Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Sibari, Italy---
My bunk.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Agenda

Sibari, Italy---I was mistaken about our trip and when we will be crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean! To my complete delight, we will be waiting out Hurricane season here, in the Mediterranean! This means our crossing will not happen until December.

The captain says we’ll most likely have several weeks in the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa and that the locations in between will be based on many factors.

Because the Caribbean feels vastly closer to home, this gives me more time to explore the Mediterranean. I working on my Greek now!

LOCATION of Sail Boat

S/Y Juno



GPS location Date/Time:10/15/2009 14:13:25 GMT

Click the link below to see where I am located.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Planes, trains and automobiles.

28 hours after I stepped out of my home, I step aboard SS Juno, docked on the Italian coast, my new home for the next 15 months.
3/28---Orlando Airport: 3pm. The wonderful sun shiny day I left in Daytona has turned into a nightmare storm in Orlando. So intense that the gates are closed for over 1 hour. This backs up my flight so I will miss the connection in London which means I will miss my bus in Naples.
My last communication emailing from the airport with the Captain, he informs me that there is a 4pm train direct to Sibari, the sailboat’s marina town. I write back that if my luggage makes it, I will attempt to get to the train station and take that but with no phone and no internet connection, I‘ll have to wing it.
Since British Airway’s Union is striking, I’m lucky that it does not affect my flights. But due to weather, our flight left 2 hours and 15 minutes late only to be sky-tossed for 2 hours of bad turbulence. So bad that, at one point a stewardess screamed into the microphone “Keep buckled, it’s dangerous!”
Able to take a later flight out of London, I relax and enjoy Gatwick’s awesome modern airport and a cappuccino. The flight to Naples was then uneventful. Customs took all of 10 minutes in line and through the officials with barely a glance and a stamp to my passport.
Being forewarned by my Italian Villa owning friend Lorry, who gave me some Euro coins. I knew exactly what to do. My 2 bags of overweight luggage popped out on cue and with the Euro coin operated cart, I wheeled my luggage outside to catch a cab. Train-o. Station-o. I had somehow decided that if I added an “O” to the end of any word it was Italian. Somehow it worked and we sped off. Nestled next to the ancient Volcano Vesuvios that destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD, my first impression of Naples is that it needed a good pressure washing.
My train left at 4:58 not 4pm, giving me a lot more time to figure things out. But by this point one thing is clear: I should have learned some Italian.
5 hours by train, I sprain my wrist against the train wall when it takes a sudden turn and I reach out to brace myself. Arriving in Sibani with no official notice to my friends, my plan was to regroup at the station and try to find a taxi or pay phone. In retrospect, neither would have been available. Instead the first face I saw was Shirish, the captain.

“Buona Sera” (good evening) he shouted and tugged at my luggage.
“We were worried so I decided to just come out in case you did make the train!” Shirish said and then introduced me to the Taxi Driver Francesco.
I’m here, I’m in Italy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Check List: done.

Decisions were made: Stop the bleeding from my job and my real estate investments. Find plan B. Plan the work, work the plan:

