Grateful for Letting Go

When our children were growing up, we tried to instill a sense of gratitude in their character. They had things I couldn’t dream of when I was a kid. So I’m not sure I was always successful in making sure they understood how hard we worked to provide for them.

Over the years, we’ve amassed a lot of stuff and while I’ve reveled in the feeling of being lighter in the last few months, I’ve struggled with the tension between being grateful for the life we’ve had – complete with all the trappings – and letting go of it all. ‘Am I grateful enoungh?’ I’ve asked myself.

Attachment isn’t something I’ve ever struggled with. I inherited this from my grandparents, who picked up and moved on a regular basis my Mother’s entire life. It’s why she has lived in the same house for over 50 years and is afraid of swapping out a table cloth, let alone moving to a new house.  Perhaps it skipped a generation and I have a little gypsy in me somewhere back there.

Wading through our stuff, putting price tags on things that cost 100 times more at retail, felt strange. They need to go, so were priced to sell. But even stranger, was when people looked at those things, with the prices I put on the little colored stickers, and tried to talk me down further. And with 25 cars in our cul-de-sac, it was like being attacked by a swarm of bees.

The first time, my jaw dropped.

‘Do you want me to tell you the story of this rugby ball? I bought it in London on a cold foggy day on Portobello Road. It’s from the 1920’s. You can’t get another one of these in this state.’

The guy shrugged – he was wearing a National Rifle Association ball cap , so I think Portobello Road isn’t a top destination for him. But still, he pressed his case. Finally, I gave in. I’m not taking that ball with us. And my kids don’t want it. But how do you sell things to strangers who will never appreciate the provenance?

They don’t know the story of the pitcher from France we got from a dear friend for our wedding. She hand carried it 18 hours and I’ve kept all my kitchen utensils in it ever since. Or the crystal Tiffany champagne bucket from our wedding we use when something really special happens in our lives.

Some times – I had to just say ‘No’ the price is the price. I’d rather donate it than sell it for $5 less, to a person who doesn’t understand the value. But I admit, towards the end, I let some things go for nearly nothing.  Time is running out and there is no more room in the boxes.

Walking through the kitchen I realized – No more toast, no more blending, no more air popped popcorn – because we no longer own the things that can make that stuff. No cakes or cookies or homemade bread. From now on,  I’ll be making coffee in the mornings on the stove in a Turkish coffee pot that will go in my suit case.

Closing up the garage, there are only a few things left to make decisions about. Donate or send to the landfill.  For a moment, just a moment, I wondered if we were crazy. How can we be grateful for the life we’ve had and yet, practically, give it all away? It goes against the American Way. Every commercial on TV and every show I watched growing up. More – More – More. Walking away from those messages, so deeply embedded, is  harder than you’d think.

I need to remind myself that swimming in the same direction as everyone else isn’t me.  It’s time to find a new stream and that means letting go and traveling light. But I will say, it would have been easier if just one of the vultures that descended on our house this weekend had once, just once, said something nice.

We sold everything left over after Jeff’s initial website back on November. And the proceeds will pay to ship the things that are left, and will make their way to Spain on a container ship. I guess that was the whole point. And, at the end of the day, I’m grateful for that.

 

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.

Camping in your own Backyard

When my kids were small, we would set up a tent in the backyard, or even the family room (if it was cold outside) and we would get out the sleeping bags and ‘camp’. They loved it – all cozy in the tent with just the things we needed to survive an overnight – complete with indoor plumbing and a refrigerator just steps away. Flash lights and snacks, a thin requirement. Those were good days.

But I was in my 30’s back then. Sleeping on the ground or an air mattress wasn’t a big deal. I popped up in the morning, and rarely felt the effects. Today? Yeah – not so fast. What a difference more than 20 years makes. Yoga. Definitely a yoga day.

Yesterday, Jeff had a great idea. ‘Lets pack up everything we’ll need for the next 6 weeks, just like we’re getting on a plane tomorrow. We’ll live out of those suit cases and find out what we can’t live without, while we’re waiting for our stuff to arrive in Valencia. Since we have to get by without it all for as long as 16 weeks.’

