Tag Archives: moving

There’s No Place Like Home…

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Home is where the heart is…Home sweet home. Well , gosh, I can’t help it, this is what’s been on my mind these days Ya see, lately it’s becoming more and more evident to me that expat communities are very transient communities. People seem to come and go quite frequently, at least here in our quaint little town of Boquete this seems to be the case. And this truth has never been more evident to me as it has been recently! The obvious reason for this realization is because there seems to be a huge amount of people who once loved living here as much as I do, and who are now moving away. Sigh… A mass exodus seems to be underway these days ( of course, I’m kinda over-exaggerating). Its both kinda sad and exciting at the same time. Sad to say goodbye to so many amazing people but its also exciting to watch them set off on new adventures. But…sigh…I will miss them. Read the rest of this entry

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Home Sweet Home…

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I’ve been slowly writing this post as we’re moving and settling into our new home. I don’t have internet yet in the house so I can’t publish it quite yet. We’re exhausted, but happy, and really busy trying to get all the last minute things done in order to be able to live in our new casita. As I’ve told you before, Scott is always going in so many different directions each day, so often the small details end up being the last things to get done. Small details like, oh, I don’t know, a toilet! And, running water…Ugh! I don’t care one iota about the ‘no cabinets’, thats no biggy. But….a toilet and running water are two pretty nice things to have in your house. Even the fact that we have no electricity isnt really freaking me out, because I know we have a generator, so we have a source for lights. No problema. But no water to the house….that’s gonna be a bit of a problem! And bless his heart, he actually managed to get the pump, connected to the water tank that feeds the water to the casita all hooked up and wired just before our first night staying here. Sadly, the water guys had been here the day we moved, to install the UV purification and the filter system and when the water hit the casita there were leaks, ugh! We called them and they came the next day, but that meant that we had no water on our first night in the casita…meaning, no toilet! ugh! So, it was sorta camping our first night and morning…at least we had the generator so we could make coffee. Well, we don’t have our oven yet , but one of our workers had actually brought a small microwave here to heat up their lunches when they’re working. Its sitting out on our terrace so I used it to warm up water to use in our French press. Coffee in the morning is a must, especially when you have to pee outside! Sheesh! Can I just enjoy one luxury? Hah!

I know I said one thing I was looking forward to about his new Adventure was simplifying our life, but come on…I didn’t mean quite so simple. A girl’s gotta have a toilet. Paleeeeeease! It is Saturday as I’m writing this portion of the post and we got an email from Price Mart, where we bought our oven, it’s there and ready to be picked up. We plan to go on Monday and get it. So we should have that installed by Monday or Tuesday, we shall see. Of course we won’t be able to use it until the gas is hooked up, which requires an inspection by the bombero’s. I’m crossing my fingers this is a simple process, we shall see. As you may know, I don’t have internet at the moment. So I plan to just keep writing this and just publish it as soon as I can. The internet people are coming on Wednesday to get that all installed, so that should be good. We don’t have cabled internet just yet up in the area where we live so its satellite cable with Planet Telecom. Its 150.00 dollars a month for 2 mb. And so, we shall see how that goes. If we want to increase to 3 mb it will cost $200.00 a month. We are thinking that we won’t get cable TV and try to watch what little television we do enjoy watching just by streaming from Hulu or Amazon Prime. We just have to see how well our internet will stream with 2mb. If its too slow we can change to 3 mb, which should be sufficient. Read the rest of this entry

Moving Again…

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Did I mention we’re moving again? Yes, I think I did. Well, I just can’t believe we’ve already been in this wonderful house for ten months. Time has flown by so fast and tonight is our last night here. We started moving our belongings out yesterday. We have two storage units reserved at Chiriqui Storage in Dolega, in preparation for the arrival of our container. So we decided that our storage units would be the best place to put all the things we have purchased for the casita but aren’t quite ready to use yet. Things like the kitchen sink, bathroom fixtures, toilet, garbage disposal, and of course all those great light fixtures I bought on my visit to Panama City, just to list a few things. So we loaded up our two cars and made a very early visit to storage. We knew we needed to get there early because it was the first Sunday of the month and they host a big flea market there. We got to Chiriqui Storage at 7:00a.m. and managed to unload all that stuff and haul ass outta there before the crowds began to form for the flea market.

Did I tell you yet where we will be living? Well, as you may know our little casita should be ready for us to move into it by January-ish. I’ve probably mentioned our new neighbors Allen & Kathy. They own the property just below ours and we’ve all become fast friends. They’ve had us over to their place several times for Happy Hour and they’ve joined us at our place for the few gatherings we’ve had in our nearly done casita. A few months back while enjoying one of those ‘Happy Hours’ at their house they totally surprised us by inviting us to move into their house! Yep! You see, they haven’t quite made living here permanent , yet. They still have a home in Virginia and only spend a few months out of the year living here in Boquete. Although they plan to eventually make Boquete a permanent home, for now they enjoy spending extended vacations here. We were so pleasantly surprised by such a generous offer. Living in their house will be so nice for us. We’ll be right next door to our project, making it much easier to keep an eye on things and making Scott’s commute to the job much much shorter.

Kathy & Allen leave to go back to the States in September. So we will all four + Copper, be roommates for the next three weeks. I sure hope we don’t drive them crazy. I’m pretty sure Copper will be hiding under the covers on the bed for at least the first week or so, he really really hates change. Poor kitty. Luckily Kathy is a cat lover, well, actually, she’s an animal lover, and so our little kitty will be very welcome in their home. And then they will be returning to Boquete right about the same time that we’re hoping to be able to move into our little casita. It’s truly amazing sometimes how things work out so well. To tell you the truth, although we had this move sort of looming in the back of our minds, we never really worried about where we would go. And out of the blue this wonderful arrangement just fell in our laps. I’m smiling as I write this because It makes me feel so happy to have such great new friends in our lives already. And the fact that we will be neighbors is a bonus!

So, today we took most of our clothes over there as well as some boxes of our bookkeeping things for our employees. We will put most of our nonperishable kitchen stuff n our storage and bring fridge stuff and things that Scott uses to cook with, spices and things. It’s pretty amazing how much we have accumulated in the year we’ve been here. We really don’t want to clutter up Kathy & Allen’s place so we’re trying to just brings the bare necessities . But, the ‘bare necessities’ look to be like kind of a lot of crap! Sheesh!! I’m sure once I get organized all will be well, but at the moment I feel a bit discombobulated. I really have to say, I hate moving. And we aren’t even done yet! We still have to move into the casita in January and then it may be a year or so before we are ready to move into our main house. Then that should be it! No more moving for us!
Well, this is what I’m up to these days. I’ve been so busy and I have so many other things to share but have not had the time or the energy to write about it all. We’ve gotten our Panamanian Driver’s licenses and I must tell you all about that. As soon as we’re all settled into our new living arrangement I’ll be writing more. I didn’t even tell you much about our trip back to the states.. sheesh. We got back to Boquete and just seemed to have tumbled right into so many different things. I gotta tell ya, this so called ‘retired’ life….it’s exhausting ! Hah!

Back in Boquete, It’s Good To Be Home….

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We had a great trip to California, but isn’t it always good to be home? The nicest thing about being back in California was seeing our friends and family, of course. And taking care of getting our container packed up was something we’ve been waiting to get done for a long time, so that was an accomplishment we were pleased to finally make. The logistics of seeing to the packing of the container was a bit of a challenge, and, I might even say, a pain in the you know what. !@# But in the end we were relieved to finally have it all done. Read the rest of this entry

Going Back For A Visit For The First Time…

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Going back where? Going back to California. We’ve been gone for nearly 14 months. Sigh… Can I be honest? I’m feeling a bit torn between excited and a little nervous about this first trip back to our old stomping grounds. I don’t really know why…but maybe by the time I finish writing this post I’ll have figured it out.

We’ll be in California for 10 days. Our biggest mission is to meet with the shipping company at our storage unit in San Jose and oversee the packing of all our belongings that have been patiently awaiting this day. We’re hoping this will take up only three or four of our days . But we also have to deal with a bunch of paperwork and things that we need to take to the shredder and dispose of. Do I really need to hold onto 30 years of tax returns? I think not. And it might be okay to let go of all those carefully filed receipts for the remodel we did on the house in Los Altos. I may not need to ship old PG&E bills and Water and Garbage bills either. I think the coast is clear to dump all those papers in that big shredder and just walk away…or runnnnn! Hah! The other job we have amidst the packing is to hold back a few things that we’ve decided are not absolutely essential to bring, just in case all our goodies don’t quite fit in the shipping container. We have a list of items that we will then need to figure out what to do with. Anyone wanna have a garage sale? Read the rest of this entry

Feliz Ano Nuevo

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It’s hard to believe that it’s New Years Eve! After going to the gym, starting laundry, making Scott lunch to take up to him while he’s working on our property, boiling some more drinking water, making more hummer food ,watering the Basil plants, and cleaning the kitchen, I had a minute to stop and think about the year that’s passed as well as my hopes for the new year ahead , before I take a quick drive over to the coffee finca where we purchase our coffee beans. 2013 was a monumental year for us. For the majority of the early part of the year our focus was on this move and then starting in late May, getting ourselves settled here in our new home was our focus. This time last year we were spending a few nights in San Francisco and dreaming about what our new life in a new country would be like. It was a rather emotional time for us as well as for all our friends and family. Goodbyes, were looming in the nearby future as we were closing down our life in California to begin anew in Panama in just a few short months. We were exhausted. But we were also both full of the anticipation that comes with an adventure that’s looming nearby waiting to be embraced. Up until we actually drove off, on our way to the airport with our very unhappy cats in tow, we had a very defined plan, it was clear and fairly predictable. But after landing here, we knew everything wouldn’t be quite so straightforward. There were many unknowns, and things we just couldn’t plan for before we arrived, we would just have to get here and figure it out…. Things like.. Where would we live (minor details! ha!)? What cars would we find to buy? Would we be able to find property to buy? How will the cat’s adapt? Would we meet nice people and make new friends?(well me, not Scott, had that thought!) What will it feel like to live so far away from our families? But when I think back now on all those unknowns, I realize that’s just the way life is all the time. We may think we have a plan and that we’re in charge, but really, much of life just kinda works out the way it should, no matter how hard you may try to force it to fit into a box of your making.

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Our First Full Day In Boquete…

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Well, our first full day here has been really great. We are still a bit foggy-brained but all in all not doing half bad! We began the day with breakfast here at the Inn, Villa Marita. They serve a lovely little breakfast with eggs, sausage, some bread thingy (kinda puffy, doughy, fried goodness), and fresh fruit, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe. And did I mention Coffee?? Well, in case you didn’t know it, we are in Coffee country up here in the Highlands of Panama! So the coffee is Devine! A great way to start our first day.

We sat outside at the big table on the veranda and there were three very friendly ladies sitting there too. Of course we began to chat, ( to Scott’s glee ) And it turns out one of the ladies is a Salon owner and stylist in Panama City! Too funny! It was good to have someone to ask about what brands of professional hair color are available here, nothing I recognize. Well, I told them I have a supply to tide me over for about 6 months and that Scott would be applying my color for now, they had a chuckle over that. So, I have no doubt I will eventually find a very talented stylist to help keep my gray hair hidden. It would be great to learn some spanish first though!

