Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May in Thailand 2016

Please forgive my spelling and punctuation; I'm a plumber and not a English major. Just read and have fun.
You can click on any of the pictures and they become larger.  

I thought of our friend Paul Scaglione, who rides bicycles a lot, as on the way south this morning there were hundred of riders on the highway.

I also thought of my brother Steve, in New York, as he likes to ride, as well. 

There were way too many to count but I would guess more than 500, that I saw. 

The temperature was around 80 degrees Fahrenheit as it was around 8:30AM. 

They had escorts and big truck to pick up bikes if someone dropped out.

The return trip home after the meeting was uneventful.
I changed clothes and we headed for the dentist. 

Daeng was first with replacing a filling that came out a few days ago.

I have one rough spot on a tooth that I am going to have her check to see of anything can be done to make it smooth.

Daeng had two fillings replaced and the dentist put a veneer on my tooth to make it smooth. Cost for us both 1,900 THB, about $54 USD.

After the dentist we went to the brown house, put cardboard and a thick plastic drop on the neighbor's roof so we could knock out the masonry vent blocks.

Guess what, the fellow that was going to help us didn't show up. Daeng called him and he gave her some lame excuse. I always say: “A poor excuse is better than none at all."  

Anyway, we did some painting and will do the demo of the masonry vents tomorrow, ourselves.

We stopped for street food on the way home. 

Watermelon, that's his name, showed Daeng the bag his wife made for him. I liked it.

Yes, it's a bag although it looks like shorts in the picture. 

By the way, dinner for us both was 90 THB, about $2.57 USD.

Anyway, we did some painting and will do the demo of the masonry vents tomorrow, ourselves.
May 2nd - Busy morning, at 7:30 AM I stopped at the hardware store I like to buy some more pipe straps and a hose for the gas line. It's a family run place.

Then Daeng and I broke out the masonry vents where the new windows are going.

We did very good but dropped one piece of masonry the two stories and put a hole in one roof panel.

After all the cutting with my new, triple diamond blade, 5" Milwaukee 18 volt grinder I was filthy. 

I went home for a shower and change of clothes.

I'll pick up the new fiber cement roof panel on the way back.

I picked up the red, fiber cement, roof panel at Home Show for 45 THB, about $1.29 USD and went back to the brown house.

We spent the rest of the afternoon painting the patches and pipes on the outside as well as running the 3/4" pipe to where the new water meter will be installed.

About 5:00 PM, one of Daeng's friends came by and installed the new roof panel and looked at the master bathroom floor to tile.

He also told us we could install the new windows as it was easy.

We will stop at the window shop in the morning.

The view from the bathroom window is pretty cool.  

The hills in the distance are Myanmar (Burma). 

May 3rd - This is how the Akha ladies transport stuff in and out of the mountain.

Here is a better picture of the ladies going up the hill.

We decided to have Daeng’s friend’s son do the windows so he came and measured. 

Around 4:00 PM, as we were picking up the tile and cement for the master bath floor of the brown house, Peg, the window guy called and windows are ready.

Yes, we decided to tile the bathroom floor, also.

We will see him at the house around 8:00 AM.

The lady on the right in the second picture makes specialty paper, like elephant poop paper.

She invited us to come see how it's done.

That will be a fun story and picture taking opportunity.

May 4th - Peg, Daeng's friend's son, came with the windows.

They look nice but there was a mistake in communications. 

That happens here, a lot, even though we try to be careful of that.

They were to have one way mirror glass (Can see out but not in.) but came with frosted glass.

Peg said he will install the frames and then change the glass.

The windows are looking good.

Daeng is starting to coat the balcony roof.

Peg says: “This is hanging out!”

It's 5:00PM, window are done except for a little touch up paint, I'm showered and Daeng just set a vegan taco in front of me.

Life is good.

Oh, by the way, cost of the two windows installed, even with the changing of the glass, was 3,620 THB (about $103 USD).

May 5th - Kitchen sinks in Thailand have overflow drains in the sinks.

They are a bitch, even for me, to hook up so they don't leak.

Probably 80% of the sinks have buckets or pans under them.

That's not our style so I put in a new sinks basket and drain assembly.

The afternoon got busy; Peg came by and painted the outside walls around the new windows. He did okay.