Meet with Vet about animal car and plan. Get extra blood work for Turbo, get flea meds for future, meet with management company about renting home, get list of required home fixes, find hardwood floor repair company, hire, replace 23 floor boards, find stain with 8 attempts, stain, varnish, find handyman for cement step, Jacuzzi step, and awning repair, hire, paint step, paint awning, stain Jacuzzi step, varnish, ad non-slip strips, paint studio door trim, hire electric company to review problems, fix, replace pond pump, finish that little bathroom project that I’ve been procrastinating, go to Kansas City to see Sister, go to California to see Father, file with loan modification company, get all paper work to them on 2 rentals, layoff an employee, have Holiday clothing and house accessories party with girl friends to down size, write up plan for company to convert my office, resign from job with area manager, then director, tell the remaining employee, tell friends, tell relatives, tell clients, campaign for employee to be hired with Company, suggest new sales rep options, get new batteries for protection device from Bucks guns, figure out a Blog name, set up Blog, post blog, get advice from friend on blogs, meet twice, get .com for blog, photograph house for management company to use for renting, write contacts from Naxos, Greece, meet with all doctors for check–ups and planning a year+ of meds, research health plan, make a zillion phone calls to figure out Blue Cross Worldwide, buy emergency evacuation policy, do budget, work on and file 2009 taxes, get a storage unit, store 14 large bins of friend who moved to Austin from under house, store 26 years of taxes from under house since CPA says corporations can be audited for all eternity, buy outdoor light bulbs, find place to store jet ski, find place to store Fiat, have vehicle detailed to photograph to sell, sell SUV, change Jacuzzi water, meet with pool service to go over Jacuzzi added to service, pay life insurance for 2 years, renew drivers license, cancel office insurance, cancel self employment policy, historic newspaper collection out of attic, make Fiat book for Marie, make house book for rental company, make house book for renters explaining all, give next door neighbors my information, sew swim cord to take, order new foul weather gear, order other accessories for trip, have management company hire services after I leave, throw birthday weekend during bike week with out of town guests, pick up all records from Vet on animals, call Mosquito device salesman to send back contraption, pack and ship, drop tank off at provider to avoid landfill, order new HP battery for computer, return, get correct one, meet with CPA about plan, ask if she’ll be POA, research Power of attorney and get attorney friend to get form, have 15 copies notarized, bring CPA to 2 banks for POA, meet with CPA again, and again, Cancel E-Pass, prep info about me for 4 people, mail package to sister, give package to friend and CPA, mail info about Dad to California, report out of country to 2 credit card companies, replace both credit cards with one’s expiring AFTER summer of 2011, fill all prescriptions for 15 months, move animals, move jet ski, replace FIAT muffler at Midas for free after 14 years! have FIAT oil changed, store Fiat and go over instructions with friend, convert all possible bills to online statements, do a change of address, write prescription letter for someone else to pick up drugs if needed, forward water and FPL to management company, take 1100 slides from the 50’s and 60’s of Congo to Beach Photo to digitize, prepare them with address to send end result, call SUV insurance company to cancel after sold, clean sheep skin rug, pick up remaining money at consignment shop, get eye contacts for 15 months, write everyone who mailed me a Christmas cards a note saying I will be gone, cancel cell phone, cancel Quick Book’s uploading fee, redo safety deposit box at bank, write lawn service list with extra duties, after loan modification company fails find a foreclosure councilor, meet with worried tenants, set them up with councilor to buy house, set up Skype with Boat and Mary Beth, set up Google map for tracking boat progress, get bank debit card, research transaction fees from abroad, get 100 Euros to travel with, find flight to Italy, have yard mulched, take 20 loads of things to storage unit, defrost bar fridge, trade with office fridge, write letter giving left personal property to assistant, pack, buy water proof bags and zip locks, order and get new personal information business cards (waterproof!), find someone to take scuba tank, get ride to airport, meet with management company again, prep all foreclosure things for councilor, pay bills, arrange banking, get needed dental work done: 2 doctors, 10 appointments in all, negotiate final settlement with company, tell friend he was right about Company, set up hanging bar system in storage unit for closet, get key to management company, label weird light switches around the house for renter, have a party with friends to clean out food and condiments from kitchen, pack china, get new Kio fish pond filters, cut to size, clean ovens, clean out office and store all office goods wanting to save, make final payments to employee, buy more Jacuzzi chemicals and supplies, have new fire pit cover made, get list of things that captain needs in Italy, repack with Jen and Kelly, repack with Sheri, exhale on day before I leave with Brad, go to Ocean Deck, wake up and hang with Sheri, leave house with full fare of closing door with friends, leave, realize I forgot cell phone, turn around, go back in house, pick up cell phone, go to Orlando Airport. Done.
Photo: after selling SUV, Fiat serves as only vehicle: last load to storage unit.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trust Me