I thought this was great idea. Our bed is already gone. The dishes we’re taking are in carry on suit cases. Our pots, pans, cooking utensils, etc. are in a checked bag. That just leaves our clothes, shoes toiletries to make sure will fit into our two bags each. So we got to work – seeing if it would all fit. And Surprise! For me it did. Turns out, I am evolving as a human being.

The garage/yard sale is scheduled on some garage sale apps and Craigslist for next weekend. The goal by sunset on Sunday of next week? We’ll just have the boxes & couch we’re shipping in the living room + a TV we will donate before we go (gotta have my new found Spanish shows), a few odds and ends dishes, mugs and cookware in the kitchen (again, we’ll donate when we leave), our bags that will go on the airplane with us – including the air mattresses we’re sleeping on now. And that’s it! We will be camping – just like the old days.

It’s good our kids aren’t here. I can hear the eye roll and head shakes at how crazy this all is. I mean – who spends a life time amassing ‘Stuff’ and then in the course of 6 months, gives it all away? Maybe we’re fools, but we’re happy fools. Yesterday, as we made decisions about a ton of stuff, we both felt lighter. I had my doubts at times too. How could we get it all done? But I think we’ll make it. Until then, we’re camping and enjoying every minute of it.

The Review

Today, I woke up bone tired. It could be the fact that we’re now sleeping on an air mattress, but we’ve been going for days, and I needed coffee. So I made a café con leche from the precious beans I have left, and I reviewed the list I made back in September of all the things we needed to do to move to Spain.

Back then, the list seemed like it was never ending. On a daily basis I was adding, rather than checking off. But the excitement was palpable. I was optimistic and, of course, we had 6 months to do it all. Plenty of time – Easy Peasy!Countdown

The review today revealed just how much we have gotten done since then. Something to celebrate! All the visa hoops, sure. But also, renting an apartment, getting a lawyer, etc. None of that was on the list when I started it – and all of it has been done. They’re painting our apartment in Valencia this week and the appliances are being ordered. Even our utilities are being hooked up in our name. Check, check, check.

And now the list has only 12 things left unchecked. Sure – they’re some big things, like our consulate appointment, doing our taxes and selling two cars. But 12 lines nonetheless. I added a calendar count down app to my phone and it’s just 42 days away. That’s 3.5 days per item. Of course, that means nothing. Things don’t get done that way, but it feels better reducing it all to math. I can touch and feel numbers, and the abstractions of ‘to-do’s’ starts to feel less nebulous.

This week, our international shipper will do a FaceTime inventory so we can get a realistic and final estimate. And I’ll try to work out how we’ll get rid of the odds and ends we have left in the house – maybe an old fashioned garage sale! Checking all my alerts, the cost of plane tickets for the 28th of February have plummeted, so I’m itching to book those after our consulate appointment February 5th. Today we paid our translator and by Monday of next week, all our translations will arrive. Then I’ll make photo copies of our packets and put them into snazzy folders. Tick tock.

I just sent the whittled down version of what we have left to do, to Jeff at work. I haven’t heard back from him yet, and I’m not sure he can see how far we’ve come in the last 6 months, but I thought it was important for him to have visibility into where we are. The final 42 days will not be a walk in the park, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I believe it’s not a freight train but will open up to a bright future!

Road Trippin’

Oh, how I love a road trip! It’s an American tradition. Since back in college, road trips represented freedom. You drive and you eat at random places. Seeing tourist signs for things like ‘The worlds largest ball of twine!’ or ‘The Corn Palace’. You stay at the closest hotel when you’re tired of driving. It’s awesome and unpredictable! And tonight, after Jeff gets home from work, we are heading to my parent’s with our UHaul truck full of things they can use, and boxes they’ve agreed to store for us. I feel like we’re in college again!

Last night, we loaded our king-sized adjustable bed into the truck – that was fun – and a couch for my son, and other boxes and treasures we are planning on storing there. Things I don’t want to go on a ship that could be lost forever.

This morning, I’m buzzing with excitement! We are driving to Portland in January. So the weather might present challenges. But Jeff will do all the driving, so he’ll swear and clutch the dashboard a lot less. And I get to look out the window at the scenery like a Golden Retriever! It’s going to be fun.

