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Author Topic: I am moving to the USA - Gimme your best 3 tips  (Read 7141 times)
IainC
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Reply #70 on: August 27, 2016, 03:42:41 AM

Colorado is a good choice for you if you enjoy hippy type weirdness. Their cup runneth over.

Manitou Springs is ground zero for that too. Just outside Colorado Springs. Madder than a bag of spiders.

Just get used to evading questions about which church you go to.

Also the US generally has worse phone and internet than pretty much anywhere in Europe. My FiL in the centre of Colo. Springs, can't get anything faster than 10mb and it drops all the fucking time. Meanwhile here in Slovakia, I can't have the good internet because they can't put fibre in the historic centre so I have to make do with 75mb cable.

- And in stranger Iains, even Death may die -

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Reply #71 on: August 27, 2016, 07:55:51 AM

For fairness, the fees alone were about $1000. The lawyer was $1500 but obbviously that is not mandatory. Good luck getting through all the hoops without mistakes without one though. An additional $700 was spent over 16 months in mandatory Certified Translations, paper acquisitions, stamps, trips to another city to visit the consulate, etc. - I considered not hiring a lawyer, but then you realize how HIGH are the stakes and how EASY is to make a mistake which will set the already lengthy process back for more months. So, meh.

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Reply #72 on: August 27, 2016, 07:57:03 AM


I am over-worried about taxes. I would hate to star off on the wrong foot with that. Would you advice to get an accountant's phone number from the internet and schedule a single appointment for some guidance?

I would say no. Doing that could put you in the situation of appearing to be a foreign rube, and said accountant might try to convince you that you need to hire his full time services to keep yourself safe.

The thing is, the government here is really good at tracking *you* down and collecting their cut. I'd suggest just keeping your papers in order, don't work for anybody under the table or any crap like that, and just wait until you get your W-2s (the taxable income record provided to you by your employer -- I'm not certain if you will get a different form for being an alien, but in any case your legitimate employer will provide). *Then* look into hiring an accountant to take care of the routine matter of filing your taxes if you are uncertain of the process by then, or just downloading some software to do it yourself. Or honestly, you could probably just follow the instructions on the forms and do it yourself. It really isn't that complex for a single filer, not owning your own business or stocks or the like.

Thank you for that Mandella. This is useful.

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Reply #73 on: August 27, 2016, 01:33:05 PM

While I agree that for 99% of cases a personal accountant for taxes is overkill, relying on something like Turbo Tax or H&R Block for a financial situation that may have external support from Italy, I do think that it may be in your interest to at least have one consult with an accountant that knows a bit of the international side of things, even if the amounts do not seem significant.

I should get back to nature, too.  You know, like going to a shop for groceries instead of the computer.  Maybe a condo in the woods that doesn't even have a health club or restaurant attached.  Buy a car with only two cup holders or something.

-Signe

I LIKE being bounced around by Tonkors. - Lantyssa

"let go of my dick you mother fucker!"  - Jimbo
Selby
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Reply #74 on: August 27, 2016, 03:47:25 PM

Never hurts to talk to a tax professional.  If there's one thing that makes Uncle Sam REALLY mad and upset, it's people not paying their taxes.  It's the one thing they almost always get people on, no matter how bad a criminal they may be otherwise & be unable to convict on said criminal enterprises.
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Reply #75 on: August 28, 2016, 04:52:29 PM

Speaking as one of the 2 or 3 resident CPAs here, it's worth your time to get a consult with a local CPA. The consults will be free. If they aren't, don't go.

The first year will be complicated because you'll likely have income in two countries. That could be expensive to sort out, but after that your income should all be in the USA and if you are salaried, with little in the way of moving investments, you should be fine paying less than $400 for your regular return services.

I would get a CPA long term in your scenario simply because it's good to have an advocate if the IRS comes knocking. They can answer questions directly to the government instead of involving you for 3 years after a return was filed.

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Reply #76 on: August 28, 2016, 06:28:49 PM

I shouldn't have incomes in two countries in the first year though. I mean, of course I earned money in Italy in 2016 and I am gonna earn money in the US in 2016, but as an employee all the Italian taxes are taken from my monthly check as soon as I get it. I understand we can't have a financial consultation here, but I don't think I'll have to declare money I have already paid taxes for in Italy... in the States. Riiiiight?