The tile guy came and we got busy helping him.

I had to leave the job or have a fight with Daeng as I used a level and it shows the water will puddle on the floor instead of run down the drain.

She kept telling me he knew what he was doing and asking me if I wanted to do it alone.

I will use the marble test in the morning, when I go the brown house early to put on roof sealer.

I hope I am wrong.

May 6th - Today went good. The tile is exactly level so it should drain okay as the grout lines are about 1/32nd of an inch lower than the tile.

I see he broke the sewer pipe but I can cement that in okay.

The antenna guys came and installed a new satellite TV antenna. 

We bought a good box so all Thai and Myanmar stations can be viewed in HD. No ongoing fees just a onetime expense of 3200 THB , about $91 USD, installed.

I sealed the roof where the old dish was mounted and Daeng put another coat of green roof sealer on the balcony roof. 

One more to go on the balcony and that will be done.

Daeng also put the final coat of paint around the windows. She did a much nicer job than Peg.

We came home for showers and Daeng is going back in about an hour to meet the tile guy at 5:00 PM, so he can finish setting the tile. 

I'm staying home so I don't get uptight with the craftsmanship. TITWBT (This Is Thailand with Burma Twist).

May 7th - This morning early, when I asked Daeng: "Did the tile man finish?" She said I would not be happy. 

At dawn, I went to see it and she was correct.

I have no idea what he did last night but it is worse now than it was yesterday. Before it looked good but would not drain correctly. 

Now it looks bad and the tile is not even. He must have cut the edges off some of the tile in the center rows.

I can only blame myself as I know that we will get what we inspect, not what we expect.

We are going to clean it up, wait 48 hours and then grout it ourselves, trying to make it look good.

We need to move on with things and don't cry over broken tile.

May 8th - It was a quiet day. I went to a meeting in Chiang Rai, bought more roof sealer for roof of brown house and came back to our neighbor's open house party.

Daeng went into Myanmar (Burma) to visit some friends.

I did not go with her as I tend to slow her down. Also, she needs some "self" time after working with me on the brown house.

At the party, the kids liked the misting system. They used pool water for the misting system at the party.

The party was fun with great food and lots of dancing.

May 9th - I will admit, the tile looks a lot better with the Pacific Blue tile grout.

Also the metal, catalog house that is being built across the valley is looking good.

That correct, you buy this house from a catalog and they come build it in your lot.

This one was 1,200,000 THB, about $34,000 USD.

It is all metal and concrete fiber board. It is very interesting to watch it go up.

We put on the first coat of the two part epoxy paint. Since it was 106 °F (41°C), I had the windows closed and the AC on.

Daeng kept saying: "Men!”  In Thai the word for "smells bad" is "men".

That's it for today. Tomorrow it up at 4:00 AM and start the first cost of roof sealer on the main roof.

Around 10:00 AM we are going to meet Larry and his wife close to the border.

They are coming up from Phan to shop for gifts to take back to the USA on their vacation.

Oh, I forgot, I took apart an angle iron rack and found rubber washers used. I have no explanation why.

Now, here is something you don't see much in Thailand. Yes, it's a horse.

It is about the same as seeing an elephant in the USA.

You just don't see that many.

May 10th - Well, we did it. We got up at 4:00 AM, on the job by 5:30 and finished the first coat of roof seal by 8:00 AM.

The temperature now is 82° F (28°C). It is expected to get to 107°F (42°C) today.

We did the right thing by starting early.

Then it's time for a little breakfast of quail eggs, sticky rice, coffee, sausage, pork, banana cake along with something from Burma.

I don’t know what it is so I’m not going to try it. 

May 11th - Here is a great way to move a house. CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE IT BEING MOVED!

We decided our bodies were hurting to much to put the second coat of roof sealer on the brown house roof today.

When I got up for some coffee this morning I found another creation made out of paper.

It looks great and is very functional.

On, I did take a picture of the house from the road.

It's the plumber's brown one.

May 12th - Up at 4:00 AM but got to the brown house about 5:45 AM. It was already 83° F (28° C). 

We worked right along and got the 2nd coat of roof sealer on by 8:00 AM.

I have to laugh as Thai's don't clean brushes. At the cost of a brush being less than $1.00 US Dollar and thinner for 2 part epoxy paint costing over $6.50 USD, a liter, I am going to do it Thai way.

