Saturday, August 23, 2008

the big event

This has been a big week.

The biggest event, of course, was meeting with my realtor and starting the process of getting the house in shape to maximize its sales potential.

I cannot overemphasize what a big step it was. Caesar may have crossed his Rubicon, but I did not realize the symbolism, of getting this house to the market. Parting with it is a certain sign that I am leaving. Playing Hamlet during the past six months ("to rent or not to rent") was merely an avoidance device.

I suspect that most of my friends still feel that my discussion of moving to Mexico is not going to occur. Publishing the blog convinced some. But getting the house ready for market has made believers out of others. When it sells, the Thomases shall cease doubting.

Coincidentally, another event happened this week: I received a letter informing me that I am eligible to receive my Air Force retirement pay in less than five months. I had already submitted my paper work. But the eligibility letter -- with an estimated payment amount -- made that part of my retirement a bit more tangible.

Any regrets on my part? None. At most, I am feeling excited about starting a new life.

If I am anxious about anything, it is all of the sorting I need to do before I can get on with selling the house. But my realtor is great. She will be a great asset in the next few months.

And it is now that I will rely upon my fellow bloggers and readers. Many of you have gone through this process. Your advice and support -- and especially warnings -- will be greatly appreciated.


American Mommy in Mexico said...

Woo Hoo! Congrats on this tremendous step. You are going to LOVE living in Mexico. It is just obvious from your posts.

I think going through "stuff" is different for the various personality types out there.

It was just downright painful for me.

It was helpful to have a domestic violence shelter drop off center near by. I could take loads as needed instead of taking all at once.

If you plan to do a yard sale then the sorting means keeping an area reserved to accumulate - easier said than done sometimes.

We did lots of shifting of stuff (piles to move, to donate, to give away, to sell, to store, to throw away, etc.) during this process but we also had a family of 4 still trying to live day-to-day there.

I was shocked and amazed by the volume of what we had. Still am. Ridiculous.

I am committed to reducing our consumerism in the future.

Actually moving what you need down here is not easy. I have not seen you blog about that aspect. You probably need to start thinking about that since it maks a difference on what you keep.

Michael Dickson said...

Get rid of everything that does not fall into one of two categories:

1. Significant sentimental value.

2. Something important that will be difficult or impossible to locate in Mexico.

Not many things should fall into these categories. A car does not.

Have to tell you something, Steve. You have got San Miguel written all over you. Might want to consider it. Babs will show you around.

Calypso said...

No Warnings! Just pack it up an head out ;-)

Don't plan to take too much stuff and don't look back - amigo.

Babs said...

Two things - WISH I was nearer to help you select paint colors to enhance the house and the current colors that people want tosee in a house for sale. Have done zillions of houses in the 20 years I had the business. But I'm not - boo hoo.
Additionally, as you know my Mexican paint crew moved my stuff in two pickups and a trailer. Since they are Mexican nationals I didn't have to do any documentation etc. I only brought clothes, books, art and a very little kitchen regrets. The more you have, the more you're tied down! You might see if you can't find some reliable Mexican men who drive back each year (most do) that could bring your stuff down. It sure worked for me........If youwant more details email me privately.......

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks to all of you. I will be posting my sorting over the next couple of weeks. Your suggestions are great.

American Mommy -- Getting rid of stuff is turning out to be far easier than I supposed. And, like you, the chief question I have is: Why did I ever buy most of this stuff? My association with the Salvation Army has afforded a great outlet for items someone else may want to use. But my trash can is turning out to be the first refuge of many things. I am keeping very little. If it cannot fit in my truck for the initial renting trip, it will not go with me.

Michael -- I will bring my Escape down for the initial 6 months. But I certainly do not want to bring anything more than would fit in its limited cargo space. After talking with my insurance agent, I doubt that I will try to maintain a vehicle that requires registration and insurance on both sides of the border. As far as eventual homes go, we shall see. Melaque is going to be my first base.

John -- "Don't look back" is probably the best three word piece of advice I can heed.

Babs -- I hope to winnow my possessions to just a few boxes. I thought the art collection would be a problem, but I intend to give most of it away as gifts. I have three oil paintings on wood that accompanied me through law school. I may hang on to them.

Anonymous said...

Just DO it amigo. It's not that big a deal. You've elevated this move to an almost impossible level of complexity. Sounds like you will be financially ok. You can always go back. I agree with Michael, go to SMA, forget about Spanish which seems to stress you out, and enjoy!!

New Beginnings said...

My only advice is take as little as possible. You can pretty much find most things that you will need down here. Some people suggest bringing your own linens, especially if you are particular about good quality sheets. I ended up taking 5 bags/totes and Jackson and most of those things were items of sentimental value. The only other thing I noticed is that electronics are very expensive here - much more than back home. For example, here in Manzanillo, laptop's are at least $400 more than back home.

New Beginnings said...

Melaque - that is fantastic! We will be neighbors.

Steve Cotton said...

New Beginnings -- Linens I will not need. In my years of visiting Mexico, I have never had to slip under the covers. I end up sleeping on couches -- a lot -- just for the cool factor. Laptop I will bring. And I need to get some form of MP3 player to replace my outdated stereo gear. You are correct, though, it will be nice to be neighbors.

Anonymous -- I am going to give Melaque a shot. I am positive I can learn enough Spanish to live there.

Babs said...

Thanks Michael for the vote of confidence!

jennifer j rose said...

Now, listen to me. Buy new sheets, because you can't get ones with a decent thread count in 100% cotton around here in a choice of colors. And the same situations exists relative to towels. You never know if your tastes will change. You might even meet up with someone who favors nice sheets, and then where will you be when all you've got are ratty ones? Did you ever think of that?

Bring all that you can. You can always sell what you no longer want. Old clothes make great packing material, and you can give them to the help later. Good pans, anything small appliance with a cord, and nice silverware aren't cheap, even if you can find them, in these parts.

BruHof said...

Thanks for pointing me toward your blog. You were right, you are more interesting in print than in person.

Billie said...

Pull out the things you want. Give away to family and friends things you want them to have or that they want. All the papers that you do not have to retain because of tax laws etc can be taken to a paper shredder. Hire an estate sale person and put all the rest up for sale. What doesn't sell goes to the Salvation Army.
Ha...that's it in a nutshell but it is a very tiring process. We had six weeks to get ours done after the house sold. I think having a time limit keeps you moving forward and you don't have time to second guess yourself.

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- I like the idea of using old clothes as packaging material. That avoids the problem of what to do with all the shredded paper while unpacking. Because I intend to rent (perhaps forever), I am trying to divest myself of everything that I will not need immediately. Clothes, some books, cooking items. Lap top. So far, those are the only things on the travel list. If Jiggs dies before I drive down, I will have plenty of space in the Escape. And, I will need to leave space to bring down your award: for perfect impersonation of my mother. But you left out: Just because you want to live like a barbarian does not mean that your guests should.

Bruhof -- Everyone. Let me introduce you to the ever-charming and puckish Bruce: my friend from my work. Always a welcome commentator.

Billie -- Thanks for the practical tips. Those are about the piles I have started. I am going through each room to pick the low-hanging fruit. There is plenty. My realtor told me to leave enough items to make it look as if I am living in the house -- which I will be. I think she meant I was not supposed to mess with the peops on the stage.