After breakfast we loaded our raincoats in the backpack and took a nice long walk into town. Its not bad going down but a bit far to walk back. It’s a breeze to hail a cab and only $3.00 just about anywhere we want to go. Easy breezy! This time of year is rainy season and we aren’t quite acclimated yet so we were not sure what time the rain would start and believe me, you don’t want to get caught in a downpour here without a rain coat or an umbrella. We stopped on our way into town at a coffee shop, Cafe Ruiz, and I enjoyed a Frapacino while Scott had a Mochacino. MMMMMM! Yummy! Then we continued our trek into town. We were on a mission to get a few little things accomplished, our mail forwarding at Mail Boxes Etc. and A new SIM card for Scotts phone. Those two missions were accomplished, well kinda, we had to leave Scotts phone at the phone store so they could unlock the AT&T part on the phone, we pick it back up tomorrow. We also thought we would see if we could find a french press so we can make our own coffee instead of having to go downstairs to get it, and a blender so we can start concocting some fresh fruit smoothies. We failed with the french press and blender, maybe we will take a trip to David another time.

When we began to feel drizzles falling in our faces we realized it was a good time to take cover someplace where we might find food and drinks! Baru is a place we had visited last time we were here and we love sitting outside under the big umbrellas and people watch. It’s located right in the center of town across from the town square, perfect spot to people watch. I don’t think it has the best reputation amongst the expats as far as service and quality of food but we were feeling pretty easy to please and just wanted something simple and mostly to kill some time while the rains barreled through. It wasn’t bad at all. After the torrential rain abated we took off to Romero’s. That’s the big grocery store in town. We wanted to get a few essentials for our little apartment at Villa Marita. We got eggs, milk, fruit, cereal, and I had to buy shampoo and conditioner. Sadly, I was forced to abandon my Alterna shampoo and conditioner when we were packing because we were having a hard time staying within the weight limitations. So I bought something that I think “Controls” volume, but it’s very possible it say’s “ADDS” volume?? Yikes, I’m in trouble if it’s the latter! I have enough VOLUME all on my own, especially with all this mist and fog and rain! I’m quite Fuzzy at the moment! Oh Well!

As we were walking out of Romero’s a Cab was driving by and I very quickly hailed him . That was lucky! So we got back up to our room loaded down with groceries and ready to spend a nice quiet evening with our two traumatized cats. Sadly, we are going to have to give them both a bath because they are extremely stinky at the moment. This is a bad thing because they like to be on the bed with us and it’s not pleasant to be near them right now. I hope they like the Baby shampoo I bought for them while we were shopping, they should be soft and shiny by the time I finish with them! Yes, I cant help myself, still doing hair even while I’m retired! lol!

I just cant even describe how happy I am to be here. I look around at the beauty of this area and tears well up in my eyes, I feel so fortunate. And the people are just as beautiful as the land they live in. As we sat at Baru enjoying the shelter of the umbrellas and sipping on my wine I found myself looking around the town square and at all the people milling about and thought to myself, “Where is my place here?” This is something that I know will reveal itself in time. In the meantime I plan to soak up all the beauty around me and I hope I never loose the feeling of gratitude that I feel right now for having such an amazing opportunity to redefine my life and the way I choose to live it day to day! Life is good and Adventure abounds!

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Travel Day…

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This has been a very smooooth travel day (Long, but smooth!) with the tiny exception of my very warranted meltdown over the Cargo issue with the kitty’s. You’ll be relieved to know that they arrived at the Panama city airport virtually unscathed although clearly not especially happy. I was very relieved when we were boarding the plane scott looked out the window and just happened to see the cats being loaded last into the cargo hold of the plane. They loaded them last so that they would be unloaded first upon arrival in Panama City. Given the fact that the flight was a red-eye, we slept the whole 6 hours. After going through immigration and customs we made our way very smoothly to baggage claim where I immediately began trying to find out where we would find our cats. I was looking all around for them and then I saw a very nice lady who looked like she was in charge, standing off to the side, by the two cages containing my precious cargo. Oh Good! She was so sweet and managed to get me to understand with no english, that she would wait there while we got the rest of our belongings. All four of our bags arrived as well, like I said, smooth travel day .

After securing our bags we made our way back over to the line for customs and we were instructed by a guy who looked in charge to come this way, around to the front of the line. They took us to the front of the line so we could get to our animals asap, so nice. The lady who had been patiently waiting off to the side with the cats turned out to be Lucy, our pet relocation guys (Jose) wife. She spoke no english but we managed understand what we had to do next. Scott grabbed the documents and the money and went , escorted by Lucy, to talk with the vet, who I never even saw. As a matter of fact, Im not sure if the vet ever even looked at the cats but, oh well. Money was exchanged and paperwork procured for the in-home quarantine required in Panama for importing animals and off we went. As soon as we exited immigration there was Jose, I recognized him from his web sight. He grabbed the two cat carriers and warmly greeted us and off we went to the front of the airport where Jose parked us on the curb with his wife Lucy while he went to get his van. One funny thing that happened as we made our way through the crowded airport, there was one point where Jose was forced to stop for a minute while a bunch of people looked at the cats with huge smiles and obviously admiring their beauty, even though they were seeing them at their absolute worst ,I’m certain the poor cats were mortified to be so exposed! After being parked on the curb to await Jose, I stood in the humid, but not too uncomfortably hot Panamanian air and just took a deep breath ! I’m here! Finally!

Now I’m sitting in the van with Jose and Scott in the front seat, the cats in their carriers in the next seat and Lucy and Brian, Jose’s 6 year old grandson sitting in the seat behind me. I just finished playing on my iPad with Brian, I entertained him a bit with the photo booth app and we laughed and laughed as we took funny pictures of ourselves and I tried to learn a few words of spanish(which my addled brain has already forgotten, ugg) while we giggled. When He finished playing with me he sat back and took out his own iPad! Ha!Ha!Ha! Silly me, I thought I was exposing him to something new when all along he was just being polite to this silly gringo lady. Too funny! The other funny thing is Scott ( you know, that quiet, guy) sitting in the front seat of this van with Jose and just Chatting away with him! Turns out Jose is quite talkative and considers himself a tour guide as well as educator to new gringos coming here to settle. I must say, his knowledge is very appreciated indeed! He also made sure we are aware of all the other services that he offers in addition to pet relocation and transportation. He gives tours of Panama City and the surrounding areas and when our family and friends come to visit us he will be there to take good care of them, (hint, hint!) But seriously, its great to have someone like him lined up.

Did I mention that this time of year is the beginning of rainy season? As we are driving down the PanAmerican Highway on our way to Boquete ( 6 hour drive ) it is pouring rain, not like California pouring rain, These raindrops ore HUGE! and I find myself wondering how Jose (of the chatty driver) can see the road, but I have confidence in his abilities, he strikes me as a very capable man. We are in good hands for sure.

Fast forward to 10:30 pm. We got to our lodging, Villa Marita and are comfortable settled. Scott is snoring away as I update you on the remainder of our travel day. The cat’s are recovering , although it may be awhile until they completly forgive us for such a humiliating experience. Copper is badly in need of a bath , he seems to have peed himself, poor guy. They were stuck in those crates for an awfully long time. But we have all their familiar things here for them, The cat box , some scratching pads which have been freshly doused with fresh catnip,their waterfall water, which they love and the familiar cat food dispenser. They have been exploring the apartment and I expect it wont be long before they are feeling much better. After we got here we had Betty, the lady at the front dest, call us a cab and take us to La Posada for a delicious Pizza and a good bottle of wine, Ahhhh! The cab driver quickly ascertained that we would be needing to find a long term living situation and drove us , not far out of our way, to see two house that he happens to rent, they are not currently available so I”m not sure what the point was, but oh well. Fernando, ( the cab driver) would really like to help us find a place to rent, we shall tread carefully with this kind offer, he is after all, a completer stranger to us. We are smarter than we look , Ha! Ha! Ha! We have already made dinner plans with our friends Al And Sela for Saturday night and are looking forward to seeing them again. I am also looking forward to connecting with other “virtual” friends who I have been communicating with via my blog and Facebook as soon as they have time.

It’s good to finally be here, although we both agree that it is a bit surreal, it just seems like it’s not real yet. Maybe after a good nights sleep and a bit of exercise tomorrow we will feel a little more like ourselves. Thanks for all your well wishes! We are grateful to be on a path of our own making and to feel so supported by everyone who cares about us. Cheers!

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What A Day Today Is!! Whew!

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Friday, May 24th,2013…
Look at all those cards!! Sigh …

Today may seem like just another ordinary day to you, but to me, it’s a very special, extremely bittersweet, and totally exciting! Today Is the last day of my thirty year career in the Hairstyling business. I got to the salon early , as usual, but today I cant help feeling sentimental as I prepare for my day. I just tossed my little color file box in the trash! I have two more colors to mix up today and that’s it! I’ve given all my clients their color formulas and Ive given Natalie and Elisabeth all the formulas as well. I have a short day today, I finish at 2;00 and then I must scurry around to accomplish many little details of our move. I’m glad I have a lot to do today after I’m done with work.

I have so many things tumbling around my head that I want to say about this day and about retiring from
a very satisfying and extremely successful career. I don’t mean Success in the traditional way that most people consider the definition to be. Some may think when I say success I mean that I see myself as having been the best stylist EVER or that I made lots and lots of money. I know I am very creative and talented and I have always strived to do the absolutely best job I could do, but Ive always been of the mindset that there is always someone more talented than me and there is always someone less talented than me. I have enjoyed practicing my chosen career as a collaboration between myself and each person who sat in my chair. But I must say that to me, my success is measured right this moment by the many many good wishes and cards , gifts and tears of sadness at my parting , the people who have said,”I Love You”, the hugs, soooo many hugs and kisses on the cheek!. My clients are my family and my friends. There is a mutual, deep love and admiration between us all. I’ve made lasting connections with so many people and I’m confident that even if I move away to begin my next adventure and I don’t get to see everyone on a regular basis, the connections never end. They will change and some may seem to fade but , go away? or end? NEVER!

So today is the last day of my career as a stylist! The last day I will make a living cutting and coloring hair. Tomorrow when I wake up I’ll still be the same Holly, but after 30 years of doing my job , going into the salon and making people happy (Most people anyways!) I believe I’m a better person, more confident , satisfied, and fulfilled . What a gift my job has been and I walk away today having received immeasurable gifts of generosity in the form of friendships that I take with me to Panama. Ahhhhh! Sweet Success!! Life is good! I’m a happy girl today! Tears will come and my heart aches, as I face this day. But the tears aren’t all sad, they are a mix of gratitude and reflection on all the amazing and wonderful experiences I get to take with me.

The sadness of leaving my dearest co-worker Natalie is an Ache in both our hearts that will need time to heal. She is a sister to me and to say I will miss seeing her everyday doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling we both have today. Boy oh boy! This isn’t easy!