After we got the 2nd coat of roof sealer on, the guy from the water company came to see about setting a water meter for us.

Presently we are sharing water with a neighbor.

Then they turn on their water faucet we don't get any water. 

I put another coat of 2 part epoxy paint on the master bath walls. 

The pot life of this epoxy is about one hour so I was working pretty fast and slipped with the roller.

I mixed more than we needed so we painted the bed blue, in one of the rooms, also.

Daeng paid 3,500 THB for water meter installation along with a 500 THB deposit for water and 300 THB expediting fee.

The man said water meter should be installed this week. 

I’ll take bets that won’t happen. This is Thailand.

It is 106° F (41°C) so it's time to quit for the day.

Here is a nice work table that would be good for the kitchen. It has a ceramic tile top. Cost is 1,800 THB, about $52 USD.

We forgot about Daeng's Passport expiring so we need to go to Chiang Rai, in the morning, to get her a new one.

May 13th - It was an easy drive to the Chiang Rai Immigrations and Passport center.

They took Daeng right in, measured her height of 163 cm, filled out the paperwork, paid the 1,040 THB and it's in the mail.

We were here less than 10 minutes.

We got busy after taking care of Daeng's Passport.

We stopped at the hospital and had another 25 mg of Sodium Hyaluronate shot into both knees.

Then we went shopping for a cook top vent fan for the kitchen of the brown house and stopped at the fruit wholesaler and bought pineapple, 10 kilograms for 150 THB. That is about 20 cents USD a pound.

We also looked at some kitchen cabinets and light fixtures.

It tired us right out.

We stopped for chicken on the way home but he was sold out.

May 14th - We're on the job putting the last coat of the TOA 201 Roof Sealer on.

The catalog house across the way is looking good, too.

I think the workers live in tents in the corner of the lot. That way there is no travel time.

They start early and quit at dark. I would give odds they get paid by the house and not by the hour.

Next time we go up that road by the temple land, we will stop and see the house.

We were laughing as we don't have to remember how many coats of paint we put on, just count the rollers and brushes.

It is almost 1:00 PM and about 100 ° F (38° C) so I am going to paint the trim edges of the master bath, get the toilet carried upstairs and ready to set it tomorrow.

No closet flanges used here to bolt toilet to, just mix up a bunch of tile grout and set the toilet just like it was tile.

We are glad to say, all the painting is done, except for some touch up, I'm sure.

Maybe I can set the toilet tomorrow after my morning meeting trip to Chiang Rai.

That is about where the toilet will sit. 

This toilet is just a little less than one US gallon a flush. I can probably adjust it and get it down to as low as 8/10 of a gallon.

Low water usage of the toilet is important as where this house is located; there is no way to pump out the cesspool.

Also, just a note, the use of cesspools instead of septic tank systems is a big reason you don't/can't drink the water without purifying it, first. 

To learn about cesspools just CLICK HERE!

May 15th - I was about 25 minutes early for this meeting in Chiang Rai so I thought I would have a Danish and coffee while I wait.

They have yummy baked items and all profits go to help kids.

The meeting was wonderful. I love to hear how recovery changes people's lives.

I am also really happy as Danny Moses arranged for me to get a few copies of the CD "Gratitude is Powerless".

I have listened to it several times but cannot decide which tune is tops for me. 

They are all great and each one is done in a slightly different way.

I will bring back a few copies to California and let you folks hear this album.

Thanks, Gratidude and NuMe Record Company. 

Big HUGS, too.

May 16th - Fairly productive day, set toilet bowl, did some touch up painting and broke out the wall for the cook top vent hood.

Tomorrow we can finish setting tank and hooking up toilet, install shower head and test floor for water drainage.

We will finish cementing in the wall thimble for the venting of the cooktop vent hood.

It will probably take us two to three more days to get plaster patched and painted.

Hopefully water meter will be set this week and then we can take all the tools home.

I will be happy as this project lasted way to long.

Then it’s a little get together for Bum's 5th birthday. 

His name is not Bum but that is what I nick named him.

I tried to get some pictures but with kids on sugar it was tough.

Ti, (Bum’s Dad) sorry you had to work.

Happy Birthday again, Bum.

Oh, and this is what a Thai kitchen usually looks like.

