Archive for » January, 2019 «

January, 2019

WHEW- what a crazy month this has been- here, there and yonder! One would think I am a teenager at the rate I was moving about. Unreal! I was leaving my apartment in St. Petersburg on January 11 as the movers were

Packing Up

packing me up and getting everything to storage by the 12th. I was never happier to be out of that apartment – causing me to be sick for so many months due to the carpeting and the gases emitting – even the doctors were telling me that the carpeting from China these days not only emit dust mites and other gases – most of them today contain Formaldehyde! GREAT NEWS! Checked myself into a Holiday Inn Express near me for a few days before leaving and got a well deserved rest with no issues. I must tell you how surprised I was at the level of service and accommodations. My room was huge and immaculate! Instead of a comfy chair, I had a Chaise Lounge to relax on (feet up) and a big King Size Bed. The bathroom had fabulous lighting – especially for a woman and every possible amenity you could ask for including a big magnifying mirror on the wall. Water in the shower must be on a softener as this was the first shower I took in over 5 months where my skin was not flaking afterwards. Can you imagine the water in the apartment where I was?????? So many things to add to a check list before moving in anywhere now.

Phyllis, Cheryl, and Chef Doug at Salt Rock Grille
Phyllis, Cheryl, and Chef Doug at Salt Rock Grille

Cher and I had decided to go out to enjoy lone last night of fun before I left and we decided to go to Salt Rock Grille. As we were being seated, a lady at he next table smiled and said hello and I politely returned the hello not knowing who she was. Then the guy with her turns around and literally YELLS my name – “PHYLLIS” so that the entire area turns to look at what is going on. St as non other than Douglas Miller (Chef Doug) – the famous Doug originally from the Wine Cellar and now at the Hilton Carillon for many

Cher and Phyllis at Salt Rock Grille
Cher and Phyllis at Salt Rock Grille

years. Of course, I don’t see his wife Cheryl often, so did not recognize her!. It was like old home week for me and Doug as I had been trying to contact him since back in Florida but he doesn’t answer the phone and never looks at emails. Anyway,- a truly delightful surprise for both of us and a few really good laughs. And yes, food and drink along with Cher was a positively delightful evening and looking forward to many more. FUN is what life is all about!

I flew to Panama overloaded in luggage as I needed to bring so much stuff besides clothing for three months – my laptop, a router to plug in my Magic Jack plus telephone, etc.etc, etc. I was, of course, way over the limit on weight, but the supervisor at Copa Airlines in Tampa recognized me and told me I had been upgraded to Business Class (that is the first class on these flights). I was then told by the lovely handsome young man actually checking me in that I could check ALL of my luggage, even the carry on. So away I went, carefree and easy!. You can believe that I was relaxing and drinking Champagne all the way. I really do LOVE Copa Airlines – seriously , always have. They are like the “old” days when travelling and treat you like a human being and feed you, even in economy and even give you a free drink of your choice. And you are allowed to check two bags in economy. One price, and always with smiles for the passengers! Arrived in Panama on time and saw hundreds of Pilgrims already coming into Panama for the Pope’s visit and World Youth Day (January 23-27). They had to go thru “visitors” immigration and I, as a resident, went thru immediately and out in 2 minutes. Wanted to take a picture but not allowed in immigration. The hats on so many of the Pilgrims was quite a sight to see. Got my luggage and out of the airport in less than 30 minutes.

Went directly to my dear friend Isabel Boyd where I was staying over night and in the morning we went out for breakfast and then Isabel dove me out to the beaches where I was returning to my old Condo at VistaMar since it had not sold yet. Still nothing really moving in Panama, but may be beginning now. So glad I do not own!. Received a wonderful greeting from all of the employees at VistaMar. So many hugs and smiles and they were all so happy to have me back again (sure, now the Coca Colas would flow again). I walked into the Condo and cannot begin to tell you how I felt – “being home again.” After all, I had left all my furnishings so the condo was staged for a sale. After the first 24-36 hours, I realized how many extras were left for someone to enjoy. Literally, one would need nothing – it was all here!. Linens, fluffy towels, soap, toilet paper, Kleenex, even cleaning supplies and a full size steamer (i do not iron but steam everything). I wanted anyone to be able to come and live with everything and not worry until they could decide what they needed or did not need. WOW, and a great job Phyllis! I realized I needed NOTHING! Jackie, my housekeeper, who still works at VistaMar made sure the condo was in tip top shape cleaning wise and I felt like I just returned to Paradise. It was all wonderful.

