Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just A General Update

It has truly been heartwarming to receive all the love, good wishes, excitement, and help I've been getting. I feel truly blessed to have that much love in my life.

On to a more mundane subject--the broken wrist.  I went to the doctor yesterday and he says the broken bone has managed to slide a tiny bit off kilter.  It was because I used my hand too much.  My daughter warned me--I didn't listen.  He threatened surgery (I vetoed that idea) and the upshot of the visit is that I got a removable cast but I had to promise to be much more careful and have an X-ray taken in a couple of weeks to make sure it's healing properly.  He also said I'm pretty much stuck the cast for another 6 weeks (rather then 4) because of the bone moving.  I promise to pay more attention to my daughter.

I found some totally cool bags to use to take my stuff with me.  I was using 22 gallon plastic bins to come in under the size limit but they don't hold nearly as much as would be helpful. 

When I started cruising around on Amazon it was to see if I could find a suitcase lighter than my current one which weighs 15 pounds all by itself.  I was finding lots of them that cost upwards of $100 and was about to give up when I found one that looked like it might just fit the bill.  While looking at that one and others like it, I found my dream moving container.  Rather than try to explain it, take a look for yourself  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00598NJU6/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details.  I love it!  I think I might even be able to take one less bag than it would have taken with the bins.  With the cost of excess baggage being what it is, that's a VERY good thing.

A friend took me to Red Lobster last night as a special way to say bon voyage.  It was a fabulous meal.  It will be good to have some of my favorite tastes still on my tongue when I get to a place where everything will be different.

I know--this isn't anything special as blog posts go but it's definitely a part of the process.

Friday, February 24, 2012

More Help Keeps Coming

A woman I know from my fibromyalgia (and other such conditions) came over today and spent about 5 hours helping me get more organized.  We sorted and just started filling up the plastic bins I'm using as part of my baggage.  We didn't actually pack anything, we just put stuff in there so I could start getting a better idea of how much I can take and how much space it will take up.  I was actually pleasantly surprised to see how much fit into those bins.

Of course there will still be the process of sorting through it again and culling out things that aren't exactly essential.  Those are the hard decisions.  I have fabric and yarn my heart truly wants to take along on this journey but I also have kitchen ware and clothing that must take priority over everything else.

What I know for sure is that without my friend's help I would be looking around at a very different apartment than I am seeing right now.  I'm finally starting to believe this can actually happen without panic and total chaos.

I also have a couple of people coming over tomorrow to look at my bed and my sofa.  I would love to sell at least one of them tomorrow.  I'm getting so close to my budgeted income that taking it over the top in the next week would be pretty wonderful.

My wrist is still hurting pretty badly but my daughter tells me that's from using it too much.  I'm trying to be much more sensible and gentle with it.  As much as I hate packing, I still miss doing parts of it.  Tonight, for instance, I wanted to go in search of my summer duvet for my bed but I can move the boxes in front of the shelf where I still have a few boxes whose contents are a bit vague and fuzzy in my mind. Even if I could move those, I couldn't lift down the boxes from the upper shelf.

Well, since I can't do that, I'll just sit here and take apart a sweater I bought at a thrift store specifically for the yarn.  That's something I can still do with my broken wing.  I'll also finish listening to an audio book I have checked out from the library.  It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

What A Fabulous Gift!!!

You may recall that back in an earlier post that I said something like, "It would be great if I could just pack my stuff and walk away from the rest without having to deal with the whole selling, giving away, cleaning part."

A few days ago my daughter gave me that gift.  She wondered why I couldn't just do that and leave the rest to her, my family, and friends.  I thought long and hard about it (about 10 seconds) and said I thought it was brilliant and incredibly generous.

This is a gift I never would have thought of and one that means so much to me.  I definitely got my birthday and Christmas gifts from her this year.  I haven't told her that but she'll probably figure it out when she reads this.

Once again, thank you daughter of mine.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Things are moving along swimmingly here.  I've been selling a lot of my stuff through "private showings" to friends and family.  That is making me very happy.  In fact, I've nearly reached my monetary goal for the sale and I still have much to sell.  Hurray for the budget!