May 17th - Daeng was a busy lady yesterday; besides helping me she did the flowers for a friend's funeral.

They don't embalm here so that is a big refrigerator.

Daeng says she will have to get a walk-in cooling when I die.

The flowers are all made of paper.

I worked a little on patching the wall thimble for the vent hood and then trimmed out the toilet and shower.

I know you know, just as well as I knew, when I ran the shower water puddles on the tile floor.

I also know when I show the tile man, he will have some excuse and it will end up my fault.

Wall is patched and hangers in for vent pipe.

We are almost done with house, for this trip. 

Then it's time for some different kind of fun!

It was a cool day, today. Highest temperature was only 98° F, 37° C.

May 18th Here is Thai-Danish whole cow’s milk that has a shelf life of many months.
No refrigeration necessary.

This one expires December 1, 2016.

It's great for camping or just to have in case. We use it in coffee.

Vent hood is in and works great. . All we have left to do is some caulking, pink paint and insulate the wall tumble.

Then we are out of here.

I'm going to Chiang Mai to visit some friends on Sunday, after the morning meeting.

Daeng told me go alone as it's boring for her. I'm okay with that.

What she really said is: "You go alone, eat lots, party it up and come back. I'll nurse you back to health as you don't have too many trips left."

I love her.

The work on the catalog house has stopped but it is not finished.

I hope it's not a money problem. Plumbers know all about that as in the past we got 40% of the money when we did the underground work, then another 40% on top out.

We hoped to have a problem with the builder before the finish as usually the finish stuff costs us more than the 20% left. We have already got our profit in the 80%.

Also, the lady in the pink house stopped to see Daeng as the other day she saw her on the roof.

She liked what we are doing.

May 19th – We finished the kitchen.

Well, at least all we are going to do this trip. It has everything her Mother will need.

I got a laugh as the vent hood model is "MEX" but it is made in Italy.

We patched the big crack in the cement and extended the balcony drain to the ground.

That needs a little paint but it started to rain.

Tomorrow we will start moving all the tools home.

Hopefully the water company will install the water meter tomorrow, as promised. This is Thailand!

The round concrete thing by the downspout is the survey marker. It is the southeast corner of our property.

Surveying is done by GPS in Thailand.

May 20th - I woke up about 1:30 AM. I think it has been raining all night. That is a good thing.

I sat down with some French, dark roast coffee and brought our blog up to date through April.

I went back to bed and slept most of the day.

May 21st - Daeng picked up my favorite shoes from the repair guy yesterday. He did a great job of putting new soles on them and only charged 80 THB, that's about $2.30 USD.

The only problem is they don't feel good now.

Daeng slapped me on the butt and said change feet.

I crossed my legs and she slapped me on the butt again. 

I liked it.

Today is was a fairly clear day even though it is overcast. 

You can see the hills in Burma.

The workers were busy on the catalog house today, also.

I am going to Chiang Mai for a few days.

When I come back we will coat the floor of the brown house with a cement coating that can be tiled over in the future.

Then, it is moving time. Daeng's mother has not seen her house yet.

May 21st is also Happy Buddha Day in Thailand so it’s a long holiday weekend for the Thai people.

May 22nd - I am on the way to Chiang Mai.  

I dropped off the gang, that are going to the wedding in the mountain, at Makro in Chiang Rai.

The wedding is way up the mountains, in tea country. (Code word here.)

I wanted to go but already told a friend I would meet him in Chiang Mai.

Good friends don't change things just because they get a better offer.

I told the girls riding in the back they could put a plastic bag over their head so the wind doesn't blow their hair.

Yes, you can ride in the back of a pickup here.

I did stop and attend the meeting in Chiang Rai, also.

It is raining so I need to drive slowly over the mountains.

After dropping them off, I stopped for lunch at CharinGarden, with pie of course.

From 12:00 clockwise, Chili peppers, water, macadamia nut pie, fried pork with basil, rice with one over easy egg on top and coffee.

That coffee should count as 3 cups as it was really strong. 

Maybe that is why I only made it 70 km without a rest stop.

118 km more to go the way the bird flies, 143 by road.

That means at least one more rest stop, probably at the hot springs.

I made it safely to Chiang Mai with only two stops. That means I got 70 km on a pee.

