Why we are not on the plane to Belize today

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Belize beach chair, I know you are calling my name -- and I hear you. Next week, I primise.
Belize beach chair, I know you are calling my name — and I hear you. Next week, I primise.

I have just finished what is probably my most brilliant and entertaining post to date, explaining why we have postponed our move to San Pedro, Belize, from today to Monday, Feb. 17. It was a post filled with wit, charm, clever turns of phrase, some bona fide insights into the human condition and much self-deprecating humor.

Then Microsoft shut down my computer so it could update its lame-ass Windows operating system.

It is 6 a.m. and I no longer have the will nor the  fortitude to try to reclaim all that prose.

Thanks, Microsoft. I can’t wait for my new Chromebook to arrive so I’ll never have to deal with you again. (And don’t begin to think that the discrete little countdown message in the lower right hand corner is enough of a warning when a writer is in The Zone.)


Here’s what’s up.

We have two ways of looking at this. One, Rose and I are still way ahead of our original schedule which had us leaving for Belize on March 1. In a fit of giddy optimism, and not a little naiveté, we reset the clock for Feb. 1. Then reset it again for Feb. 7 and recently decided that the departure date would be Feb. 12, our second wedding anniversary.

So, now it is to be Monday.

The second way of looking at this is that we are being extremely responsible in making sure that we leave with our American house in order, so to speak – both literally and figuratively.

In fact, we have both spent an enormous amount of time putting our house in order, as we make it rental-ready. Here is the short list of what I have done in recent days (and trust me, Rose has done much more):

Love the mulch. Be the mulch. Just get it spread out before the rain returns! Which I did.
Love the mulch. Be the mulch. Just get it spread out before the rain returns! Which I did.

1. Spread one cubic yard of rain-sodden black mulch around trees and plantings to beautify the yard.

2. Expend two boxes of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges removing scratches, splotches, scrapes, smudges and mysterious stuff from all walls, doors and woodwork. (These sponges are brilliant.)

3. Help super-handyman Victor remove old window-frame lumber from the backyard.

4. Paint walls in upstairs office.

5. Rebuild screens for two downstairs windows.

6. Install five smoke detectors and two carbon monoxide detectors.

7. Install three new toilet seats.

8. Replace six broken handles on a built-in desk.

9. Install clothing rack in a bedroom closet.

10. Replace sliding door handle and lock.

11. Patch holes in walls

12. Spackle dog-mauled front door in preparation for painting.

13. Paint front door.

14. Replace failing fluorescent lights in garage.

This stuff is amazing. The sponges remove almost every scrape and mark and crayon drawings that your family can post to your walls and woodwork.
This stuff is amazing. The sponges remove almost every scrape and mark and crayon drawings that your family can post to your walls and woodwork.

15. Replace air filters in ventilation ducts.

16. Install metal transition strip between hallway carpet and bedroom tile floor.

17. Sell and help remove a washer and dryer.

18. Sell and help remove two couches.

19. Move two bookcases to the buyer’s house.

20. Post a Ford SUV on Craigslist for sale.

21. Haul SUV-load of bagged trash to landfill.

22. Cap the gas pipe in the laundry room.

23. Sort through two dozen old paint cans for what’s salvageable, recyclable and disposable.

24. Number, inventory and stash 15 20-gallon plastic bins of possessions into storage.

25. Gather toxic household products for disposal.

26. Remove picture hanging nails from walls in all rooms. Spackle in holes.

26. With the help of our friend Tom, and a borrowed truck, we moved a five-piece desk set to its new owner’s house; moved a heavy metal sculpture to a local winery; and brought two truckloads of household goods and clothing to a local social services agency.

This hardly exhausts the list and doesn’t even include the massive amount of work that Rose has been doing — including painting; packing and sorting out of home goods for disposal or storage; tax document preparation; and arranging for the property manager to rent the house. We’ve also both been working on setting up banking for ease of operation from overseas. And both Rose and I have worked on the sale of her property in Lake Tahoe.

So, for the time being, our life has been more “Love It Or List It” than “House Hunters International,” but these things must be done.

And to think that the original conversation a year ago went something like this:

“Let’s move to Belize.”

“OK. When?”

“How about March 1?”


How naïve we were back then!

Now we’re also watching the Mother of All Winter Storms moving into the South, threatening to grind airplane traffic to a halt between Texas and Miami, the two gateways to Belize.

So, Monday is looking good. Real good.

Tonight we’ll celebrate our wedding anniversary here, maybe with a picnic on a blanket in an empty house, rather than on an airplane bound for Belize.

A little disappointed. A little frustrated. Yes. But we’re long past the point of no return and I can almost taste that first Belikin beer.

10 thoughts on “Why we are not on the plane to Belize today

    johnhenryeast said:
    February 12, 2014 at 8:19 am

    It will all be worth it Bob.

    Happy anniversary to you both.


      Renee said:
      February 12, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Happy Anniversary; how exciting for you two, your adventure is just starting!

      I just booked my flight back (I was there for a week and got back on 2/4) and will be staying on Ambergris Caye for three months. We got back to the Bay Area (Danville) to cold, rainy weather and boy did it make me miss Belize. It’s a magical place and I was amazed at how quickly I fell in love with it.

      Have a safe journey!



        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        February 12, 2014 at 10:36 am

        Renee, I know how you feel. It was so unseasonably warm and dry for a while, but winter is just about back.
        Did you have any difficulty finding a place to stay for three months?Any suggestions for an agent. We still don’t have a long-term residence yet.
        See you on the island!



      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 12, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Thanks, John! Save me a stretch of that fence!
      Loved the “online shopping” for plantings from Edward. My Rose says were going to hire your Rose for all future negotiations!
      This one: http://abelizehomeforus.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/strangers-in-the-night-in-san-pedro-ambergris-caye-belize/


    Karen Kelly said:
    February 12, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Happy Anniversary! Sure admire your stamina through all of this. The best things in life are worth waiting for. Hugs.


    Jennifer Bryan said:
    February 12, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Happy anniversary!! I have been watching your journey since I found you through some of the other Belize blogs I follow. I am absolutely mesmerized by Ambergris Caye and I haven’t even been there yet! The first time I saw it on House Hunters International, I was hooked!!! I have been researching it ever since and am almost certain it is my target retirement spot! I am heading down for my “virgin tour” in September for the Independence Day celebrations and am so excited I may burst!!! Good luck to you and Rose! Keep on blogging! I love reading about anything Caye related and am looking forward to your adventures in the next months!!! Safe travels! Jenny


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Hopefully we’ll be “old hands” by September and can show you around, Jennifer! Thanks for following the blog. Here’s to that magical place!


    Emily said:
    February 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Happy Anniversary! WOW — you two have been very busy. We were lucky — we’d sold our house over a year before our move to AC and were renting a small apartment when the big day came. We still had a LOT to do at the end, but not nearly so much as you did. I must say I agree with you completely on Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Don’t know how we lived without them before discovering them. We even took a big box of them to Belize with us, that’s how much we like ’em!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Mr. Clean Magic Erasers rock! I ran out and I’m still walking around the house thinking “Gee, if I had one more I could really take care of that door ….”
      Renting small sounds like a brilliant interim step.
      Today, the house is finally empty and we sleep elsewhere for the next few nights. Still repacking, unpacking, winnowing down and substituting “things” for “other things.” I suspect we’ll do that right up to Sunday night. We fly out of SFO on Monday (5 am!)


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