Packing is still challenging.  Look around your house or apartment and decide which 250 pounds of stuff will you keep out of everything you own.  It's a far more daunting task than I had anticipated.  It would be much easier if certain items were available down there or, if available, didn't cost so much more than here.  I've been advised to bring pots and pans, linens, electronics, and paper goods.  So many things are so much less costly that it's sometimes hard to remember that things which must be imported will possibly cost more--if they're available at all.  I'm going to be counting on my many visitors to help bring items I'll have stored away with a relative or two.

Part of the possible emotionally "down" tone of this post is because I keep expecting my broken wrist to heal instantly or, if it can't heal that fast, to at least stop hurting!  I'm a spoiled brat. :>)

I see the Dr. again on Monday, so we'll see what he has to say.  I have faith and confidence it will be nothing but positive.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

More Photos

I just received a couple of photos of the back yard for my apartment.  I was told the yard is in very sad shape owing to the owner having injured his leg.  The apartment building is only a year old so he hasn't had much time to do all the things he wants to with it.

Here is my soon-to-be-beautiful back yard.
One of the huge trees is an avocado and the other is a fig.  Being a northern dweller most of my life and not being much of a gardener myself, I've never seen either of them.  Now I can see why I was told I would have an unlimited supply of avocados!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Getting Ready for the Moving Sale

Getting ready for the move and the moving sale was always going to be a challenge but with a broken wrist I find it amazingly more difficult.

Fortunately I have found people who will help with everything from lifting boxes to doing dishes--it's all working out perfectly.  I love it when that happens.

Today I finished my dental work, tomorrow or Sunday I can pick up my new glasses, and Monday is my last appointment with my Dr.  It's amazing to me that it's all happening at all.  Think of it--17 days and I'll be on an airplane heading further south than I ever dreamed I'd be!

Tonight, though, I take a lovely break to go to the symphony with my daughter.  I'm truly looking forward to it.  We have such a fabulous orchestra here--world famous in fact.  I get to go to this one with my daughter and in a couple of weeks I'll be going to another one with my granddaughter.  What a lovely way to remember our last days together here in the States.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Broken Wrist Update

I went to the orthopedic dr. yesterday and he confirmed that the break in my wrist is much easier to treat than if it had been just about anything else.  Of course they still had to put it in a cast but this one gives me far more of my fingers and thumb available so typing is much easier than it was before.  The cast gets in the way but it's still much easier to do.

He's hopeful it will be sufficiently improved in two weeks that I can get one of those removable splints.  I'll still have to wear it the full six weeks but it will be much easier to manage.

Things involving water are still a bit of a challenge but I'm managing with those as well.  And I know everything is just going to keep getting better and better.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gifts to Me

This is addressed only to those people who normally give me gifts for birthday or Christmas.

All future gifts should be cash (not a gift card from anywhere--even Amazon).  Whatever you do, don't try to send it to me!  I will continue to have my PayPal and Wells Fargo accounts and Staci, Melissa, and Sara all know how to access them and transfer money to me.

This would probably have been a good thing to send in an email but I decided I wanted it somewhere people could always access in the future.  Email is too easy to lose and too hard to find. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"7 Positive and Negative Things About Ecuador"

[Oops, this was supposed to be posted a couple of days ago. Better late than never.]
This was sent to me the other day and it has some great insights about the country as a whole and why English speakers love living there (and why it might not be right for them).


Friday, February 10, 2012

Life Just Got Even More Interesting

This will be short.  I managed to break my right wrist today. Actually, the bone isn't broken, it's just dented a little. I'm still going to get to wear a cast for awhile.  Life just keeps on getting more and more interesting.

Anyone Have a Truck?

This is obviously for people in the Twin Cities area--or family nearby.

Does anyone have a truck or access to one available sometime between 2/25 and 3/2?  I'm going to be putting some stuff in storage either to be sent down to me as visitors come to see me or to be there should I decide to come back in a reasonable amount of time.  There's a small table, a 24+" long single cardboard file drawer (possibly 2 or 3--they make great storage containers), a rolling file cart that's light but about 18x24x26, a few boxes (possibly more than a few), and probably something else I haven't even thought of yet.  I need to spend some time thinking about what I would truly want if I came back.

