Friday, August 29, 2008

When You Don't Get What You Want...

That's when you get experience.

I'm experiencing in a big way. I had hoped that these last few days in Nashville might be spent relaxing and visiting and visiting and whatnot. Instead I am looking at a mountain of papers and "things" that still have to be dealt with. And another mountain of "deferred maintenance" that can no longer be deferred.

And I just cannot make decisions about 99% of it. All I can do is fret.

And I'm fretting big time.

Bob compares this to the time when the US Navy was evacuating people from Saigon and had to push helicopters over the sides of the ships because there was no room on the decks to keep them. I know it hurts him to have to dispose of a lot of "neat stuff", and I wish I could shield him from it. But I can't.

Man, does this hurt.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


In all humility I quote Luke 1:46:

"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant... for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name."

At home Bible Study tonight (which I hosted) Will gave the youth and adults present the opportunity to - well, bless me. And my heart is overflowing with love and appreciation for all they said and did.

An English poet, possibly Wordsworth, wrote about "little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love". I mention that quote because many of the things that were so important to the youth I had almost (or completely) forgotten. And things that mean everything to me, I'm sure they've forgotten. It balances.

For every blessing I may have given, I have received back a thousand-fold. "[My] children rise up and call [me] blessed; [my] husband also, and he praises [me]. Prov. 31:28

Please- to God be the glory. My cup runneth over.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


You have no idea how much I would like to tell you about relaxing, going around visiting people and places, and generally recuperating in the time between the departure of our household goods and the departure of us. I'd love to tell you about the great conversations, full of laughter and fond memories, about the hugs and tears and promises to come to see us in our mountain paradise.

Cain't do it. Still adrift in a sea of papers and parts and I-don't-know-what-all. Bob had to go down to Perry County to take care of some property-related business and I have been doing my best to sort through stuff and make decisions about storing or selling or trashing.

I was supposed to have a pedicure today but the lady who was going to pamper me has been sick all week. :..( I had a gift certificate but it was going to expire next month and I really don't have the time for one next week... so I bought some skin care products. I can always use them, but oh! how I wanted that pedicure!

Ah, well, I can always get one in Boquete.

Oh! Some of you have wondered whether I was going to try to work in Panama, and I have had to say "no" as I don't believe my nursing license would transfer. I received an email today, however, offering training for volunteers in Boquete's new hospice program. While I won't be in Boquete for the initial training sessions, I am sure that there will be many other opportunities for training and service. Pray that doors will open.

Sorry this is short, but the salt mines are calling...

Monday, August 18, 2008


Boy, howdy, you'd think with all the furniture and stuff out of the house that it would be a breeze to go through the dibs and dabs left behind and clean a few countertops and floors and then kick back and relax.


I have spent the day working like the proverbial dog and I can't see all that much progress. Honesty forces me to confess that for every "my" item to decide whether to keep or dispose of, Bob probably has 10 or more. The reason is mostly that I flung clutter like a madwoman while I was packing. And Bob has been taking care of all the administrative side of the equation. (I am a fantastic follower, but a truly lousy leader. Trust me.)

And I am also much more inclined to just give something away than try to sell it. (I mean, if the object is to clear things out, then that trumps getting top dollar, in my humble opinion.)

We're "leavin' on a jet plane" in 2 weeks and 2 days. We have about 6 weeks of work ahead of us to get this place ready to rent - even if the renters are family. I think that works out to doing 3 days work in 1. I'm tired already.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"No Regrets" Means No Regrets

Four wonderful teenage boys from church came over this afternoon and helped us move a bunch of stuff from the carport to the basement for long-term storage. While they were working, we found several boxes that somehow got shoved aside, covered up, and left off our inventory (and off the shipping container) :..(

Nothing that we can't live without, but things that Bob and I would have enjoyed having. The most unfortunate was the box of accessories to the router that DID make it onto the container. I took a look in the box, and I think the accessories are small enough to tuck into a corner of one of our checked bags. But my three small garden statues and the pomegranite tabletop fountain will just have to stay here.

No regrets. No regrets. No regrets.

The youth "Surrender Weekend" retreat, held this weekend at church, always includes several mission projects. The kids love doing them, and they are always meaningful. This year, the boys' original project fell through and Will, the Youth Pastor, asked me if I might know of a possible project the guys could do other than going around the church property and surrounding neighborhood picking up trash along side the road. Knowing how much there still is to sort and store (yes, even after loading up that shipping container) I called Bob to see if he'd like some help. So Isaac, Joshua, Moses, and Michael (how's that for a Biblical quartet?) piled into my car and came to the house and moved boxes and buckets and anvils and other stuff. They worked hard and accomplished a lot.

