Time is ticking. We’re down to six weeks out. A lot to do in these upcoming weeks, as well as some trips here and there to see some folks.
We made some decisions this week: departure date, salary advance, my sister-in-law probably coming to live with us for a bit. The toughest was the salary advance… my wife (the Diplomat, and therefore Type-A, more fiscally-conservative one) was staunchly against it. I, wanting some nice things after 3 years of just scraping by, was all for it. For those of you who don’t know, the salary advance is given before you leave for post. You can request up to 3 months’ pay to cover extraneous expenses related to the move and pay it back over up to 18 pay periods.
We ultimately decided on about $9,000 to be paid back over the full 18 pay period time-frame. Since were getting hardship pay and COLA pay while in the D.R., this reduction in salary should just about be covered and we won’t see any difference in take-home pay. And if I get a job, even better… we may even be able to save a little money.
This money is going to a variety of stuff that we need to pick up here, since it’s much more expensive at post. For example, cleaning supplies, Christmas and birthday presents for our son, (hopefully) a TV, accessories for our car, etc. We also need some patio furniture and I think some dog food (no knowing the quality in the D.R.), as well as some professional attire for the wife. With any luck, we’ll have some left over when we’re done, and can actually have an emergency fund for once.
Our travel orders came through last week, and we booked our flights. Leaving 3 Aug. for Puerto Rico for some consultation days, arriving in the D.R. on 5 Aug. The dogs will be boarded at their vet’s office and picked up and (hopefully) shipped on 5 Aug. We still need to schedule pack-out and get the car shipped. If anyone reading this has any advice on that, do share. We’re still new to this game, and based on our last pack-out (admittedly, an unmitigated disaster), we could use the help.
My sister-in-law is most likely coming to live with us for a bit. She’s coming off a nasty break-up, and some tropical therapy could be just about right. I think it will be nice to have an extra set of hands to help us settle in, and we have the extra space. Now that we have dates, everyone is starting to make plans to come visit us. My mother is talking about bringing my sister for her 40th birthday, I was talking about a house-swap with some friends who are being posted in Belmopan, Belize, and I think we have guests for Thanksgiving, February vacation, and April vacation. We don’t even live there yet!!
One more side note: I got permission (from the wife) to buy a surfboard for myself. So excited… haven’t been surfing since I was about 20. The north shore of the Dominican has some good surfing, especially around Cabarete. Puerto Rico is also only about 45 minutes by plane, and Costa Rica isn’t a horrible trip either. One of the pieces of advice we got was to get out of Santo Domingo as much as possible… I plan on doing just that.
Off to the races today… a lot of planning and shopping to do. Have a great week.