If I were to do that, I would get on the waiting list for Ebenezer Towers right across the street from where I live right now.  What do I have that would work in there that would make my life a little more comfortable from the very beginning of my tenancy.  Also, what would I miss so much that I'd need to have it with me to make me feel like it was home?  The rest I can get at thrift stores or through Craig's List.

I'm not planning to come back but rather than cutting off my options, I'm giving myself a plan for one possible future.

More About Yarn

I've been going through my yarn (I may already have told you this part) and so far I have more than I can stuff in a 30 gallon bin--way more. The measurements on that are 30x20x20.  That's a LOT of yarn.

Some of the yarn was purchased at one of those fancy shops that only carries the very best yarns, some is that same quality but comes from scarves and sweaters I purchased from thrift stores and then tore down and rolled them ever-so neatly.  Some of those sell for $10 per 50 gram ball and I may have several ounces of it.  There's silk, bamboo, sparkly yarn, ladder, and ribbon.  There's a full skein of the yarn they're using to make the ruffly scarves.  Many of them still have the labels on them.  Some of it is just plain polyester yarn I was using to make market bags.

In other words, I have between $700 and $1000 worth of yarn, probably more (yes, really--that much).  I'd like to sell it for $100.  Do you know of anyone who might want to get a amazing price on some amazing yarn?  It will go on Craig's List next week.

I'd love it if someone who loves yarn will be able to get it.  I probably won't let anyone take it for a week or so since I'm unearthing yarn from the most unlikely places.

Oh my, in the time it took me to write this, I may have already found a buyer.  This is really going well.  I may reach my yard sale income goal before I even open the front door to the public.  Wouldn't that be lovely?

Otavalo Market

There was an email in my inbox this morning that let me to a website I already knew about but this was one of the pages I had missed.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some of what is available at the market just a 25 cent bus ride from my apartment.  http://www.retire-in-ecuador.com/Otavalo.html.  My favorite part of the page was the video at the bottom of the page.  It shows many of the goods available there.  They spent a little more time on jewelry than I was interested in but I'm sure other people love it.  Enjoy.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Indoor Yard Sale, Part 2

You may recall that I said the dates for the indoor yard sale were February 18th and 25th.  What in the world was I thinking?  I suspect the earliest I can do it will be the 25th and I have a plan that may be totally unrealistic but I'm trying it on for size.  Tell me what you think.

Saturday 3/3 Sale from 9:00 to 3:00
Sunday 3/4 Whatever is left is given away, also 9:00 to 3:00
After 3:00 The guy from upstairs who wants what's left for his church's rummage sale comes to get that.
Monday 3/5 Haul the trash to wherever trash goes to die and start cleaning for the move out inspection
Tuesday 3/6 Finish the cleaning and have the walk-through with the manager.
Wednesday 3/7 Fly out

It sounds crazy and probably is but it also seems like the most sensible way to do it.  I get to stay in this apartment until the very end and it still clears the apartment out.

Am I nuts?

Is there anyone in the Twin Cities area who would like to help with this?  Helpers get a preview and reduced prices, especially if you'll be helping with the cleanup.

Excess Baggage

Yesterday was filled with ups and downs.  My daughter is much better at finding the best prices on flights than I so she took on that task.  She said the least expensive flight was on American Airlines (not my favorite) and that it would cost $40 to $50 more to fly with another airline.  Dang it!  Oh well.  I'm sure it could be a lot worse.

I called American to confirm that there were no baggage embargoes when I'm traveling.  I know some countries don't allow excess baggage during certain months, generally centered around traditional vacation times.  Before Staci went ahead with that final push of the computer button, I wanted to be sure it was the right time of the year.

The "helpful" customer service representative at American said that there is now an embargo all year.  You can have up to 70 pounds per bag but you can only have the standard size allowances and you have to pay extra for the heavier weight (free or standard rates go up to 50 pounds).