I am glad for their willingness to help us. And I am VERY glad they had the opportunity to learn that "mission work" does not have to involve a trip to another town or state or country, nor does it have to be for the "less fortunate". They got to experience the fact that "missions" can be as simple as helping a neighbor carry in groceries or sweeping snow off the driveway next door - or helping friends get ready to move.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Good Morning, America, How Are You

The shipper guy came with his tractor and hooked up the 40' container at noon today. He told Bob that he would take it to the train yard out in south Nashville where it would be loaded on a freight train and head south. We are guessing New Orleans will be the port it'll ship out of, based on our (admittedly limited) knowledge of train service.

We broke into a rather awful rendition of Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans" in recognition of that guess.

We've already discovered 4 of Bob's paintings - and the vacuum cleaner! - in the "Left Behind" pile. Oh, well.I promised myself no regrets. So no regrets.

The house echoes now. And I am horrified at the dust bunnies, some of which could endanger small children and most pets. I just don't move recliner-sofas or refrigerators or large heavy dressers all that often when I'm cleaning. (Exhausted as I was Thursday evening after all the angst involved in getting our stuff into the shipping container, I got on my hands and knees and cleaned the kitchen floor where the refrigerator had been standing. I don't think I could have slept for fear that the dust-monsters would come and git me in my sleep!)

People are being wonderful, though. I stopped off at the nursing home where I worked and asked the head of housekeeping if I could borrow a broom and dustpan. While she was getting them out of the laundry, I joked that I am tempted to smuggle a load or two of laundry in after midnight one night and use the washers there. Her response "I don't think anyone would mind if you did." And the evening shift nurses told me tonight that they want Bob and me to come over in a couple of weeks (the Friday evening before we leave on Wednesday) for a potluck farewell dinner. I am truly touched.

We will be camping out in our house in Boquete between the time we get there and our things get there. Camping out means just that. No bed, no refrigerator. I have packed one of our checked bags with air mattresses and sleeping bags (and towels - showers would be nice, right?) and things like that. It is zipped up, weighed ("Congratulations, Mrs. G., you have a healthy 42-pound suitcase!"), and sitting in the hallway.

The house still has a boatload of junk to sort through: papers that need shredding, odd socks and other stuff that needs military burial in the trash can, and such like. And then there are the dust bunnies! I thank God on a couple of counts about the vacuum: 1) I have it to deal with them, and 2) it is a bagless. Because otherwise I'd go broke, I'm afraid, buying vacuum cleaner bags!

I got to knit a bit tonight. Our church student ministry is having its annual back-to-school in-town retreat, and I got to sit in "my" corner and knit. What a blessing! I've missed knitting. I've missed just relaxing and enjoying the company of my beloved students. I cannot think about how much I am going to miss them.

No regrets. Look ahead.

Bob just came home with ice cream. Ice cream trumps blogging, sorting and even giant dust bunnies!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

No Turning Back

It is 3PM, Central Daylight Saving Time. The 40' container is packed, sealed, and awaiting the arrival of the tractor-trailer driver to come and start it on its way. Despite all our fears, there was just about enough room left over to have tucked a Smart Car in sideways. Kudoes to Bill and Everett who worked miracles. And heartfelt thanks to Lance, Bill, Terry, Kimberly, Amy, and especially Robert and Angie who "dropped over" from Chattanooga to help out. Also to Mark and Will & Tara who, while they couldn't actually get over to get their hands dirty and their backs and feet sore, were standing by to assist us later in the day.

Also to the precious women in my Bible Study who have been girding us up in prayer.

Great googley moogley. No turning back now. And no regrets allowed about things packed or not packed. It's a done deal.

I cannot share pictures, however. Apparently one of our hired "helpers" (NOT named above) helped himself to my nearly-new digital camera. At least it has been missing since the day he was here. :..(

We're finishing up the paperwork right now. Or Bob is. I'm trying to let you know what's going on while my body complains about the abuse I've put it through.

Friday, August 8, 2008

They're Putting Us Into Overtime!

We got a phone call today from the movers. They want to change the pickup date from Tuesday, August 12, to Thursday, August 14.

I don't even know how to describe my emotions. Firstly, I am frustrated because I had a "Brandy's Pamper Time" scheduled for Thursday afternoon so I could recover from Tuesday. So the first thing I had to do was call and reschedule all my appointments. Blessings upon Seraphim Salon for taking care of everything on that end!

Then I actually felt a sense of relief because the 2 extra days lifts some of the burden of "ohmigosh I have to get this done NOWWWWWW" feeling I've had for the last week. I'm down to emptying the refrigerator/freezer, packing up the washing machine, and putting my clothes in the wardrobe box. Then I can pack my suitcases and wait for our departure date.

Well, there ARE other things to be packed and dealt with, but - well - the other things appear to belong to Mr. Bob.

Oh, yeah, and another thing. We sent the estimated packing list to the movers last night, and the agent is worried that we may be "over a bit". So we went through the packing spreadsheet and highlighted those items that we can "pack last" because once the box or item is in the container they will not bring it back out. The "pack last" items are the things we could live without. Don't worry about me. The yarn and kitchen items are not negotiable. I'll leave the refrigerator before I'll leave my dishes and my yarn.

Anyone want to join me on this roller-coaster ride??