Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not quite yet....

I should clear something up first...
it was not my birthday, so no one missed it!!

My birthday is at the end of September...
we just celebrated with my family before they left because we are never together in September, nor October, which is when my Son and my Mom's birthday happen!
So please don't fret, there will be plenty of time for proper birthday wishes ;)

The house in Tampa...
no go. I am not that upset really.
Here's the long story (the only way that I seem to be able to tell a story!)

I got into Tampa, which has a very nice airport.
Rented the car, followed the GPS, which actually led me well this time!
As soon as I got my bags into the room, I went out and met with the real estate agent. She was very nice, which is good because it is always a bit uncomfortable to spend an afternoon with someone that you do not know. Of course, that is her job, but she seemed genuinely down to earth. So we went to the house.

It looked as it did on the internet...kinda.
The outside was the same, as well as the inside. The problem that I had was that it felt really small. Now, we do not need a lot of space, especially for this expat princess that has help with keeping the house clean! I know, it sounds awful to say....but after living 7 years overseas, where household help is cheap, I don't want to clean a 3,000 sq. ft. home anymore!
This house was too small. The master bedroom was a wonderful size, but the other two were small. The third barely fit in a single bed!
The downstairs, though well done with walls of windows, would not have accommodated much.
Where would all of our guests stay? I know (ok, hope), we will have a lot of visitors, so I do have to think about that! Really, though, that wasn't the only issue I had...

The view of the water and the "small" private beach was just not what I had expected.
The view was pretty, though quite obstructed with houses and boat docks...
the "beach" was muddy earth, a lot of sea grass and mucky...just not something that I would wade into!

So, instead of prolonging my stay in Tampa, I woke up early the next day and drove to Key West.
I have to say, even though we do not own a home here, yet, I felt like I was driving home!
I like the island, isolated feeling. I like the water here...clear, blue and beautiful.
I just like it here and know this is where I want to be!

I am going to see about 5-6 houses today, Thursday. I feel good about the choices this time, even better than the last time I was here. I like my agent, very upfront, straight forward and truthful.
I am hoping that today I find "it"!

More to come....

Monday, August 24, 2009


I almost don't know where to begin!
It has been a long time, blogger friends, please excuse my absence.

Here is a basic rundown of the past few weeks of my life.

As you all know, I had my family visiting. We did the usual suspects...
Cristo Redentor, though every time I go up there now, I try to take a different angle. Here is the latest:

Feira Hippie, which is a street fair that they have every Sunday in a big plaza in Ipanema. Artisans show their wares and actually vie to get a spot in the fair.
My sister bought me this ring for my birthday...

and as we were talking with the lady, I found out that to secure a spot in the fair, they have to pick one or two pieces of their art, whether it be jewelry, paintings, pottery, etc...
then a group of judges decides who gets into the fair! She said it is very tough because there are hundreds of people vying for the spots!

We went to the beach when it wasn't raining, which it did a little more often this trip as opposed to when they were here last year.

We celebrated the birthdays of my son, myself and my Mom...seeing as we are not usually together for any of these birthdays!

We had an artist bring their paintings to our house so that we could "try them out" on our wall. That is my Dad to the right...we didn't buy the painting, though.

Collected sea shells, saw people being rescued from big waves, watched a mother whale and her baby pass by...(I have video but I can't figure out how to upload it to my computer!!)

We even got to see a dead body pulled in by the life flight helicopters. I haven't gotten the whole story yet, but that was certainly freaky!

My Parents love to sit on the porch and watch the everyday happenings of the busy beach front....who walks around, when Pedro, our local chair/drink guy sets up his small stand, the occasional military training, where the cadets run on the sidewalk or beach singing their one, two songs....

and they left last night. Now, even that turned out to be something....
(remember, there is always an airport story!)
We got there, and as they are checking in, they find out that their flight was cancelled!
Sounds like bad news, right? Think again!
They were put onto the last 4 seats on the Brasilian airline flying the same night to Miami,
I was so happy for them! They got to relax a little more, rest a little easier, through a long journey. I am sure the extra room, and being able to put their feet up helped my Mom especially. She did really well here, and dare I say it, even healed her ribs and rested!

It is sad to be without them, but now, for my next journey...
I am flying out tonight to go and see another house in Florida!

The original house that we really liked in Key West fell through. The owner had no intentions of selling, in my opinion. He provided no paperwork that the banks needed to get ready for the short sale, and now, it will most likely go into foreclosure. We could wait for that, and maybe we will, but there is a new house that has really drawn our attention.