That's 140 pounds, and that's assuming I can get 140 pounds into two containers no more than the size of a fairly large suitcase.  I started running through my mental list of everything I had been planning to take and cutting it down to a size that might fit those criteria.

When I got home I decided I had to check one more time.  It turns out the least expensive flight had changed from American to Delta (hurray!).  I looked at the internet info one more time.  It assured me that I really could take more baggage when I was traveling so I called Delta.  A very charming man assured me that I was correct and American was wrong.  Thank goodness!  I'm not back to my original 250 pounds, which is still very little when you consider it's not for a vacation--it's what I have to start life in a new place.

I did a happy dance and went back to trying to get my apartment ready for the grand indoor yard sale.

Coming up:  The Indoor Yard Sale

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ecuador Earthquake

For those of you who may have heard about the earthquake in Ecuador, it was a long way from Cotacachi.  Apparently people in Quito felt the tremors but didn't report anything but a few lightweight items like glasses or bric-a-brac jiggling across surfaces.  Cotacachi is 70 miles further from the quake than Quito so I'm guessing they either felt nothing at all to very tiny tremors.  All is well.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Chaos Before the Storm

I used to think this move was going to be so much easier than previous ones.  All I have to do is pick out what I'm taking with me and the rest of it goes in the yard sales.

It sounded great in theory.  What I've discovered is how many nooks and crannies I have and all the amazing things I have tucked away in them.  For instance, I had NO idea how many places I'd stashed yarn. 

This past Friday I wrote about all the yarn I had and how I had managed to get it all in one place.  Silly me.  It seems like every box or basket I open has more yarn in it.  As I was cleaning of shelves to put my kitchen stuff on, I came across a bag and a box that each contained yarn, not to mention a couple of bags that were on the floor in front of the shelves left from a previous attempt at taming the disorder. 

Tonight I decided to clean out a decorative box/trunk thing I have and when I opened the lid of this rather large piece of furniture if found--you guessed it--more yarn.  The good news is that the more yarn I find, the less attached I feel about it.  The box of yarn I'm not taking is now half again as much as what I'm taking and I'm not done yet.  I still have that trunk to clean out not to mention the box and bag from the other room.  At some point I will have to have stop finding yarn, right?  Someone is going to love getting all of it, that's for sure.

Now I'm going to focus on the bedroom closet for a little while.  I know there's no yarn in there.  I checked that out the other day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What Do I Need?

I've probably already addressed this but it's still an issue for me and it runs through my head dozens of times a day.  Last night I was thinking about things like laundry soap, dish soap, cleaning supplies, etc.  I know they take up weight but I also know that I won't have a lot of money to run out and buy new stuff when I get there.  I have super concentrated laundry soap, I only need a small container of dish soap. Of course I'll be taking body wash and shampoo.

My sister pointed out (very sensibly) that I run the risk of spillage.  I've figured that out.  I have a Food Saver.  If I process all those things through there first, then put that into a Zip-Loc bag, there should be problem at all.  I'll also have an extra Space Bag (the very small ones) that I can put it in to triple safeguard it.  I might be overdoing it but I can think of very little more awful than having to clean up the remains of 4 ounces of Dawn from whatever is in the box with it.

I'm starting to get down to the nit picky things like whether or not there's an ironing board or if I need to take my cotton blanket instead of my lovely comforter.  The cotton blanket can be folded to use as a substitute for the ironing board, provided I have a counter top that isn't bothered by heat.

Questions like that keep popping into my head.  I ask the woman I'm subletting from and I infinitely grateful to have her to ask but it still takes energy to think about it.

Now I'm going to go start cleaning out my closet.


It occurred to me just this morning that I have 12 days before my first indoor yard sale.  When I was thinking of them up until this morning, I thought about them in more abstract terms. "This is much better than a regular yard sale because I don't have to get everything together in one space--everything goes."

This morning I was struck by a brilliant flash of the obvious.  Yes, everything goes except what I'm taking with me to Ecuador!  Ergo, I must clean out the closet where I will hide my Ecuador stuff, pick out what I'm definitely taking and what I'd like to take if there's room for it.

