Hello from San Jose
Hello everyone. Just to be clear, I have a house in California, not Costa Rica! But I did live in Italy nearly 20 years so maybe I can bring some cultural diversity to the site.
When I first married we were very poor and so we couldn't afford to hire professionals to fix things when they broke down. I remember one of my first projects was replacing the timer on our second-hand washing machine. I labeled all of the dozens of wires and managed to connect the new timer successfully. Ha! Now that I returned to California I became a teacher (please don't scoff) and I'm not so poor, but still try to save money by fixing things myself when possible. (Unfortunately the failed basement walls in our house aren't in this category)!
BTW (by the way) when the basement walls started to crack, one professional suggested we move the heater and water heater to a little shed outside the house, and just fill in the basement. We liked at least the first half of that suggestion, and built a shed next to the house. Hy hubby and one of my sons did it. It was a really big shed, and I thought really nicely constructed. (My son had worked helping a contractor for awhile). But we did not know about city codes and the city came out and ordered us to remove it. So now we still have the materials though some were damaged (had to be cut, etc) but basically the mistake cost almost $1K in materials not to mention labor, well time, gas...etc. Sometimes ignorance is VERY expensive! Live & learn...I wonder what the professional had in mind?
Anyway, I am grateful to Nathan for this site and hope I can contribute sometimes and sometimes learn. Talk to you soon!