Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Getting your life back…slowly

I’m learning how addicted we are to computers. My whole LIFE was in my PowerBook. And so many unfinished projects. A word of advice to all – backup! Backup! Backup!

Fortunately, I had spent days backing up all the photos from the past 12 months before we left. Unfortunately, that sucked up all my time and I never got around to backing up data like I do before going somewhere.

Spent the last several days changing accounts, passwords, getting new credit cards, calling insurance companies, going to the library to use their computer, to a friend’s to use hers. Although Big Dog swore he’d never be in the US after Daylight Savings was over, we rolled back our clocks on Sunday and here we are…still. I have a feeling that at this point, we’ll stay put through the holidays. Maybe head to the ranch and get our pruning done unseasonably early.

The plane got in too late for us to take a city bus back to Santa Monica. It would have been great if we could because we were carrying NOTHING. But it was nearly midnight and we had to take a cab.

“It would just be our luck to run to get a shuttle to the bus terminal and then find out the busses had stopped. We’d be out there in a deserted lot waiting for a cab to drive by – we can’t use my cell anymore.” I imagined being out there and being mugged for the precious little we still had left. And I mean PRECIOUS. BD’s new passport, driver’s license, credit cards, my passport, credit card and condo keys. Oh yeah. That’d be great.

We paid for the cab with our credit card.

“This isn’t a reflection on your performance, but I can’t leave you a tip,” BD explained our situation to our driver. The truth was, OF COURSE we could afford to leave him a tip but BD’s gone into Super Recovery Mode. Meaning he’s highly unlikely to do any spending unless it’s absolutely necessary until we can somehow recover our losses – through insurance or income.

THIS is what voluntary unemployment means. You have a pretty rock solid financial plan and if the unforeseen should happen, you create new strategies to deal with it. It means drinking shitty beer (but in our case, not giving it up) until we find some blowout sale on decent beer.

We look through Want Ads to see if there’s anything we can do right now. We’re never in one place long enough to get real jobs, but, hey, I wouldn’t mind a week long something.

In the meantime, though, I am enjoying my computerless life. I read more. I’m enjoying writing in long hand. The complaint I wrote to AA on Saturday made my hand cramp, but my finger muscles are getting stronger and more flexible day by day. Plus I think it stimulates a different part of my brain.

I lost my doodle-a-day midstream but maybe this only means I am ready for a “real” project.

BD and I toss around ideas for a screenplay over dinner. It makes us laugh. And I realize that until they take our lives, or bash in our skulls, what is most valuable can never be stolen: imagination, creativity, curiosity, resourcefulness and most of all, our sense of humor.

Plus, no matter how bad something may seem, if it becomes a learning experience… ours was an expensive lesson, but let me share some of the things we learned.

1) If you go to CR, avoid the beaches. At least those where gringos go. Head for the hills – they are cool, lush & beautiful.
2) Assume you will get everything stolen. Pack accordingly. We usually do but got tricked into complacency by the sheer number of bozo tourists flocking to CR – when that should have been a Big Alert Sign.
3) It’s not hard to live with nothing – so it’s a good way to travel. If I didn’t need Japanese text capability, I’d leave my computer at home. In a few years, maybe we’ll wean ourselves off of all work. THEN we’ll travel in style! Which, in our case, means a toothbrush, toothpaste, some pens, a notepad and a few extra clothes.

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