On Cats, Wire Transfers, Death, and Taxes

This moving thing is no fun. Not at all. Yes, Costa Rica is a nice country, with nice people, and we’re arranging a very nice place to live, but the act of getting there is far more work than I could have imagined. We have to sort through red tape on how to move the cat (a still on-going issue), we have to get a proper will (finally) sorted out, and then there’s the issue of taxes.

There are times when I wish this world wasn’t so obsessed with money, so moving around wouldn’t be such a pain in the ass. Sadly, greed being what it is, life is complicated.

As for the cat, I think I’ve managed to figure this out: She’s coming on-board with me, but we’ll have a six-hour layover in Houston. I’ll have to see if it’s possible to take her outside (on a leash) so she can stretch, do her business, and not be cooped up for 12 hours straight.

I did a couple of financial things to get ourselves all ready for this little excursion. The first was a wire transfer to the realty agency in Costa Rica where we’re renting our condo. This happened because no-one had suggested how we should pay for a place before we left. So no international cheques were ready, and I wasn’t about to suck up a 14% levy from the bank to pay through my credit card.

For the record, I hate wire transfers. There’s just something uber-sketchy about sending money off without knowing for sure that it’s going to get to the other end. And the clerk I was dealing with sounded like he’d powered back a few magic brownies for lunch. There’s nothing worse than hearing:

Oh, you don’t need to worry about the destination city. I’m sure that your transfer will get there.

Hey numbnuts, I am going to worry. This is a lot of money for a condo that I can’t afford to lose because the money never showed up. Don’t patronise me.

After that, I went to go see the Expatriate Group, a financial firm in Calgary that deals with people like me who are moving out of the country. Learn the ropes, know what you have to do so you don’t get it up the arse by the Canadian Revenue Agency, and keep yourself somewhat sane. But there’s a lot of detail there, and we have a lot of things to consolidate/cancel before we’re ready to leave. And we have to declare non-residency. That one is the bit that scares me the most. But it’s either that, or the aforementioned liaison with the CRA.

I have to give Tom, the gentleman that I talked to, a great deal of respect for what he knows. He flew through a lot of material in an hour. Cathy (my sister, also my accountant and financial adviser) thinks this sounds all-too-easy, but to be sure: our to-do list grew an easy 100% after talking with Tom. We still have so much to do.

One of the things Tom gave me was information to put into a will, something Alex and I haven’t done yet. I hate wills, for the record. I means I have to think about death. I don’t like thinking about death, it’s too real. I prefer my own little fantasy world. It’s basically the same thing as reality, but with less of an edge. It’s like being drunk without the alcoholic side-effects.

Alex and I read over the materials last night, after which Alex commented:

I need a drink.

Exactly what I had been thinking. Had it been earlier in the night, we probably would have gone for it. Such as it is, we went to bed. Not a good thing to have floating in your head before you go to sleep. You end up with some pretty weird dreams after that, I’ll tell you. We meet with a lawyer today to get the will sorted out. Not looking forward to that.

Ugh. Can I go to Costa Rica now? Please?