Whew! Just got notice from the Title company , The money is in the bank! Holy crap! We’re homeless!! OMG! This is a very very big day! Tears are flowing all around me and This Adventure is really in full force now! Sooooo stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the Adventure. I gotta go take a deep breath and grab some kleenex! Gulp!

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6 More Day’s…

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Last night was our first night in the hotel where we will be staying until we leave next Tuesday. I worked yesterday from 8-7 and Scott finished up some details he needed to address at the house as well as doing a bit of running around to accomplish a few details. We weren’t able to establish our mail forwarding yet so we decided to just set up a P.O. box at the Mountain View post office and Mariah agreed to check it for us and then FaceTime us so we can go through it. We have gotten all the important stuff set up for electronic mail already so it will mostly be junk , but you have to have a mailing address anyhow. We will address the Mail forwarding in Boquete at the MBE office in town.

While I was in between clients yesterday I began the big cancellation process. I cancelled a couple of credit cards and notified PG&E to discontinue service in my name (at the salon) effective 6-1 as well as garbage service at the salon too . Then I called both my business liability insurance and our homeowners and car insurance brokers and cancelled those ( Big Huge Smile 🙂 . Scott also had to quickly FEDEX the documents and money orders for the cats to the Panamanian consulate in L.A. , our fingers are crossed that we get it back by Friday! Darn Cats!

As you can see, there’s still quite a bit of little details to address . Tonight, Tuesday, we have the final walk thru at the house with the buyers. I’m not really looking forward to that. sigh! Maybe I’ll be too late to make it??? Scott is finishing up moving out all the rest of our belongings from the house to our storage unit. This morning he went to pick up the moving truck that he rented to transport it all . I think he had to get a truck with a lift-gate so he could load the three huge woodworking tools. We had a bit too much left at the house to fit it all the the storage unit we currently have already packed so we had to switch everything to a different one that has a bit more space. We are counting on the professional packers who work for the shipping company to be able to pack that container TIGHT! so that all our stuff will fit. If not, then when we are here watching them pack we will have to start saying,”ok. we don’t need that, or that, or that!” But for now, we will just store it with the hopes that it will all be able to make it.

I have to admit, with each passing day I am feeling a bit more nervous. There just seems to be so many little pieces to this move that still need to be addressed and I’m anxious about messing something up or forgetting something important. Scott keeps telling me to “Breath”. He is my rock! Mariah has been on a little vacation this week in Utah. She is with Elisabeth , they are hiking around the national parks there, Zion and Bryce Canyon . It’s been great to have her car while she’s gone. I’ve gotten a lot of running around done , like just now, I ran to my optometrist and friend’s office to get my lenses in my glasses replaced. They had a bit of a smudge (from all the hair spray , I think!) that was really driving me crazy and luckily they were under warranty so I got brand new lenses!! Yea! But had I not had Mariah’s car I wouldn’t have had any way to run over there.

It’s hard to believe that I have only two more days after today to work! Yikes! and Yippee! There is most definitely an Adventure brewing !! What will I do??? Who will I be?? Where will we settle? Will anybody like us there?? What new and exciting hobbies will we discover?? Sooooo many new things to look forward to discovering but the first discovery I want to make is, “Where is the closes bar??” I’m thinkin’ Maybe a Big, cold Margarita ! That’s an adventure I’m ready for! Tuesday, May 29 we are expecting to hit Boquete if all goes according to plan! Villa Marita here we come!! And whatever bar or restaurant that is around, that’s were we will head first. Although, there is a possibility that a bit of a nap will be in order after the travel day we will have had! UGGG!

Let’s Get This Adventure Goin”! Oh, wait a minute, I do believe It’s already begun in ernest!! It began wayyyy back when we started dreaming about moving to another country! Sometimes I have to pinch myself! I just cant believe we’ve made it this far and we are just day’s away from making this dream a reality! Boy, oh, boy, as I read back what I’ve written I see that I’m a very ‘excessive exclamation point user’ !!!! That particular key on my keyboard may wear out any moment now!!! But that’s exactly how I’m feeling at the moment!! I just cant help Exclaiming about my anxieties, joys , fears, excitements and especially the extreme anticipation about the next few days, weeks, months and years! (Big Smile!) Cheers!!!!!

Yes folks, Another Dinner! (I’m stuffed!) But this dinner is with my virtual Brother!

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So tonight I am going to enjoy a very rare social outing with my very dear friend Walt. I’ve been cutting Walt’s hair for somewhere around 27 years. We go wayyyyy Back! Three children two divorces and two marriages later we have a shared history that has flown by at a blink of an eye. I’m really looking forward to spending time with him and celebrating all the years of our friendship.

I don’t know any other way to describe my friendship with Walt except to say that if I had ever had a big brother I would wish him to be exactly like this guy. I don’t really know why we have not had more opportunities to spend time together except that we just got so darn busy with all the regular things that suck up our time , careers, raising children,developing and enjoying relationships with our spouses and all the other activities that end up being the sum of 27 years. I must say I do regret not having made more time to be around him cuz’ he’s just such a great person to know. Even so, I’m so grateful for every moment we’ve shared together while I was cutting his hair. Lot’s of laughter, a few tears, sharing story’s of kids, travel, loves, Ups and downs in our careers, and endless other aspects of our lives

When Walt walks into the salon he always gives me a great big hug and I feel like I just saw him the day before. It’s as though no time at all has gone by and we just pick up the conversation where we left off four or five weeks ago. Our lives have had turmoil , the regular trials and tribulations of life and more blessings and happy times as well. All these things we somehow manage to share with one another in the span of a haircut every single five weeks in the last 27 years. It may sound strange to some but I love this guy and I feel blessed to call him my friend. I’m certain that every person who is in his presence can feel the genuine generosity of his spirit . Walt is just one of those rare human beings that emanates warmth and caring anytime your around him. I am pretty sure he and his wife Alley will visit us in Panama someday because they love to travel and have a very similar adventurous spirit like us.

Dinner With My “Girls”…

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I know, what your thinking, She has a lot of “girls!”( also, you may be wondering how many dinners a girl can endure! Lots!) And you are kinda right about that. But I must say these two “girls” are the two who I get together with on a regular basis . We bond over dinner about once every five to eight weeks , sometimes longer depending on what craziness is going on in our lives. I don’t remember how long we’ve been doing this , long enough that I’m very attached to our regular gatherings. We three are very different women with vastly different lifestyles and careers but one of the many common connections I would say we share ,is our mutual desire to have women of substance in our lives. These gatherings are our regular opportunity to connect with each other and to enjoy the blessing of the power of girlfriends.

We three, bosom friends, have often solved all the worlds problems (well, most of them anyways!) during our dinners, with much laughter, psycho -analysis, opinionated banter, constructive criticism and plain ol’ female intuition. We each have faced a world of difficulties in our own personal lives , many times I walk away from a dinner with my “girls” feeling abundantly supported, validated, sometimes redirected by my wise friends when they have often helped me to see something more clearly or more optimistically even at times, a bit more realistically. Wendy and Janell and our regular girl-time -gatherings have truly been a source of balance and often sanity in my life. Everyone should be so lucky to have nurtured connections such as the one we three enjoy. I find it ever so important to have bosom-friends who “GET” you! Friends who you know will always be on your side and who will also kick your but when you need it.

I remember a time long ago when I was on a quest to ‘really’ define or discover who the ‘genuine’ Holly was. It was a pivotal period of my life when I just wanted to grow and to be myself without trying to please everyone and to stop letting everyone around me define who I was. As I began to look around me and really take in the people I was the closest too, the people I admired the most, and the people I tended to attract, I had an epiphany….. If I had so many amazing admirable people in my life, to a degree, they must be a reflection of the kind of person I am. I think it’s a truth that we attract “Like” people (most of the time) . It was an AH, Ha! moment for me. From that time on I’ve had a renewed and deepened appreciation for the beautiful women in my life. Each one has a special light that attracts me to them . All this to say, spending time with Wendy & Janell feeds my soul and I thank my lucky stars for them! Girls Rock! (boys’ arent bad either, but hey, we’r talkin’ about the girls now! )

Another Fabulous Dinner With Some Special Friends…

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I told Scott that before we leave I really wanted to have one more dinner at my favorite steakhouse, Sundance. I just love the food, it’s a good old fashioned steakhouse, but truth be told, the Mud Pie is to die for!! We don’t get to go there too often but I’ve had it in my head that we would get one more visit in before our departure on May 28. When My friend Cathy said she and her husband Jim and their son Alec, wanted to find a time to get together with us before we go, I had a lightbulb moment! “How about Sundance Steakhouse?” They agreed and I booked a reservation for Saturday at 7:30. Then Cathy’s sister ( also my dear friend) Sandy and her husband Rob , wanted to join us so a party had evolved before I knew it.
Scott and I have always enjoyed spending time with these friends and this dinner was no exception. Who can go wrong with delicious steaks, Amazing wines, and great conversation with a group of good people. Jim & Cath brought two bottles of exceptional wines to share with us . And Alec,( who may someday become a consummate Sommmelier) chose an Amazing Cab from the menu, what 16 year old do you know who can do that? It’s amazing to be around a young man who has such a passion for food and wine, I think he’s destined for big things someday, I can’t wait to see what path he chooses.

The fun part , besides the meat and wine, was reminiscing with our friends about when we first met and our friendship began . It all started with Sandy who is an Optometrist , she owned an office just down the street from my salon , I walked into her office one day ( over 10 years ago) and introduced myself. It was a beautiful new office in town and I just like to welcome people to town and get acquainted with new people. Not long after we met, She began coming to me for her hair , I got my eyes cared for by her and we just hit it off right away, a kindred spirit for sure! I’ve always admired Sandy’s ambitious , adventurous spirit She’s a person I just love to be around. I love the way she thinks and I always know that if I want smart, honest , often witty advise or opinion , Sandy can always be counted on. Not too long after we became friends Sandy’s sister Cathy and her family decided they wanted to relocate from Pennsylvania to Sunny California. Of course they needed haircuts (Who Doesn’t?) and I hit it off with them right away, no surprise ,another friendship was formed. One of the focuses of Me and Scott’s friendship with Jim and Cathy has always been our mutual admiration of FOOD! Good food! Gourmet food! Scott and Jim are the cooks in this group! Me and Cathy are the lucky ones, right? We’ve spent many evenings with these folks enjoying not only eating together but also getting great pleasure in the whole process of preparing elaborate menus ,(Scott & Jim enjoy this part) then gathering at one another’s homes to let those guys do their magic ! Cath and I get great pleasure in preparing the cocktails (Most important!) and perching ourselves at the counter where we chat and supervise as the magic unfolds before us. Those two men can cook! And they share a passion for cooking with top notch ingredients and preparing food that wayyyyyy surpasses any 5 star restaurant I have ever been to ( not like I’ve been to a lot , but you get it?)

