When I last posted, we had just decided to make the life change of moving to Boquete, Panama, regardless of the fact that we had not yet secured refinancing on some of our rentals. Successful refinancing of those properties would reduce our negative cash flow (nasty, nasty words to people like us) and would actually add a nice little cushion to our monthly Panamanian budget.
While our Wells Fargo rep, Dena, continued to push our loans through the process (complicated HARP loans with exceptions), John and I went about the task of making the move. The division of duties was fairly well drawn out: John took care of his office and I took care of the rest of the house. This is a fact and one I continue to throw in his face today.
However, to be truly fair, I acknowledge John’s tireless efforts in all things financial, legal, etc. Things I call “infrastructure”. How will our bank accounts work down there? Will John stay on Medicare and I obtain Panamanian health insurance? What legal issues need to be addressed? How/when should we buy a car? Lots of, well, boring but necessary infrastructure stuff.
Me? I’m in charge of making everything pretty and feel good. In my little scenario, I would handle how everything looks: the paint color on the houses, what the landscape looks like, etc. You know, all the stuff that people see. How does that translate into my part on moving to Boquete?
For me, that translates into action. And my first order of “action” is our first sale. Let’s get this stuff moved out!
If you have been reading this blog, then you know about John and Robyn Cole’s First Ever Estate Sale. You know what we went through to get everything sold in stages. You know about my emotions in selling all of my furniture in the post titled “You like me, you really like me!” You’ve seen how things started to come together in the post “God Works Quietly”.
You’ve read that I seem to be not only a frame addict, but a candle addict. If you’re anything like me, you like to bundle. Bundling items together to get them sold. Great idea, didn’t work for me: Bundling sucks!
You’ve read about our first huge garage sale and the day lots of people came to pick up
furniture they had bought. Leaving John and I to dine at Chez Ironing Board.
You read where we basically took a break from the whole process to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends. Go to the December archives to see where we spent our Christmas.
What you haven’t read (since I haven’t posted it), is a January filled with five days of garage sales. January 15th and 16th, January 22nd, and January 28th and 29th. We had the whole back end of the month covered. And when we planned this, we had absolutely no idea how hard it was going to be for John and I to do that, especially while I began my last month of working at a full time job.
In walks an angel named Rhoda (not her real name, BTW). She is a friend of John’s and she and her husband have occasionally gone to dinner with John and myself. A true “east coastuh” with the Rhode Island accent, Rhoda is in desperate need of a project. Caught in a dispute with her employers, she is taking some stress leave. To keep from obsessing about her own plight, she has begged us to let her help.
Rhoda is a true character. We’ve gotten to be good enough friends that she allows me to tell her when to “dial down” her personality. “Just a little less pushy, Rhode”, I tell her. “Okay, Ra-a-ab”, she responds with her dialect. I love the way she says “Valen-times Day”.
When I ask her to spell it she gives me that look and says “Yeah, I know. And I also say ‘sawr’ instead of ‘saw’ and I “pahk muh cahr in Haaavaaad Yaaad. Yea, bite me.”
So. Rhoda takes one look at all of our stuff and says “Oh, we gotta get organized! I gotta come over a couple of days early just to get all this stuff ready!” “But I’ll be at work,” I say. “Doesn’t matter,” she responds. “I’ll just come over while you’re gone and John and I will work on it. It’s gotta get done!”
And so my angel went to work sorting, pricing and displaying. “John, is $3 too much to ask for this?” she’d say. “Hell, Rhode, just get it sold. Price it at $2 if you think that will move
it!” She called me at work to ask if I could make numerous sales signs. Could I?!? That was the easy part — tell me what you want and I’ll make it! You want an ad on Craigslist? That I can do. Sorting and bundling, standing on my feet for 7 hours, taking rock bottom prices for my stuff? Been there, done that at two previous sales — I’m wiped out on the topic.
Not only that, but all the big, expensive stuff has been sold. Now we’re down to the nitty gritty stuff….clothing, shoes, irons, pots and pans, silverware, mixing bowls, vacuum cleaners, bathroom items, extra blow dryers, some lamps, arts and crafts supplies. You know, the flotsam and jetsam that permeate all of our existence!
My angel Rhoda took care of it all. Not only that but she was there every single day of the garage sales at 6:30 in the morning ready to go. Whether the sale was scheduled for Friday, Saturday or Sunday, she was there selling. And when I say selling, I mean
SELLING! “Look, look look over here. Look what I have for you. Don’t you need a whole table of fabric? For the next 5 minutes, I’m letting this go for just $15. $15 for the whole table of fabric! Yeah??? Sold! Hey, Ra-a-a-ab, I just sold all of your fabric for $15!!”
When she saw (‘scuse me, “sawr”) the look on my face, she came over and gently said “maybe you need to go upstairs and continue packing. This isn’t going to be pretty. Like John said, we do NOT have forever to sell this stuff. It’s gotta move. And I’m going to do what it takes to move this stuff outta here, even if it means giving it away. So, up you go.”
And that’s my angel Rhoda. From stem to stern, she cleared out everything, buying items for herself along the way. She didn’t stop until it was done. And on the last day of the last garage sale on January 29th at 12:30 pm, she declared everything free. At 1 pm, the only thing left were the borrowed banquet tables we used for the sales.
And I got to escape that heartache! What a blessing! I will forever be indebted to my angel named Rhoda! I love you!