It’s Crunch Time!



Here we go…. It’s “Crunch” time! I’m Beginning to feel the pressure of all the many and varied aspects of organizing such an enormous move . At the same time I’m getting really excited to just be there! But first before the adventure can begin,we must soldier through and carefully choreograph each part of our preparations . Lets not forget , Scott and I are also working 8 to 12 hour days while simultaneously organizing so many things. We must try to remember that this is part of the Adventure! Are we having fun yet?? Humph! :0

Scott is planning to complete all the interior finish work in the house by the first week of March. We are on target for listing the house for sale by the end of March (I hope). Right now we are getting bids from painters to paint the interior and exterior of the house. We have interviewed three different stagers and decided on the best one for us. This has given us a clear picture of what furniture and other belongings need to be donated, packed into the storage space, or just given away. It looks like the stagers really only want us to leave a few pieces of our furniture , (living room couch, coffee table, bar stools, dining room set, king size bed in master bedroom) So the coast is clear to complete the remainder of the emptying out of the house. Mariah had a great time loading up lots of good things for she and her new house-mates to make their house feel like a home.

The next stage of the diabolical plan is, Scott being out of the house by the first week of March, then in comes the painters then stagers . As the stagers are prepping the house Scott will be finishing up the clean up and landscaping of the backyard ( this is a pretty big undertaking!) . The final piece of the house selling portion of this diabolical plan is of course the realtor. We begin interviewing realtors in a couple of weeks. We have four appointments set up. Our hope is to have the house on the market by the end of March.

Meanwhile, given the fact that the house will be professionally staged, we need to move out, which means finding a place to live for a couple of months. We decided the best thing to look for is a month to month short term apartment that will accept pets. So we have set up two appointments to see a couple places . We will likely need to be out of the house by March 15 or so. At first we thought about going to a hotel like maybe a Residence Inn , but that is a problem with the cats. An apartment seems best because we can leave them there during the day while I am working and Scott will still have things to do at the house. We will not have happy cats! They are accustomed to having access to the yard and 3000 square feet of house to roam about in. But , alas, an adventure is afoot and adjustments must be made! They will adapt. Of course we will try to help them as much as we possibly can with extra love and attention and maybe even some good catnip to cheer them up.

Completing work on the house , preparing it and the yard for sale, emptying our house of all our possessions, loading up our storage spaces , moving to a short term rental, these are only a few of the things we are coordinating. We have a very long list of things to accomplish while we are at it. Preparing the documentation for relocating our pets , coordinating that with the vet. There are very specific requirements for things like when the cats receive vaccinations. The immigration requires a document stating that they are healthy, and it must be authenticated and stamped by the Panamanian consulate in Sacramento no more than 10 days before travel. Then there is the documentation for us humans, we are applying for a permanent residency visa for Panama. There are several different forms of residency visas and the one we have chosen to apply for is called a Pencionado. This is a form of residency that is for retirees. One of the benefits of this visa is an exemption on import taxes on one shipping container from your country of origin. We have learned that part of the documentation the immigration in Panama requires is three months statements showing proof of a lifetime income stream of a minimum of $1,250.00 per month, per couple. For most retired folks social security would satisfy this but since we are too young for social security we have decided to invest in an annuity, which we will purchase after the sale of our house. Which means our container cant be shipped until approximately three months after escrow. Consequently we plan to leave for Panama, get settled, buy a car, etc, then fly back to California to see to the packing of our container from our storage space. Of course, this is all just a loosely formed plan that could morph and alter at any point in time. But a brief trip back will be a welcomed necessity for us and our family.

Here are the requirements for pet relocation as of Jan, 2013:

1. The pet must have a current up-to-date Health Certificate dated no more than 10 days prior to arrival in Panama. It has to be signed by the Veterinarian on the right side and the USDA stamp with signature on the left side of the document. Just having the Veterinarian sign it is not enough.
2. The Pet Health Certificate has to be authenticated by a Panamanian Consulate in your area or an Apostille certification agency. You will have to find out where to go in your area for Apostille certification.
3. Pet should have an updated Rabies Vaccination (not required for puppies).
4. Pet must have Multi Vaccinations (DHLPIPV).
5. The Pet should arrive with the record book of vaccinations.
MIDA import license fee is $16.00 for one pet and $10.00 for each additional pet.
6. Health Ministry “Home Quarantine” process costs $130.00 per pet.
The Panamanian Authorities offer services Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM. They are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays.

I haven’t even begun to focus on my salon and the many things that must be addressed there. My dear friend and colleague , Natalie is going to be taking over the business and she has been so very patient and understanding as I first get the home portion of my life under control, for this I am exceedingly grateful. The practicalities of transferring my business over to a new owner are not hugely complicated but the emotional part is strangely , something I am struggling to think about thoroughly quite yet. While its very comforting and pleasing to me to pass the reigns over to a dear friend who I know will enjoy running it and making it her own, It’s yet another emotional transition that I can only describe as bittersweet. Many things seem ‘Bittersweet’ to me right now. I’m trying to pace myself as I muddle through this process and I’m confident that by the time this adventure really gets rollin’, the ‘BITTER’ will have faded away and the ‘SWEET’ will be what I’ll be singing as I’m skipping through the airport on our way to Panama. What!?# It could happen! Hee! Hee! Who ever said an Adventure would be easy?

About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

3 responses »

  1. Crunch is right!! It is all mind boggling–but I don’t have to tell you that. I would imagine you have list after list of details, etc. Glad it’s you and not me—-that would be tooooo much for my old mind!!! But it sounds like you and Scott have a good handle on most of the things that are necessary and will get through everything in an efficient and timely manner!! Carry on—-!!!

  2. For realtors, I’d recommend Sallie Morgan, with Sereno realtors. She’s great. Or, Eric Fisher-Colbrie, with Intero. Good luck with getting the house ready, listed, and sold!

  3. Ahh yes, I remember this process! But, no matter where you move to you would still have to go through all this with the house, and you will get paid for this work when it sells at a decent price instead of a fixer-upper price. There was a time when I also thought it would never end, that we would never get it all done and get out of there. But, you just keep moving forward, one more thing, and one more thing, and the end does come! I thought we were going to move in June too, and it was October when I arrived, and November for the rest of the family. You are doing great! If you are anywhere near on schedule you are way ahead of where we were.

    I gotta say though, from your photos, you look a wee bit stressed 😀

    There is very good beer here, $.048/can in the supermarket, less at PriceMart. That will help you settle down a bit after you get here.

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