The last real road trip Jeff and I took together was when I took a job in Phoenix. But that trip was filled with nervous anticipation as we hadn’t yet found a place to live. Our SUV was full of all the stuff I thought I might need, until he moved down when the house was sold – with the rest of our stuff, the cats and the kids.

I had brought 9 large suit cases of clothes and a few other things. At one point, in Salt Lake, we were stopped by the police who were doing random searches for drug cars on the highway – seemed strange.

‘What’s in the back?’ asked the cop to my husband.

‘Those are her clothes.’ explained Jeff

‘That’s all your clothes?’ he asked – completely skeptical.

I leaned in to help smooth the way.

‘And shoes too.’ I clarified – just so he would understand. ‘I know. Just the essentials.’

My husband gave me serious side-eye. I wasn’t being helpful, apparently.

‘She has a new job in Phoenix, so we’re moving her down there to help set her up before we sell the house in Seattle.’

The cop looked at me like I was an alien.

‘Who are you working for in Phoenix?’ he asked me.

I told him, and then he asked who I worked for in Seattle and BINGO! the light went on.

‘Ah. OK I get it.’ he waved us away to head back to his car.

‘Wow! I never realized being in possession of too many clothes and shoes was a crime.’ I said to Jeff.

He looked at me in disbelief, and for a long moment he said nothing – then he sighed and shook his head before starting the car.

We won’t have that same problem this time. We’re just two people in a Uhaul – like probably hundreds of others on any given day across this country. Moving our stuff, complete with our cats – Clubber and Lucy. Heading off to new horizons. I’ve got the drinks in the cooler and the road food ready to go on the front seat. Now all I need is my driver!

The Dump Run

 

These days, I am obsessed with Garbage. My happiest day is when the rubbish trucks come to our house and empties our recycling and garbage cans. Most of the time, they’re both completely full again, 5 minutes after they’re picked up. I stage the trash and recycling so that when I hear the trucks, I go out and get the cans and immediately fill them up with all the stuff I’ve not been able to fit into it from the previous week.

It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but its a necessity. Every day, on top of the bags of shredding we’ve got this week, I’m going through cupboards in the garage and in tops of closets. I have all of Emilie’s room to deal with too.  If it can’t be donated, sold, given away to family or friends, or recycled, it is being rehomed at the local land fill. Don’t worry, I tend to be super green, so this is the absolute last resort.

Our garbage service only has ‘big item pickup’ once every two months. It’s a nice service and they’ll take a couch and crush it with a special truck and take it away. I know this because they took one of our couches that I tried to donate but it was rejected by the donation truck driver.

‘Well.’ he said after looking at the couch. ‘It has a couple of small snags.’

I looked at him, incredulous. I was donating a couch that had cost thousands at retail.

‘It’s chenille.’ I explained. ‘Its bound to have a couple of small snags, as you say.’

He rubbed his chin. ‘Yeah, we don’t take couches that aren’t pristine.’

My eyes rolled in my head like a slot machine. What?? The Salvation Army doesn’t take anything but perfect furniture for DONATION? I was giving it to them for free.

‘So you only pick up from the Crate and Barrel warehouse directly now – cut out the pesky retail customers?’

He was unmoved. So I had no choice. I put it out on the curb and watched as the big truck with the crusher came and took one half of it. There is a size limit to what they’ll take on ‘big item pick up days.’

So tonight, we loaded the other half of our couch into Mary Jane. Jeff will do a dump run on his way to work tomorrow, along with some old tires and a bunch of other miscellaneous crap. And today the garbage man comes to empty our cans. Its like waiting for Santa Claus, but in reverse. He takes away and leaves nothing behind. My new definition of Christmas!  I am over joyed that more stuff will be leaving our house.

And my car is full  up for donation too.  The guys at The Goodwill drop off location and I are buddies now. They come running our when I pull up.

‘Another load, eh?’

‘That’s right. And there’s some good stuff in here. You might want to take a look at a handbag for your wife.’

He winks at me and gives me the donation slip.

