Daily Archives: November 19, 2010

Solving Problems

The house here in Boqueron, like my Spanish, is a work in progress. Last year the owners did major renovations on it but weren’t able to finish everything in the limited time they were able to spend in Panama before returning to Texas.

The major problem remaining unfinished was storage and shelving. The owner said that he and his wife had lived out of their suitcases while they were here. Since I’ve signed on for six months that’s not an acceptable solution for me. I was told that whatever improvements I made on the house out of my own pocket should just be taken off of the rent.

Being able to hang up my clothes (and I admit that I usually hang my dirty stuff on the floor) was easily remedied. I simply measured the width of the huge walk-in closet upstairs and bought an adjustable shower curtain rod to span the distance and voilá, problem solved.

The biggest problem was the lack of shelving in the kitchen and under the sink. There was nothing there except open space.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out a solution to this problem. It wouldn’t be too hard to build some shelving but the problem would be getting the wood to the house. I’d either have to beg help from someone with a truck or pay one of the pickup trucks that are used as taxis around here which would probably cost more than it was worth. Even before I moved in, and knowing the lack of storage I’d spent time wandering through the Do It Center (a Home Depot kind of store without the lumber) and its competition Novey to see if I could come up with some ideas. Of course there are all kinds of shelving solutions where you screw slotted jobber dos into a wall and then insert arms where you want them and lay shelving upon those. Reasonably priced, but the problem here was that anywhere you needed to drill into something you’d need to have a masonry bit because EVERYTHING is concrete.

Tuesday I was in Novey and they had the solution I’d been looking for. Inexpensive, no drilling needed.

I bought two of them immediately and a couple of other things I needed and yesterday I went back and bought three more. They were $11/each. Two of them are under the counter right now, one is set up next to the stove to hold the pots and pans and another is in the closet for the underwear, socks, etc. I haven’t decided where the fifth one is going to go. Probably under the sink counter, too.

The advantages of this solution is that it didn’t require any construction. No sawing, no drilling, just put the pieces together in a few minutes and it’s done. Plus, the owners don’t have to like it. They’ll most likely deal with the problem in a permanent way. So, when my time  here is up I’ll simply disassemble and stack them up and take them with me. They won’t take up much space wherever I land after this.


Filed under Boqueron Panama, Living Abroad, Retirement Abroad, Uncategorized