Thursday, February 12, 2009

Out of Town

Kristen here – I’m baaaaaaaack! I left early on Tuesday morning to drive to the Orlando airport. It is a quite rare occasion that I end up traveling alone and this was one of them. We were all going to go back home together, but after finding out that it was close to spring break, and airline prices were through the roof, we decided that I would go alone. I had the clothes on my back and a canvas tote bag to my name. I was heading back north to attend a meeting at work. The thought of entering into sub zero temperatures was quite daunting. I was afraid that my Florida climatized body would go into shock!

Actually, I’ll backtrack a bit because we picked up the rental car on Monday morning. Since you can only rent for a minimum of 24 hours we made the best use of that time. There was a laundry list of errands to be run. We had to go to Macy’s to get Chris some new shorts. For some reason he has gone down a pant size, and I think he gave it to me! You should see him though, Rowwwrrrr, he’s a whole new man! The Bahama mamas will be all over him. We also had to find a water purifying system. We would like to be able to drink the water out of our tanks. Right now we drink bottled water, and just use our tank water for cooking and washing dishes. It is rather unpalatable to drink. Everyone has told us that a charcoal filter and a bit of bleach in the tanks will do the trick. We’re probably going to go for a full house purifier installed just after our water pump. Of course there was the hardware store list of supplies for mounting a cover for a thru hull, and supplies for mounting our new jerry cans. I believe there were other errands, but that was Monday and my brain is a sieve!

The whole family got up at 7AM to dinghy me to shore and see me off. You would think I was leaving for a month because of all the hugs and kisses going around! I pulled away from the marina with them running after the car and waving. It’s really hard to go, but at the same time, I think I needed a bit of down time. Ha, that’s funny; I’m going to work to get some down time.

The flight to Albany was uneventful, and when we arrived at 1:00PM I thanked God that the temperature was a balmy 40 degrees! Forty was still a bit of a shock, but not as bad as it’s been up there lately. Chad from the office was meeting me at the airport and letting me use his car for the afternoon. I had to run and check on the house, go to two different banks, and try to register the dinghy before returning to the office for a briefing on the next day’s meeting.

The DMV was my first stop because I didn’t know when they were closing. They told me that the dinghy was purchased in Chris’s name, and therefore he had to be present to register it. I informed the gentleman that Chris was in Florida and I was only here for a day and was there any way I, his wife, could take care of this? He gave me the forms and said I could fill them out and mail them in with a copy of Chris’s driver’s license. It was at this time that I kicked myself for saying Chris was in Florida! I walked away and started shuffling through the forms. Then I went back to the guy and asked if I could have *ahem* “Chris” sign the forms and bring in the copy of his driver’s license and the rest of the paperwork tomorrow. He said that would be fine. Darn, now I have to come back tomorrow.

The second errand was to my bank in East Greenbush. I had a handful of checks to cash, and I had to close out that account. We found out the hard way that there was no way to remotely move money from that account and therefore decided to close it. I have to say I was sad to say goodbye to Citizens bank and teller Seth Fowler. He was one of the best examples of customer service that I have ever seen. Every time I went there, it was always a pleasant experience. When I went there on Tuesday, I cashed the checks first, and then informed him I needed to close the account. Dumb move on my part. Since the checks had to clear first, I wouldn’t be able to close the account until the next day. Darn, strike out number two. I would have to go back there tomorrow as well!

While in East Greenbush, I checked on our house. Everything was fine, and it even still smelled nice. Kudos to Noni for thinking to use plug in air fresheners before we left. I then visited with all of our neighbors. It was great to see everyone and meet all of the new puppies in our neighborhood. The universal greeting seemed to be, “What are you doing here?!?!?!” We miss our friends a lot, and are grateful to them for keeping an eye on the house. Thanks everyone!

After spending way too much time talking I was late returning to the office. Also Noni was waiting at home with dinner. That was a new experience for me. Someone was actually waiting for *ME* to come home so they could serve me dinner. I was feeling like a queen.

I was supposed to have a meeting with all of the D&D executives and go over any questions that would pop up at the next day’s appointment. At least that is what Chris told me. The appointment was at 2 the next day, and our all hands meeting was going to be from 11 till 1PM, so I wasn’t sure when we were going to fit this preparation session in. And don’t forget that I still had more errands to run the next morning! They gave me a packet of information to review and I was happy with that. Who needs another boring meeting anyway?

I rode home with Chad, and Poppi picked me up from his house. Mom, Dad, my brother and his family were all at Mom and Dad’s for dinner. It was just awesome to see everyone. They were full of questions about our trip, and I was full of answers. It was amazing how much Jack and David had grown in just two months! And even though I just saw my parents a couple of days ago, it was still good to see them again. I spent the rest of the night reviewing information for the next day’s meeting.

*Beep* *Beep* *Beep* *Beep* Wow, it’s been a long time since an alarm has woke me up. Six fifteen and time to shower and face the day. Mom and Dad let me borrow the car for the day. They would meet me at the airport later to pick up the car and see me off. I outfitted myself in proper office attire and got ready for work. Weird!

Coffee was waiting for me and Poppi poured out his special cereal concoction. Again I felt like a princess being waited on. Thanks Mom and Dad, you are the best! Then I was off to my errands all over again.