Tomorrow will by the best day of the week. And I’ll only have to wait 7 days to do it all over again.

A Gift Horse in the Mouth

My Grandmother always said ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’. I think this stems from her childhood when horses were still a viable mode of transportation. Part of buying a horse is examining it’s teeth to help determine it’s health, and thus value. This I learned from my grandfather who owned a sheep farm. Today, no one born after 1970 would probably understand the reference, except people raised on horse ranches.

Essentially, the old euphemism means that if someone is giving you something for free, you don’t ask too many questions. You just accept it. A free horse was something to be valued – no matter what his teeth looked like. The old truck in our garage is the Gift Horse in this case. I’m sure if I raised the hood and looked at the engine – it wouldn’t pass anyone’s dental exam.

Jeff acquired this hunk of metal when I relocated to Phoenix for work and he was still in Snoqualmie, WA closing up our old house. He needed be able to take things to the local land fill and he was struggling with a renting truck to do the job. It was expensive on a one off basis, so he decided to buy something to make it easier.

‘I’ll just sell it afterwards.’ he assured me.

But he never sold it, he and drove it down from Seattle to Phoenix in June of that year, in 125 degree heat with no A/C, towing his beloved motorcycle behind him.  It took him twice as long to make the 1700 mile trip, as he overheated quite frequently. He finally showed up at our house in the middle of the night because he had to wait for the sun to go down from just north of Las Vegas. I had little sympathy for him. And when I saw the truck? I had even less.

To say I disliked this truck is an understatement. Our neighbors like it even less when it’s parked in the driveway. Jeff bought a new truck bed ‘So it wouldn’t look as bad’ and was going to fix it up to teach our daughter how to drive. It would be her first car, he announced. I did wonder if he knew her at all – she would rather walk for the rest of her life than drive that thing – but I let it go.

Now, I have to admit, I’m developing a fondness for that rusty bucket, during our march to close up this house. The truck is coming in handy. We can make dump runs to get rid of stuff. We can make large donation runs so that I don’t have to take 20 trips to Goodwill in my car.

‘It even has a CD player.’ he proudly pointed out on one of our first adventures in it.

‘Wow. It’s living in the 90’s already.’ I quipped sarcastically.

It has just one CD in the player. Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits. ‘Free Fallin” and “Last Dance with Mary Jane’ playing over and over. So I’ve taken to calling the truck ‘Mary Jane’.  Mary Jane is a 1986 Toyota – with windows you hand crank. Emilie didn’t know what they were when she rode in it the first time.

Jeff had coveted it in high school. He was raised incredibly poor and I think his thoughts of ‘Someday, I’ll have a truck just like that’ finally being realized, was too much for him to resist. And, ironically, we already have a buyer for it when we leave. Jeff smiled when he told me he would be selling it for more than he paid for it. Wait for it – $200 more. The look on his face was no less triumphant than a Wall Street hedge fund manager who had beat the market for a billon dollar gain. Money is money, I guess. But I’m a believer now. Our gift horse is pulling her own weight, so no need to look under the hood.

 

In with the New

I look back at 2017 and I see a year of massive upheaval. I’m not just talking about our country and the globe, but personally. This time last year, I woke up in Versailles. We celebrated the coming year with our good friends, Peter and Martina and their boys in France. We had a great time – but I knew that something was missing. But how do you remain grateful for what you have, while knowing it’s not what you want?

I’ve spent the last year answering this question. I’ve learned a few things along the way.

