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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Catching up with myself

If I do not get this down about the steps I've already taken I won't be able to figure it out later so bear with me.  I flew out of Honduras on Friday February 15 and mom picked me up at the airport late that night. I spent Saturday and Sunday doing things for Mom and packing for Las Vegas.  Monday morning I flew out to Las Vegas for 5 days. I had fun but didn't win much money. Late Saturday mom picked me up at the airport and we went back to her place. All day Sunday I kept hearing about a bad snow storm was going to hit sometime Monday, so I threw everything that I had mailed from Honduras into the Jeep and made a run for Tennessee. After being at Moms place for less than 24 hours I drove all night and hobbled into my friend Turtleladys house around 7:30 the next morning.  A couple hours of sleep and some good strong coffee and conversation I headed to my house in Nashville.<p>

Some of this sounds like I'm typing in strange sentences it is because I'm also playing with the voice recognition app.  It doesn't understand me a lot :).<p>

So I am possibly looking at a career change and need to be in Chicago at some unspecified time or I need to be in Seattle a week from next Monday.  I may find out which today or tomorrow.  One job has constant travel and so I am looking for a very lightweight travel trailer.  My Jeep is a base model Wrangler and won't pull anything too heavy.  An older class C would be nice but I probably can't afford one that is reliable enough.  If any of you know of any deals let me know. <p>

I'm learning my phone as I go here as I never much texted or phone posted before.  I don't seem to have a comma for instance so forgive the absence of appropriate punctuation.  Once the voice recognition app gets me trained I'm sure I'll post more often.

Testing email posting

Trsting to see if this still works.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Real Life

So, it is back to real life for me now. I did not win my retirement in Vegas. I did manage to stick to my budget (the money I won in slots while in Honduras). I'm in Kansas City, and I'm looking at a huge storm heading this way. I need to get the heck out of here and go to Nashville. I haven't driven in winter conditions in about 4 years, so I really need to get going.

I am coming to terms with the fact that back here I am no longer in the 1%. No one at the hotels calls me by name, servers get testy with me when I make (to me) reasonable requests, my clothes don't fit the weather, and I don't automatically earn points with strangers when I say where I live. Back to fading into the background and being boring. Consider that fair warning. Those who considered me boring when I lived in Honduras, well, I guess there is little room to fall. :)

I'm getting data working on my fancy phone, learning to text message, learning that I have hot water at all the sinks here, and I can make coffee from the water at the faucet. I throw my clothes into Mom's washer and dryer and have clean dry clothes in an hour or less, rather than doing the hand laundry I did in Honduras. My Jeep will need gas today, and suddenly the gas prices Mom is always talking about get more interesting to me. After spending so long packing things up to get back here I find the fact that Mom is looking at the ads in today's newspaper to see if she 'needs' anything to be a strange idea. Heck, a newspaper I could actually read is strange to me.

So, in about 12 or so hours I'll head east as fast as my Jeep can haul me, and figure if there is anything I need that I don't have with me I can go to a Goodwill or other thrift store and get whatever it is. Not sure what I'll find at my house since I haven't seen it in a year and a half.

The adventure continues.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Las Vegas, Baby!

I'm having fun. I am not winning my retirement, which was plan A. Oh, well. I just looked at a calendar and I fly back to Mom's tomorrow. Time flys, I guess. I could have sworn I had at least 3 more days here.

I am slowly getting my US legs back under me. Phone plans changed to Consumer Cellular, and data working on my non-US generic smart phone. Their customer service is totally AWESOME. US based, and they speak real English in real terms. I am not being paid to say this, either!

I'm paying to use the Business Center here for internet. This is one strike against Harrahs here. I guess I expected Las Vegas to be the top of the heap of the properties. I've visited Harahs in North Carolina, Kentucky, St. Louis and Kansas City, and they all are more, I don't know, vibrant? Customer oriented. However, I have a nice room, and it is free, so I shouldn't complain. I do find the front desk folks short verbally and with little patience, and a server actually got beligerant with me last night, and I don't even drink? I asked for a water. I wasn't in her 'station' and she didn't want to give it to me. A water. She didn't get a tip when she did bring me coffee later when I was in her sacred station. But, I'm not bitter...

More when I'm not watching the money meter dwindle while I type.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Home

I am in MO at Mom's apartment. It is starting to sink in that I'm in between realities. I am constantly surprised at how friendly everyone is. The lady at the parking booth was friendly, the guard at the casino last night was friendly. Well, the Hondurans were probably friendly as well, I just couldn't understand them. When I made coffee this morning I had to stop and think and remember that I can use the water out of the faucet.

