Saturday, March 25, 2017

Another Step Completed

By 4 o'clock on Friday we had moved our suitcases etc. to the InTown Suites where we are staying for a week and said our farewells to our apartment, the leasing staff and the maintenance staff.  The next morning we headed out with the car stuffed to the roof, our seats pushed so far forward that our knees were against the dash and headed off to our next port of call, Traders Village.

Right now it is hot (in the 80s) and we are constantly overheating, sweating and tired.  Each day we need to wash out clothes in the tiny hand basin and hang them in the shower to dry - not very efficient because of the humidity in San Antonio.

After a long (but fun) day at Traders Village we are finally emptied of everything except what we are taking on our travels and a few things that we will use between now and then.  Our best customers were other traders, it is always fun getting there early and bartering with the other traders.  We made friends today, sharing stories and even using our tables and chair that we had just sold.  One of the traders admitted in the middle of the afternoon that he thinks he actually spent more (buying some of our stuff) than he made today.  Another couple of traders told us about their adventures to casinos and on cruises - they run a stall at Traders Village on the weekends to make money to spend at the casinos, and on cruises, their entertainment money.  We also met a lady that we had a lot of trouble conversing with - her Spanish was not like that we have been learning and she was a little shy, quiet and emotional but she bought several items from us and when we gave her some extra items free at the end of the day, she gave me gifts which of course I don't want and tried to gently refuse - she cried and said that she had nothing else to give me and I got another trader (Spanish fluent) to explain to her that we do not have room for her gifts, that we are very grateful but have no room to take them with us.  Finally she understood that we were not rejecting her gifts but we could not take them with us because we have no room.

We didn't make a lot of money today but that wasn't really the objective, we did however get to make a veteran very happy by giving him a couple of books about birds and flora.  We also got to give some of the leftovers to some of the traders so that they could sell them for themselves at some future time.

So now we are ready for a quiet week here in San Antonio, lunch with friends tomorrow and then some relaxation time until we head towards the border on Friday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Preparations Update

After a hectic schedule and various retirement parties (thank you Thomson Reuters and Staples colleagues, managers and friends), we are settling into retirement life.  We are still reveling in the fact that we do not have to think about getting up and going to work, about the stresses and regimentation of working life. It was fun, in fact for both of us work has been a wonderful experience but we are tired and so ready for living life a little bit slower, our way, with no limitations or expectations.

We are now fully into the process of the final downsize, for that moment when all that we own will fit snugly (oh so very snugly, aided with lots of pushing and shoving) into the back of the Prius, under the cover.

Our furniture is gone and we are currently living with a couple of fold up tables and camp chairs, sleeping on an air mattress.  As we sort through and categorize the last of our belongings (travel with us; flea market; friends; goodwill) I am still amazed at how this stuff keeps multiplying.  The small bathroom is now completely empty, clean and ready for move out.  The office is holding the piles of things for the flea market and Goodwill.  Our bedroom has the mattress and various odds and bobs while the master bathroom has some 'not sure yet' stuff to use on our last few days here.  The Walk-in closet has enough clothes for a couple of days and I am getting used to doing laundry by hand in the bath tub again (washer and dryer gone!) - ah memories of a life gone by when children were toddlers and money was something that we did not have.  As for the living room, that has a pile of suitcases; the kitchen cupboards have been emptied but the pantry seems to be growing a bit more food every time I look in there - how can this be and yet there doesn't seem to be anything left to eat?  We have saved 2 plates, 2 coffee cups a pot and a pan and very little else for our day to day use - we will need these when we move out of here and into a motel for a week.

Planning and arrangements are coming along - it doesn't feel like that when I wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night wondering how we are going to get this all working smoothly. 

Move out day is Friday when we are moving into an InTown Suites (weekly motel of a better than dubious nature) for a week.  On Saturday we will take a fully loaded car out to Traders Village (a flea market south of San Antonio) where we will spend a fun day selling whatever we can and then take the remnants to Goodwill.  After that it will definitely be time to catch our breath (and maybe a movie) while we say goodbye to some friends and to San Antonio.

April 1st (is this prophetic in some way) will be our day to cross into Mexico and we have booked a bargain hotel in Saltillo for the first night and have also booked a week in an apartment in Durango (love the Airbnb rates!) leading us to our first planned vacation week in Mazatlan starting Friday April 7th.

Mexican auto insurance has been purchased (highly recommend Sanborn's for their easy online policy purchase process) and we have some interesting roads information:
this has the map of the roads in Mexico

Yes Mexico has some very different time zones too:

The last couple of weeks have been a bag of mixed emotions for both of us.  The pleasures of being retired mixed with the stresses of getting rid of most everything and wondering where the rest will go, along with logistical planning and the uncertainties between now and April 7th are definitely an emotional roller coaster for both of us.  We are trying to temper this with long daily walks, a glass of wine and reminding each other why we are doing this.