Tuesday, January 06, 2009

etude by lists

Transition checklist. First draft complete. Done and done.

I would like to get as many suggestions from you seasoned expatriates as I can. So, here is my plan. I was going to put everything in one post. But I would easily bust the Calypso Rule of 1000-words-per-post.

I am going to list the 12 categories of action items in this post -- along with a description of what each category should include. Then, over the next week or so, I am going to flesh out the items.

The relevant dates --
Retirement: 31 March 2009
Mexican residency: 1 May 2009

Let's start with the categories:
  1. Work -- items to keep me focused on my day-to-day job through 31 May, and a potential transition period

  2. House -- turn my home over to a house sitter after finishing up some of the projects I have begun

  3. Computer -- purchase new equipment and take all supplies

  4. Mail -- stop my mail here and arrange for mail to Mexico

  5. Medical -- get all of my necessary care out of the way and get what I need for Mexico

  6. Jiggs -- if the dog is still alive, get everything I will need to keep him alive in Mexico

  7. Truck -- if I take the dog and the truck to Mexico, get it ready for the trip and buy spare parts and supplies

  8. Financial -- anything that will assist me in making my pension funds available in Mexico

  9. Travel documents -- get an FM3 visa and update my passport

  10. Spanish -- study, study, study

  11. Household items -- what I really need to take south

  12. Church/Salvation Army -- find replacements for each of my current positions

That's the list. The devil (and many angels) are in the details. And they (details, devil, and angels) will be coming soon.

Here is where I need some assistance. Do any of you have suggestions for additional categories?


Bob Mrotek said...

I have a suggestion that will help you in your new life. Relax. Throw your wrist watch and list away. You sometimes remind me of a worry wort on speed. Every thing will be okay (si Dios quiere). I look forward to your epiphany in Mexico :)

Steve Cotton said...

Bob -- I got rid of my wrist watch about a year ago. Now, I need to start thinking that way. I agree that everything will be OK. If I do not get my physical or my immunizations, the world will roll on. However, without the list, none of it will get done. I look forward to the same epiphany.

Nancy said...

A couple of things come to mind right away, but your list sounds pretty comprehensive.

Phone - If you are considering getting a Vonage phone I would buy one up there...or look into other options. With Vonage you can probably even keep your US phone number.

Voting - Make sure to change your voting options to absentee and then have your mailing address changed to your new mail address.

Of everything on your list the one I'd put at the top is to learn Spanish. Would you have time to arrange a tutor or take a community college class?

ken kushnir said...

Gee Steve....you are getting ME stressed out!
Way too many things to worry about, the first thing you need to figure out is how not to worry about stuff like that. It will all come together on it's own! The more you organize the more delayed your retirement will be. One thing at a time, enjoy some time off first before getting wrapped up in the minutia. I know you don't want to go off half cocked but relax.
Mexico has a way of changing ones plans. I learned that the more I planned for something, the more the end result or process changed.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Steve, Until you are absolutely certain where you are going to live in Mexico and while you still have the house,I would hold off on the fm3. You can get 180 days on a tourist visa.
One of the "perks" of an fm3 is a one time duty free importation of your household goods. Unless that law has changed you must do it within 6 months of applying for the fm3.
Since you are keeping your US house, while test driving Mexico, you are in the position of seeing what it is that you might miss or need.
Also you might look into getting an fm2, which makes you a resident of Mexico in 5 years with a residency card that doesn't need renewal, less paperwork, but there are restrictions attached to it.
When you have an fm3 and move you need to inform immigration and have your visa updated,every time you move.
You are going to have to go NOB anyway if you decide to sell the house, so you can still apply for one in Oregon.
You can bring your car as a tourist, as long as your fmT is valid your temporary car import is valid too.

Steve Cotton said...

Nancy -- I think I will use MagicJack. You are correct, though, I need to add it to the list to get it set up before I leave. Oregon uses vote by mail for all elections. I just need to get the correct address to the clerk.

Ken -- I know me. No list; it will not get done. I just need to be certain that I prioritize correctly. Because I only have 84 calendar days until I retire, I will not be taking any time off before 31 March -- except for some days to let me get to Portland to get what I need for an FM3. Personally, I think the list is a snap. Plus, I will get great pleasure in checking off items because it means I will be that much closer to heading south of the border.

Theresa -- I think I am going to get forced into getting an FM3 on this trip. My current living arrangement lasts for 6 months. That will exhaust my FMT days. But, I have the option of staying an extra month and a half before I need to move to new arrangements. Because I plan on renting, I was not planning on bringing down furniture from nob. If I cannot get an FM3 before I leave, I can always do it while living in Melaque.

Islagringo said...

The FMT is good for a maximum of 180 days and you must leave and reenter the country to get it renewed. Not a problem here because Belize is just 5 hours away. But from Melaque. Where you could go but back NOB? Is there an INM (immigration) office in or near Melaque?

I would not bother about a phone from the USA. Mexican cell phone coverage is good and cheap. You can buy a cell phone anywhere down here for as little as $20, depending upon how fancy you want to be. For the States or the occassional need to dial a 1-800 number, you can always use Skype on your computer. I would also have the last 3 months of your bank statements before you move down translated into Spanish. You never know the crazy things they ask to see here. More if I think of it.

Paul said...

Based om my experience only, it is much easier to get an FM3 after you get here. If you get it up there, you will still have to register with immigration when you get here, and repeat a lot of the process.

Glenn said...

I would take my passport, some cash, debit cards, a toothbrush and whatever clothes might be thrown together at the last minute...maybe check to see if immunizations are up to date.

Best wishes.