The DMV was first. I explained to the teller that I needed to register my dinghy. It seemed simple enough. Well, nothing is ever simple when you live on a boat. “What will be the location of this boat?” “Well, that’s a funny story. We live on a boat, so the location constantly changes” “Your mailing address says Florida” the teller said. “Yes, that is a location that receives our mail, and sends it to wherever we are currently located” I told her. “The address on your drivers license says you live in NY”, the teller replied. “We own property in NY, but we don’t live there”. It went on like this for a while, and I could tell the teller was getting angry. So I gave in and said that we have a house in NY that we don’t live in and are trying to rent, but for now we could just use that address as long as they didn’t send any mail to it. Then she got nasty. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that I will be trying to register the dinghy in Florida. People just don’t get it. I didn’t do anything to deserve her harsh words. Is it jealousy? You know anyone can do what we did. Work your butt off, live simply and save. It isn’t easy, but it can be done. Don’t be mad at us because we did it. I left there and was proud for not crying. I hate it when people accuse me of being a bad person when I am not, which is exactly what she did.

Now that I was good and steamed I headed to the bank. My good buddy Seth the Citizens Bank teller saw me coming and had the account closure forms ready and waiting. That’s service!! Again I will sing his praises. I unloaded my DMV trials on him and the teller next to him and they listened. Thanks for being a shoulder to cry on. It made it even tougher to close my account. Out that door, and off to the next bank. No problems there, so I was on to the office.

At the office I went over some information with Jan and we chatted for a bit. Jan is the best. She is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Also one of the scariest, and she’ll be the first one to tell you that! The all hands meeting was at 11. It was just like old times. I was pleased to hear that things were looking up and business was doing well. After the all hands meeting I went back to the bank to pick up a checkbook that I had left behind.

*Phew* This is way more activity than I’m used to. Now it’s back to the office for my meeting. We were in the final stage of receiving our Woman Owned Business status, and a representative was coming for the onsite interview. She arrived at 2PM, and I gave her the grand tour. It was nice to show off D&D. We’re quite proud of what we have done as a company. She had a bunch of questions and I was more than happy to answer them. When all was said and done, she said we would be receiving our welcome packet in a few days. YAY!

No time to celebrate though. It was off to the airport to fly back home. Again I spent too much time talking and was running late. I still had to stop and put gas in my parents car. They do so much, and I try to repay them every chance I get. It was a good thing too, because when I was pumping gas, I reached into my pocket and found Jan’s keys. *SHOOT!* Back to the office I go. Now I was really late. My flight leaves at 5:14 and it was now 4:20. Once at the airport, I dashed in, got my ticket, said goodbye to Mom and Dad, and booked to the gate. They were already boarding!

Out of Albany I sat next an interesting man. He sat down and started carrying two conversations on two separate cell phones. I eavesdropped and discovered he owned a tech firm and he was a bit frustrated with all his traveling. Hmmm…this sounded familiar. He ordered a series of wines, and after his second I asked him if he was coming or going. He said neither. As it turns out he owns a bunch of tech firms and has to travel between each. I told him that I owned a tech firm as well. This took him by surprise. Hehehehe, weren’t expecting that were ya?!?!

I listened to his story and told him how it sounded just like us, lots of stress and no time for family. Then I dropped the bombshell. Yea, we just decided to leave it all and live on a boat. After that shock wore off, he said, “Maybe it’s the wine talking, but my wife and I look at my Uncles modest home with a porch out front and a pool in the back and think about how nice it would be to get away from it all.” I didn’t want to push, but it seemed like fate that we were put together. I honestly believe that this man needed to hear our story. I told him that we were in bliss and that this time was so important.

After a stopover in Washington D.C., I was on my way back to Orlando. I was in seat 7E for this flight. Upon boarding the plane I was immediately asked to switch by a dad and his son. “No problem” I said. Then I noticed that two friends split up and one sat next to me. I immediately jumped up and offered my seat to the second friend. “You guys are friends, please sit together.” “We’re mother and daughter” the woman replied. “Well then, now you have a compliment and my seat”. She asked me 3 times if I was sure, because her seat was at the rear of the plane. I didn’t care, and was alone anyway. I just wanted to sit and have the chocolates I bought and order a wine. The smell of the wine from the last flight was giving me quite a craving. So in 24E I was quite happy. Half way through the flight, the attendant came over and asked if I had paid for my drink. Oh great, now I was going to have to pay double! When I informed him that I had already paid, he said that the women up front told him that I gave up my seat and he would refund my money for doing such a service. That’s karma for ya!

Okay, so I’m long winded. There is just always so much going on! Once in Orlando I rented a car and sleepily drove home. It was good to be back on the boat. Life is not easy on the boat, but it moves at a much slower pace. That constant state of rushing is just not present. There is always something to be done, but there always seems to be time to enjoy each other as well. I know someday this adventure will end, and I pray that we will be able to retain this state of being.

Today we still had the car until 6PM, so it was off to run more errands that didn’t get accomplished on Monday. Shorts for Casey, fill the propane tanks and run back to the hardware store. Did I mention that I can’t wait till the Bahamas where life will hopefully get a bit slower?

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