I'm glad that I have plans for the next few days because I'm feeling a bit in suspended animation. I took my Uncle's keys to the Jeep. He has been driving it for me occasionally while I've had it in storage. It won't be going back into storage again, at least for the foreseeable future. When people ask me where I live, I pause and start a story as there isn't any one place where I live.

It is good to be back. I was wondering a lot how I was going to get here, from point A in Honduras to point B, here. Now I start pondering point C.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

They Came, They Saw

They packed! I got a call at 8am from Bill saying that the packers were outside my door. I always ignore pounding on the outside doors as it is never for me. Except this time. They were an hour early, but I was happy to see them. They worked their tails off, packed me up in a very professional way, put everything into a wooden container and let me take a picture of it for my records. I got a nice numbered inventory.

Then I finished packing the two Gorilla boxes I was mailing, got cleaned up and went to post and mailed them. Visited with a few folks who walked by and wondered where I'd been. I then came home and took a nap! The worst was over. I am going home tomorrow. Since then I have given Bill the fridge and microwave and iron and ironing board he bought as well as some other odds and ends, given my upstairs neighbor some more odds and ends, and there is still plenty of odd stuff left for my landlady. I have shifted things around in my luggage so none of it is too heavy. All but the one I will put the clothes in that I'm wearing now are by the door, and will be in the car before I go to bed tonight. I will go in early and have breakfast with my old breakfast crew as well as anyone else who wants to say goodby, then my personal taxi will take me to the airport where I will board an airplane and fly HOME.

Not sure when I'll get back on-line, but by Saturday morning for sure. From Mom's computer. In the US.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hope Springs Eternal

After many phone calls today and Bill checking with another company for a quick quote, it turns out that the prices quoted are in line after all. When he actually mailed me the quote it wasn't quite the almost $8K, but enough lower to cover the other things as well. And the partial container price looks a bit better after all. So, around 3pm he calls and tells me that they will be here to pick up my stuff tomorrow after all. A few minutes later a lady called and confirmed that the crew would be here around 9 or 10 tomorrow morning. She had the town wrong, but when I corrected her, she then quit asking about the address itself. By the way, there are no addresses down here. One of my coworkers put some numbers up on his gate just to have an address, but it doesn't mean anything other than being a landmark. There also is no postal system to speak of, which means business is conducted differently, but that would be a different post.

So, I have 2 more lockers to mail, which Bill says he will mail for me after I leave. I have my luggage packed, and I have been alternating 2 sets of clothes and hand washing them and hanging them to dry between wearings. I need to sweep the floors and wipe down flat surfaces, but I am all but out of here. One day and a wake-up.

If its not one thing, its another

So, the quote came in yesterday at the end of the day. More than twice the cost to come here for less stuff, and the entire allotment for all of my expenses home, including my ticket. I have paid for the ticket already as I was intending to go on vacation on Friday, and I've been paying for the mailings expecting to get paid back. The shipping company is playing us, knowing I'm on a deadline. They waited till they were sure there wasn't enough time to get more quotes, and slammed us. Bill says 'we'll talk tomorrow'. I think he is really tired, as I'm not the only one going through changes right now. So, I look at my stuff and wonder what I can just toss. However, the way these things work down here it is a set price and not really based on how much stuff. I could ship a car, or one box too big to mail, and it would be the same high price. The price of a container load. I look around with the question 'do I really need any of this' and the short answer is no, but the longer answer is that my hammock I spent 15 months making is part of it, as well as other things that I really would like to take back. I'm angry and getting depressed and just waiting to see what happens. In the end it is only money. Around a thousand dollars to just be done with all this and go home. It is a price I'm probably willing to pay.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Still Waiting

I am still waiting to hear when the shippers will be here to pick up my stuff. I am hoping I can fly home on Wednesday when M will fly out for vacation as she is on the same flight I would take. However, I have said I'm leaving on Friday on my original ticket if I haven't already flown home before that. I wait.

M and I went to the casinos down in Tegucigalpa yesterday. My goal was to blow the rest of the limpera I have. I still ended up with about $200 worth when I got home and added it all up. So, I guess I'll be using the money changing desk at one of the airports.

