Monday, November 16, 2009

The New Zealand Option

The offer letter is signed, and it is now official. The Conger Family is moving to New Zealand for a year. DrC has been hired to do his eye doctor thing at the Manukau Super Clinic just south of Auckland starting February 2010. During his tenure, we hope to find a house to rent someplace south of the clinic, and we will attempt to enroll the girls in the public schools.

We face two very large logistical challenges in the next two months: Dulcinea and Don Quixote. Dulcinea is a hard nut to crack as importing a cat into New Zealand is very difficult, time consuming, and expensive. We started the process months ago when we had an international RFID chip placed in our kitty along with brand new, numbered-to-the-cat rabies shots. Now it's a question of arranging for transport, quarantine, and boarding as well as filling out a million papers and handing over an obscene amount of money to a variety of agencies and government organizations. Mind you, I'm complaining, but I am not bitching. New Zealand has very compelling and important reasons to make folks jump through these hoops to import a pet. The real question is why are we doing it. I suppose the only answer to that question is the reason we got her in the first place: For our family, a house is not a home without a cat. Dulci is our cat.

Don Quixote is another logistical hurdle. We have two options: put her on the hard or lease her. Today, I formally announce to the public that our 2001 Lagoon 380 catamaran s/v Don Quixote is available for lease starting January 15, 2010 for up to 14 months. You want her, she's yours. All you've got to do is pay our mortgage and insurance and fix or replace anything you break while you use her. The rest is all details. We're not looking to make money, but it would be great if we also didn't have to pay out while we are not using her.

The more likely scenario, however, is that we won't lease her and that she will be put on the hard for the duration of our stay in New Zealand. There are really only two places in Mexico we can do this: La Paz and Guaymas. Since an upwind bash to Guaymas in January during the height of norther season sounds pretty darn close to hell on water, we're going for La Paz. The Singular there has a lift big enough to accommodate us... just barely.

I'm also going to use this very public forum to announce that I too am for lease. Well... or hire. Or contract. Or something like that. Since DrC will be off at the clinic and the girls are going to enjoy a multi-cultural, learning aboard experience at schools in New Zealand, I'd like to go back to work full time for awhile. At this end of this particular blog entry, I think I'll do a little 30 second elevator pitch for folks who actually have work and might want a Toast. Ideally, someone in New Zealand will want me to work in an office for a year. Believe it or not, I miss going to an office, managing folks, attending meetings, ignoring the phone and answering my email, writing reports, making project plans, translating engineering geek speak into normal human, developing product requirements documents, and arguing with the marketing department. It was fun. I'd like to do it some more.

The family is very excited about this change. The money we earn there will extend our “out of box” lifestyle for at least another year, possibly more. Everyone we speak to with first hand experience of New Zealand and Kiwis has nothing but positive things to say about the country, the lifestyle, and the people. And while the cultural differences will no doubt prove challenging, we all agree that right now we're just having trouble getting our heads around the idea of living on land again. I'm trying to imagine sleeping through the night without waking when the wind changes. It's like a new parent trying to imagine sleeping through the night without changing a diaper. I lived like that once, but it was so long ago mentally and physically, I just can't remember it.

I've had several suggestions on the name of my next blog, by the way -- some outstanding, some amusing, some just plain silly. However, the one that resonates for me was the suggestion to just stay “Toast Floats” and change the logo to something less specifically nautical. Until and unless I go back to a predictable course – personally and professionally – it is arguably true that I continue to drift through life one experience at a time.

Time to talk to Keet who did the incredible art work for the current banner head.

* * *

Toast's 30 Sec Elevator Pitch 1st DraftHello. My name is Toast and I am a documentation expert. I seek a salaried or contract position as a project manager in the IT industry. I bring nearly two decades of experience in documentation and training of hardware and software projects both large and small. My areas of content expertise include: computer networks and security, medical software, and product internationalization. While I have direct experience with all phases of the work effort -- including design, development, editing, scheduling, delivery and usability analysis, I'm particularly fond of the management and organization of teams responsible for delivering high quality learning tools and experiences. Hire me now.


Anonymous said...

Wow - what an exciting change of environment for your family! I'm sure it will be an excellent adventure. I only wish we could charter the boat, but the timing might not work for us. We're finishing up a 15 month job contract in UK in March and are looking forward to feeling settled for a while at our home in California so I don't think we'll be doing much traveling in 2010. Too bad, because it's such a great opportunity! I hope somebody takes it.

Anonymous said...
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Singing Land Cruiser said...

While Michael and I were intially very surprised by your new adventure, we quickly realized that those of you who live on boats full-time as well as those of us who live in buses full-time are somewhat kindred spirits. We ALL live life one experience at a time. Now that we're doing this I can't imagine life any other way. We wish you and yours the very best with your current experience. We look forward to reading about your adventure in New Zealand and the next, and the next...
All our best, M&C

Hobo said...
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Keet said...

Wow, you get some interesting comments!
It is high time you had a new masthead. I think we can do better anyhow. Let's chat about what you want.

Ruthless said...

Sounds like an amazing plan for all of you!
Good Luck on the job hunt!

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