As of today, there will be no more thinking about what I'm taking, there will be actually doing something about it.  Today's task is to get the middle room and dining room in good enough order that I can empty out my giant closet so there will be a place for all my Ecuador stuff as well as the stuff that is already spoken for. 

For those of you who don't know what my "middle room" is, it could be a very public bedroom, an office, or what I use it for--crafts, sewing, pantry, storage.  In order to get to my bedroom you have to walk through the middle room, thus the name.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Semi-final Timetable for the Move

I think I have everything worked out for my departure from here and what I'll be doing once I reach my destination.

My friend who went down there twice said that one of those times her luggage did not arrive with her.  If that were to happen to me, it could be pretty bad.  I'll be flying into Quito, the country's capital, and then taking a car service to Cotacachi.  The drive costs $70, which might seem like a lot but it's a two-hour drive and I keep trying to remember what it would cost to do that here.  What if I wanted to take a cab to Duluth?

At any rate, the idea of going to Cotacachi without my belongings and then having to go back down to get them was not my idea of a good time.  Then I had a flash of the obvious.

I'll arrive in Quito a week before I'm due to move into my apartment and get a room there for a few nights and then go up to Cotacachi, even if my luggage all arrives with me.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, I'm going to be dead tired after a full day of airplanes and airports.  I get into Quito at 10:56 p.m. and then I still have to clear customs.  Second, it would be good to just have a few days to get used to the altitude and not have anything I feel I need to do.  And of course if my baggage doesn't arrive with me, it would be so much simpler to be there rather than a two-hour drive away.

Then I'll go to Cotacachi a few days early so I can spend some time with the woman from whom I'm subletting my apartment.  She has offered to show me around town, introduce me to people, help me learn some of the local customs, point out the best merchants at the local outdoor market, etc.  That was so generous of her.  She has already reserved a room for me at the hostel in Cotacachi and as soon as I confirm my arrival date in Quito, I'll reserve my room there.

The room in Quito will be almost twice the cost of the one in Cotacachi but it has excellent reviews and it's only for three nights.  One of the major benefits is that it has a restaurant and coffee bar on the main floor, so if I'm totally fried on that first day there I don't even have to go find a restaurant.

The Quito location is The Magic Bean and the one in Cotacachi is La Cuadra

Friday, February 3, 2012

Yarn, Yarn, Everywhere Yarn

One of the things I was fairly confident would be coming with me to Ecuador was my yarn.  No, not all of it, but a goodly portion of it. 

Last night a friend of mine came over, ostensibly just to be there with me, as company, while I organized my yarn.  I had been trying to get it into some kind of order for a couple of months and every time I thought I had a plan, it turned out not to be the best plan for me.  I finally decided that the best option was simply to separate it by color, with one bag for multi-colored ones. 

Of course that meant taking it from where it was and putting it into different ones.  Then there was the yarn that wasn't corralled anywhere that had to be put in its bag.  I know, it doesn't sound like much of a task but I have a lot of yarn and it had become an overwhelming job.

Enter my friend.  She came over last night and not only sat and talked with me while I organized yarn--she helped with parts of it.  She's an extremely organized person and did things I only think about doing "when I have time."  She put all the empty little plastic bags, neatly organized, into one large bag where I can easily see where everything is.

By the time she left, all my yarn was neatly tucked into bags.  If I weren't using Space Bags, it would have taken two of the plastic bins I'm using to accommodate all of it.  Oh my.  I knew I had a lot of yarn but I guess the amount snuck up on me.

Now I get to go through the bags yet again and decide what I'm taking with me and what gets shipped to my yarn person in Michigan.  Then the yarn that I won't be using in the next month gets popped into Space Bags and has all the air sucked out of it to see just how much will be able to go with me.  What is actually important to me and what is there just because it's yarn? 

These are such important questions that I feel that even if I weren't going to Ecuador, these would be important questions to ask and act upon in my lovely, big apartment.  As I begin to look at my belongings with new eyes, I see so many things I would eliminate from my apartment either because it's just taking up space or because I may like it but I don't love it. 

