For this snowbird, today is Florida Departure Day minus 3 which according to my 'to do' list, means washing clothing for the trip. I don't mind D-3 as the machines do all the hard work. If I had to nip down to the local fast flowing river and bash my clothing on a large flat rock, then I'd have cause for complaint.
Ahhhh my awesome 'to do' list. I'd be lost without it. It was developed over the first few years of my winter trips to Florida and by now, it needs very little tinkering to keep it up to date. As you might guess, it's quite a list, as going away for 6 months does require a lot of actions and I'm just thankful that when I started doing this about 11 years ago, the internet and direct debits had progressed to such an extent that it made the whole thing possible.
Most of the items relate to stopping or suspending services, getting refunds for others and generally making sure that I have everything I need for getting to and living in another country for 6 months. The most important of these 'to does' was to get medication for such a long period. I take 6 prescription pills a day for my heart issues so that's 1068 tablets. I'm always worried I'll be treated as a drug mule but so far, it's never been a problem. I guess those dogs can't sniff statins !
Having to be 'out' of America for longer than I'm in it (to stick to the laws of both countries) means my departure dates get later and later every year. At some point I'll need to only go for 5 months or less so that I'm actually leaving BEFORE winter arrives in England. Mind you, with the summers we have here, that could be mid July !
As an aside, one item not on my list is to prepare for Halloween. What a non event that is. I think it's yet another 'holiday' made up by stores to sell the most bizarre items you could ever imagine. I'm not sure which countries 'celebrate' Halloween but if a visitor from a non participating country visited friends in a participating country, they'd think they'd all gone mad. I mean who in their right mind dresses up like a blood splattered zombie and walks the streets at night ? Ok APART from Michael Jackson in his later years. Or Michael Jackson today I guess.
Too soon ?
And I can't remember the last time any kids came to my door. Maybe they are put off by my ASBO or my name still being on that register. Cheesed me off really as it meant I had to eat all that fruit and veg myself. The only fireworks I heard were about a week earlier and I think those were at someone's birthday bash three streets away.
So all in all, and despite what we saw on tv, Halloween came and went like a thief in the night. A very quiet thief who stole nothing and just came for a look see. It came, it went, it never happened.
Back to my list and as most get actioned on D-1, then tomorrow (D-2) is a bit of a calm relaxing day. I was due to go into Leeds to have my annual eye sight test but as it was a stupid appointment to make so close to leaving for 6 months, I've just cancelled it. If it's dry, I may use the time to give the car a last wash before it goes into the garage - although that's actually not on my list as it doesn't really matter if it gets washed or not. I can't drive it any more as the SORN is now in place and I've already sent off for the tax disc refund.
It'll really only be when I step outside of Orlando airport on Saturday evening that I can relax. All the preparation, packing, travel and immigration/customs formalities will be over and I can look forward to winter with my friends in sunny Sebring, Florida.
Now then, does my visa run out in 2011 or 2021 ? Where's that list.............