Steve Cotton said...

Islagringo -- Thanks for the additional suggestions. I am not a big telephone user. I do not have a land line at home and I never carry my mobile with me. In fact, I gave no idea where it is right now. I plan on using MagicJack when I get down there. And I will need it if I decide to take my writing project with me. (More on tha to come -- soon.)

Paul -- A contact in Melaque tells me the same thing. He has volunteered to take me to the Manzanillo office to walk me through the process. I may still go to the Portland consulate to pick up some forms -- if for no other reason than to gather documents to take south with me.

Glenn -- Once I am heading out the door, that is a good basic list. However, I would then forget the dog and my truck.

Anonymous said...

Despite the ludicrousness of this, what with all the mangy, stray mutts running around Mexico, Mr. Jiggs probably needs some kind of "health certificate" a month or so before arriving in Mexico. Just to make sure he doesn't infect all those pristinely healthy Mexican dogs with some dreaded gringo dog disease.

You should check into that. We'd hate to see him turned away at the border like some undocumented Mexican trying to go the other way.

And I'd add to the comments above that you should take it a bit more easy. No free time in Oregon? One month arranging details, then a mad dash south?

Remember, dude, you will be RETIRED!


Kim G
Boston, MA

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- A health certificate for Jiggs is on the list. The current requirement is that the certificate cannot be more than 72 hours old. That means finding a kind vet in Arizona to do the deed, I suspect. I can only imagine what Jiggs will contract within his first month of living on a tropical beach.

When I am in retired status, I am going to get in my truck as soon as I can to get to Mexico. If I don't, I will end up volunteering to serve on more boards.

glorv1 said...

Talk about stress, sheesh. I'd be pulling my hair out, if it werent't falling out already that is. Things are moving pretty fast now. How exciting for you. Take care and I will be reading your posts to see what is going on and for the big day. Take care.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Gloria. I see very little stress in all of this. Seems like a rather usual three months to me.

Larry Lambert said...

Steve - I'm not clear on why you want to go through the trouble of getting your FM3 up north.

1) If you come in with an FM3 you have 30 days to register here, which means going through the whole process all over again. Wherein you will discover that the process here is much simpler and easier, anyway. You will wonder why you bothered up north. Go with Paul's suggestion. Much less paperwork.

2) If you're only coming with a truck of stuff why bother with a menaje de casa? Because that's what you wanting an FM3 implies. Throw some camping gear on top and say you're vacationing. Grab the FMT and head south.

Learn to relax and wing it. It wasn't easy, but I did.

Larry Lambert

Larry Lambert said...

Steve - If you're bringing new computer equipment, take it out of the box and maybe even scuff it up a bit. Especially desk tops. Laptops they seem to care less about. They just don't want you bringing in something to sell. Down here you'll pay twice as much, or more, as you would for the same computer up north. Keep your receipts just in case.

Larry Lambert

Jonna said...

Steve, I agree with Paul and others, there is no reason to go through the hassle of getting an FM3 up north unless you are shipping your household south and the shipper requires it. Since you are not, cross that one off your list. Nothing the Portland consulate tells you will have any bearing on what is required down here or even at another consulate.

Second, keep this in mind. You are not poor and you are not moving to the ends of the earth. If you forgot something you really want, well then fly back and get it. It's not that big a deal. If you want to stay longer than 180 days then take a weekend or a week's vacation in New York or LA or wherever.

Don't worry so much about the time limit on the health certificate for Mr Jiggs, just make sure he has had a rabies shot within one year and you have the certificate. That's the main difference between the US & CA and the rest of the continent. Up north the requirement is every 3 years, down here it is every year.

Larry Lambert said...

Steve - They say they want a certificate signed by the vet within 72 hours, showing the dog is current on rabies and distemper. Truth is, I've never talked to anybody that was ever asked for the certificate.

We crossed with two big, obvious Labs. Coming all the way from Idaho there was no way we could get a signature within 72 hours of hitting the border. Too many other things to do. Get the certificate for peace of mind and "just in case," but don't lose sleep over it.

As for shots down here, they use the same three-year vaccine as up north.

Larry Lambert

Steve Cotton said...

Larry -- I am leaning toward waiting until I get to Melaque to start my FM3 process. I may check in with the consulate in Portland merely to pick through their information.

As for computers, I am writing on that topic tomorrow. I am bringing a lap top -- and maybe a larger flat screen monitor.

And Jiggs will have whatever papers he needs. I may just pick up his certificate from his vet before we leave -- along with some of his drugs.

Jonna -- Thanks for the information. I have no concerns about leaving "things" behind. You are correct. What I need, I can get. I have learned on my last two trips that I can get by with very little -- as long as I have books.

I am more concerned about bringing Jiggs's cortisone injections to Mexico. My experience has been that the vet care is great, but supplies are often ot as plentiful. He has had a couple of very bad days this week.

Jonna said...

Injectable cortisone is readily available here, you just have to look in the human pharmacy. Have your vet write out the dosage for you and which type, as if he were writing a script. Take that to the pharmacy and get it and the syringes, it is quite common to give yourself or others a shot here and there are no restrictions on syringes.

We often give our dogs shots, in addition to working the spay,neuter and vaccine clinics in the area. One of our dogs takes human thyroid medication, I buy it at WalMart.

The Rabies shots are the same north and south but Mexico and Central America require the shot annually, the US and CA require it every 3 years.

Steve Cotton said...

Jonna -- Thank you very much. I should have known that you would have the inside scoop on dog care. Jiggs needs another injection, but I cannot get him in until next Monday. If he pulls through this bout, getting relief may be far easier for him in Mexico.