Unfortunate E-mails

Wednesday December 18, 2013

sunset, Cay Caulker

It’s our last day here at Cay Caulker, we finally found a weather window to leave tomorrow for Mexico.  First we need to make a ten mile jaunt up to San Pedro at Ambergris Cay and out the cut there, and from then on it’s another 200 miles up to the well visited Mexican island of Isla Mujeres.  After spending an extra unplanned week here in Belize, we decided that we don’t have time for Cozumel, as originally planned.  Running behind schedule as much as we are we’d like to be in Isla for Christmas, maybe New Years, but after that we want to take the first window we can get to Florida.

A few last minute things had to be taken care of today, such as checking the weather one last time to make sure our window hadn’t changed since we last checked.  It hadn’t, which was our only good news for the day.  Each of us also received a disheartening e-mail from a family member, one much worse than the other.

The first one was from my mom, letting me know that the package of goodies she was having meet us in Isla Mujeres was actually sent back to her due to issues with customs.  You may be asking yourself what’s so bad about this?  Yeah, I wasn’t going to be rewarded with Skittles in a few days, and Matt’s going to have to wait a little longer now for some Snickers, but that’s not the bad part.  The reason it was returned to the States was the same reason we were so desperate to get it.  It contained a new debit card for us.

We had an issue with ours back in late September, just when we got back to Guatemala from South America.  Matt was in town taking out money at an ATM, using a different bank than we’re used to because that one was closed.  A few days later we found out the information had been cloned because all of a sudden, TONS of transactions began popping up in the Dominican Republic, removing $200 at a time, one after another, until $1,800 had been taken out in about 24 hours.  This did not make us happy campers.  Obviously.

Luckily we had two things working in our favor.  The first is that we never keep more than one months spending money in that account at a time, meaning that for whomever stole our information, they couldn’t drain us of all our money.  The most they could get out of us one months budget, which is a terrible thing to happen, but it wouldn’t break us.  The other thing is that we work with a wonderful company that has anti-theft protection and refunded all the money back to our account.  Matt tells me that any decent company will do this for you, but if you’re curious as to who we use, it’s Capital One 360.

Ok, back to the e-mail.  Our new debit card was turned away from Mexican customs since apparently you can not send any form of money to this country from the United States, including debit cards.  Apparently there was an issue with the toothpaste also included, but whatever, I’m going to focus on the card for now.  SO, now this means that we HAVE to make it to somewhere in the US to get our new debit card since there’s been so much difficulty getting it sent anywhere else.  We tried to have a new one sent to Guatemala as soon as the whole issue happened, and even though the company states it was signed for, it never made it into our hands.  For the past 10 weeks we’ve been living off our credit card, our cash reserve, and even one Western Union wire transfer.  It’s been a hassle and we’ll be so happy once we have an easy way to get our hands on cash again.

That was our first disheartening email of the day.  The second one came from Matt’s mom letting us know that Matt’s grandmother passed away the previous evening.  The same grandmother that we planned our visit back to the States this past August around, just to get in one more visit with her.  Hearing the news, we were both shocked and crushed.  We knew she hadn’t been doing well, but as Matt put it, she had always been the Energizer Bunny.  She just kept going, and going.  We’d hoped she’d still be going strong when we got back for good, but that had just been wishful thinking on our parts.

There are a few things we have to be happy about though.  One of her last goals was to make it to 90 years old, which she did back in October.  Through some tremendous planning on Matt’s mom’s part, she received over 100 cards in the mail for her birthday.  We sent a post card from Guatemala, which I don’t think ever made it, but we had my mom get one in signed from us while she was sending her own.  Another is that she passed without any pain.  In fact, just minutes before she went she was playing with her nearly two year old great-grandson, talking and laughing, a huge grin on her face.  For her, I can’t think of a better way to go.

I’m so glad we had the good sense to make it back to see her one last time this summer.  Life is full enough of regrets sometimes, we didn’t want missing time with her when it really counted, to be another one.

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