This time it is outside of Tampa, near Crystal Beach.
From the description and pictures on the internet, it looks to have beautiful water views. At low tide, you have a small private beach with which you can wade into the water. It has a pretty pool, and looks to be to our tastes with a lot of balconies and outdoor space.
The kitchen looks to be updated already, though there are some lingering questions that can only be answered by seeing it in person.

I leave tonight. I could have flown with my family last night, I guess. I just really needed one more day to get everything situated with my kids and get them started for the week in school. Maybe if I had left last night, I could have gone in business class too!!
Oh kids and husband are way too important for me to bother myself with where I sit when I fly!

So, that has been my life, and as usual, I will keep you updated on the house. I will not post pictures until I know for sure if we are buying it.
Wish me luck and I will catch up on everyone's blogs soon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


For my friends who have never tried the delicious treat of smores...

You make it like a sandwich....

Graham cracker or some other similar cookie, such as a vanilla cookie
Chocolate, I like a dark chocolate
Marshmallow, roasted to your taste (Myth, I am with you, almost burnt)
Graham cracker


Monday, August 10, 2009

Yummy Monday

Even though we live on the 12th floor....
we like to grill!

So, we bought a tiny little grill that does fabulous work on our balcony.
I promise, we are very careful about the fire and make sure that nothing blows away!

This was a delicious treat for the kids
(hahaha, who am I kidding, for the adults, too!)

Smores and roasted marshmallows!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I almost forgot...

I knew there was something that I was forgetting!
Thanks to Gabriela and her blog for reminding me...

Remember from blog's past....
there is almost always something at the airport to write about!

This return trip found me with my two kids, my parents and my sister and her son all traveling on the same route...7 people.

7 people + 2 suitcases (per person) =
trouble with the agent!

Well, I am a well experienced traveler, knowing the rules, checking them fervently on the day before, if not on the day of travel, even going to the extreme of printing the rules!

So, I went, assured that Brazil is still in battle with the airlines, but none the less, allowing 70 lbs. per bag, 2 checked, per person.

Sounds simple, right?
I got the same lady that always gives us trouble.

Mind you, I was almost positive that no bag was over 70 lbs. I have gotten very good at the, kill your back but check the weight simply by lifting method.
Sure enough, we were a handful with 14 suitcases, but hey...
I obey by the rules!

Well, she informed me in her haughty attitude that she would only allow up to 50 lbs. I said, no...
I checked this morning, and we are allowed 70 lbs still.
She tried to confirm with another agent and she said, nope, only 50. Well, maybe I could allow you up to 61 lbs.
Nope...did she not hear me?

I said, Ma'am, that I am allowed 70 and I will not pay for any of the 3 out of 14 bags that were over 61 lbs. Well, you will have to she replied!

So, I pull out my handy dandy cell phone, call the agency and sure enough, they confirmed the 70 lbs. They were quite surprised that the agent wasn't allowing this, and even asked me if I was at the airport talking to one!
So, I kindly asked if they could explain this to the agent behind the counter.
At which point, I handed her the phone, to which she says, I don't even know who I am talking with, so I will not allow over 61.

Again, did you not hear me? So, I asked to speak to a supervisor.
She said, well, let me see if he even wants to deal with this.

Excuse me? I said, well, he will have to talk to me if I request him.
So she huffed and puffed back behind the scenes.

He comes out, looking a bit apologetic, and scrolled through the computer, like they always do...
(yes, mind you, this is not the first time this has happened to me in my 2 years living here in Brazil...and even with the same agent, hahaha!)

He informs her that the company is in negotiations (which they have been in for the two years that I have lived here!), and yes, they were required by Brazilian law to allow 70 lbs even though that is not their policy!

So, let's do some simple math again....

2 suitcases at up 70lbs each + 7 people =

14 suitcases and a happy BG!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You know you are in Brazil when...

you are driving along, amidst all the motorcycles that regularly swerve in and out of cars.

Then, to one's surprise, a rider of a two person bike, jumps off, and hurries along
(thank goodness at a red light)
to pick up the flip-flop that the driver was wearing.

Some things only happen here.... :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Please excuse me...

I have been such a blogger slacker!
I know that in the next few weeks that I will get back to reading and commenting, but for now,
please excuse my absence!

The kids are starting school today, plus we have been running around with my family.
The weather has not been the best, quite rainy and sometimes chilly, but we still are trying to get out and about.

Now, onto starting school on top of it all!
Wow, the years really do fly by, and I can hardly believe that I now have 5th and 3rd graders!!

I will post again soon, and read as soon as possible.....