Well, wonderful to start! Until you realize the Cable company was still the same, slow and totally unreliable. They were supposed to have hooked up cable and internet for me prior to me arriving, but that never happened. I was calling every day for 8 days (yes EIGHT days) and they kept promising me the very next morning. I even have all of the texts they sent to me telling me that. BUT- it did not happen until I was here for 8 days and they finally showed up! The refrigerator was hooked up and running as some friends insisted on getting groceries in there for me to have a start. BUT- they did not open the water to the fridge, so I could not get my cold filtered water nor did I have any ice!!! So until I got someone up there to get the fridge out from the wall and open the water, another 2 days! Then all of a sudden a huge leak under the sink and also some kind of a leak in one of the bathrooms. All of this and I am supposed to be here to unwind and relax and get back to being me, healthwise!. Guess when you leave a place for a while, things will happen and then the “S” does hit the fan. All will be ok and little by little things are getting fixed. My one big problem left is retrieving a package I sent directly to Jose (Panamanian) in order to save postage, etc. What is has caused is a big headache. The package has arrived and tied up in customs because of my declaration of almost $700. I insured it for a bit more as I did not want it to get lost. I had a lot of business papers in it, a book I have started writing, shoes, vitamins, my Nook Reader and some junk. In the meantime, although the Post Office knows Jose, they will not release it until I have some kind of a representative help me untangle all of this. I therefore need to pay about $100 plus taxes (but it is all old, nothing new) . Hopefully this week we can get something accomplished. Will let you know the outcome and we have also decided to let EVERYONE know what the rules are for sending things to Panama -directly to Panama rather than using a U.S. carrier here. I have sent many packages back to the U>S. from Panama. Much less expensive and it does, indeed, get there. BUT- it is expensive to send to Panama (which I found out too late) but never realized the problems with coming into Panama. Obviously restrictions which I was unaware of. So folks, beware. As they say, take with you, pay the price to the airlines, and have your stuff at all times with you. Will let you know the outcome next month.

Windblown Deb and Phyllis at Kotowa Coffee
Windblown Deb and Phyllis at Kotowa Coffee

I am slowly starting to enjoy things again as all of the messes are clearing up one by one. It is summer here in Panama and the weather has been absolutely beautiful. Although in the 80’s, it ha been breezy and balmy and hardly any air conditioning has been needed. Finally had an awesome day with my friend Debbi as we went to our camping grounds in Costa Verde and the first stop was at our favorite Kotowa Coffee Shop for our Cappuccino and a long chat. Just like old times and we so enjoyed the day. Then there was a fabulous Moonlight Dinner at the Beach with the Blood Moon out. Attended with Dave and Deb Bontoft. Food and entertainment were fabulous and a wonderful evening with singing ,dancing and seeing a lot of old friends again! One of the largest crowds I have seen at these beach dinners, and a tribute to Chef Pascal who does try hard! I have also been out to the country to RELAX and went to my favorite hide-away, Hato Viego for a day and thoroughly enjoyed just being out in the quiet country with few people and no hustle and bustle. Food is still delicious there, but service was absolutely awful. Don’t know what has happened, but will look into that on another visit.

David and Deb Bontoft with Entertainer Pascal (not our Chef)
David and Deb Bontoft with Entertainer Pascal (not our Chef)
Phyllis at Full Moon Dinner with Fred from France
Phyllis at Full Moon Dinner with Fred from France

I do want to apologize to the many friends I did not contact before I left to come to Panama for a visit. Forgive me please, but between not feeling well and trying to figure out exactly what to do, then packing everything up and getting it into storage, I was a wreck and just needed to get out. I did just that, and of course, I don’t even have a place to return to at this point. I have a few people looking for me to find an apartment with no carpeting at an affordable price. One complex I am really interested in is Long Bayou in Seminole. Great Condos if one will come up for RENT. I do not want to own. Many of us have been in touch by email or phone (Magic Jack Number to get me in Panama is 727-302-1801 ) and as always, so good catching up. Have not been sending and forwarding email jokes as I have really not had internet in the Condo. Another problem that will have to be solved sooner than later! AS you can tell, its been a wild month and obviously, that man upstairs (unless it is a woman) has something in mind as I am being tested and challenged a bit more than I can take! However, physically – I am better and breathing well with no throat issues, so that is a big plus.

One of the big events this past month that I am so proud of and want to share is that my grandson Max turned 13 on January 20!. He is now the Young MAN and I am so very proud of him. Congratulations my handsome and wonderful grandson!

Happy Birthday to my Grandson Max - My Young Man
Happy 13th Birthday to my Grandson Max My Young Man

Looking forward to next month and a lot of fun things. Hope you are all well and enjoying your lives to the fullest. I send love to all and until next month………………………………………………….and if I cant delete the repeat images below, please forgive me. A whole new format for the blog and more complicated than ever. You all know me and my technological skills (zero), so I did pretty good for a first time. I am learning and cannot say this is an easier format, it is NOT but someone will eventually teach me and I will learn. Otherwise, these days may be over until I find an easier way. This is much too complicated – I cannot delete these two repeats at the bottom, but we will see if a miracle can happen in 24 hours!!!!!! IT did!!! I am becoming a genius!!!!

Category: Dispatches  Comments off