I listened to the album "Gratidude is Powerless" several times on the way over the mountains. 

I think it made me drive better, too.

May 23rd - Last night I went to bed early, about 6:00 PM and slept until 5:00 AM.

I'm now on the way to pick up my friend Jay so we can catch up and go to a meeting.

Then, after the meeting, maybe a little lunch and get a massage with "Pim".  

She is one of my top four masseuses in Thailand.

Daeng is in the mountains at a wedding. She has no phone service where she is, in tea country. (Code word.)

I miss her already.

Great day, morning meeting with our friend Jay, wonderful lunch of pastrami Reuben sandwich, stimulating massage with Pim and another meeting with 29 English speaking friends.

Our friend from Pattaya ( a New Yorker), BoonMa, was at the evening meeting so we went out for a delicious dinner at The Dukes.

BoonMa and I will hook up again at noon, tomorrow. He may come back to Mae Sai with me Wednesday.

May 24th - Another great day, I found the chicken soup lady. They demolished the building she was in, next to the Mawin Hotel.

Now she is right across the street from the OFF morning meeting place.

She makes maybe the best chicken soup in Thailand. 

She was happy to see me.

Then there was at noon meeting and a massage from Pim.

She is a great masseuse.

Maybe I can get a nap before the 8:00 PM meeting.

May 25th - It was a good trip over the mountain from Chiang Mai. 

The hard part for BoonMa was he and his girlfriend split up and she was going back to Bangkok.

Breaking up is always hard.

After 3 previous marriages and a lot of weekends, I know that for a fact.

On the trip we did the normal things, BoonMa and I stopped at the hot springs, the White Temple and Ban AYO.

Fourteen kids are now at the Ban AYO shelter.

They were getting home from school as we were talking about bringing in a larger electrical service to the property.

I love to see happy kids.

Even the dog was happy. 

I missed Daeng and it was great to be home.

May 26th - We  hung out and rested.  I did put another coat of floor sealer at the brown house but that is about it for the day.

May 27th – It is the last coat, we hope, of floor sealer on the brown house floor and went on an afternoon holiday.

BoonMa and I visited the Opium Museum, then the Golden Triangle and dinner on the Mekong River.

It's home, shower and massage time.

May 28th - Up early, BoonMa and I went to the Mae Sai Morning Market. 

It’s coffee, Pa Thong Ko and looking for bamboo worms.

They are not in season but we did find some that were expensive.

We stopped at the brown house to check the floor.

I am sorry to say, it needs one more coat. I will do that this afternoon while Daeng is at a funeral.

The catalog house is coming right along. I can see the plumbers and electricians are working on it.

May 29th - Got up early and went to Makro for milk, cereal and fruit cocktail.

Daeng cut up some pineapple that is really sweet.

Something I did not know, pineapple does not ripen after it is picked.

After the meeting we stopped at a testing laboratory and I had blood drawn for a liver panel. The reason for the tests is the doctor, in America, gave me pills for a little toe infection and wanted me to have a study done every month while taking them. Cost 350 THB, about $10 USD, and they will email the results tomorrow.

Yes, they are open seven days a week, including Sunday.

Then, BoonMa and I bought a cabinet for our kitchen that Daeng had picked out.

We will take the old one to her Mother's new house.

On the way, back we bought two barbequed chickens to take home.

We also stopped at the monkey temple which is in a cave up in the mountain.

We watched the monkeys but did not go up the hundreds of steps into the cave.

When we got home Daeng had a place ready for the cabinet and we had a late lunch.

It was a good trip.

May 30th - The floor does not look as good as we would like but it will have to do until the next trip.

Daeng is going to bring her mother to see the house when it stops raining and we will start moving her tomorrow.

Water Company says they are out of water meters and will put one in as soon as they have them.

Think Happy Thoughts! TITTHT! (This Is Thailand Think Happy Thoughts!)

May 31st – We have a winner; Daeng brought her mother to her new house.

I could tell she liked it as she started to pick weeds.

We did move some of her things and should finish moving her tomorrow.

Daeng also hired a fellow to put a cover over the doorway and a railing on the roof stairs.

I told her to wait but what's a hundred dollars to make my wife happy.

It was a great month.  

We are going to close this post but this trip we still have 13 days in Thailand.