Xan & Bob

Week 3 – 4: we progress

We enjoyed a relaxed Easter weekend. Our new neighbors, Kim and Virginia invited us over for coffee after lunch on Monday. So at 4pm we wander next door to their garden where another neighbor, Gloria, has joined them. Kim and Virginia speak very little English and we speak very little Catalan and Spanish. Thankfully Gloria helped translate. Regardless of the language barrier we had a wonderful time. One cup of coffee, 3 bottles of Cava which is made by a friend of theirs (no label on it) and three hours later it was a fabulous way to spend the afternoon. They used to live in our casa for 2 years and have lived in theirs for 5 years now. They told us how incredible the acoustics are in our casa as they have had friends there playing flamenco guitar. Sounds like something we need to do! Gloria invited all of us to her casa for lunch in a few weeks. We are all to learn more of each other’s languages before then.

Tuesday comes and everything is open again. Bob heads to the Ajuntament d’Olèrdola to register his residency. He needs this registration document to give to Customs for the shipment of our belongings. Thankfully this was a pleasant experience and shockingly they opened at 7:30am. Next we head to Vilanova to the Administración De Hacienda to activate the NIE with Form 030. We walk in around 10am and take a number which indicated the approximate time they will see us is 1:20pm. Lovely. Within 30 minutes we are called and get what we need. WOOHOO! This is (we hope with fingers crossed) the last document that Customs require. The ship is due in Barcelona port tomorrow so we are down to the wire. While we are in Vilanova we stop by the Police Station and pick up my official NIE document. We get back to the house and scan and email the two documents to Adriana at Customs. She emails a reply that we are all set with 3 exclamation marks. Phew!

Movistar phoned and said that they could not install our internet today as there are not enough available lines in the village. We know this cannot be right and Hannah and Marcelo help to get this straightened out. Must say not having internet at the house is getting very frustrating.

Wednesday we decide to try to get the car transferred into our name. We discussed this with Marcelo and he gives us a contact in Vilafranca that he uses. So off we go to the Gestoria where they tell us it has nothing to do with them we must go to Barcelona. Ugh. This can’t be right. We leave and call Marcelo from outside. He agrees that this is not right and calls his mate who then comes downstairs and gets us. Yes we can help. But they say we need to provide them with a document from Terracar. More back and forth with Marcelo and it gets clarified. There are different offices of Gestorias so we need to go to the other one as that is the one that deals with Terracar. The gentleman is wonderful enough to walk us through town to the other office although he may have also wanted to get out for a smoke. Once at the other office we are told that we do not have to do anything! Terracar files the paperwork and has 30 days to do this. Pedro from Terracar ends up contacting us a couple of days later telling us that he still needs two documents from us.  Bob’s residency card and his registration of residency. See…there is always more documentation needed.

We stop at Mobles Bascompte to shop for a dining room table. Our neighbors have one that we liked and they recommended this shop. We end up buying the table on display and understand that it can be delivered Monday or Tuesday and he will call to confirm. Perfecto!

Off to Sant Pere de Ribes to the bank to pick up our debit cards finally. It is 1:30pm and they close at 2pm. We wait in line and after the banker searches for a while he said they are at the other branch in town. Ugh. It is now 1:50pm. We rush off to the other branch and I practically jump out of the moving car to get inside in time. They close the door behind me. Again more searching but they do find them. Of course now that we have our NIEs she also needs to update the account with those.

In between all of this fun, Bob is busy working on some plans for a possible track in the states.

Thursday and Movistar arrive to install internet and home phone. WOOHOO! They are unable to install the cable for TV due to the line issue however in a couple of days another technician will come out and set it up via satellite. Who cares about TV now that we have internet!  I can start getting my blog ready now. We will need to buy a repeater for downstairs as the walls are so thick the signal isn’t very strong in the office or bedroom.

We had to order heating oil as we were getting low. This is both for our heat and for heating the water. The tank wasn’t full when we moved in and we hadn’t really paid attention to it. We are down to 100L and having a bit of a cool spell here so have adjusted the thermostat and bought some firewood for the fireplace. Oil hopefully to be delivered on Monday. This is our first experience with heating oil so a learning process. We are used to electric and gas heating and the more you use the more you pay…nothing to really worry about. Well, getting down to 100L is a good lesson.

