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Chapter Two: Home

NetjrApr 23, 2018, 9:30:32 PM
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Erin was about to tear up and I thought she might lower her head and cry, but she didn’t. What do we do, she asked? Erin knew I was considered a prepper at home. On vacation outside the country was a nightmare for a prepared persons. My preparations were at home and at my bug out location, and now we had only the clothing we traveled with and some odd items here and there. We had about 400 Euros in cash. We had a car rented until Friday. And a place to stay until then. I think we should go to Dublin right now and get to the US Embassy and see what happens. We will probably meet others there and can formulate a plan. It will take us a few hours by train and we can get our thoughts together on the way. Erin agreed, and we thanked the Lir Cafe people for their kindness and walked out.

Outside the cafe the car was only a space or two away. I noticed the ATM that I’d already used to get some Euros. I stopped and figured there’d be no way it would give me any now, but what the hell. I gathered the Ally Bank card that we’d put $1,000 into before the trip. Ally was an online only bank. We wanted it because our local regional bank cards might have trouble in Ireland.  It took my card. It gathered my pin and it asked me if I wanted a withdraw to which I said yes. I asked for 500 euros and it was declined. Darn it, I thought, but then I figured why not try 300 euros that may be the limit. I seemed to remember it was, and to my elation the 300 euros came pouring out. I quickly gathered my regional bank card and again scored 300 euros. I was amazed. Next a credit card and then another as we had two. Both delivered 300 euros. We now had 1200 added euros to my amazement.

We drove the two blocks to the train station. I didn’t even want to go back to the town home we’d rented. I felt like our stuff would be safe there. Its not like we had a lot. The 1600 euros we now had was probably our biggest or most valuable possession. In our bags we had some advil, each had a flashlight, we had chargers for our ipads, the power adapters for European power charging and some snacks. We couldn’t bring guns and knives; I felt ugly not having a weapon. It bothered me now as we saw people in the train station boarding for Dublin. I was happy my credit card worked for the round trip tickets.

On the three hour ride to Dublin we both hit our iPads. We scoured the web for news. Most of the American media sites were operating off their international platforms. Canadian news stations were focused on the fall out directions and problems in cities on the US border. European stations were now focusing on battles in Eastern and Central Europe at US facilities. That word facilities didn’t resonate with me. I think they mean military installations. As our trip progressed we found more reports of attacks on US installations in Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Even Australia was reporting an attack on US interests, and for the life of me I could not remember military bases in Australia, but they must be there.

We were off the train at the Pearse station just before 11 am. The streets outside were quiet. There were cabs available but our money was too precious to spend on cab service right now. The walk was 30 minutes and we were both up to that no problem. We carried bags and headed south by south east along the main road route 118. It is a highly commercial area and most of the shops were closed. I suspected that was due to the Irish government notice we saw. We happened past a Jewelry store. I noticed a sign said Gold and Silver coins with a sticker of coins from the Royal Mint. Its my guess that my lingering was frowned upon by an older man who approached the doorway. I noticed one of the glass cases inside was empty and he was pulling a bar rack across his window while giving me a look. That kind of look not like the people in the Cafe.

Still I stood there, Erin was enjoying the break as we’d walked about of the 30 minutes to the embassy. The man opened the door and I was expecting him to demand we bugger off when he politely asked if we needed any help? Do you have any Royal Mint gold or silver coins I asked? Yeah he said, and looked to make sure we were not setting him up with a band of people hiding next door. Prices are kind of in gross right now he said. Can’t really tell you what they are worth? You American, he asked? I am figuring the accent would be a dead give away. I can see why you’d want that he motioned for us to come in. I thanked him greatly but now was part two of the story. Is our plastic any good anymore I asked openly? Well, if I run it through that gadget and it puts money in my account, it is fine by me he said. Let us try then I asked. What do you have?

When we left California five days earlier I knew gold to be $1350 an ounce and silver about $16.50 in American dollars. Euros were running 1.20 to the dollar. Fortunately our cards all converted to euro even at the atm. The man pulled out some keys and went to work on a non descript drawer behind his counter. I guess most people would hit the safe and leave the small drawer. I have a few 100 pound Britannias and some 25 pound coins. I knew those to be 1 ounce and quarter ounce but the Irish didn’t use those terms. What do you think is fair for them, sir, I was really trying to be respectful. I’d say 2000 euros for the full coin and 500 for the fractional coins. Sorry, he seemed to think he was gouging me, but its really an unknown. Well then let my try my card and see if we can buy one of the 100 pound coins.

