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My Retirement Journal: Day 3

Today was the worst day of my retirement so far.

Until it became a delightful day.

It started right at midnight, when my friend Joy picked me up to take me to the airport. I was there by 12:30, and had to wait until 2:00 to check my luggage and get my boarding pass. Then I had to wait until 3:00 before they opened the TSA PreCheck line. And then I had to wait until 4:20 for them to start boarding. So far I hadn't slept. I dozed a bit once the plane started taxiing, and when I woke up we were in the air. I dozed a few more times during the flight, but if I had an hour or sleep since yesterday, I'd be surprised.

We arrived at LAX on time, and I had about an hour and a half before my flight to Guadalajara. Since I was flying first class, I got to visit the Alaska Lounge. It was very crowded, and since I wasn't hungry or thirsty, it provided nothing other than a comfortable chair to wait in.

The flight to Guadalajara departed on time. And then I started to get anxious. I have three big suitcases filled with all kinds of personal items, and what if they want to search through them all? I fill out the customs declaration form, and I don't think I have anything to declare, but I don't know. And time is tight, because I have to get to the real estate office to sign some papers so they can deliver them to the Notario tomorrow so he can file them Monday morning and we can close on Monday afternoon. If there's a delay, I might not make it on time. Plus if they do decide to search my bags, what if they decide to inspect every miniature vase I have wrapped up, and what if they want to know where I got them and how much they are worth?

Am I too much of a worrier or what? All I know is I spent three hours on that plane with my stomach tied up in knots. And then as we approached Guadalajara, the pilot got on the horn: we're in a holding pattern because there's an issue on the runway. He doesn't know what it is; maybe a pothole, or a piece of debris, or a disabled plane.

So now I'm completely panicked.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

That was a rhetorical question, but I'm going to try to answer it anyway. Since I decided to buy a house in Ajijic, I've spent the last few months skirting one disaster after another. First I was unable to wire the down-payment because my bank had weird rules. I was afraid I would lose the house. Fortunately the sellers gave me an extension. After that it was one thing after another, mostly minor issues that were easily resolved. But I kept having the feeling that a grand disaster would derail everything. And as each near-disaster was averted, I felt like I was just waiting for the next one. And not one of them came to pass. Everything happened exactly as it was supposed to.

So when I was on that plane, the last big disaster was a delay, or having all my luggage confiscated, or getting a huge fine for not declaring things that I was supposed to declare. And when the pilot announced that we were in a holding pattern, I was sure he'd come back and say we're diverted to Mexico City.

But the delay was about ten minutes. We were at the gate only about five minutes late. I sped through immigration. My luggage all showed up. And then I went through customs. The customs official asked me what I had. I told her personal items. How long was I staying. Permanently. (I showed her my visa.) No cigarettes? No. No alcohol? No. Okay, push this button. I push the button, and a green light appears. Okay, go ahead.

I go out and then someone says the luggage cart can't go any farther. But I have so much luggage, there's no way I can handle it all myself. So he helps me wheel it out, and then I find the rental car person who is picking me up. And we are in the rental car. And I can't find the money to pay him. But I finally find it. And I make it to the real estate office by 4:00 and sign the papers. Then my real estate agent meets me at the house for a final walk-through. And everything looks fine. They even decided to leave the dining table. And I check into my B&B which is right across the street. And all the worry washes away. All I have to do is show up at their office at noon on Monday, and we drive to Chapala and close, and I have my new house.

So I'm here at this beautiful B&B. I just finished dinner at the restaurant here, and earlier was sitting by the pool.

I'm starting to relax.

I'm starting to believe that there are no disasters left.

Earlier by the pool

At the restaurant. I had a Cuban sandwich and a couple of margaritas.

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