels we looked at most likely took hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate if not more.

The Skylight At The Santa Lucia Hotel

We had visions of crystal chandeliers, extensive woodwork, rich wood floors and persian rugs dancing in our heads. Of course Rod was not without guilt as he planned his kitchen of granite countertops, commercial grade appliances and an outdoor kitchen the size of a football field. By the end of the dinner after a reality check, the mood had dampened considerably and I think we were all overwhelmed with the task at hand.

The Parlor

That night I didn’t get much sleep and I know Rod didn’t either. I lay awake half the night wondering what we could do to fit our dreams into a doable budget. I think Rod was thinking what the heck had he gotten himself into with two seriously delirious dreamers such as Mom and Myself?

Hand painted Murals Throughout The Santa Lucia

The next morning I got up early and headed to the breakfast room at the hotel we were staying in. I had my notebook and pen in hand and immediately started jotting down ideas of how the budget could be cut. It wasn’t long before Mom joined me and the two of us put our heads together to try and come up with some sort of solution we could all be happy with. One of the first things we decided was that we could cut the flooring budget hopefully in half by going with a less expensive floor such as Eucalyptus, which is very durable and plentiful in Ecuador. Next we decided we could live without the wood framed skylight and the metal frame would be just fine.

More Murals

After breakfast we decided to walk around the hotel we were staying at as it resembled our house more closely than any other place we had seen thus far. We paid careful attention to the details and were able to come up with some more budget cutting ideas. We decided that even though the high end hotels were beautiful, they weren’t really in keeping with our house and what it was originally meant to look like. We agreed that our house was simpler in design and deserved to be restored true to its nature with some improvements of course.

And Yet Another Mural, Mom and I Were In Heaven

It was important to remember that one of the main reasons we have chosen to move to Ecuador in the first place was to afford us the luxury of living on less, while maintaining the lifestyle we desire in our later years. This can not be achieved if we are not careful and end up spending all of our hard earned money on renovations.

What A fun Idea, A Collection Of Wooden Birdhouses

We Have This Same Room In Our House
Hopefully One Day It Will Look This Nice

It took us all day, lunch at Rod’s favorite restaurant and a banana split to get him out of his funk and convince him that we were serious about making the necessary adjustments to the budget. By that evening all was right with the world again and we were able to enjoy our dinner and the good company of friends. I do have a feeling Rod will have his hands full knocking the stardust out of our eyes from time to time though.

Shortly after we returned home to Alabama I received an email from Mom and in it was a paragraph in regards to the Police strike that happened while we were in Ecuador. I thought it made a very valid and important point and I have included it below...

A rancher friend of Bob's came over to see how I weathered
the revolution. How irresponsible of the news media to spread a story that was unsubstantiated and, as a result may hurt tourism. From my new prospective, it seems that if you are Central, or South America it is immediately assumed that it is a revolution.  I am now realizing how other
countries feel about our arrogant attitudes.

Now that we are back home it is all becoming a blur as we prepare to open our second location and Mom and Bob are madly working to prepare the ranch for sale. My first day back at work proved to be very stressful as I walked into an office full of the boxes of china that we had carried back from Houston for my online business. There was a basket full of unopened mail on my desk and I just had to breathe deep and go slow. For now it is our number one priority to grow our business, which will eventually provide us the means to shed this insane lifestyle and slow down enough to smell the Ecuadorian coffee.

Boxes Of China Piled High

Just A Small Portion Of The Mail That Was Waiting On Me

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