He ran the credit card. By my guess it had about $7,600 in American on the limit. He was running it for $2,400. It took a few seconds but the receipt came out. The man smiled. My money is in the account he said. Thank you I said. Erin was quiet but on board. She knew this was the prepper in me coming out. Can we try again I asked? Sure he said. Let us try one more full coin and four of the fractional. By my math that would be 4,000 euros? It would he said. It would mean $4,800 on the card. It would pretty much maximize our card. There would in fact be $400 American left on it. By the grace of God it would enable me to pull cash out after midnight when the limit reset.

The second transaction went through too. We thanked him. He put the coins in a small sleeve which I dumped in my pocket and we walked out of the store. That was easy, Erin commented, I’m pretty shocked. Me too is all that would come to mind. I am thinking we should use these credit cards as fast as we can. I still had another smaller card with $2,500 American on it. She had one with a large limit and we even had a brokerage access card with connection to our IRA retirement accounts. It made me wonder if I should not have tried to buy more from the jeweler.

I stopped a few blocks away from the jeweler. I placed one of the one ounce coins in Erin’s pack and two of the quarter ounce coins in the pack. They were all put into different pockets. Then I did the same in mine. Crossing the Grand Canal I remembered the docks in the opposite direction from the embassy. It was a massive marina and lots of brokers were represented there. My mind wondered. The embassy can wait; the cards won’t be good for much longer I was sure.

Erin never questioned my actions. We changed course walking along the Grand Canal North East. I think we should look at a boat. She didn’t say anything. What is going through your head she asked? I don’t think our cards will be good for long. What happens when we run out of cash and gold? We have nothing here. She nodded. If we can get a boat we will have a place to stay at least. Makes sense she said. Erin knew I was pretty familiar with boats. Even though we didn’t presently own one I was always around them.

It only took 20 minutes to get to the marina. There were few people around. I saw an office with two men standing outside that suggested a brokerage. With that I walked up to them directly. They stopped their conversation as I got close. Erin was five or so feat back. Can I help you, one man asked. Looking for a boat, I said. I’d like to buy one. The two men looked at each other. We’re closed per government orders. Is anyone open I asked? No one is supposed to be. You American one of the two men asked. We are, was my reply. You want to sail back to the states? I do, it was a thought. There is a twenty year old Oceanis 45 here. It is in good shape. Owner wants 100,000 euros. How would you pay that? Take plastic I asked? The two men laughed but one louder than the other. You got an American card worth a $120,000 dollars?  I think so, I said reaching for my wallet. Our retirement accounts were at about $250,000 American and my estimate was we could leverage them to $125,000 American. Erin knew, I knew, but we didn’t tell him that.

You got a passport and all that, the man then stopped laughing. If my card processes for $100,000 American would you sell me the Oceanis? That’s not enough the man said. Meet me part way? Give me a small whaler and outboard to go with it? How about a zodiak he said? I’d be ok with that?

Come on in. Erin and I walked into the office. He pulled up the Oceanis on his computer, and pointed it out in the Marina. The sailboat was one I knew. It was big enough to get us to America if that’s where we wanted to go. It would sail around Ireland, to England damn near around the world. The zodiak is 14’ he said. The motor is a honda. You think you can pay $110,000 American? It took a while. We were able to log onto the Schwab web site mirrored in Europe. I was able to liquidate assets and bring the account balance to $160,000 American. He processed the card first for $112,000 after squirming over his fee. We got both boats and had about $38,000 American left I figured.

The broker was a gentlemen. I felt like things were safe. The second man turned out to be a sales person for him. He walked me down to the boat to walk through it and Erin stayed in the office getting the contracts and licenses done. She managed to use the condo’s address for our new home address - for now.

After going through it all I asked the salesman about generators and solar panels. Do you know where I can add to them? The boat had a generator but I thought 4800 watt was too small. We have some in a warehouse he said. We got a bbq and some propane tanks too. I asked about solar panels and he had more than the boat could hold. I asked for 4 - 240 watt panels, a 6,000 watt generator the bbq and 6 propane tanks. It would come to $8,000 we agreed. Back at he office we managed to get it off the brokerage account too. I managed to get 60 days of the slip rented with the purchase. Just in case I offered them $5,000 more for the balance of twelve months and it was agreed. We could now live there a yet if we just took the boat out once a week and were not permanent residents.

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1998/Beneteau-461-3201285/Sag-Harbor/NY/United-States?refSource=browse%20listing#.Wt5OfminHrc

It took a long time to buy the boat. Almost 90 minutes with minimal negotiation. The salesman was loading the panels and gear to the boat. He trucked the generator over and it took both of us to get it on board. We had keys to the hatch and there was an internal alarm. I managed to change the alarm code but I knew they still had keys. I’d have to risk that. The Zodiak was brought over and tied to the aft of the boat as we were finished. We shook hands. I felt like we had a home such as it was.

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