When considering our move overseas, a big concern was our 4 yr old lab mix, Lea.  We got Lea from the Animal Defense League in San Antonio, a "no-kill" shelter for cats & dogs. She is a great dog, and my wife and I love her.  She's more than just our pet, she's part of our family and we wouldn't consider leaving her behind, although there are lots of concerns about taking her as well.
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We want to take every precaution possible with bringing Lea to the Philippines, and also to ensure there are no hiccups going through customs when we arrive.

The Website for the Philippine Embassy explains in detail what steps are needed.  Unfortunately, it said to please refer to the local consulate which covers your state.  Well, Texas is covered by the Philippine consulate in Los Angeles (ya'll know where I'm going with this, right). What a bunch of stupid *%&^$&^()_(&%#&((= idiots!!!  I never spoke to more illiterate bunch of #**(&^%$#heads in my whole (*A^x#$*$^(^ life!!

I learned rule #1:  Ignore the LA Consulate.  My first step was to acquire my import permit from the Bureau of Agriculture in Manila.  I sent them an email with the required info and the next day, they emailed my permit.  Great, uh-oh, the permit expires 20 days before i arrive in Manila.  Back to square one.  So after two weeks of going back & forth, I finally got someone who could comprehend Engrish and stamped a one month extension on my permit.

My next step was to get a health certificate for Lea, this is where Lea gets pissed!  I scheduled an appointment with the USDA certified Veterinarian at Fort Sam Houston.  They were great, very helpful. Lea already had a microchip which was implanted by the Animal Defense League for free when we got her in 2009.  One problem, she is required an "International Microchip".

So the technician got out her 10 gauge needle and implanted a second chip in Lea's neck. Lessons learned, save the painful part for last, Lea fought us for every shot, test, injection, probing and even nail clipping for the last hour!  We both had to laugh at the way she kicked at us with all four feet when the technician came close to her with another needle.  She's fine now, but I don't feel that trusting relationship is where it was before yesterday’s events.  I will bring her back to Fort Sam on April 3rd and she will get her APHIS 7001 Health Certificate, which I then have to take to the USDA in Austin for them to sign, then I have to send everything to the Philippine Consulate for approval.  It was a "Dog Day Afternoon"
37 days to go!

 
 
Delta has me down as having 90,986 Sky miles in the last two years. I also have "AAdvantage Miles" with American Airlines, "Mileage Plus" with United, and "Rapid Rewards" with Southwest.  That's a lot of flying around, from San Jose, CA to Natick, MA, and from Cocoa Beach, FL to Tacoma, WA. and all stops in between.

"I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert's bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've had my share, man.
I've been everywhere".

COME ON!  Sing it with me people!!

My last trip was to Natick, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.  The Soldier Systems Center there is where they design uniforms and parachutes, and test the food from the old C-rations, to the newer Meal, Ready to Eat, or "MRE's".

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The weather was really nice for being in New England in March. Upper 50's mainly, but it did get colder towards the end of the trip.
The food up their was pretty good, This was my first time at Legal Seafood.  I heard lots about it, and the chow was great.  Had Sushi a couple of times as well.

Even though I pride myself on geography, being from Texas, I just assumed Connecticut was a lot further away that it really is.  I have a good close friend in Connecticut, Bill (Smokey) Stronk, and I had no idea he was just a hop-skip and a jump away from where I was staying in Natick.  Dammmmn!  lessons learned.  I gotta learn to check out a map before going on these roadtrips, oh, yea, read the title, too late!  You can drive for seven hours from San Antonio and still be in Texas, or Mexico, but whatever. We did work long hours, since our 3-man team was cut down to 2 at the last minute.  Dinner and a few beers at night, then to bed.  Gene, who was with me on the trip, is a Hockey fan, and would have liked to see the Bruins play, but they were on a road-trip.  I haven't seen a hockey game since I watched the Cleveland Crusaders play.

Both flights going and coming were on-time and no issues whatsoever. I hate to say it, but that's a first when flying Delta.  Especially through Atlanta.

It's pretty refreshing knowing you have completed your last business trip ever.  Flight to the Philippines is gonna be a long one, only 44 days away.

 
 
I DID NOT want to get up at 6:30 this morning to put up signs for our garage sale.  It was Saturday, my turn to stay in bed until late.  Very late.  But NOOOOOOOOOO, My Funny Little Honey made me get up and get started.
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Before I could light up my first Backwoods, my first customer arived.  ¿Tiene las herramientas eléctricas?  Huh?, oh, si! I wound up selling about $50 in tools. Not bad for 7:15 in the morning. Wound up making about $2,000, mainly from a $900 dining room set and a $300 curio cabinet.

I am glad it's over with. Sitting in a lawn chair and saying "fifteen dalla" all day sure is tireing.

The house looks pretty empty now, but I still have more packing to do and more items to sell on Craigslist.
I spoke with my old friend Bill morning, he and his wife Ruby are also moving to the Philippines.  They'll  be there in April.  Elly's nephews Ricky and Lito will pick them up at the airport in Manila and take them to their home in Olongapo.



 
 
I don't know if I'm packing everything I can think of just because my wife is doing the same, or because I believe deep down inside that I may really need this stuff when I get to the Philippines.

I'm down to 60 days and counting until We take our one way flight to the Philippines, along with Lea, the wonder dog, who BTW turned four last week!
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I'm mostly concerned with Lea and the 27 hr trip.  I spoke to Delta Airlines again today and they promised me that as long as Lea is healthy, she will be alright.  Just pack food & water for her.

Tomorrow, we'll be holding a gargae sale, hopefully that will clear our 36 years of crud, I mean collectables.

I have been getting recommendations and asurances from expats living in the Philippines through emails and other blogs.

I'm going to be so happy that I won't be working full-time anymore, I need to relax, enjoy life and take care of my health. P90X, "BRRING IT"!
I hear San Miguel is great for medicinal purposes, among other things. Just sayin...