Countdown: All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

Countdown to expat moving day

Tomorrow is February 1, the day we had planned to move to Panama.

But we’re not going.

Why? Still no tenants for our Florida house. Everything else is poised and ready. Once we get the go-ahead — in the form of a signed lease agreement — we’re ready to whip into our last-minute action. Until then, we wait.

I admit, I am not good at waiting.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve been doing, then I’ll let you know our plan for our quick getaway once we’ve got the lease.

Week of January 23

Renting the House

We showed the house a bunch of times. One couple seemed quite interested, but it turned out they had three large dogs. While we’re willing to rent to pet owners, we didn’t feel comfortable with this. If they’d had three Yorkies, we probably would have agreed.

We also have new competition in the neighborhood. Neighbors just two doors down and across the street listed for rent. They’re asking a bit more than we are, but this particular house has been completely remodeled. To stay competitive, we instructed our rental agent to drop the price.

Maintaining Our Lives

I purchased new luggage. It’s a classy set if I do say so myself, and sports an elephant motif. Those who know me know that I have a soft spot for elephants and my house used to be full of wooden, porcelain, brass, jade and other renditions of elephants.

new luggage, complete with elephants

I finished up our tax returns and started my daughter’s financial aid statements. Those will be done before the end of this week, so I’ll be able to check off another task completely.

There’s one project I have on my list before the move that’s proving more complicated than I expected.

Our middle son is getting married in April, and I need a mother-of-the-groom dress. I also need to get it before we move, because I know I’ll be too busy getting settled in Panama’s interior to spend time shopping in Panama City.

Their wedding is semi-formal, with a garden party motif. Attendants will be wearing floral sundresses. I don’t plan on wearing a sundress, but something street length in springy colors would be appropriate.

Epic fail.

Stores here are just beginning to get their spring lines on the racks, so I have to wait.

Remember what I said at the beginning about waiting? Exactly.

The Panama End

We’ll be staying in Panama for a while on tourist visas, which means we’ll have to leave the country regularly and return to renew our visas. It also means our US drivers licenses will be valid for only 90 days each time.

I checked into whether it would be worthwhile to get the Latin American version of an international drivers license, and determined it would be a waste of time and money. So that’s one more thing I can scratch off my to-do list.

Looking Ahead. . .

Here’s the plan for when we have the signed lease agreement in hand.

  1. Purchase airline ticket for me to fly to Panama City
  2. Let my contacts know when I’ll be arriving
  3. Start looking online for short-term rental
  4. Sell my car before leaving Florida
  5. Fly down, and start scouting rentals on the ground. We’ll be looking for something furnished for 3-6 months, between Penonome and Las Tablas

While I’m doing that, my husband will pack up and store the few things we’re keeping. Then he’ll set up a time for the estate sales agents to come in and start setting up the sale.

During the sale, he’ll go to Atlanta to visit his family.

Once I’ve lined up a rental in Panama, he’ll start the pet countdown by taking the dogs to the vet to get their health certificates and we’ll arrange for their flight.

I’ll go to Panama City to meet the dogs on arrival. My husband may fly with them, or may take a later flight depending on a couple of other variables. I’ll stick around to meet him when he comes in, then we’ll travel to our new base of operations.

That’ll work, won’t it?

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