Today I start cleaning the apartment and boxing up the dregs of what is sitting around. I keep reaching for things are realizing they are packed. I am able to make coffee without having to think too much, but everything else is a new process that I have to actually think through the steps. Life will be this way for awhile.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Tuesday or Wednesday

This is when the actual movers may arrive. So, I will get everything mailed, and be ready to head out whatever the next day turns out to be. Looks like it may well be my original ticket. If that is worst case, then I'm ok. Not what I wanted, but ok.

I woke up to no electricity this morning. It came on around 9:30am. No electricity means no coffee for now as I packed up all my stoves and need the microwave to heat water. Once the electricity came on I realized that I didn't leave out a coffee mug. Or anything to heat the water in. So I used my REI water bottle, and pulled a mug out of the packed items. I may get a souvenir mug at the shop on post today when I go in.

The lady shipper told me I would get door to door VIP service. It will just be Tuesday or Wednesday before they can move it. She also said let her work on it.

So now I tend to the boxes to be mailed.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Transition

I am officially in transition. I'm pulling a backup of the desktop, so I'm moved to my mobile setup. Slower and a smaller screen, poor me. There has been a snag in the process of getting the shipping company out here. Everything takes longer down here. An appointment only means that they will show up if something else more interesting doesn't come along. I am continuing to pack. I am to the point that I can have everything to be shipped packed up in about an hour. Knowing that they need to 'repack' it took a lot of my motivation away. However, this is Honduras so I figure the unpacking won't really be more than a cursory checking. The computer and some pottery I bought down here is all that is left. Then the rest of the stuff to be mailed. Then just wait for everyone else. EDITED TO ADD: My Landlady came back last night with the grandson. They bought my little clothes washer and spinner. What she haneded me wasn't what I had asked for, but Mom has an identical set she is no long using in MO, so I decided to just let it go. They were funny, wanting to make sure again that I was leaving everything I had piled in the room for them when leave.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

In just one phone call...

My landlady came over with her grandson and his friend who are in the English school here. Translation is always problematical when using the kids as there is a cultural as well as language thing. They can't translate what they can't comprehend I'm saying. Anyway, she bought not only the last thing I had to sell, the wardrobe, but talked me out of my bed, sheets, curtains, and even tried to buy my packed luggage!

There was some issue with the internet, and translation was faltering. I called my boss, and he wasn't up to the conversation, either. Meanwhile, he told me that all these boxes I have been rushing to pack will have to be opened and repacked by their 'certified packer' due to US Customs regulations. So, as I'm near the end of it, I'm quitting.

Upshot is that I won't tear down my computer till tomorrow now, I have my bed to sleep in and curtains on the windows until the day I walk out even if it is a day or so from when my stuff is picked up. So, the transition phase is taken care of. All I have to do now is pack up the rest of what I'm mailing. I may not make it out of here till Monday or Tuesday, but it is coming together.

Is that light I see really a train?

I'm up to 20 boxes/containers completely ready to be picked up. I am nearing the end, but not there yet. My back is feeling it. One room is packed up, there is a large pile of stuff to be given to the landlady, and hopefully it will all be on it's way Friday. And maybe I'll be on my way Saturday. In an hour or so I start taking down my computer setup. Then I will be on my netbook and USB stick until Friday. I don't see me renewing it unless I can't leave till Monday for some reason. I started using the cardboard boxes. I hate to admit it, but they do make things a lot easier to pack. Right now I'll take that utility on this end, and deal with it on the other end whenever it is that I'm where they are again.

I have a lot to mail. I'm not looking forward to that process, but it is just me not liking to mail things. I forgot my inventory list to make the customs forms from when I went last time, so I have all of it to mail today. That is on tap for this afternoon. Maybe. So far I have found a few things I thought I'd lost, and then repacked them so they are lost again. I am leaving things behind that I actually wish I could take but that aren't worth the effort. I am leaving a lot of projects in the middle of the process and hope someday to get back to it. Just don't really know when or where right now. Two days and a wake-up. I hope.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Packing







This is how it started. It got worse. Today a corner has been turned. I also may have sold the TV, or rather my former partner from work may have sold it for me. Bless him. He's working on selling the wardrobe now. I just sent pictures of it to him.

As soon as I make a decision before going to bed, I wake up the next morning and change it. I positively decide to change my ticket, originally bought back in December (I think) to go on vacation, to leave earlier than the 15th, then decide not to and to just stay and veg because I don't have the brain cycles to change it. However, the packing is proceeding and there are starting to be a few empty spaces here and there.