  1. It’s OK not to covet the trappings of the American Dream. In the past 18 months, we’ve sold a home and downsized like crazy. And in the next 60 days we will have 30 boxes, 2 bicycles, 2 sets of golf clubs, one motorcycle and a couch to our name. Shhh – don’t tell, but my Louboutins will be hiding in one of those boxes. Some semblance of civilization and order must be maintained.
  2. It’s OK not to want the career you’ve worked so hard to achieve. It was a long time coming, but I had not only become bored with all the corporate speak, I wasn’t doing what made me happy – writing. These days I carve out time every day to write and I’m wickedly happy doing it. This past year, my creativity has blossomed and I love it! I wake up every day and hop out of bed – most days I’m ready to take on the day.
  3. Gratitude is essential, but it has to be real. I spent so much time before 2017 telling myself I needed to ‘just be grateful’ for the things I had, even though they were just ‘things’ and they didn’t make me happy. I was happiest traveling light and seeing the world. Learning new things, making new friends and being open to new experiences. I like looking around corners and getting lost!
  4. Sitting in a conference room is like a slow death. No kidding, I would rather break rocks in Alcatraz than sit in a conference room discussing retail trends, Ad nauseum, with an unimaginative American executive team. It’s not that I don’t like corporate innovation – that was my biz, after all. But I’m innovating in a new way now – my own life. And I find I like that focus a lot more.
  5. Getting comfortable being uncomfortable takes practice. It’s always easier to migrate back to what we know. It doesn’t take any effort. The wind will blow you there if you just let it. All of a sudden you’re discussing taking a job like the last one you had. And you do discuss it for a couple of weeks with a friend who has something that might be interesting. And then you wake up in the middle of the night and you can’t get back to sleep. And all of a sudden you realize what you’re doing. You’re stopping your forward progress. You’re moving away from what you really want. And it takes a conscious ‘No’ to get you right again. Whew! That was close!
  6. Sometimes you gotta burn the house down. People say ‘less is more’ and they’re so very right. As I’ve inventoried my life in the last 4 months, I don’t need most of it – except the Louboutins (OK, and maybe my black Celine tote) – and I’m lighter than before. Carrying all this stuff created stress. The stress to maintain it all. And I’ve watched the joy on people’s faces who come to our house to take our stuff. I’m thrilled for them. And I bet they’ve seen the joy on mine that I don’t own it anymore.

Last night, we added some rituals to our annual New Year’s celebration. We ate our 12 grapes for good luck, like they do in Spain. Emilie struggled with this one since she’s still recovering from her teeth pulling. And I opened the back door and let out the old year, and opened the front door to let in the new.

It’s funny, in the past I’ve often been happy to see an old year pass; looking forward to a better year to come – praying that this was the year I’d find the answer. But as I opened the back door last night, I felt a little sadness for the first time ever, in saying good bye to the previous year. 2017 was very good to me. I learned more this past year than any other 12 month period in my life. It’s the year I learned to choose authenticity and happiness – in all its forms. A great foundation for 2018.

So, my friends, here’s to a new year for all of us. Filled with new horizons, new friends, and continuous learning. Here’s to getting my book published and seeing the world. Here’s to scrumptious food, good friends – old and new, and toes in the Mediterranean. Here’s to traveling lighter through this world and to living the life we love. This year, what I’m most grateful for, is that you’re all on this journey with me as I figure it out. Happy New Year – Namaste.

 

Renaissance Man

My husband, Jeff, is a man of many hobbies. Since we first met, I’ve been amazed at his breadth of interests and his ability to master nearly anything he sets his mind to. He’s smart and unconventionally, athletic. An unbeatable combination that ensures he will be successful at whatever he tries, with some effort and focus. Both of which, he has in abundance.

office clean up

A software engineer, by trade, he started teaching himself to code at an early age, using dial-up modems, Compuserve accounts, and early AOL (yes, children – we’re just that old) and he’s continually kept his skills current. To do this in previous decades it meant he was always buying books – thick books – on new versions of this language or that. New tools that would help whatever employer he had at the time, or just peaked his interest. Our house is full of these books, but luckily in the ensuing years, all this has become open-source and readily available online.

I’ve spent weeks cleaning out our office as much as I could. But I didn’t feel comfortable disposing of old hardware or any of these old computer books. Who knew if they might be needed. So I’ve been waiting for Jeff to sort through them and make decisions, all the while profoundly aware that time is starting to speed up and we need to tackle it.

Today was that day, and we filled two recycling bins and a full, large garbage can with office schlock. We found other nonsense things from old white elephant parties. But as we speak, Jeff is spending this afternoon digitizing our old videos, transferring important documents from a pile of old hard drives, and scanning photos. I was thrilled that once he got started going through drawers, shelves, cabinets and the closet, he wasn’t resistant to pitching stuff. He just quietly dug out a couple of terabyte drives and got started.