I’m so glad that Sandy and Cathy and Jim fell in love with California and decided to move here. In past blog posts that I’ve written about people I come into contact with who inspire me to have the experience of starting over in a new place and getting out of our box, these three are on that list . Even though they didn’t move to a whole different country to start over, it was still a huge, brave, adventurous decision to begin again on the West coast. They sold everything and left all they knew to have a completely new life. And it’s paid off. Life is good for them here and I don’t think they have ever looked back . They ‘get’ our craving for a fresh new start and an adventure more than most. Hopefully that ‘adventurous spirit’ they had when they moved to California is still alive and well , because we’re expecting to have them over for a group cooking and drinking night in our new home in Boquete someday! And I hope it will be someday sooner than later!! I’m sure as soon as they are ready to come out Jim and Scott will start the emailing back and forth to strategize about the menu they will be preparing in Panama! And Alec, will stash some good wine in his suitcase, right buddy? LOL! The moral of this post is… Sandy,Rob,Cathy,Jim and Alec are good people who Scott and I have shared many good times with and look forward to more good times in the future. Cheers! Here’s to Cookin’ good food and drinkin’ great wine with GOOD PEOPLE!

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A Fun Evening With Some of my Favorite Women…

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When Kathy decided to organize a night out to celebrate my move I knew it would be a good time, but boy , oh , boy, to say it was a ‘good’ time is an understatement ! I haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time! She made a reservation at an italian restaurant in downtown Mountain View that she said is her ‘new favorite restaurant’. I wish I could describe the hilarity of this evening but words could never do it justice! It was one of those evenings that you just had to be there to appreciate . But, if you insist, I’ll attempt to draw you a picture with my words… Six of us sat at a round table in the middle of a small ,crowded Italian restaurant ready to share a meal, a glass of wine and some good conversation , sounds like a nice send off for me right? Well, It quickly turned into an even better send off when one of the men who runs the restaurant came to our table and began to belt out , in a very loud operatic voice, I Left My Heart In San Francisco! YEP! Well, we all had to join in , as did the rest of the entire restaurant patrons! Who could just sit and listen to such a thing, it was a spontaneous chorus mixed in with a lot of laughing and Mariah looking as though she wanted to climb under the table ! Kathy had requested that he sing that particular song especially for little ol’ me! AWwww! Soooo sweet and soooooo like Kathy! After that it just kept getting better and better, lots of good italian food , a fantastic Chianti, then a fabulous desert to top it all off! Then as we were all sitting around enjoying the ambiance and the company and talking to our hearts content, we noticed a teeny tiny little old lady with a kerchief tied onto her head walking around the restaurant like she was the princess, just stopping at each table and spending time chatting with such passion. We wondered who she was. And leave it to Kathy to say to her from across the room when she looked our way,”Who Are YOU?” Well, she responds, “I’m MOM!” Well, we thought we had already had all the laughing and fun for the evening but Mom sat down at our table and began to give each and every one of us a one on one lecture on why it’s important to love the father of our children even if we are divorced from them (which not all of us are divorced from the father of our children,only, 3 out of 5 of us are ,but who’s counting?) . She was so funny and sooooooo talkative and she had us all laughing as she went around asking each of us how many children we have and how old they all are and on and on and on! Between the five of us I think there are 17 children of various ages and stages of life! “Mom” was extremely impressed that we all look so young! As she should, cuz’ we are all very young!! lol! That adorable tiny old lady was more fun and has such a gigantic personality I think we all enjoyed her zest for life and her ability to connect to us and to make us all laugh and just revel in her presence. I think all my dear friends would agree that we can’t have too many “Moms” no matter what age we are! As the laughter died down and we all looked around the restaurant we were the last people there, it was after 10:00! Time to go home ! Darn! I had such a great evening with four really amazing women who have been a part of my life for many years and who I love and admire more than they could ever realize. Kathy, Lisa, Angela And Tara you are four women who I admire, respect and Love!Try to guess who Mom is!!

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A Great Evening at Teske’s!

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Last night we had a great evening with some really good friends at Scott’s favorite bar/restaurant, Teske’s of Germania In downtown San Jose. It’s a place he and his friend Jason have a long history and many good memories of drinking excessive Liters of good German beer and B.S.ing with the owner and the bartenders who happened to also be the grown kids of the owner. Jason and Scott & the rest of the gang are definitely longtime regulars who get a big friendly greeting when they sit down at the bar and order their liters. They serve the best Goulash and (i cant spell, sorry Chris!) Spetzle. But , I think the big draw for Scott and Jason and Theo,(yes, you too Holly!) is the BEER!! They apparently serve a large variety of good German beer on Tap that you don’t find at just, ‘any’ bar. Given the fact that Jason is a professional brewer and lives, breathes, eats, sleeps BEER, its a requirement for this group to patronize establishments where quality beer is served and it’s a huge bonus when said ‘quality’ beer is served by the ‘Liter’! Yep, they are serious about their beer consumption, for sure! Although Scott and Jason can’t quite consume the same ‘large quantities’ of beer like they did when they were younger! These day’s there seems to be a bit more self control and dare I say moderation? Yep, the days of sittin’ at that bar for hours on end and consuming innumerable quantities of alcohol without a care in the world, are gone. We’ve heard stories of the two of them just wasting away the day or night (they would never call it wasted time, NOOO) drinking to their hearts content. Darn it! Now they have grown into responsible guys who have wives that are in charge! 🙂 HA!HA!HA! ( But, really, we are the bosses, right Caroline?) Scott will surely miss his buddy Jason and I know the feeling is mutual. Those two guys ( Scott & Jason) go back a long , long time and I know for a fact that they both have an incredible amount of admiration, respect, and love for one another. They would never say those words out loud but some things don’t need words, that’s the type of friendship they share. I’m absolutely positive that last night will not be the LAST visit to Teske’s! It may be awhile, but surely those two guys have more evenings in the future of sitting at that bar and sharing a liter together! Cheers!

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Time may fly fast, but at the moment it feels like slow motion…

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Yes, It’s almost always true that time really flies by fast. But at the moment, for us anyways, it’s moving at a snails pace, ssssslllloooowww! When you’ve made a decision ,such as the one we’ve made, to begin anew in a different location, and then subsequently worked your but off to prepare for said move, you reach a point when all you can think is,” let’s go already!”. Last night we walked into town to a local restaurant where we can sit at the bar and drink sangria and watch Hockey. As we enjoyed our sangria and nachos we both lamented our mutual feeling that this waiting period is very reminiscent of pulling off a band aide reeeeeal slow! I even went so far as to compare it to that last few weeks of pregnancy , when you get to the point where that tiny bit of fear you may have had at the beginning of the pregnancy, the fear of being torn apart to get that baby out of that tiny area, is completely gone because you just want that darn baby OUT!
Early on in our planning I remember worrying about all the “lasts” that I would experience and how emotional It would be. Well, I’m here now, experiencing lasts everyday and boy oh boy am I done! While my heart strings are most certainly being pulled by the emotion of ending the life we have built here, I feel as though I’m done with the ‘endings’ and really ready for the ‘new beginnings’. I’ve been very focused on all that I’m leaving behind. While there’s no way around the sadness of goodbyes, I realize I still have quite a few more to endure. But I can’t help hoping that while It’s goodbye ‘for now’ to all the people it’s really a very final goodbye to some ‘places’, to our house, to my salon, to Los Altos, and to California even to the U.S. Well, Okay, maybe not goodbye “forever” to California or to the U.S., I admit, that may have been a bit on the dramatic side! But the big “Final” goodbyes to my house and to my salon that I have been preparing myself for … those goodbyes, I’m just ready to GO ALREADY! I’m so tired of being sad and of thinking about what it will be like to have left these two parts of me behind. Intellectually I know that time will pass and our new life will begin to take on a shape of it’s own. This part of my life will always be a fantastic memory that will always be a part of who I am .
Aren’t we all, in part, a sum of our past, in a way. Our life experiences make us who we are . I’ve been so lucky to have had some pretty amazing experiences so far in my life. I see this next step as yet the beginning of even more amazing experiences to come. This period of time, may be hard for us , the waiting is a killer. But it’s all a part of the Big Adventure and I think it’s a pivotal time for us. We get to decide what our focus will be, will we mourn and wail about what we leave or will we focus our attention on the road ahead and be grateful for what lies behind us? The same goes to those who love us and are feeling sad to see us relocate so far from them. Our hope, of course, is that in time the focus for them too will change and they will enjoy knowing that we are following our dream. That our life is of our making and that we are overjoyed to be making it an Adventure ! But for now….We hurry up and WAIT! GRRRRR!

Two Women I Admire!

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I’ve lived in my house since my daughter, Mariah was just about two years old. Very soon after I moved into the neighborhood I became a single mom. I soon discovered that I had an incredible single women living right next door. Janet and I quickly formed a mutual admiration of one another that has only grown as the years have passed by. She may not realize it but she has made a very big impact on me in many ways. She was also a single mother and raised two incredible children who are both healthy, productive, successful adults. At the time that I moved into my home both her kids were practically all grown up, I think her youngest may have been at the tail end of high school, and her son was already off in college. She has seen my life change through the years and it’s always been such a comfort just knowing she was right next door.

Way back when Mariah was in elementary school Janet used to be a Teachers Aide at the school. The teacher that she worked with, Tara, was a very dear friend of Janet’s who also had two young kids,(also another single mom). Tara and I used to spend a lot of time hanging out and visiting at Janet’s house with kids in tow so naturally we also formed a close friendship. Mariah and Tara’s kids would play in Janet’s pool or run around the house laughing and conducting plays and dances or making up various games that kept them all busy . Meanwhile the three of us would sit together sipping on wine and endlessly chatting and laughing while we supervised all the shenanigans. Those evenings are precious memories for me. I just loved spending time with those two women who both have become so important to me. In my eyes they have always been strong, independent, wise and generous women who I have admired more with each passing year.

I’m certain both of these women are reading this right now and are saying to themselves, ” Awe that Holly, she’s just being nice.” While that may be partially true, cuz’ I am usually ‘nice’, ( Eye role here!) I’m also very honest and honestly, I love these two women and have admired and felt tremendously supported by them for a better part of my adult life. We may have had less and less opportunity to sit together and enjoy a glass of wine and laugh at those adorable kids who are now adorable young adults, but even though life has flown by faster than any of us can really believe, I always know that they are there for me ! They cheer me on with such gusto and I always feel that they are two of my biggest supporters no matter what crazy plan I manage to come up with! They may not realize what role models and mentors they have quietly been to me , so this blog post is my way of expressing my adoration of them. Janet and Tara have created such successful and I think satisfying lives for themselves without having depended on anyone . I see them as ‘self-made’ women , and they have done that while simultaneously caring for their families and friends around them with such selflessness. I’ve quietly watched with admiration as my two beautiful friends have, through the years managed to find some balance between family, friends, career, fun, financial independence and also very personal spiritual beliefs.

While I wont live right next door to Janet anymore and Tara wont be coming to see me for her hair appointments anymore, I have no doubt that these two women will always be my dear friends. We already miss the good ol’ days of sittin’ in Janets backyard drinkin’ our wine, but someday I hope they manage to get out to Panama to sit in my backyard ! Hey guys, I promise, I will have wine ready to go!! I’m so lucky to have such great women in my life! We truly make each other better people! Cheers, guys! I know you’ll still be cheering for me from Los Altos no matter where I live! I’m so lucky to have you both as my friends!