So, time will tell. For the most part I would really prefer to get out of here and go home as soon as I can. Just don't know if I'll have the energy to make it happen. Work will reimburse me whatever I decide.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Everything is better with a little Cat

Not the 4 footed kind, although one of those would help a lot as well. Cat Stevens. A fellow blogger wrote a post that just screamed at me the emotions voiced in a Cat Stevens song from years ago. Ok, it would have to be from years ago if it was Cat. In looking up the actual lyrics - which were different than I remembered by a bit - I ended up on a Cat kick and have been listening to MP3's of his for the past hour or so. I am in a much better place.

Everything happens for a reason.

A down day

Yesterday I hit a down spot. Just overwhelmed and scattered. I still made some progress. I go back and forth between wanting to get this done and not wanting to think about being done. When I'm done I will need to either change my ticket to closer to now, or find something (cheap) to do until the 15th. I don't really want to travel around here when home is something so close I can almost taste it. I may come back some day. I know my way around the area (being Central America) now, and being here doesn't scare me. I'm just ready to leave right now. I would be reimbursed for any change fees, etc. I just can't think about the details of how to do it right now.

Bill came and got the shelves he bought. I had to take stuff off and pile it someplace else. I also sent some of the plastic drawers that I used as a dresser off with him. I actually apologized to the drawers as I was washing the dust off, that I was abandoning them down here. And so, this is why I have trouble getting rid of stuff.

I have 6 containers loaded, inventoried, taped up and ready. I have one more I just need to move out there and put a number on. One more priority mail box ready to mail tomorrow. When I shipped stuff down here I have over 60 numbered items, for context. I went to the PX and when I didn't see any Gorilla Boxes out I asked one of the locals who works there if they had any in the back. She quickly went to the back and many minutes later wheeled out on the two wheeler a nice new boxed Weber charcoal grill. So, not to say the same thing won't happen back home but maybe I'll be more in a place where I can see the humor of it all.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

On-going

There is progress, but at the moment I feel like I've hit a wall. There are a lot of lessons here, and at some point I hope to have time to ponder and learn from them. I have started boxes on the travel north, 3 priority mail boxes sent yesterday. More packed and in the car to send Monday. 5 more boxes picked up from the post office when I was there. This is stuff I don't want to drag through the airport, but don't want to lose use of for 2 months. Mostly I don't know if I will need it or not since I haven't dealt with cold weather for almost 4 years (Washington State was dreary while I was there, but not terribly cold).

I have one container packed, inventoried, taped up, and numbered. Two more that just need to be taped and numbered, and 3 more that need to be inventoried, etc. More in various stages, but at least some part of this is ready to go, even if only one container at this point. My local rep came by this morning and is buying my fridge and microwave and shelves and fan and ironing board. This is good because he won't need them until I am actually leaving. Still have the TV and wardrobe to sell.

I'm tired. I'm heading in to post to eat lunch at the dining facility and buy more Gorilla boxes.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Day 2

Not up quite as early. It doesn't get light till after 6am and it is a bit difficult to get motivated till then. I have 4 boxes ready to mail, and I need at least 2 more Gorilla boxes (black plastic foot lockers of sorts) to pack up stuff. I'm trying to not use the cardboard boxes that were used to pack things into when it was shipped here. At the other end some (most) will go into storage, and I prefer not to use cardboard boxes for that. I also need to be able to handle the containers on the other end, so I'm packing a lot lighter than the moving guys did with the bigger boxes.

I am not shipping a lot of furniture as I don't have a lot. My bed is an aluminum folding cot with an integrated queen sized air mattress that I got at WalMart about 3 years ago. I've replaced the air mattress twice. It's advantages are that I can handle moving it myself (has it's own carrying case) and it is fairly comfortable. I'm taking my LazyBoy leather recliner back as well as my Ikea kitchen table. The rest is just... stuff. I am packing myself up as that is the only way I will have any chance of knowing what is where. I lost a couple of things from the move down here for months till I would unpack something not related at all and there would be whatever I had been looking for, stuffed into the available space at the time.

I may get a bit chatty here as I don't really have anyone to talk to. I live in a town away from most of the other contractors (by plan) and I'm keeping a low profile so someone doesn't decide to pull my ID's and keep me from getting onto post. Most of the contractors are retired military so they can use that ID to get on, but I'm not. I am supposed to have access till I leave, but, well, better safe than sorry. I need to get there to mail what I want to mail back.