His work resembled an archeological dig. Layer by layer, he unearthed change jars from over the years – old Gatorade bottles filled with money. While he continued his exploration in pith helmet and shovel, I rolled coins from around the world. Money from some of our adventures – Iceland, The Philippines, Mexico, and others. Over $300 USD later and those little coins will start working for us rather than performing as a paper weight or living at the bottom of old boxes in a closet. The office looks amazing – and empty! And my blood pressure has gone down significantly – one less thing,

Now, we just need to start on the garage. Jeff has lived an adventurous life where in his spare time he’s become an experienced white water kayaker, river guide, fly fisherman, off road motorcycle enthusiast, and he has built jeeps and trucks from the ground up. He can weld and machine his own car parts. And he sews his own gear for camping and his motorcycle adventures – like the one he took to Alaska and the Arctic Circle.  He even bought a piano to teach himself how to play.

Jeff is the kind of guy who, I believe, can do anything. This has caused friction in our house at times. Like when I suggested he build us a new deck or that we roof our own house.

‘I have no idea how to do either of those things.’ he said, like I was crazy.

‘It’s OK. We’ll buy a book. We both know how to read.’ I replied – knowing he can actually do anything.

We bought the books and together we did both of those things, and they turned out great. Afterwards, he admitted he was a little scared about tackling big projects, not knowing where to start. I laughed.

‘I knew you could do it – I wasn’t worried for a second.’ And I wasn’t.

So our attention is turning towards the garage, filled with the remnants of all of these activities – including a truck in a state of half repair, kayaks, rafts, motorcycle, camping/fishing equipment, and tools. Lots and lots of tools. But its late Sunday. And I’m declaring it a win. The office is done, the books are in the recycle bin. and we’ll leave the garage until next weekend. It will be interesting to see how Jeff edits his interests in moving to Spain. But I know one thing that makes me very happy. The truck won’t make the cut, but I’ll be taking my Renaissance Man with me – guaranteed.

 

Timing is Everything

Some people are the ditch diggers and others are the guys in the yellow hats directing them where to dig. Lately, I’ve manned the shovel and have been slogging it out. I’ve got lists of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that needs to be done to close down a house in the U.S., and what needs to be done to create a home in Valencia.

Some people count sheep at night. I go down my lists, and it’s not conducive to slumber. And when I do get to sleep, I’ve been having nightmares that include my linen closet coming to life, emptying itself out (something on my list to do) and coming for me. Sort of like the raggy-covered Dementors in Harry Potter. I awaken in a panic and then I’m up for hours wondering what brought that on.

During waking hours, I’ve looked around the house and cataloged what we have and set a date for when I thought we should post furniture, etc. on Craigslist. Timing, I felt, would be key, because we still need to live here, for now. We will need something to sit on, have a TV to watch, towels to bathe with and dishes to eat off, until the end of February. I have discussed this at length with Jeff. He has listened to my musings and then he got to work.

Sold

Knowing I’ve been losing sleep, Jeff went around and took pictures of all the things we are looking to get rid of. Then he created a website and posted fliers at his office this morning. By noon, he had sold  everything. EVERYTHING!! All of my planning. All of my strategizing on the timing. Yeah, he did none of that. People are apparently coming on Saturday to take it all away.

So my nightmares have just changed from those I have during the night, to the ones I’m having during the day. We have a little more than three months go before we leave. I loved the minimalism of the Camino, but my house is now a Spanish ALBERGUE, but with less services – like a bed.

I’m leaving for Valencia next week to open a bank account, meet with a lawyer and to rent a flat. I’ll come home late, the night before Thanksgiving and I’m concerned I will find I now sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor and am cooking Thanksgiving dinner on a stick over a fire in the back yard. I hope he’ll leave me a wash cloth and that I’ll have a car to drive.

His initiative is admirable, but it will be interesting to see what our Thanksgiving guests will be eating off of, sitting on, or where they will set a wine glass. Wait! I’m not sure we still have wine glasses. OR WINE!