Things need to fall into place now. I made a plan and now I must trust other people to fill in…but like the best layed plan…things just don’t seem to go my way.
BUSINESS: I’ve had my business for 26 years, but unlike a brick and mortar store, I am a independent contractor at the mercy of the company. Other’s advice about leaving up until now has been, “Edee, it’s a corporation, you need to…” (basically take a hard approach). I disagree and say, “No, it’s like family and I trust ‘them’ to take care of me.” I decide to tell them with plenty of time to react (3 months). Yet later on the very day I tell them that I am leaving, they lower my commission for the remaining months. Coincidence?
Then, since I get paid from only what is sold, I ask in writing for an end package of 3 months commission for helping with the transition and all the sales I’ve made for later in 2010. I’m told “Trust Me,” as I continue to sell into the future. On the very day I go over 124 accounts with the Boss-man, the new rep and my online partner, I’m later told that “they” approved only 15 days. Coincidence?
The skeptic x-big corporate retiree at “my” Starbucks laughs and shakes his head at me. My entrepreneur friend is given the right to tell me “I told you so.” And the people at the company that fought so hard in my respect have “learned a lesson.”
SELLING MY SUV: I need to sell my car. It’s a Toyota Highlander so I call a contact at Daytona Toyota and ask if they buy Toyota’s outright. Yes. I meet with the used car manager who has been there for a long time. I get an offer of $8500. This means I will not have to sell if privately which I have time for, but it would take more work. Delighted I make an appointment for 9 days later. Yet on the very day he quoted me, he left to take a job a Ford. Later, I’m shocked to find out he’s gone and I’m told they are not interested. With 3 days left, I have no time or choice. A wholesale friend saves the day and gets it taken care of quickly. I lose $1800 because someone quit their job on the same day they quoted. Coincidence?
AND MORE: Computer parts come in wrong, my councilor at Mid-Florida Housing Partnership does not return emails or calls, the renters interested in my house fall through, Mr. Incredible is in jail for 4 DUI’s (see post Attraction or Distraction), my 86 year old father is hospitalized and I’m told he will not make it out (he does but things are touch and go), and British Airways (my flight) goes on strike.
And this is how my last 12 days go.
Severely discouraged, I just want to believe that the “corporate” bull does not exist, that people see value, reward longevity and do what they say. That trusting people still exists and it’s worthy and real. Did I naively grow up in Kansas or am I just dumb?
Then my friend Sheri just happens to call.
“Is God trying to tell me to be skeptical of every single person and trust no one from now on?” I ask.
In her typical, unique opinion she answers, “No, I think God is trying to make it easy for you to leave and not look back!”
Perfect Coincidence. Perfect Answer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fear Not.

I used to wear a lot of "No Fear Gear" during my wave jumping stage as a stand-up jet skier. More recently, or at least for the last year, I have worn a little silver ring with "Fear Not" engraved in it. I guess the folks at No Fear, Inc. simply plagiarized from the Bible.

As I prepare to leave in 12 days, I review the list I made of my fears about the life I am about to embark on.

1. Getting sick or hurt overseas.
2. Roommates/no personal space.
3. Finances.
4. Danger abroad. Boat bruises. Weather. ...and yes, pirates.
5. No boyfriend for ugh, a year and a half.
6. My Dad in California or Sister in Kansas City needing me.
7. Turbo dog dieing.
8. Packing for a year.
9. Good byes.
10. The rental foreclosures.
11. Renting my home.
12. Getting it all done...closing a business, prepping a house, packing.

So there it is, for all the world to see...or at least the 17 people reading this!

How do I deal with fear? Acknowledge it. Rationalize why. Make a plan. But that does not mean it's gone. Fear kills creativity, ambition and progress. It lurks in the recesses of our minds until our bodies rebel by way of stress and anxiety.

I wouldn't call myself brave, I would call myself determined. But like anything, the more I practice confronting fears, the better I get at handling them. Turning it over to God is a mental state of acceptance and letting go, easier said than done.

I am finding out that the idea of going was much easier than the actions it has taken to actually leave. At times, exhausted from a day at the company, it was easier to curl up on the sofa than to confront "the to do list"...why? Fear.

I'm not alone. Everyone has area's in life they are procrastinating due to fear. Or the "what if" worries they may or may not admit. I march along doing the best I can.

In the meantime, my little silver ring reminds me to try and Fear Not.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bags of dog food for Turbo!

