Thursday, June 19, 2008

Less than one week

Thank you all who left comments on the last post of my financial questions. I don't feel that I can put together something coherent now, so here are some jumbled thoughts with the move less than a week away. (Probably my last post as a Seattle resident.)

I've been saying goodbyes for about a month now; it's starting to get really emotional. I don't think I've ever had so many scheduled lunches with people. The really big goodbyes are coming up. There are also a couple of folks that just won't connect; it's weird that they just won't say whatever, they just avoid. I guess it's all part of the goodbye experience.

My department at work had the "official" goodbye lunch for me on Monday. My two closest coworkers are taking me to lunch tomorrow. Alan's been with his company for not quite 10 years, but because of the (not wanted) shuffle, he's been in his current department for less than a year and the folks he's known are scattered. I don't think anyone's doing anything for him tomorrow. (Tomorrow is the last day at work for both of us.) That makes me sad. (I did just find out that his former coworkers put together a card and gave it to him this morning.)

Stuff! Drowning in stuff! I feel like such a spoiled first-world consumer. I mean, I think we don't have much by typical U.S. standards, but still -- everywhere I look -- stuff! We've sold, donated, recycled, and gifted boxes and boxes of stuff and some larger items that just won't fit in our new place. But I wake up in the mornings and want to scream, "make it all go away!" On a day-to-day basis, I think I only use about 10% of it.

Alan and I are both starting to get that "deer in the headlights" look and feeling. We're both retreating to our stress behaviors. Unfortunately, it's hard to accomplish anything under those conditions. So I've asked a new friend, who is a friend of a more established friend, to come by on Monday and give us some dispassionate direction. She teaches during the academic year, but is off now for the summer and she offered help the last time I saw her. We need someone who's not emotionally involved in the move to push us to focus on what needs to get done.

The cats had their last vet appointment (annual check-up a bit early and usual shots) in Seattle and we have what we need to cross the border. [The very first stop we made after arriving at the airport in Seattle years ago was at the (same) vet to have them checked out and boarded while we looked for a place to live.] They're in good shape, thank goodness. (I'm so afraid of the jinx!) They know something's up because the apartment is upside-down. Many of their favorite hangouts are missing. We've spent an embarrassing amount of time figuring out how we will make the new place "work" for them. They drive us crazy, but we do want them to be happy. We are planning on a ritzy deluxe new cat tree. (Shhh! It's a surprise.)

I'm still a dither about credit cards and such. I think it will all work out, but I have this fear that we'll get "cut off." (It's not that we need credit, just the method of payment is useful and often necessary.)

We're having trouble getting DSL installed in our new apartment. The company says they've been waiting (for a month now) for a "port" to open up. (If anyone understands this, please feel free to educate the less technical among us.) I'm not sure what to do. We do so much personal business over the internet. I could more easily go without a home phone than without internet.

Drinking! Margaritas with my closest guy friend in Seattle after work tomorrow. We started this once-a-month happy hour tradition a while back and this will be the last in the series, but hopefully not the last forever. Saturday will be more drinking with another it will be hard to say goodbye to. I probably should not be doing this. I also think that I would be pulling my hair out Monday-Wednesday next week anyway, so why not relax a bit first (albeit under the influence, which I'm sorry to say is needed at this point). [btw, haven't been on meds for months now, if you were wondering -- that's a good thing]

Looks like we'll be the last of the 7 couples/families to settle. I'm glad y'all have made it there safe and sound. Now, I just have to believe that it will be us, too ... (and you're probably rolling your eyes because I think we have the shortest distance to go). Thanks, folks -- really and truly -- for your support and friendship. Can we meet up for margaritas sometime?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Questions about finances for other U.S. to Canada folks

OK, we're at that details stage and I have questions. If you don't feel comfortable answering in the comments, please e-mail me.

I know that some of you kept U.S. credit cards. Do you use a mailing address in the U.S. or Canada? If you use an address in the U.S., how do you deal with the phone number issue (because Capital One, for example, calls periodically from their fraud department to check to see that charges are legitimate)? I've heard (I think it was from Nick) that Amex will give you a Canadian account if you have a U.S. account in good standing; do I just call them up and ask for it? Are there other cards that will do this?

Did you keep bank accounts open in the U.S.? How do you transfer money back and forth?

We're thinking we'll just leave our retirement (401k) accounts alone, giving them the new contact info, of course.

What good/bad experiences have you had in transferring and coordinating finances between the U.S. and Canada?

Any suggestions, comments, words of experience and wisdom (with details) are welcome.