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Reply #77 on: August 28, 2016, 06:34:04 PM

I shouldn't have incomes in two countries in the first year though. I mean, of course I earned money in Italy in 2016 and I am gonna earn money in the US in 2016, but as an employee all the Italian taxes are taken from my monthly check as soon as I get it. I understand we can't have a financial consultation here, but I don't think I'll have to declare money I have already paid taxes for in Italy... in the States. Riiiiight?

The US will likely require you to show any income that happened in a foreign country during a calendar year, even if it is prior to you earning any money in the U.S.

Even if you are not required to pay taxes on that income in the US (which in your case is the likely scenario) Uncle Sam still usually requires declaration of the income and the taxes paid on it.

 

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
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Reply #78 on: August 28, 2016, 07:47:01 PM

Colorado is a good choice for you if you enjoy hippy type weirdness. Their cup runneth over.

Manitou Springs is ground zero for that too. Just outside Colorado Springs. Madder than a bag of spiders.

Just get used to evading questions about which church you go to.

Also the US generally has worse phone and internet than pretty much anywhere in Europe. My FiL in the centre of Colo. Springs, can't get anything faster than 10mb and it drops all the fucking time. Meanwhile here in Slovakia, I can't have the good internet because they can't put fibre in the historic centre so I have to make do with 75mb cable.

Unless he ditches Vail and moves to Longmont.  It's only 30 minutes to the mountains and they just drilled the conduit for fiber in front of the house last week.  Should have that cheap 1 GB City fiber by the end of the year. 
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Reply #79 on: August 29, 2016, 08:30:39 AM

I shouldn't have incomes in two countries in the first year though. I mean, of course I earned money in Italy in 2016 and I am gonna earn money in the US in 2016, but as an employee all the Italian taxes are taken from my monthly check as soon as I get it. I understand we can't have a financial consultation here, but I don't think I'll have to declare money I have already paid taxes for in Italy... in the States. Riiiiight?

No, there's a double tax treaty in place. You might have to invoke it though and that may include some additional paperwork. IRS official documentation

Freedom is the raid target. -tazelbain
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Reply #80 on: August 29, 2016, 10:41:23 AM

Unless he ditches Vail and moves to Longmont.  It's only 30 minutes to the mountains and they just drilled the conduit for fiber in front of the house last week.  Should have that cheap 1 GB City fiber by the end of the year. 

Really? That's cool, didn't know Longmont was doing that. Too bad Longmont is ghetto compared to Vail.  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

- Viin
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Reply #81 on: August 29, 2016, 11:00:14 AM

Isn't pretty much everywhere except Aspen "ghetto" compared to Vail these days though?

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
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Reply #82 on: August 29, 2016, 11:09:42 AM

Telluride, Steamboat Springs, etc etc. But even Denver and Boulder, Golden, etc are less ghetto than Longmont. Though I will say, Longmont has gotten a lot nicer (in areas) than it was 15 years ago.

- Viin
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Reply #83 on: August 31, 2016, 03:58:05 PM

I shouldn't have incomes in two countries in the first year though. I mean, of course I earned money in Italy in 2016 and I am gonna earn money in the US in 2016, but as an employee all the Italian taxes are taken from my monthly check as soon as I get it. I understand we can't have a financial consultation here, but I don't think I'll have to declare money I have already paid taxes for in Italy... in the States. Riiiiight?

It's complicated when you make income in two countries. I'll leave it at that. There's less complication AFTER the first year, but I think it's in your best interest to sort out 2016 correctly with a professional if you can afford one.

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Reply #84 on: August 31, 2016, 05:23:46 PM

Most non-US folks do not have the foggiest idea of how overreaching the IRS is in everything. For the first year, you will probably not have to pay taxes on foreign income, but you sure as shit have to tell Uncle Sam about it cuz terrismz and swiss bankers and stuff. Trust me on this one, do not fuck about with it.

I should get back to nature, too.  You know, like going to a shop for groceries instead of the computer.  Maybe a condo in the woods that doesn't even have a health club or restaurant attached.  Buy a car with only two cup holders or something.

