314: Too Stupid to Know Better

Yes, that’s me. I am too stupid to know that I can’t do something, so I usually manage to get it done, anyway. Mary Kay Cosmetics inspirational leaders tell the story of the bumblebee – a lot like me. Engineers studied the bumblebee and concluded that its wings were too small to allow its big, heavy body to fly. Aerodynamically, it can’t fly, but the bumblebee does not know this fact, so it flies anyway. Kinda like me. I don’t know I can’t do it. So…..

I am thinking very carefully about not EVER moving country again. This move has been a rigid nightmare. I don’t ever want to do this again. Ever never.  However, women are genetically flawed, on purpose, by design. This is so we will forget horrible experiences, and will be willing to have a SECOND baby.  So, it is possible that when this is all over and we are settled in Panama, I might consider moving country again. Friends, REMIND ME ABOUT THIS HORROR I am going through now……….

313: Cavalry

I am still stranded in Orlando, but not at the Orlando Airport any longer – heartless place. One of my three cats: 48 hours in a small carrier kennel: cut his neck and I had to leave and take a taxi to the nearest vet’s office. Six miles = 15 US dollars. In Morocco, you can travel in a taxi 70 kilometers for 50 dirham: 6.25 US dollars.

A visit to our vet in Morocco (neuter surgery) is 400 dirham – less than 50 US dollars. This little trip – not that I am not EXTREMELY grateful to the vet who took us and cared for my fur child – was 350 US dollars.

My dinner at McDonald’s was eight dollars – I can feed my husband and myself on 100 dirham a week  – 12.50 US dollars – in Morocco. Understand why I went there, and why I am toying with the idea of retiring there? I can afford to live there!

Even though I was not able to take my scheduled American Airlines flight to Panama City, Panama yesterday, to my new job, and I spent the night on a bench in the airport with three cats in small crates who needed food, water and walking so they could go potty every few hours, I am stuck THERE no longer. Because I had to go to the vet on an emergency basis, Fluff appears to be OK (even if it’s not pretty), and the cavalry is on the way to get me. My mom and my daughter are driving to Orlando from Athens, Georgia to rescue me. I will probably cry when I see them – it’s been that bad.

Thank God for family who love you, and who come and rescue you when there is a s&^* storm.

312: Euthanasia

I am stranded in the Orlando airport, a full day after I was supposed to already be on the ground in Panama.  I was refused boarding by American Airlines because they decided I did not have sufficient documentation for my cats to fly: after telling me that they could not fly because their kennels were too big (not) and that they could not fly because the temperatures on this early morning flight would exceed 85 degrees F at their destination (Panama) where they will be living for the next two years.

See, you have to have a veterinarian health certificate (done), within ten days of the scheduled flight (done), authenticated by an office of the USDA (done), and then apostiled by EITHER the Panamanian Consulate/Embassy (in Washington, D. C.) OR the Foreign Office in your state, Georgia (done). Then, you have to e-mail these scanned documents to the Panama Embassy in Panama to let them know the cats are coming (done) three days in advance in order to request that they have home quarantine (done). Oh, heck, no. American Airlines said that I needed additional documentation from the Panamanian Consulate/Embassy that the cats were good to fly. One eensy-weensy little problem: the Panamanian Consulate/Embassy does not provide any such certification, which would essentially be clearing the cats through their customs even before we board a flight to get there to submit ourselves to their customs. Not happening – either on the Panama side or on the American side.

I looked into renting yet ANOTHER car to drive to Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city, so that I could have my existing paperwork apostiled in Florida, like I already had it apostiled in Georgia, but I don’t have enough room on my credit card, since another rental car company (rentalcars.com) refused to refund my pre-paid rental online when the pickup was refused in Orlando because I have a USA driver’s license, meaning I had to rent another car for 600 dollars cash (plus the 400 dollars they would not refund). Because of this, there is not room on my card to book another car, and they won’t book a one-day rental for cash, even though they were perfectly willing to book an eleven-day rental for cash. Obviously, if I can’t afford to rent a car, I also can’t just bypass American Airlines and book tickets on another carrier, either. I thought of that, too.

It does not matter anyway, because even if I went to Tallahassee to get this Florida apostile, since I am departing from a Florida airport instead of a Georgia airport, I would still only have a STATE apostiled health certificate for my cats (like I have now), not a PANAMANIAN apostiled document, which is what American Airlines is demanding.

I have one option left. I do have enough money to book a cab to the nearest veterinarian, and I can ask that my three beloved pets be euthanized. I cannot just turn them loose to scrounge a living on their own in Orlando, and I won’t take them to the animal shelter, because that is where adult cats are most often euthanized anyway: kittens get adopted, not adult cats. I am out of options, and I am already a day late getting to Panama for my new job – which I have to have. I’ve already notified them that I will be late reporting to work, and I can’t take much more time. I am not independently wealthy such that I don’t HAVE to work. I am already in tears as I write this, and I have been in tears on and off for the last thirty-six hours. I’m out of ideas. I did my best, and it was not good enough.

Meanwhile, I am here in the airport, sleeping on a bench with three cats in small crates who need to be walked and relieved every few hours, fed and watered. The wifi works here only on the third floor, and I have to go to the first floor (with them and all my luggage for two years’ stay) to take them outside to pee. And every few minutes, an announcement is made at this airport not to leave your luggage unattended. I am here alone – I have to pee sometimes, too. Oh, well.

And people wonder why I left America.

311: Dividing Up a Life

When my husband and I left the United States three years ago to accept a teaching position in the lovely country of Morocco, in northern Africa, we sold all our belongings that were salable, and packed up in totes the items that we did not donate or give away. This included things like family pictures, mementos and other clothes that would not fit in the two 50 pound suitcases we were each allowed by the airlines just three short years ago. NOW they allow you ONE – maybe…some even charge for the one.

Today I stopped off at my dad’s to sort through those crates once again. This is because I am on my way to Panama for a two-year contract, and this is the first time I’ve been home in that whole three years, for a short ten days, before I depart again.

Wow. It hurts. I am sorting through a lifetime of memories, and all of it fit into about twelve tote boxes. After I ruthlessly sorted again, it all fit into just four. I also set aside, as I was sorting and throwing out, bags or boxes of mementos for each of our (combined) six children – his four and my two. Things like their old school report cards, vacation photos, certificates, awards, letters, cards and pictures they had drawn or painted. Their bronzed baby shoes.  There were also their baby clothes, and their father’s baby clothes – the things their biological dad, now passed away, wore as a baby. Priceless things – irreplaceable things, and things that just won’t go in my luggage. *sniff*

There are our Renaissance Festival costumes (what memories!), and ticket stubs to various special events we attended together, like the Atlanta Flames one and only National Hockey League play-off game. They have since abandoned Atlanta for colder climes, so there genuinely won’t be another one – ever.

My whole life – in four tote boxes. In January, I will visit again with empty suitcases so I can take with me the last of the last.