Phew! It has been a busy few weeks! I highly DON’T recommend undertaking a major move like this in less than a month – well, unless you are moving to where we are in Belize – in which case go for it, it was definitely worth it now that we are here…
After garage sale weekend #2, we did a quick road trip with our mid-Florida kin, brother Russ and his wife Carol, to visit Ray Sr., sister Carolyn, and son Scott at Dad’s place in Melrose. As usual, we hung out around the fire pit, drank too much beer, and told stories on each other. Then, too soon, the first of the tough family good-byes, to Dad and Carolyn (we’d see Scott again later in the week). But who knows? We may see them (and lots of others) sooner than we think, if they come to see us. On the way home, we stopped with Russ and Carol at the Blackwater Inn for an indescribably delicious lunch and some cold beer.
On Monday I called my dad to say Happy “Old Pat” Day and good-bye too. It was good to hear his voice again. Hello, my seven other siblings who I didn’t call, but I talked to some of you online before we left, and the others, you know I was thinking of you too.
Then back to the sort/sell/pack/stack grind. By mid-week, with staggered furniture pick-ups by the folks who bought them from the sales or craigslist, our living room furnishings were down to the garage chair with the bad springs, two mismatched camp chairs, a few odd tables and pillows, and the area rug. But we still had the important stuff – beds and TV/internet – so it was all good.
Son Scott came from Gainesville Wednesday to help us with the load-out for a few days. It’s a good thing he did, because his help was invaluable – and we worked him. That evening, Ray made a Bacon Explosion, since Scott had only seen pictures of on Facebook so far, as advance pay. Yum!
After a hard day loading the rental truck Thursday, we decided (well – it was mostly me and Scott lobbying for it) to knock off early, build one last fire in the backyard pit, and get drunk. We paid for it later, when we went right down to the wire on Sunday; but we’d earned it and it was a lot of fun. Good music, good conversation, and it was nice to spend the time with Scott since he was heading back north the next day.
Friday, daughter Kayla came up from Melbourne to collect some items, and we all took a break from the second truck load-out outside and/or housecleaning inside for an impromptu KFC feast in the garage.
That evening, I took advantage of a gift certificate for a massage, which was bliss – although, having just said goodbye to Scott, I was teary all the way to the salon and had to take a moment to compose myself before I went in. We’d been so busy up to this point, there really hadn’t been time to register the idea of “leaving” – but now fatigue and reality were combining, and I knew it wouldn’t get easier as we said more good-byes.
Saturday was the last big push, with occasional stops for chats and good-byes to neighbors and friends. There were times we looked at each other to say, “We aren’t gonna be able to do this, are we?” But we persevered until late afternoon, then showered to join Kayla and Luke at Russ and Carol’s house for one last hurrah: Pizza, beer, and good company around the pool, with lots of laughs and then another teary good-bye to Kayla, Luke and Carol (we’d see Russ in the AM for a much-needed assist with the last re-organization of the storage unit).
So, we’ve left behind the remainder of our worldly belongings in a 10×25 storage unit (plus a 5×5 climate controlled one for electronics, photos, etc). And after stacks and stacks of boxes, as Ray says, we squeezed that car in like greased lightning in the end – after not being 100% sure it would all fit, based on the state of things after the initial two truckloads that Ray and Scott had loaded in (first truckload was packed well, the second less so since time was running out on the rental truck; and there had been multiple carloads behind that too).
I don’t know if you can see it, but we left our ceramic alligator (mouth open) on top of the car as a “surprise” for anyone who decides to break in. Kayla, there’s your warning too, just in case you go in for anything. 🙂
The only real furniture we kept was the master bedroom suite and a TV, so we’ll be rebuilding again when we return (if we return?) – or we’ll just go RVing instead and then we won’t need new furniture.
Our last stop on the way to Orlando was at friends Adrian and Jen’s to drop off tailgate stuff for the upcoming Jimmy Buffett concert in Tampa. To all our Parrot Head friends, we’ll miss seeing you there, but…well, you know. Raise a glass and enjoy it!
Finally, we made it to a hotel room in Orlando for an overnight before the flight. Long hot showers, and our last meal in America was at TGI Friday’s – love that Jack Daniels’ sirloin! Then back to the room to try to relax.
Even with a good nights’ sleep, two very tired, slightly punchy campers boarded the plane on Monday AM.
I remembered this time to take a few pictures of the very cool fish art at our layover in the Miami airport (according to Google, credit goes to artist/owner Michael Kirkhart of New Wave Taxidermy, working with New York contemporary artist Donald Lipski). Ray hopes to have enough fish caught here in a few months that he can create his own “fish wheels.”
I had the window seat this leg but it was cloudy and I needed sleep more than I needed a second view of the Keys, Cuba, and the Yucatan Penninsula. I woke up in time for the landing in Belize.
Customs was again a breeze – a little surprising with six very full suitcases, but they only asked a few questions and waved us on.
We found our VIP Transfer person standing outside with a sign for GAMBILL – a very nice young guy, Henry Jr, soft-spoken and polite, and he indulged us in all our questions about life in Belize and our own stories about ourselves during the two hour drive to Corozal.
VIP had taken Les and Michelle to the airport when they left a few days earlier, so Henry handed over the truck keys, and off we went to see if we remembered how to find the property.