Strategizing about our last few weeks…

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Soooo, let’s see, we know we have to be out of the house completely by May24. We fly out on May 28. We still have to finish emptying the house of our last few belongings and get it all packed up into the storage unit. We also have to sell Scott’s truck. This all means figuring out timing of when to sell the truck and when to begin moving our things out of the house and when to go to a hotel and then how long we will need to have a rental car before we go. Of course we need to do all these things while making sure our cats are also safe and cared for. One other kinda big thing I have yet to mention is me packing up what I plan to take from my salon. Gulp! I haven’t really been ready to sort through the nooks and cranny’s and pack up things that are personal to me. I will also bring all my hairdressing tools, just in case. I plan to retire from my career but, you never know! I just might miss it soooooo much and eventually beg my new friends to let me at em’! This may be when all my new friends run screaming!!! Hey, that sounds like a pretty good exercise that could replace Zumba! ” Run from the crazy hairdresser!” LOL!

Our first best guess is, to plan on staying in the hotel for about a week, beginning on Tuesday, May 21 until our departure on Tuesday , May 28. We think listing the truck for sale on Craigslist on around May 7 or 15? Not completely sure about the timing of that quite yet. If we sell the truck we will then need to use the moving truck that our storage place provides for free for their tenants (a very nice service) . Scott is thinking he may need to rent a moving truck with a lift-gate to move his bigger tools, at least for one day. The big part for Scott is going to be repacking the storage unit to fit all the remaining things from the house. I think there are probably a few things that are already in the storage that we can do away with if we need to.

The whole, ‘ storage and shipping container’ part of our plan is proving to be quite a big P.I.A! I wish we could be as low maintenance as many other people I have spoken to who make this move, but alas! As much as we have purged and minimized our worldly possessions, there are still just too many toys we are planning to have much more time to enjoy in our early retirement. Between kayaking and camping and sculpture and woodworking and entertaining our new expat friends with fun-filled pool games and Scott cooking his little heart for anyone who will let him, we are just not scaling back enough to be able to be as footloose and fancy-free as we would like. Wellll, maybe fancy-free, but not so footloose! While some folks who choose this path for their life are able to just minimize their worldly possessions to a few suitcases and simply begin all over again, it’s not the case for us. So we shall endure the pain of this last scurry of prep work as we near the end of this portion of our adventure preparations. In 16 more days I will be done working, ( May 24) then I’ll have a few more days to help Scott with any of the remaining organizing and , oh,my daughters birthday is May 25 so that will require a bit of celebrating! But, of course! After all that, it’s TTFA! We’re almost there folks! Can’t wait! Can’t wait! Can’t wait!

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We are soooo ready to get on that plane…

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We are more than ready to walk out the door and get in the car and drive to L.A. to board the plane to Panama City! But, NOOOOO! Screeeeech! NOT YET!! Scott , who is at his best when he has very little time to accomplish a task, is roaring to go. He doesn’t have too much to do at the moment and I think it would be an accurate assessment to say that he’s a bit stir crazy. I still have work to go to but, he is kinda hanging out with the cats and procrastinating on his short to-do list. I must say, although to the common bystander he may look as though he is very unproductive, he has actually been getting quite a bit of research done on the computer while he’s waiting to the last minute to get to his actual tasks. He has been busy checking out the real estate listings in Boquete and reading up on financial topics that will greatly benefit our future. I gotta give Scott a lot of credit for all the research and planning he does while I’m at the salon blissfully(blissfully ?) cutting and coloring hair. It’s a good thing too cuz’ anything that has to do with numbers is not in my arena. Noooooo! I have my strengths but they’re not in finance. (Aside from measuring 1 or 2 oz of hair-color, numbers allude me .) So I know Scott feels a bit bored and he’s soooooo ready to get goin’ but I know he’s actually getting some very important things done that would have needed to get done sometime. Besides, I know that the kitty’s are quite happy that he’s around. They have been segregated to the master bedroom and are not quite sure why the rest of the house is now off limits to them. We really want to keep all the cat hair isolated to one room so the new owners don’t have to move into a house full of cat hair. I’m certain they will appreciate that. Not that I would ever leave the house filled with cat hair! I’ll be sure to give the whole house a good vacuum before I hand over the keys, it will be pristine, for sure. Hence, for now we are holed up in the master bedroom area of our house with the cats. Don’t worry we have our sofa and there is a TV in the room, we have plenty of space , for sure.

All the things we’ve had to coordinate in order to make this whole life changing move are mostly done now. Yes, we do have a few more items to check off our list but given the amount of work we’ve already put into this endeavor, we are feelin’ pretty good about taking it easy this last few weeks. We have many friends we would like to have time to get together with and our family members are on the very top of that list of get togethers. I’ve always felt that time with those I care about and love is by far the most valuable thing to me so given the fact that I’m about to have very little time with my favorites , I’m really stocking up on my face time with everyone who will make time for me. Even though we will still be in touch via phone ( Magic jack) or Facetime ,Facebook or my blog, it , of course, won’t really be the same as being together like we can right now. Soooooo as our calendar fills up with lots of visitin’ we relish in each moment with all the people in our life.

We found out today that the original date on the paperwork for the close of escrow still stands so it looks like it will be May 24. Now that we have a firm date of that final piece, we can prioritize the remaining tasks . We know for sure that we must be out of the house by that date (May 24) so we now can plan to arrange a pet friendly hotel for the last four nights here ( Our airline tickets are for May 28) . Scott will begin to empty the house of the last few belongings that we have here and move them to our storage unit most likely the week before,( leaving the bed for the very last minute so we have a place to sleep). Our bed, our washer/dryer , sofa,coffee table , tv’s, patio furniture and a few more boxes, and his big tools, also a bit of my clothes that I will pack up and live without until they arrive at the end of the year. This is Scott’s last big thing on his list, he’s planning to hire the workers who had helped him with the house. Given the fact that he will unload the storage space and reload it in a more organized manor so that we can hopefully fit more stuff, he will need more hands than only his own. Remember, I will be at the salon, “blissfully” cutting and coloring hair. We’re so close to being ready to go, we can taste it! I gotta tell ya, having made this very difficult albeit exciting decision and spending so much time preparing to do this, It’s really hard to wait for the actual day of our departure. I think we are both mentally gone already! I know it’s not easy for all of our friends and family to hear that , but it’s true, we are soooo very excited and just ready to make it happen already.

Oh Boy, It’s good to be on the same page!

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This morning I was chatting with my first client, Anika, and she mentioned how nice it is that Scott and I are on the same page with regards to our decisions and desires to make such a huge life change. It got me thinking , and she’s sooooo right! Wouldn’t it be horrible if only one of us wanted to retire abroad? Well, I guess if that were the case, it wouldn’t be happening! But, luckily, we were both of the same mind when we began the discussion about moving to another country.

When we think back to the night we began the discussion I think It was me that actually said it first, ” let’s just LEAVE!” “Let’s get the heck outta here!” I said it with a laugh and a big eye role! I remember talking about what it would be like to just ,’start over’ someplace different. Granted, at the time ( about 8 years ago), our reasons for wanting to leave would have been totally wrong. It’s never a good thing to run away from situations because,’ wherever you are , there you are’! So it’s good that we are both pretty level headed and at the time it just began to be a fun dream to talk about and imagine what we would do, where we would go, how we would do it. The dream itself became our escape during a difficult time in our life. We would just talk and talk about what it would be like to sell our house and how much money we thought we would need to make it work. Where would we go, would we be able to find a place where we would both be happy? We each spent a lot of time thinking on our own about what we would need to do to make moving to another country work for us. That night, so many years ago , little did we know, was a life-changing moment. When that conversation began we unknowingly started to go down a path together that we didn’t , at the time realize would change our life path so dramatically.

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Our Next Big Milestone Will Be The Close Of Escrow…

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The next big milestone for us will be the closing of escrow on the sale of the house. We don’t have a firm date on that quite yet! Originally the paperwork said May 24 but the buyers are going on vacation on May12 so we are hoping they will be able to close before their vacation, maybe May11? That will mean we need to vacate the house just as soon as that date is determined, so either by May 24 or May 11. The last few days or weeks of our stay will be spent in a pet friendly hotel.

We still have a few things remaining in the house that we are hoping to be able to fit into our storage unit and then into our shipping container. We have our couch,coffee table, king size bed,washer/dryer,patio furniture and three more big tools that Scott just ordered. Unfortunately this is where we begin to re-prioritize the things we are bringing. Why? you may be asking? Well, our storage unit is just about full already and as you may know, the two storage units are equivalent to our 40 foot shipping container so that means that whatever fits into the storage units should also fit in the shipping container! And Whatever ‘doesn’t’ fit will surely not fit into the shipping container! Yikes! There are already a few things that I know we can abandon, well not abandon exactly, but find a home for. Like a desk and printer stand,a wine rack, a corner metal bakers rack thingy,an upholstered chair, and I’m sure I can think of a few other things we can live without. The last things on my list of priorities is the couch and coffee table, although I’m pretty sure the coffee table can be disassembled and then it will fit better, I love that table! But the patio furniture is something I really want to be able to bring and the washer/dryer are non-negotable as well as the bed. Scott thinks he will have to completely unload the storage unit and repack it more efficiently. Given the fact that we had to pack it little by little, it was impossible to do a very efficient pack job. So we shall see how much more room we can find in there and just what ends up not making it into the container.

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I Have Wayyy Too Many Clothes!

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Sooooo I decided to go shopping! Hah! What’s a girl to do??? It seems as though the clothes I wear in my life here are not quite what I envision wearing when I live in Panama. The clothes I wear to work tend to be a bit more trendy and dare I say, fancy? I know…. I’m not the fanciest girl in town , but fancy as far as Panama standards go. I think I’m probably on the less fancy, more casual side in terms of Los Altos standards, of this I am pretty sure. We have spent a bit of time in Boquete and I think I’ll be wearing mostly jeans and sweats and capri pants maybe a sundress every once in awhile, but I’m not certain ,or shall I say, I can’t decide exactly what I should bring!I do know that up in the mountains it’s not nearly as hot and humid as it is down in David, so I don’t think I’ll be wearing a lot of shorts, except of course when I go to David. I have already gotten rid of quite a bit of clothes and I’ve even already packed a bunch of stuff that is sitting in the storage unit . I still have 23 days to work! (whoop! whoop!), so I have to keep a selection of “work clothes” out and I have separated a selection of things I want to take but don’t need now and can live without in Panama until they arrive in the container. The important selection of clothes is the clothes I want to fit into those four suitcases we can bring with us on the plane (sadly, I have to share some of those bags with the dumb cats and that silly man who’s coming with me!) . These are all the clothes that I will have with me in Boquete at least until the container arrives in possibly November or December. Mind you. I’m betting that when the container arrives I’ll most likely open all those boxes of clothes and wonder what the heck I was thinking! I’m hoping I will be happy with the smaller amount of clothes that I bring with me and then I can hopefully find a place to donate the excess. I just really hope to be living a much more casual life . That being said, I somehow still find myself agonizing about ‘what’ to bring! I don’t really know what my day to day life will look like, I hope we will eventually get to do a bit of traveling in and around Panama . This will call for some much cooler, lighter weight cloting. I’m hoping this post will prompt my friends who already live there to give me a bit of advice? What do you where most of the time? Sweats? Jeans? Capri’s? Shorts? Long Sleeves? Layers? Tank Tops? Huh? And don’t forget shoes? Sandals, Teva’s, rainboots, tennis shoes? I’m thinking a pair of flip-flops, a pair of Teva’s, a pair of rain boots and a pair of tennis shoes. If I go out at night to dinner or to someones house, are my flip flops gonna offend anyone? Of course Scott will not be seen without his Teva’s that’s a given, but he just doesn’t have that gene that makes him wonder what people think or if he looks ok! I aspire to someday be more like him in that respect! I’m workin’ on it! (Eye Role!)