Saturday I spend most of the day setting up the blog, Pinterest, Instagram and a Facebook page for thewinerywoman.com. It goes live! This is a dream come true and I am so excited. We go for a long walk in the vineyard that night and truthfully I am practically skipping not walking because of my excitement.

As you know from my previous post we spent Sunday in Sitges for the Sant Jordi Day celebrations. Sunday late afternoons are a favorite time of mine as I Skype with my sisters, Vicky and Sandy. Time to catch up with each other. Miss them so much. I think the hardest part of this move is the time difference between us. We WhatsApp a lot but when Vicky is getting home from work and can text is the time I am heading to bed. 😦

Oil delivery doesn’t come until Tuesday. We call about the table delivery and are told he can deliver Friday. No no no…so we agree to Wednesday midday. Movistar arrive and install TV with satellite. Less channels than we had in America but more to watch. Full coverage of Formula 1 including practice and MotoGP and not the annoying commentary that we had with NBC and others. The first thing we find that night is Bullitt on TCM and we have the option on movies to choose subtitles or have it played in the original language. Sweet! Tuesday we have a lovely lunch out with our friend Marc.

Wednesday midday comes and goes and still no table. We ask our neighbor Kim to phone as the man only speaks Catalan. Evidently a misunderstanding about Monday or Tuesday…he said he would phone us on one of those days to tell us when he could deliver. Still wants to delay it but we insist. So at 2pm he delivers the table in…wait for it…his Smartcar! Well, some of it in his Smartcar as most of it was hanging out. Some assembly required and thankfully he does it.  We love the table as it is extendable for when we have guests.

Thursday we head to the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona as I need a document notarized for my Irish passport application. We saw on the website that we need to make an appointment but the next appointment available for a notary wasn’t until May 8th so we decide to drive there anyway and see what happens. Well…we will never do that again. They made an “extremely rare exception” and let me in but they made it quite clear that this is not how things are to be done. The State Department does not consider notary service an emergency unless it truly is. You are not allowed to just show up for something like this. Lesson learned.

We stop by a different grocery store on the way home. A new one for us and by far the best. It is a rainy cold day here so we head home and spend the afternoon in front of the fire. The rain is good for the vines which is great, we just wish it wasn’t so cold.

Friday we head off to the sofa store to pay the balance as they are delivering our sofa today. Much shorter than the 20 days we expected to wait. We are looking forward to a more comfortable place to sit as we have been sitting on dining room chairs for 4 weeks.

We take the document that I had notarized to Mail Boxes Etc. because we have to fax it to California. Who faxes things these days? Well, they don’t. They told us that we could do it at the Post Office. Okay we were going to buy stamps anyway. Once there they tell us it will cost 23.04€ to send the fax. Seriously? But we are desperate. They try twice and receive an error message. Great…well at least we saved 23.04€ but now what? Possibly one other place in town to fax from but we never find it. Once we get home I try to contact VitalChek but of course it is an email form that does not allow attachments. I email the document to my sister, Vicky, to see if she can get the fax to go through. She says it just rings and rings. So I get back on the website and find Live Chat and tell them there is an issue with the fax. Not their fax machine, it is the one at Monterey County Court House where this needs to go. I can contact them directly. So I call and after 5 minutes of recorded conversation I get a human. She said there fax is working just fine but is nice enough to give me the person’s email that deals with these document requests. As I am typing the email Vicky comes back to say that the fax just went through! Yippee! Monterey County does write back and confirm they have the document and that they will be shipping the copy of my marriage certificate today. With this and the one coming from Australia I should be good to go with all the documentation the I need for my Irish passport application. Have I mentioned how much we love pieces of paper yet?

The sofa is delivered and we love it!20170428_134433

Other big news of the day…our shipment of belongings which was picked up at our house in the U.S. on February 13th has cleared Customs and they will be delivering next week. We don’t have a date yet but that’s okay. Now…where the heck are we going to put all this stuff?

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