Saturday, January 10, 2015

Am I Prepared? Uh, No!

There have been so many things to do while trying not to forget anything with lists upon lists, not only on the computer monitor, but on paper too. I love the Sticky Notes integrated in Window for things like this, but when I am not at the computer, good old paper and pencil are wonderful. Besides the regular “To Do” list, I needed to update our website, make certain all important e-mail addresses to be monitored were in Outlook on the laptop, update all programs on the laptop, have sufficient entertainment on an external drive in the event of poor WiFi, and check all tech supplies.

Then I realized that our BudaBaB Review blog needed updating, so I took on that project. I thought it would take a couple of hours, but after six hours of changing dates and trying to classify components in a logical manner, I threw in the towel before it was completed. To see what I did accomplish you can go here.

A brainstorm, which was not in the forecast, appeared out of nowhere. For some time now, we have had an Amazon Associates Bookstore on our BudaBaB website. Unfortunately, it has not done anywhere nearly as well as I had expected. To facilitate this, I took every item shown in the current store and placed them into the BudaBaB Review blog with a link back through the store. Anything anyone purchases through our store will profit us with a tiny commission. All prices are the same as if they went to on their own, so there is nothing to deter them other than remembering to do it. Support a newly retired person and buy through this store! Bookmark it now, before you forget.

Though I have not expressly mentioned it before, I created a couple of virtual stores. One is called BudgetNomad World Store and it is through Zazzle, a “print on demand” company. I upload my photos or designs that I have created and then use them to make any number of items for sale. Some designs are on men’s, women’s, or children’s clothes, as well as on mugs, phone covers, and the list is exhaustive. It doesn’t take long to create the item for sale, but marketing it is different. I post these on a separate blog created for this purpose. Have a look at it here. Then I post them on multiple accounts on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and others. This is where the time vacuum comes in. Each posting has a link back to the particular item. It is mindless tedious, energy draining work. It can take a full day just marketing two items.  

When something sells, I get a commission. It is not a great deal of money, but heck when you decide to retire, every little bit counts. I have sold greeting cards, mugs, and photos so far. This is a relatively new project. BudgetNomad World Store 

In my attempt to be efficient, I wrote our US accountant to inform him we would not be getting Ron’s tax information in early as I generally do. Ex-pats have a 3 month automatic extension, so I informed him we would send the forms as soon as we return. What I received in return, a week later was a distressing response stating he had cancer. It seems he had it for years, but had been in remission for the last three years. Now it has returned with a vengeance. He shared that he was in the hospital three times in 2014, each time for over 10 days. Due to his health, he was not going to be able to do anyone’s taxes for 2014. He had some projects left from 2013 and it would be all he could handle. I sent him our sincerest well wishes and understanding.

However, this meant that on the dawn of our leaving, a new accountant had to be found.  I wrote to the expat teacher who recommended me to begin with, but he was not aware of the situation. He did get what he called a cryptic note with an attachment, but never opened it thinking it may be a virus. I forwarded the letter I received to him. Then I started to wonder. The letter I received had major grammar and spelling errors, not typical of this man who had a doctorate in business. I wondered if his mail may have been hacked. There was no point in writing him to ask if his email had been hacked. I called his mobile, home, and office numbers. All three led to the same voice mailbox where the recording stated the capacity had been reached, so there was no room for an additional message. Then I sent a fax to his office apologizing for any disturbance, but wanting to verify someone is not ruining his business. I never heard back from any of these feelers.

I posted on Facebook, LinkedIn and asked other expat acquaintances if they had referrals, then sorted through them. Our former accountant stated he did not keep up with other expat accountants, but said we could try one who he knew of. I wrote him. I had given up on hearing back and contacted a number of others, but then he came through. We made a half dozen attempts to Skype, but our timing has not worked. He is in NYC. When we get to Ecuador, we will at least be in the same time zone. Keeping my fingers crossed this is the one!


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