Yesterday we went to have a consultation with an attorney to get a trust started. I had a very exciting ‘milestone’ moment, while filling out the paperwork I got to put “RETIRED” in the box that said vocation! Wow! It felt so foreign to refer to myself in such a way. RETIRED? REALLY? Well, 23 more days, but who’s counting? This move is a big one! So much is changing in my life and honestly, my wardrobe is the least of it but it’s a great distraction from some of the bigger changes. For now I’m kinda thrilled to begin to redefine myself beginning with the style of clothes I will be wearing. It’s an exciting transition and one that I am not takin lightly. But really folks,what’s a girl to wear for her life of leisure? Given the fact that the fashion police will probably not care , I’m pretty sure my new sweats and jeans will suffice for my new life in Boquete . Mostly, Scott is just hoping I can fit everything I need into the allotted four bags we can bring without incurring large fee’s for excess baggage. I know It wont be a problem but I just want to bring the right things.

Today is our Day!

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We are planning to rest, relax,recover and rejoice! Yep, No work or worry on our agenda today. We have begun our day with coffee while we give the cats some love. So far we are undecided what direction our relaxing day will take. We have toyed around with the idea of a hike and a picnic, or possibly a bike ride, since Scott spent the better part of yesterday revamping our very neglected bicycles . Then we thought about the possibility of a train ride into the city to wonder and explore, which we always love to do. Culminating in dinner near the water so that after it gets dark we can go see the new light display on the Bay Bridge. Then again… we do need to do a bit of shopping for a few things we know we will need to bring with us to Panama. Given the fact that we just have about six more weekends left before our departure we really might need to try to gather the last few items we are planning to pack into our container to ship over to Panama. We have a list of a few essentials that we know will not be easy to find or at least easy to find for economical cost and of decent quality. Read the rest of this entry

Hurry up and Wait…

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We are in limbo at the moment. While we wait for someone to step up and buy our house there are so many variables and so many aspects of our plan that we are unable to really move forward on just yet. Scott and I are still going over to the house to finish off little details and maintain the beautiful garden so that it looks spectacular for potential buyers. The little detached garage/cottage in the back really needed to be cleaned up so we gave it a fresh pain job inside and cleaned it up as best we could so that it looks nice. It’s hard to know if someone will like the versatility of having the ability to use it as a guest house or office or will they want it to be a garage? Who knows. So we go back and forth between the possibility of staging it as a cottage or leaving it just a clean slate so someone can use it as a garage. I think for now we will just leave it as is and see what happens. On Wednesday Scott is meeting a guy at our storage unit to get an estimate on shipping everything to Panama via container. We will most likely get estimates from at least two shipping companies. Then he will spend the rest of the week getting our taxes done so we can finally get that chore off our plate for this year.

Today at lunch we were brainstorming about what our options are for finding a place to live in Boquete. Ideally, in the long run we would like to find a furnished home that is pet friendly where we can live for at least the first six months to a year. Given the fact that finding and securing a situation via the internet is kinda risky, you just really never know who you are dealing with online. There a people everywhere who will be glad to take our money in return for a house they want to rent us sight unseen. We have had an email interaction with a man who has a house he and his wife would like to rent so they can care for his aging mother who lives abroad. Sounds pretty much on the up and up except for the part where he wants an entire year worth of rent paid upfront before we have even been there to see the place. He emailed pictures and it does look lovely but who in their right mind mails a complete stranger an entire years worth of rent for a house that may or may not even exist? Not us! I don’t know, just how we will find a long term situation without being there to really see it and meet the people who will be our landlord. It seems to us that the best plan will be to find a short term B & B or hotel or something where we can just spend a week or two while we hunt for more permanent lodging. Of course our cats are the problem with this plan. I did just make a new friend through my blog who has a lovely B & B in Boquete and it is pet friendly but she has two cats and we would have to see if our cats would get along with hers. HMMMMM, I’m just not sure how they will behave with other cats? I would feel so bad if they were really mean to two kitty’s who are just innocently welcoming them into their territory. I’ll have to see if it would be possible to just keep our guys in our room for a few days . Or the next idea we had is , as soon as the house is sold, possibly Scott can go to Boquete without me and the cats and stay in a cheap hostel while he shops around for a furnished place for us to live. This would require him to return so that he can travel back with me and the cats and some luggage. I just don’t think I could manage all by myself when it comes time to make the move. This may be a possibility. Right now we can’t make any final decisions about which route to take because as I mentioned we are in limbo until the house is behind us. It will be really comforting when we finally know where we will be living when we arrive in Boquete. At the moment we just have to patiently wait until this limbo phase has passed, which I’m sure will not be too much longer.

Although our living situation hasn’t been quite dialed in, I’m grateful that there are many aspects of this next phase that we have already spent a great deal of time organizing . Just getting to where we are now has required quite a tremendous amount of planning, coordinating, strategizing and research. When I feel myself beginning to feel anxious about not being as far along on a particular aspect of our goal as I wish we were, I have to stop and remember how much we have already accomplished this far. And as I like to remind others, I really need to just ‘be in the moment’! There’s so much to be grateful for and so much to soak up right now that I will miss someday. It’s very easy to get so caught up in ‘where’ I’m going and then I realize I am missing out on what is right in front of me. Everything always ends up working out just as it should in the end so why waste so much energy fretting over what will eventually become very clear. As I’m writing this post I am realizing just how therapeutic writing this blog is for me. When I began writing this post I was feeling so caught up in worrying about finding a place to live in Boquete. Now that I’ve reminded myself to chill out, I can take a deep breath and just enjoy the moment and all the people in it. Everything will fall into place as it is meant to. Of this I am certain. I’m gonna attempt to sit back and… ‘Let This Adventure Begin!’

Three more days to moving day, To the apartment! Not to Panama, not yet! Don’t worry, I’ll still be here until June!

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I took this whole week off work to help pull this house and yard together by Friday. Every day we are up by 6:00 and working non stop until the wee hours of the day, it’s 7:30 pm right now and we just finally sat down. I’ve been in charge of the landscaping and it’s really coming together pretty good. Sunday and Monday I had help, thankfully, from Cindy, Janet ,(the best next door neighbor EVER!), and Mariah. Cindy came with me to the nursery and we bought tons of flowers and shrubs. I think she may have been slightly overwhelmed by the amount of plants we had to decide on and buy. We bought so many Pansies and Marigolds If I see another Pansy I think I’ll scream! Then on Monday Natalie and Patti came over for a few hours and we got the rest of the front and most of the side yard planted. Patti and I had to run to the nursery for more shrubs for the side yard. We had plenty, more than plenty flowers but needed shrubs to fill in around the side yard and courtyard areas. I love shopping with Patti because we are both really good decision makers and we pick things out really fast without even questioning our decision,”Yep!, That’s Perfect!” and off we go! We picked out the plants and bought and loaded them and got back to the house pretty quickly. Natalie was planting away in the front yard when we got back. I bet Natalie will also scream if she see’s another Pansy! I think all my friends think I’m going a bit overboard with all the flowers and plants but I think it’s really important to make everything look perfectly beautiful. I want someone to come into this house and just absolutely fall in love with it. Then I want them to write me a nice big check so I can catch the next plane to Panama, Well, ok, maybe not the NEXT plane .

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Well, Here’s The Beginning Of The Big Lifestyle Change We Signed Up For…

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I’m realizing with each passing day that Our Adventure has begun in earnest. I know, I’ve already acknowledged the fact that the “journey” is the destination. But so far our Adventure has been planning and strategizing and dreaming and researching and planning some more. Getting our home ready to sell and preparing to move out of the house has been the first really big step that is irreversibly changing the way we are accustomed to living our day to day life. We are taking on this monumental life change in order to quench our hunger for a very different lifestyle, and HERE IT IS! We are just weeks away from walking away from our house. Most of our material possessions are packed and waiting to be loaded onto the shipping container. It’s a very sobering thing to realize that we set our sights on something and are marching briskly towards our goal. In the midst of all this upheaval I must admit that I have not experienced even one moment of regret or change of heart about what we have set out to do. In the coming months I’m certain I will be writing about how hard it is to leave all I know but fear not, I am expecting this transition to be a challenge of enormous proportions . Writing about all this and sharing it with all of you is very therapeutic. It’s a very productive way for me to process all my many varied emotions as I travel through this gigantic adventure. All the hardest, most challenging experiences in my life have always, without exception, been the most worth doing and the most valuable. The easiest path is not always the most rewarding. The thought of not pursuing this adventure and staying put, continuing on the same path we are on , is to me much scarier and sadder than marching forward towards the unknown.

We have a loosely formed plan for this next phase of our life. But “loosely formed” Is the key phrase. We would be foolish to think that we can predict what will actually happen when we hit the ground in Panama. We have an idea of what we would like to achieve and for now we will head in that direction but with open minds and very clear expectations to expect the unexpected! To some this may sound unsettling and it may well prove to be just that, unsettling . If calm, predictable and settling was our goal we would stay put in our beautiful home in Los Altos. We signed up for an Adventure and I’m sure we will not be disappointed . We may be frustrated at times, nervous in the beginning, and of course sad to leave many people who we will miss. Making a life change as monumental and all-encompassing as the one we are in the process of making is many things but easy is not one of them. Who really knows for sure what the future holds for any of us? We certainly don’t expect our relocation to Panama to be predictable but what we can predict is, we will learn a lot and we will be pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone as well as creating a new life filled with lots of new friends and new experiences.

So as we prepare to leave our house, our careers, our family , friends and country we may feel sad at times and I speak for myself when I say I will very likely be very melancholy as I face so many lasts and endings and farewells. But , boy do we have much to look forward to as well! It’s truly exciting , hard , to be sure , but I’m certain all this preparation and hard work will be worth it ! It wont be long now! Did somebody say, ” Let The Adventure Begin!”, Oh, yea! That Was ME!! Sooooooo It’s an Adventure All Right!! And It’s Begun Already!! Whooooo!Hooooo!

Oh, I Thought It Was CRUNCH TIME A Few Weeks Ago, I Was Wrong, NOW It’s Crunch Time!!

