The Wind at our Backs

We’ve spent months and months getting everything ready and today, we drive towards LA. On the way, we’ll stop off in Palm Springs for an overnight with dear friends, and then it’s on to LaLa land to spend, probably a sleepless night in great anticipation. Monday morning we have 2 meetings at the Spanish consulate on Wiltshire Blvd. to turn in our applications and pay our visa fees and tasa.

Feels surreal, now that we are very nearly at the appointed hour. We’ll be dressed up like we’re heading to our college interviews – just hoping they’ll like the cut of our jib. It’s a test you can’t study for.

We only have a few more things on the list after this. And they are thus:

  1. Sell the Audi TT (lining up a buyer)
  2. Sell Mary Jane – our ancient Toyota truck (we have a buyer lined up and will deliver it the third week of Feb)
  3. Have the overseas stuff picked up – Already scheduled for third week in Feb
  4. Get Jeff’s beloved motorcycle to LA to be shipped out before Feb 25th – He will do this alone (I’m not riding to LA again).
  5. And finally – when they tell us our visas are ready – book our flights to Spain out of LA and pick up our visas at the consulate there, before heading the to airport – hopefully by Feb 28th. My searches and alerts on Kayak are making me antsy to pull the trigger on this!

That’s it. No more on the very long list that could have covered the refrigerator last September. I can see all the crossed off items in different ink – and remember how I celebrated each one. And how it happened? – I can hardly believe it, but it did.

We are 25 days away from lift off. I can hear the engines rev. We’re both anxious for it all to be over and to be sipping a drink on the plane. Human beings are powerful when their will is focused.  But first, you gotta believe you can do it, so you can. They say ‘Fortune favors the bold.’ Well, this is as bold as we get so I hope she’s smiling on us for the next few weeks, at least.

The Cone of Uncertainty

Anyone who has every developed software knows about the ‘Cone of Uncertainty’. It’s basically a big funnel where the wide end is the beginning of the project. It’s the time when you think up everything you could possibly ever want the application or the software to do. Every crazy function. It’s the ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could…?’ moment. This flare of ideas should not come again until the 2.0 version of the software.

Then you take those things and you estimate the time, effort and cost it will take to develop them and you begin to edit. At the wide end of the cone, you have an accuracy of +/-  200%. As you move down the cone towards the narrow end – over time – your estimates, requirements, and costs become more refined and more real.

So we have run this ‘Project of Moving to Spain’ much like a software project, since both Jeff and I understand how that works. We’ve got spreadsheets, lists and timelines. We identified dependencies and risks and we’ve been ticking things off. The other night Jeff commented on where we are.

‘In the beginning it was exciting. So many unknowns. But now it’s like we’re just slogging through the list.’

‘Yeah.’ I said. ‘I hear you. It’s not sexy stuff. But if we want to get this across the finish line, we need to do the housekeeping. The fun stuff will start again when we show up in Spain with a couch and some cardboard boxes. Then 2.0 starts. But we gotta do the drudgery first.’

All our garage sale items in the house are tagged, and tonight Jeff will do what’s left in the garage. We’ll be ready and Open for Business on Saturday.

Our shipper gave us a final quote, after a video review, and we need to get the cost down, so I’m going through my hand bags and editing. In the process, I’m cleaning them out and I realize – again – that I’ll need that shredder. I don’t dare sell it in the sale!

These handbags are full of old .ppt presentations or budget spreadsheets from whatever business meeting I was in the last time I carried them. And receipts and more receipts and just STUFF! The pile was impressive as I turned each of them upside down and sifted through the mound.

I now have 7 – yes, 7 – small nail clippers. Piles of old cold and allergy meds (probably expired). Lots and Lots of small tissue packets – I guess my nose used to run a lot, perhaps from traveling so much. Rubber bands by the hand fulls (I don’t use rubber bands, so this is a mystery). Business cards that could reach the ceiling, And pens from every vendor, contractor, trade show, conference, and gas station I’ve ever been to. Buckets full.

But I also found some of my better jewelry – things I didn’t even remember I owned. Earrings Jeff gifted me, for one occasion or another that I had switched out. And necklaces, if I went to the Spa at a hotel I was staying in. So I’m glad I went through it all.

I know I could have probably sold some items on Bag, Borrow and Steal or one of the many resale sites, but I have no time for that. I feel like a mother handing her babies to strangers, but do hope whoever buys these bags in this garage sale – at bargain basement prices, I might add – will enjoy them and go on adventures with them.

In a week we will be preparing for our trip to LA, and ‘The Interview’ (cue the scary music) dun, dun, dun! In the famous words of Sally Field, when she won the Oscar for Norma Rae – I hope ‘they like me, they really like me’ and we don’t have any hiccups in getting our visas.

Our visa packets are 100% completed. All the copies are made, which doubled the size of them yesterday. So now we’ll look like earnest students handing in term papers at the end of a very long semester.  But it feels good to be at the narrow end of the Cone of Uncertainty.

 

And just like that…

I just picked up our translations from the Post Office. Of course, I had to make two trips because I was so excited, I forgot my wallet and they wanted ID to pick up a signature required package. But that’s OK. I went back home and on my way back to the post office, I got the Money Orders for the visa application fees and the tax.

documents

Just now, I sat here putting them all in order for each of our packets, according to the consulate check list.  I just need to make copies and it’s done. Finished! Just waiting to go to LA and apply for the visa at our appointment on Feb 5th.

Our original appointment was for a week from today – but I moved it out because I had no idea when our apostilles would come back from the State Dept. or if the government shut down would impact us. With my document karma, I felt sure we were in jeopardy. But we have crossed back over the River Styx. The ferry man in Document Hades is rid of me, at last. So long – suckers!

Here we are – a with a week to spare, but I’m not sorry I pushed it out. We have a bit more time to get things done. Like this morning when I signed the contract for our overseas shipper. They will pick up our stuff from the house the week of the February 19th. So that’s locked in.

My assistant in Valencia is shopping for internet service for us – so we’ll be ready to hop online when we get to our new home. She’s been at a squash tournament in Portugal for the last week or so, and is back and ready to make our transition go smoothly.

We’re living out of suitcases now – not as fun as you might think –  and I’m going to start shutting the house up, room by room. Just so we don’t miss anything and to make sure everything is ready for our garage sale this weekend. I posted pictures on some sale sites and I had people over the weekend leaving written notes on our front door, wanting to jump the queue to buy our stuff early. Crazy.

But right now – I’m going to celebrate this milestone. I’m making myself another cafe con leche, and I’m going to watch Episode 3 – Season 2 of Las Chicas del Cable. That Carlos – Grrr. And Marisol and naive Pablo? Don’t get me started.

Oh well. Guilty pleasures aside, I must admit, it feels a little strange to have it all completed. I wonder what I’ll do with myself now. Oh wait – I’ve got plenty to do. But no more Document Hades.