-Signe

I LIKE being bounced around by Tonkors. - Lantyssa

"let go of my dick you mother fucker!"  - Jimbo
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Reply #85 on: August 31, 2016, 11:31:23 PM

Holy crap guys, you're going to scare him away!

 ACK!

But Falconeer I do agree that at least for the first year hiring a professional is wise, but I just wouldn't feel the need to rush it. You'll get your W-2s and whatnot in January, and from there you have nearly three months to hire a guy and get it all taken care of. And I guess you are aware that there will be a withholding from your wages (earned in the States) that is  calculated to be a little more than what you owe, so you'll likely even get a refund.

Of course, this is complicated by monies overseas, and things get even more complicated if you are self employed and/or buy and sell quantities of properties and stocks -- none of which applies to you except the overseas money part. So relax and enjoy the mountain air and keep all of your receipts and pay stubs.

Just in case.
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Reply #86 on: September 01, 2016, 07:24:59 AM

Whether your withholding is slightly more than what you owe or not will depend on how you fill out your W4 form.  I read the instructions but have no idea if it is correct, and in the past I just adjusted it based on what happened last year.

On the other hand, I'm not really in favor of the gubmint holding my cash all year and then returning it (but not interest) to me so my approach may not be great.

If there is a third hand, it would be the one revealing that today I just use a CPA for everything because fuck that shit.

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Reply #87 on: September 01, 2016, 11:01:22 AM

Being self-employed makes it much harder in the US, and you will owe money at the end of the year. Even if not, overseas earned money makes it much harder in the US. I'll echo the 'hire a CPA' for the the first year. Don't just get a 'tax preparer' or 'bookkeeper' unless you have someone with direct knowledge of them.

Getting a wire transfer post-9/11 from Bank Al-Jazira led to years of IRS/Homland Security fun.
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Reply #88 on: September 01, 2016, 11:52:47 AM



If there is a third hand, it would be the one revealing that today I just use a CPA for everything because fuck that shit.

My wife and I both own our own respective businesses, she as a single owner me as half stockholder in a private corporate interest that hires me as an employee, so hell yeah we use a CPA! Tax time is still a nightmare, even so. And it doesn't help that over the past fifteen years or so we've used three different accounting firms, each of which has resulted in a completely different set of shelters and responsibilities, and one ended up costing us big time in penalties that took years to clear up.

Sometimes I look back at the good old days of single wage earner, no dependents or other income, with wistful nostalgia. Form 1040EZ baby, done in fifteen minutes!
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Reply #89 on: December 01, 2017, 08:51:29 PM

I have been thinking about making this post for a while. Not that you all care, but I am still here (as in "f13") 11 years after I joined and this place feels like the dysfunctional family I am happy to be away from but glad to know it's there. When I joined, in 2006, I had no plans, nor any chance, to ever live in the USA. Now, December 2017, I've been a "Resident alien" for 14 months and while there so much I dislike about this country, I have to admit: I have never been happier. I am and I have been extremely lucky since I left Italy, and I feel like sharing what it has all been since I moved to Colorado. 


LONG VERSION:

- I moved to the US in October 2016. I stayed a month in Florida then me and my partner moved to Colorado where she already had a seasonal job as a massage therapist.

- All I had at the time was about 5000$ nmy pocket, the dream of becoming an OTR truck driver, and the promise of a job as a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant in Vail. Me and the owner, met through Craigslist, agreed on that via email a few months before I left Italy.

- We found a room in a two-bedrooms in Vail for 1200$/month. The roommate was a 52 year old ski instructor. Chill guy, although slightly obsessed with younger Asian women.

- I missed my first day at the Mexican restaurant because they forgot to call me. So they wrote me an email complaining about it but at the same time apologising for not calling me in. As a result, they raised my wage from 12 to 12.50 an hour. True story.

- I couldn't keep washing dishes though as it turned out my lower back hated me standing up and leaning forward for hours. I was thinking of quitting but couldn't afford it.

- Then I found out that our landlord was a very cool guy who, on top of being a nerd the same age as mine who has read all the 40+ Battletech novels, he worked for the largest passengers transportation company in Colorado which moves people from the Vail valley to Denver Airport and back. He told me to appply.

- Despite not having an American drivers license yet, I applied and instantly got the job. Turns out in the winter they hire everyone who as a pulse.