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We are sleeping at our house but to be sure, we are barely living there. We have sold, stored or given away most of our furniture . We have packed up most of our kitchen and cooking equipment. All the wood floors are covered in paper by the painters. Our Bed, the only thing left in our bedroom, is pushed into the middle of the room, weird! All the windows are covered up by the painters and there are trash cans and toilet paper and other odd things piled up on counters so they are out of the painters way. Get the picture? To say we are Living in our house would be an inaccurate description of the situation. We sleep, shower,eat frozen pizza and drink wine (Lots of wine!) ! It’s quite strange to exist in our home this way. All for a good cause, I am not complaining! Just sayin’! I’ve taken next week off work so that I can help with all the last minute things that need to be completed. I have a few friends who have kindly offered to come over and help me do so some planting. I just want to plant tons of color all over the yard so that it looks beautiful and cheery! I”m so glad I don’t have to do the final cleaning ! The cleaning crew will come on the 16th and make the house sparkle. Where have they been all my life? It wont be long now and our house will not be ours anymore. Sigh…

Today…

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Today, Wednesday, our realtors Ed Graziani and Christy Ying are coming to the house with the cleaning company to give a bid for the cleaning and the copy writer who will be writing the brochures for the house. Ugg! This selling a house gig is proving to be quite the ordeal! Geez! Can’t we just plop a for sale sign in the dirt and call it a day? I guess not. sheesh! Nothing is as easy as I would like it to be. So I will play the game along with everybody else, cross our fingers and hope for the best. The “best” being a fast sell for lot’s of $$$!

In the past I always dreamed of having crews of workers swarming around my house getting lots and lots of projects done while I gazed upon the scene with a big smile on my face. Well, be careful what you ask for! This morning I was in my bathroom getting myself ready for my day, headphones in my ears , as usual,( listening to my favorite podcast) while I blow dried my hair, got dressed and put on my make up. When I was done with this morning ritual I opened the bathroom door and Wow! My house was swarming with worker-bees! Painters, carpenters, and who knows what else was going on in every nook and cranny. A beautiful sight for a women who has lived in a ‘half finished’ house for many many years, dreaming of a house that was actually ‘finished’. I realized quickly that there was no place for me to even work on my iPad so maybe I should exit, stage left! Although, It was only 8:30 A.M. and I did not have to work until 1:00! Well, the realtor and their crew are coming at 10:00 so I decided to take refuge at my salon, which is just 5 minutes away. I grabbed the truck keys from Scott and fled the scene to find solace in the salon and then I will return in at 10:00 to meet with Christy and ED. Just another day marching towards our Big Adventure!

Who’s Cookin’ Dinner Tonight?

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I’m usually pretty spoiled when it comes to dinnertime! Scott loves to cook so I don’t starve. I don’t actually think the possibility of me starving is actually why he likes to cook, but I must admit that from time to time I wonder how I survived without his cooking! Before Scott came into our lives I think Mariah and I just foraged for food. Most nights when I get home from work Scott has dinner ready to go or at least pretty close to ready. I usually try to help by assisting with chopping or hand him this or that or I follow him around cleaning while he’s cooking, of course there is the occasional evening when I plop myself down at the kitchen island and enjoy a glass of wine while I chat with the cook . For him, sharing at least one meal together each day is very important and I’m glad. It’s so nice to end the day together and chat about our day . It’s a nice tradition that I’m grateful he has always insisted on. So lately, my cook has not been so motivated to cook, I know, what’s up with that? huh? I’m so neglected! Well, I jest! We are both understandably distracted and exhausted by the whirlwind that is our life at the moment. Not only are we not especially prepared for our weekly meal plan, but we haven’t even had time and energy to get to the market to buy food! So we recently discovered Waiters on Wheels. Love that web sight! They deliver food from a large list of local restaurants. Last night we ordered from a Moroccan restaurant in Mountain View, Yum! We will try not to make it an every night occurrence but I must say, it’s quite convenient at the moment! I am planning to try to get to the market in the next day or so but we shall see how that well intentioned plan goes! One things for sure, we will not go hungry!

I have a feeling that our life has already taken on a much different flow from what we are accustomed to. I was just mentioning to Scott the other night that our days of cooking elaborate , gourmet meals in our beautiful kitchen could very well be over already. Scott will likely shed a tear for his Viking stove! Given the fact that we will be living in the house for only two more weeks and our agenda is so focused on working on the house till the wee hours of the evenings ,cooking and planning meals is naturally on the very bottom of our list of priorities. As a matter of fact I hate to admit this but we actually have frozen pizza sitting in our freezer for dinner tonight! Shocking! I know!

How We Decided to Move To Panama

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This is a post that I published a while back but thought it was worth re-blogging. I notice that the most frequently asked question from those who don’t know us is “How did you choose Panama?” So for those of you who may have missed my answer to that very good question…..

As I’ve been discussing our plans to expatriate with clients, friends and family, there are naturally many questions that everyone has . How did you decide on Panama? How do you fly there? Is it safe? Do they have Internet ? Where is Panama in relation to other countries in Central and South America? Do you have to give up your U.S. citizenship ? Can you collect Social Security down the road? Do you still pay U.S. taxes? What is banking like there? What currency do they use? What s health care like there? Will you ship a vehicle out there?

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Work, Work, Work…

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This is a picture of the detached garage in the backyard and the dirt that will soon be lawn. We are building an arbor over that glass sliding door and I have a beautiful pot to plant a topiary to the left of the door.

Each day off work is a day to work. There really isn’t any time to just have a day off and recharge. We have set a very tight schedule for ourselves and it will take every spare minute we have to get everything done. We have two weeks left to get this house in perfect shape. The painters will continue tomorrow and Scott and his four workers will continue pulling the backyard together, while simultaneously finishing off woodwork projects that are not quite complete . Today (Sunday) we bought four beautiful trees to plant along the fence in the back. We already bought a lot of shrubs to plant and three vines. Scott plans to order the sod tomorrow. We are supposed to get some rain on wednesday so hopefully all the plants will be in by then. Today Mariah helped me empty the attic and haul my last load to Goodwill. The biggest project that Scott has to complete is probably packing up all his tools and transporting them to storage. There is a pretty long list of little details to address. I have taken the week of the 11th off work so that I can help pull together the moving out and the front yard planting as well as anything else I can tackle while Scott is finishing up all the details he is working on . We need to plant a bunch of color in the front yard. Our Realtor is coming on Wednesday with her cleaning person so he can give a bid. The plan is to be out of the house and moved into our short term rental by the 15th. The cleaners will be scheduled to clean on the 16th and then the stagers will begin on the 18th. Then the realtors will have photographers in here to begin a virtual tour and photos for marketing brochures and such. Then the Brokers tour should be the 22nd and open house beginning on the 23. The clock is ticking, we shall see if we make it! If not , then oh well, we will just have to push everything out a week or so, not the end of the world! This entire timeframe is our own, nothing says we cannot change it if we aren’t ready. Whew! Sounds exhausting, huh! Well, it kinda is!

IT’S A WILD RIDE!

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Painters, stagers, realtors, landscaping, storage spaces, and cleaners OH MY! Our life is literally upside down! It’s all a part of the ride we signed up for so don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not complaining , nooooo. It’s exciting , to be sure! But man, It’s moving along much faster than I could have envisioned. And my stomach gets a bit tight at unexpected moments. Yesterday when I walked into the house there was a crew of painters in there and my beautiful colors were gone! Not all the colors were gone but the ceilings are all white now. If you don’t know me, I am not a fan of white, is white ‘really’ a color? I just love to surround myself with cheery color. I knew the painters were starting this week but I thought they were starting the exterior first so I was kinda surprised when I walked in the house, to see the interior started. I had to turn around and walk back out to Scotts truck and just cry. Scott saw me crying and said (after a chuckle) are you crying because your sad or happy??? “I don’t knowwwww!” I have a strange feeling that will not be the last of the tears. This is a transition of emmence proportions ! A change that I’m very excited about but also very aware, even more so lately, of the magnitude of change we are initiating. I’m so grateful to be doing this with my best friend! Although I think he’s wondering who this cry-baby is at the moment. Humph! Onward and upward! Did I hear someone say ADVENTURE??? I might need some kleenex for this portion of the ride.

Weepy about the house…

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Wow! Today,(Wednesday) I work at 12:00. So I got up at 6:00 and started boxing up the last remaining miscellaneous stuff that needed to be gotten out of the house so that the painters can do their job with as little in the way as possible. We also scheduled a Salvation Army pick up . The last remaining furniture that we couldn’t give to friends or family is sitting out on the curb waiting for a ride. The house is empty except for the few pieces of our furniture the stagers want to use. And the painters should be able to do their job without much in the way. At 10:00 we have yet another meeting with potential realtors, deep sigh. This is the first time I’ve been through the selling of a house and I must admit, it is not for the faint of heart. Especially given the fact that we have so much invested in this house, not only financially but emotionally as well.
45 minutes later…
We just finished our meeting with the realtors and I imagine I looked like a deer in headlights to them! At one point, I must admit I was holding back tears. I can’t really explain why I had this sudden burst of emotion talking about the best strategy to sell this house with two practical strangers who really only care about making money. ( well, I’m probably being a bit harsh, they are very nice people.) Don’t worry, I’m certain no one sitting at the table could even tell I was experiencing an internal burst of emotional upheaval! Well, It’s all part of the process and I am marching along , maybe a tiny bit weepy but it will pass. I have been expecting the unexpected and I must admit I feel a bit surprised by this sudden burst of emotion about the house, Darn it! Yet another part of the Adventure!

Next On Our List …

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The next step in our diabolical plan is to have the house staged beautifully for selling. We have hired a staging company called Fresh Accents. The designer we are working with is named Valerie Rebesque. She and her partner are both very creative and professional women who I have a lot of faith in . They will surely make our house a show-piece . I must say that I really enjoy decorating and consider myself pretty good at it (some may disagree, too bad!) , at least good at making my home look how” I” like it to look. I have my own particular style and I really enjoy creating an atmosphere that is warm and welcoming as well as expressing myself in my home. When someone comes into my house it is an invitation to know me better. I really get a lot of joy out of making my home an expression of me. So, having someone else come in and decorate my home will be a tiny bit strange, to put it mildly. I think it will be really important for the decor of our home to appeal to the masses and not just to me. We want as many potential buyers as possible to walk into our home and be able to envision themselves living in the space. I know how to decorate for myself but It will be best for a neutral person to get in here and set the stage that will appeal to lots of people. Read the rest of this entry

Let The Landscaping Commence!

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With the exception of the front yard, we have quite a bit of cleanup to do around the yard before the house will be ready for public consumption. The backyard is especially horrifying! So today Scott has rented a little Bobcat tractor and the big push to clean up the back yard is on it’s way. We have a detached one car garage in the back that was once converted into a little cottage. It has a bathroom and a tiny little kitchen area. When I was a single mom I used to rent it out to help with my mortgage. It was so good to have it. Before we did our remodel the original house had a garage attached but we used up that space for another bedroom. So the cottage became the garage. We have made good use of that back area through the years . First living in it while we built our house then it became Scotts workshop for all his tools. All around the garage there is ugly concrete and we are removing all of it so we can landscape all the way back. Our backyard is quite large so it will be so pretty to have sod, trees and flowerbeds to see from the house rather than the huge mound of junk I’ve gazed upon for so long! Grrrrr!