I was fearing the day that I had to say goodbye to my dog Turbo and kitty: Q-cat Convict. We had decided that moving them to Tallehassee 2 weeks prior to my departure would give me a chance to adjust as well as give Mary Beth a chance to bond and ask questions while I was still in the U.S.
The time was set and although it was expected, when she actually called to say she was in town heading my way, I completely lost it.
When she arrived, Turbo and I walked out to her van to go over setting up a dog bed in back when the most amazing thing happened. Turbo walked up to the van and put his paw up on the sliding door’s step.
“You want to get in?” I asked him.
He stayed it that position until I gave him a lift up and in. He promptly went to the back, crawled up on the back seat, and looked at us with his ears up and a big dog smile. Eventually he laid down and fell asleep as MB and I talked.
He gave me that gift. It felt like he was saying “I’m ready. You go on your adventure, I’m going on mine.”
Photo: Sheri says goodbye to Turbo-dog.

Thanks to Ruth and Sheri for sponsoring some bags of dogfood.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Worlds Collide

I planned to be gone by March 1. But due to some issues needing to be resolved, I had to stay longer which kept me in Daytona for another Birthday. As the date was approaching, several girlfriends from different times in my life had contacted me about coming to see me. My birthday always falls on a huge event in Daytona: Bike Week. A time where thousands of Harley Davidson enthusiasts roll in for old farts Spring Break. I agreed and arriving from Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, my worlds collided in Florida.

The Queen: Daytona, the early years---1986-2000
The Rock Star: Daytona, the late years---2000-2008
The Nontraditional Professor: a college friend---1982-1985

Add local friends and it spells a long weekend of little sleep! Getting friends together from various stages in your life can be interesting and chancy. Will they get along?

But birds of a feather do flock together, and friends beget friends. It was a perfect combination of celebration and goodbyes. We laughed, we danced, we cried and we told stories.

A reflection of different times in life blended together to make the present. Standing at the Ocean Deck, a favorite reggae bar/grill on the ocean, I watched them from across the room laughing and carrying on without me, I let all the memories run through my mind.

And just like me with my mix of friends, the Ocean Deck has been the same since I arrived in Daytona in 1984, yet a wide variety of times have been shared there. The perfect place on the perfect weekend to bring worlds together.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I have two relatives from the past who have had a profound influence on my ideas of what women can do.

First, early 1900's: with Indians beating their drums in the distance, she slept in the Oklahoma dug out to claim the land...
My Great Aunt Lena, at a young age hurt her leg with a cut from crossing a river barefoot in Russia in the late 1800's. The leg developed blood poisoning and became "Locked"(later in life it would need to be amputated.) After immigrating to America with family, regardless of her handicap, she was the only one able to make the trip needed to Homestead land in Oklahoma. She decided that because her Father was too ill and her siblings too young, she would go. She left Kansas by train, then horse and buggy to claim the land. This young, single women lived in a dug out shelter on the land that our family still calls "The Farm". Journals record her listening to the sounds of Indian drums beating at night. For the required time, Lena sat on the land to claim it in behalf of the family. President Roosevelt signed the Homestead and her family later joined her and through 3 generations it has yielded relatives a living. My cousin Charles now owns and farms it.

Second, 1963: The mandate came to leave the country. Soon news of killings in a near Village came. With her co-workers, she fled Congo in fear for her life...
My Aunt Erna was a single Nurse living in Oklahoma and felt God's calling to become a missionary. She served in Congo delivering babies for 10 years. In 1963 Revolutionary War broke out and they had to flee the village for their life. Her journal tells of their near escape, trusting God, the miracle of not missing the river transport and the hurt of saying a hurried goodbye to the villagers whom she had learned to love.

Growing up with these stories I longed to be an adventurer. The results of MY adventures have yielded being lost in the Colorado Rockies, rescued from an Arkansas river, the subject of Search Planes in the Bahamas, learning to pack and jump my own parachute with the skydiving club at K-state, hopping a train in Kansas and hitchhiking in Texas. All very subdued compared to what I hope my future will bring.

And maybe, someday, I can inspire like Lena and Erna.