Getting ready to return.

In three weeks once again we will be on the Island of Enchantment! We are just counting the days and packing. Since the only clothes we bring is what we wear – everything from shoes/shorts/toiletries is already down there – our bags are for things that we want to bring down for the condo. We decided that we needed a decent coffee maker like the one that we have at home, our Saeco Odea that we are so addicted to, that I located one online. We love this coffeemaker for its ability to grind and brew a perfect cup each and every time so much that getting one for the condo was a no-brainer. I went for the compact one only because of space consideration, but in reality it’s not much different from the larger one that we have. Puerto Rico is going through a renaissance in its coffee industry with independent growers popping up and we are very interested in exploring the coffees of the island. Puerto Rico used to be a major coffee producer, but the island exodus had left the growers with a short labor pool. Now the interest in boutique growers is starting to revive the industry.

The other thing that is taking up the majority of the room in the big suitcase is parts for Babe. When I bought Babe I knew that there were some issues with things like broken a/c vents, a couple of missing  plastic parts, and electronic fan controller and a leather-wrapped steering wheel that desperately needed help. Shipping things to the island is a real PITA, see our earlier post/rant on this, so packing a suitcase to its limit is the only way to go-and we are not alone doing this! The other big thing going down is our older Denon receiver. We updated it a while back but it is still very useful (and powerful) so it gets a second life. Good news/bad news, it just fits in the smaller suitcase but it suitcase now weighs 49 lbs.-ugh! We still have the carry-ons to pack. Dean has camera equipment and I am bringing down a set of indoor/outdoor speakers that we no longer use plus our wireless rear channel amplifier setup. We are starting to feel like gypsies, moving one plane trip at a time.

So here’s my latest shipping experience. One of the things that I wanted to do to Babe was replace the front grille. The one on there now is suffering from the chrome plating starting to peel. Not earth-shattering, but I really didn’t want to keep looking at it. And, an after-market replacement was quite cheap-as in $65.00, shipped to the house. So got the weight and dimensions and went down to the post office to ask how much to ship. The nice lady looked up our Fajardo zip code, punched in the dimensions of the box and the weight and said $28.00. Fine, I thought, I’ll buy it, let the supplier ship it to me (for free) and turn around and ship it to Puerto Rico. All well and good until it arrived the other day and I took it down to the post office. Not so fast. It seems that the helpful employee gave me the base rate and neglected to tell me that there is an additional dimension charge based on the fact that the box was beyond certain parameters. Yeah…an additional $112.00, plus, plus, plus. Total to mail the box as it was came out to almost $180.00!  Really! The employee now behind the counter must have really taken pity on my shocked expression because she instantly said “Let’s break this box down and get rid of the excess dimensions.” and whipped out a utility knife and began cutting the box open. There was tons of air inside plus paper packing and by the time she was done, the grille was basically wrapped in a cardboard skin and the shipping charge was a much more reasonable $48.00. OK, have to remember this for the future.


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