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The Home Stretch

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We are in the home stretch ( there’s a pun in there, but I’m too tired to see it) with all the house preparations. This next Monday we will interview the last two realtors. I really dislike this part of our Adventure! I have never been involved in the selling of a house and there are so many intricacies involved in the whole process, it makes my head spin! The other thing I really hate about the house selling process is deciding on a realtor. For me it’s especially awful because I am acquainted with so many very successful realtors from my salon. There’s just no way to consider every one of them. We would be interviewing realtors forever! I’m choosing to take a backseat on this decision. Scott’s mother was a realtor for nearly forty years and she owned and ran a very successful real estate office for much of her career , so he grew up around the business and is very familiar with the whole process. We will have interviewed six realtors after next monday and from those six we will decide which person we will feel most comfortable working with. It’s a hard decision because they are all so good, although they all seem to have varying opinions as to how to price our particular property. Pricing is yet another part of the process that causes a knot to form in my stomach. This house is our nest egg and we need to get as much money as possible to fund our big Adventure so we need to be smart about our decisions. This is why we are attempting to make certain that the house is finished perfectly and that it is staged to show its maximum potentials.

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Thank Goodness For Craigslist!

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Scott was very productive the other day. His workers didn’t show up yesterday so he decided to be productive in a different way. He decided to post a few things for sale on Craigslist. His motorcycle, an old car stereo, and a handgun. All three items sold the very day he placed the adds! Amazing! The people who bought them came that day and picked them up. With the exception of the handgun which we learned is illegal to sell in the state of California , he was able to find a gun store in another state and mailed it off already. Whew! Im really impressed with how fast he was able to sell his junk. ( I would never call it Junk In front of Scott !) One persons junk is another persons treasure, that’s true. Hurray! For Craigslist!!!

The Hard Part Of This Adventure Is Hitting Us

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When Scott and I made the decision to retire abroad it was impossible for us to really grasp the reality of what that was going to actually involve. Oh, we knew that we would have many many decisions to make, financial decisions, logistical decisions, business decisions, just to name a few. We had a pretty good vision, of course, of all the physical labor it was going to take to get the house ready to sell ( we had a pretty accurate vision on that count! ) . Retirement of course would mean I would no longer own my salon, consequently I would either sell it, or close it down (Sigh!) and if I had to close it down then getting rid of all the furniture and equipment would be what I would face down the road. When we decided we wanted to pursue a completely new and different life in an entirely different country we , of course, were aware of what a monumental change it would be for us, in so many countless ways. I think one of the many aspects of making this move that I didn’t fully and realistically anticipate is how our moving would affect those around us and then how that would in turn, affect us. How could we have known just how much our leaving would sadden those who care about us?

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One Entertainment Center, Coming Right Up!

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The last big piece of the woodworking projects in our house is the entertainment center in our family room. Here’s some pictures of the progress! I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed with my carpenter , his design and workmanship never ceases to amaze me! That last huge piece of the entertainment center was too big to fit under our arbor leading from his workshop into our house so he had to put it into his truck and drive around the block to bring it through the front door! I found that kinda humorous ! I’m also including a couple shots of the Kitchen ,its soooo close to being done. I really hope whoever buys this house has an appreciation for all the quality workmanship that Scott has so lovingly contributed to it. I’m glad we are taking all his tools and equipment with us to Panama cuz’ I’m gonna need another pretty closet ! Read the rest of this entry

15 Weeks Of Work? What????

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I just counted how many more weeks of work I have! Oh My! Fifteen weeks to go! I know, some of you don’t want to think about it, and I’m sorry to make you sad. But I can’t help but be super excited! Scott and I are working so hard to make this all happen and all our hard work, planning, and strategizing is coming to a completion. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel! I have most of our essential belongings that we want to take with us packed up and stored in the storage unit. I have a couple more truck loads to take to the donation place and I’ve made a list of things that I need to find a home for like big planters and garden things that I think friends or family may like to take. Soon Scott will be ready to start loading up his tools and clearing out his workshop. The biggest pieces of the puzzle are very close to being done. Landscaping the backyard will be the last big push at the house then we can begin , in earnest, to work on all the documentation for residency in Panama and importing the cats and the transfer of the salon to Natalie. I know she is giving me a generous gift of patience , I have been so caught up in my own transition and as a result her transition to a business owner has been very much neglected by me . I’m about to have room in my head to change my focus to working on the salon and walking Natalie through the process of becoming an independent business owner. She’s gonna be Great! When I think of her running the salon, I feel so glad. There are so many pieces to this puzzle and as organized as I’m attempting to be, some things just have to be addressed first before I can move on to the next piece. Counting the number of weeks I have to work is just one more measure of time for me and I hope those of you who are sad about our move can let me be excited , cuz’ I’m really , really beginning to feel my feet getting eager to do a “Happy Dance!” . Not to worry, I’ll hold off for a bit longer before I let loose with some killer, happy moves! Giggle! Giggle!

Movin’ Right Along…

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I mean “literally”, we are movin’ along with all the necessary steps needed to take to get this boat sailing ! Today, (Sunday, 2/10/13) was a very productive day. We decided to divide and conquer! After we managed to drag down a truck load of more donation things from the attic and loaded the truck ( load number 5, one or two more to go! ), I took off to our local Goodwill while Scott took off for his workshop in the backyard to Finish off the last coat of poly on the carcasses for the entertainment center. I then returned to the house and continued packing up clothes and odds and ends like artwork, and other various things that are still laying around the pool table area. We really need to clear out the area around the pool table so Scott can disassemble it and we can get it packed up in our storage unit. The stagers have decided that we will transform that area into a formal living room for the sale of the house. Im also getting ready to call my friend Charleen who owns a carpet cleaning business and get her to send her guys over to take away our four area rugs to clean them and pack them for shipping. But first the pool table needs to go in order to get to the rug below the table. So, as I was saying, after I got through packing more boxes, we loaded the truck again and made yet another trip to our storage unit to drop off all the boxes I got packed up today. whew!

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I Do Believe She’s Launched!

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If you just can’t stand hearing a mother bragging about her child, then you should stop reading right about now…. Im feeling rather gushy about my daughter at the moment. She has been living with us for the last six months and the other day, ( Friday,2/1/13) she moved out. Sigh! I never thought I would feel the pangs of an ,’Empty Nester’, but here I am feeling kinda weepy about my baby moving out on her own. After suffering through an extremely trying ( to put it mildly ) adolescence, I have found that I was actually ENJOYING her presence here in my house! I keep mentioning how much she has morphed into a beautiful, responsible, ambitious, smart, caring, generous, young women, and ,Wow, I gotta say ,” I really like being around her”! Im not surprised, I’m Just sayin’!

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Going Home

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We spent five nights with our good friends, Jason & Caroline. They live in Santa Cruz but have a beautiful home in the mountains above Calistoga. The area is called Lake County and its a great place to have a relaxing getaway . It just happened to be my Birthday weekend but we really just wanted to spend time with our friends before we leave for Panama. The weekend was a very productive one , we spent plenty of time not doing much at all, reading, lounging in front of a roaring fire, watching movies, chatting , laughing, ample wine and beer drinking (of course!) with a little hike thrown in just so we weren’t compete and utter slugs. We can check off yet another ‘Last’ on our list of last times. We will not likely make it back up to Lake County again before our move.

Wednesday morning, as we were packing up to drive back home I couldn’t help realizing that although we had completely enjoyed our time , I was looking forward to going home. There’s always something so good about getting back home. I began to think about this, going ‘Home’ thing. There is a time, (fast approaching for us), when we will not be,’Going Home’. Hmmmmmm….. That’s interesting. Of course it’s not an epiphany or a sudden realization! I really do realize that moving to Panama means I won’t have a home to come back to here in California. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before we have established a place in our new location where we feel ‘at home ‘. I have to believe that our home will be wherever we are. As long as we have a cozy bed and a kitchen where Scott can cook, (let’s not forget a place where I can charge my iPad !), we will feel at home.

I am really looking forward to discovering our new life. I’m certain we will have an enormous amount of adjusting to do and lots of work , but I’m ready for it. And a time will come when I have a home to look forward to going to!

Tick, Tick, Tick, Time Is Flying By!

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Everyday gets us closer and closer to our goal date for our big move to Panama.( May-June) Scott’s focus has been getting our house ready to sell. My focus , naturally, is much different . My business , mostly the people, is becoming extremely emotional for me. As we’ve entered the new year I really have a sense of the ‘end’ coming quickly. Many of my clients,(friends), have been telling me that they prefer to stay in denial that I’m really leaving. I suppose for now being in denial will work for them because we still have several more appointments set up. But for me, it’s not quite so easy as I am faced with seeing such a large number of people who I know I must say goodby to soon. It’s going to be one of the most difficult aspects of this adventure , saying goodbye! Gulp! As for my two dear colleagues, I am also beginning to feel deep sadness for abandoning them. I must say that both Natalie and Elisabeth offer nothing but the kindest , most genuine support I could ever hope for. They make me feel so cared about and I’m grateful for their desire to take care of my clients and that Natalie will take over the salon when I’m gone.

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Sorting, Packing and Clearing!

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This is our storage space,

(Ok, let’s try this again, I inadvertently published this last night before it was completed! I know… A rookie mistake! )
Sort through the attic , check! Sort through the basement, check! Sort through all the stashed stuff in all the closets, check! Now there are piles! Piles in two bedrooms, piles on the pool table,and piles on the dining room table! Yikes! Turns out, sorting is painful, OUCH! In the course of a lifetime we accumulate, and accumulate until every nook and cranny is bursting with stuff!

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And…..Let The Packing Begin!

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Well, here we go….. Packing! I’ve got all the necessary material needed for packing up boxes. Bubble wrap, packing tape, packing paper and boxes galore! I’m ready! Rolling up my sleeves…. And here It goes! Now, I’ve been living in this house for eighteen years! Lucky for me I’ve had a couple of opportunities not too long ago to ,’edit’ my material possessions . First when we had to move out of the house for our remodel . We moved into the studio cottage in our backyard and rented a storage container that we kept on the property for all our household possessions . Before moving out of the house we got rid of quite a bit. Then two years later we moved back into the house and I realized much of what was in the storage container we really didn’t need. If we lived without it for two years do we really need it? I think not! So again we cleaned out unnecessary possessions before moving back in . More recently when Pat moved into our house I had yet another glorious opportunity to purge .( Can you tell I love getting rid of things?) I had to clear out two bedrooms so I got rid of even more things that I really didn’t need. Yet here I am again, purge time! And I’m stunned by how much stuff I still have! So, here we go again with yet another opportunity to clear out excess material possessions! What to keep, donate and attempt to sell in a massive yard sale? There are many things I can pack up right now like some of my many dishes, wine glasses, serving platters, a few decorative things , mirrors , things we will be bringing with us but we don’t need right now.

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