And the process continues.  Today, after I do my requisite hour of knitting on already-commissioned work and the dishes, I'm going to go into my middle room (almost a bedroom but not quite) and clean off a few shelves so I can put the kitchen things I'm not going to be taking with me.  I want to stop using them so I can learn what I really "need" down there before I sell it.  Fun day!  (OK, that was only a little sarcastic)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Do I Have To Sell It?

I've come to realize that while I don't mind that I'm going to be getting rid of all my belongings, I don't really want to see them go away.  If I could do it any way I wanted, I'd leave here with my bags and let someone else do the sales and getting rid of the rest of it and just send me half the money. 

Besides, where am I going to sleep?

Ah, pay no attention to me--I'm just beginning to feel the magnitude of getting the apartment all sorted out and figuring out how much I can take with me, etc.  This is the part that's both exciting and terrifying.  Most of the time it's exciting but periodically it gets a wee bit terrifying. 

Indoor Yard Sale

I've nailed down a couple of dates for my indoor yard sales.  They'll be on February 18th and 25th.  They'll only go from noon to 5:00.  I don't want it to last forever.  Then, on March 3rd, everything that's left will be free.  If there's still stuff left over (and of course there will be), there's a man in my building who is collecting things for his church's yard sale.  I've told him he can have anything of any salable value and whatever is still left will be trash and will be disposed of appropriately.

If you're in the Twin Cities area and what to take a look at what I have, I'll be previewing everything at some point and you're welcome to come for that.  I want to give friends and family first dibs on everything.  If you're reading this, you're definitely one or the other.

As always, there will be more to come.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taking Care of All the Medical Stuff

Monday was a very productive day for me.  I spent three hours on the phone getting proof of income sent to me and determining what services were available to me on my medical insurance (you really don't want to know what a mess my insurance coverage is in).

Yesterday I made appointments to get new glasses, go to the dentist, and see my doctor about prescriptions to get filled in Ecuador--oh, and also to write a prescription for my granny cart.  More about that in a little bit.

I was thrilled to be able to get an appointment with Pearl Vision for yesterday, one with the dentist for tomorrow, and I'll see the doctor the week of the 20th.  Once I got all the information, it was smooth as silk and I'll now be all fixed up with insurance services.  You see, getting the glasses and going to the dentist were both things I "should have" done months ago, so waiting until now might have been a serious problem in terms of time.  This is one more thing off my very lengthy list of things to do.

Back to the granny cart.  For those of you who may not be familiar with them, a granny cart is really called a market cart but they got the name because so many of the people who use them are elderly women who take the bus to the grocery store.  They've become much more popular and would definitely be more appropriately referred to as market carts but the name has stuck.  If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, take a look at http://www.amazon.com/Polder-STO-3022-92-Superlight-Shopping-Aluminum/dp/B0015Y6LH6/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1328112750&sr=8-5.  This one is MUCH nicer than mine but you get the idea.

Anyway, I use my cart all the time when I go shopping.  Not only is it useful for managing the groceries, etc., but it helps with my balance as I'm walking.  My balance isn't so bad that I would need a walker or anything like that but the market cart is just a nice helper every once in a while. 

As it relates to my move, it occurred to me that I need it for all the things I use it for here.  When I looked at the airline's policies on what you can take along similar to wheelchairs, etc., what they said was that you could check through, free, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, or other assistive devices.  My granny cart is definitely an assistive device--OK, it's a bit of a stretch--so I decided to give it a try.  I'll have my carry on bag and camera case with me when I board the plane and the cart would be SO helpful in getting me to the gate.  I figured that if they denied it, that would be no more of a hardship than if I had left it home.  At least if I have it there to ask about, I have a far better chance of getting it authorized than if I didn't, right?

Now comes the part about the doctor.  Once all this mental processing had sifted through my brain, it then occurred to me that having a prescription with me might be more helpful in getting them to approve it.  So, the last time I had an appointment with my Dr., I asked if he would consider doing it.  He was more than happy to do so.  Hurray!  I might get to take it.  That would be so lovely.

All my pesky health issues are now taken care of and everything will be complete before my trip.  Hurray!