There is some snark in this diary title! Unfortunately, that would be the yippee part, not the moving to Florida part.
Yes, after 12 wonderful years as resident of Hawaii, right on the edge of Waikiki, we're moving to Green Cove Springs, Florida, wherever that is. Or, at least my mail is. We never plan on setting foot in that place!
Why you ask? Well, it's been an interesting past couple of weeks. Last month, the man who owns and runs the personal mailbox company and has been handling our mail for the past 12 years passed away. He was a wonderful man and we miss him very much. When we took off cruising again, about 4 years ago, he was the one who forwarded our mail to us, consolidated online purchases of boat parts and forwarded those packages to whatever strange location we happened to be in at the moment. He deposited what few checks we receive into our bank account. He also scanned our annual US Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Certificate(more on this in another post when I can write about it and not break my keyboard) and emailed us a copy as soon as it arrived. Needless to say, he was a pretty important person in our lives.
I don't know the particular circumstances, but I was in contact with his son who was running the business after his passing and things seemed to be going well. At least for a couple of weeks. Then all hell apparently broke loose! The US Postal Service became involved, there was some kind of issue with the lease on the property. I'm not sure which it was, requirements of the US Postal Service or the lease problem, but his son notified me that he was being forced to close the business and I had 5 days to get another service. How lovely!! I'm in Malaysia and given 5 days notice to change my US address before mail starts being returned!
Why Green Cove Springs you ask? I learned a long time ago that a professional mail service is the only way to go if you happen to be sailing around the world or travelling out of the country. Every cruiser forum I ever read advised not to have any family members handle your mail and the horror stories from other cruisers whose family members turned out to be flakes, seemed never ending. Not one to always take the advice of others, I made the mistake of letting my mother handle our mail. She all but demanded we give her that task.
Some mistakes are better learned the hard way. You never forget them! My mother became upset over some trivial nonsense with my wife and didn't like the way I responded to it. So, while we were on our way to Hawaii from New Zealand, she decided to return all of our mail as undeliverable! Banks and credit card companies take this very seriously!! The very first thing they do is cancel your debit and credit cards. I found this out when we arrived in Christmas Island in the country of Kiribati. Needing to purchase fuel to get us the rest of the way to Hawaii, I discovered that none of my debit or credit cards work. I called 2 of the companies, not an easy task from a place like Christmas Island, they both had the same response, "Your statement came back as undeliverable and we'll be happy to reinstate your cards as soon as you give us a new, valid mailing address."
We scrounged around the boat, going through the underwear drawers, the navigation station and other places we might have inadvertently left some cash. With the cash we had on hand, and what we managed to find laying around the boat, we had enough to purchase our fuel, but would be arriving in Hawaii with the change in our pockets. We never, ever do this, but we had been waiting for parts in American Samoa and forget to make one last stop at the ATM before leaving.
Upon arriving in Hawaii, virtually penniless, I hoped there was somewhere I could at least get a checked cashed. Fortunately, my bank had a branch in Honolulu so I cashed a check and set off looking for a personal mailbox who could provide the specialized services a cruiser relies on.
Now back to Green Cove Springs. There is a company there that caters to the needs of cruisers, RV'ers and other travelers who need specialized mail forwarding services. They have been around for decades and I was aware of them before we left California in 1999, but mom convinced me otherwise. And boy did she take care of things! I thought about them again when we arrived in Hawaii, but was desperate for access to my debit and credit cards and decided to go with a local option. It was great while it lasted, but this time I'm doing it right. Only took me 15 years to finally figure it out!! In fact, this company is so popular with cruisers that at a recent convention of the South Seas Cruising Association one of the speakers asked, "How many of you live at 411 Walnut Street?" Half of the attendees raised their hands!
So off to Florida we go!!
First, let me assure you, I'm not at all happy of becoming a resident of Florida. Fortunately, I have no plans to ever step foot in the state. Let's see what I've lost in this move...
We've traded the Aloha Spirit for Stand Your Ground laws.
We've traded Governor David Ige for Governor Rick Scott.
We've traded Senator Brian Schatz for Marco Rubio.
We've traded Rep. Mark Takai for Ted Yoho.
I think I'm going to be sick!! On the bright side, my vote in the future might have more impact that it would in Hawaii. In Hawaii the democrats usually win and my vote there has never mattered much. Perhaps with 2 more votes being cast against candidates we despise, we can help turn Florida blue!! We can't wait to vote against every one of them!
So all of you Florida residents out there, welcome us to your state!!
Aloha and Mahalo Hawaii! I will miss you! Although my mail will now go to Florida, my home and heart will always be in Hawaii!