- I still didn't have a license on the first day of training though. But my driving exam was the next day so I got an extension. Aced (?) the exam and finally joined Colorado Mountain Express.

- Had two weeks of paid training. Something unthinkable and unheard of in Italy.

- Two weeks later I had my qualifying run. That is your first day driving up and down the mountain and providing guest service while a supervisor overlooks everything you do. It was the worst snowstorm in months. This is what my first day on the job looked like. For 12 hours.

- I passed and became a driver. Not a truck driver, a van driver, but still a driver. Pay was 10$ per hour plus tips. Most of our money comes from tips.

- 10 days later, I got into an accident. Not being used to automatic cars, I forgot you have to put them in "parking" or they keep moving ahead. That's how I smashed a gate with guests on board. While apologising to the guests, I hit a granite column partially hidden by snow. Those guests gave me a 40$ tip and phoned in the next day to praise the amazing Italian driver and pretending the double accident never happened. Another. True. Fucking. Story.

- They did not fire me. "We are going to give you another chance". Passed the drug test, I was back on icey hell of Interstate 70.

- That's when I started making Youtube videos (in Italian) It was meant as a way to mock another Italian guy I hate and it was meant for friends and family. But the Italian guy who I was mocking didn't realize he was being mocked and sent viewers my way. I kept telling my viewers that I hated them and that they were stupid, but being Italian they didn't mind and kept coming (1300 subscribers at the moment, but the numbers are going down). Anyway, the videos are not monetized as I refuse to monetize. I also use copyrighted material so even more reasons not to monetize. I love not monetizing. Once a commie, always a commie.

- We bought a car. After three months of walking 10 minutes to the bus, waiting 10 minutes for the bus, riding the bus for 40 minutes, then waiting ten minutes to work, twice a day, at 4° Fahrenheit and at dawn or in the middle of the night, we decided to buy a Honda Element. 140.000 miles, 7000$. Expensive but what we ere looking for. Perfect to put a mattress in it and sleep anywhere. Not a problem so far. We love it.

- Then a winter passed. At some point I had another accident but this time it wasn't my fault and the on-board camera proved that. After reviewing the film the company praised me for how I managed the whole situation. By the end of the season I had made what by my very simple standards is a lot of money. Working an average of 12 hours a day with peaks of 16 and never less than 10. I also realized I loved the job. For the first time in 42 years I was working a job I absolutely loved.

- Finally spring arrived, and as a seasonal worker I got kicked out for almost two months even though they seemed eager to re-hire me for the summer season. In spite of my accidents, my weird accent that no one could recognize as Italian, my messy hair and unkempt beard, my personal ratings were impressively high.

- That also meant I wasn't a seasonal anymore but a "full time year round", which qualified me and the partner for company-sponsored health insurance.

- So I went to Italy to see family for a month and came back for the Summer. I missed them. I miss them. Moving them up here is the next big plan.

- So me and the partner moved to a new place. Still a two bedrooms, but this time we called the shots on the roommates and got a much better fit. The apartment itself was a beauty: literally on the Eagle river, in its own little canyon. Another life long dream crowned.

- We got a dog because, apparently, of course. I wanted a cat. But of all the possible dogs that could ever "happen" to me I feel like I've got the best one.

- Summer was very slow. Which meant way less money (although we made more than enough in the winter to go through the slow summer) but also a lot of free time to spend in this gorgeous place. Summer also meant working more private services like filthy rich people's weddings and stuff like the Charlie Rose (!?) super double secret Aspen dinner(s). I managed to drive around a few celebrities which, as you can expect, don't often tip that well.

- That's also the summer when the third season of Twin Peaks came out. Perfection.

- As summer was about to end a few positions for Lead Driver (the trainers, and those who qualify the noobs) opened up. I didn't think I had the slightest chance having been with the company for just 10 months and with two accident on my resume. Not to mention that 36 people, all more experienced than me, applied for less than 10 positions.

- While waiting for a call about the job, I enjoyed my month off (did I mention we have TWO -unpaid- months off every year?) by driving. First my son came to visit and we went up and down Colorado and deep into the Rocky Mountain National Park where we stumbled on the de facto Governor of Colorado.

- After that I took the Element on its biggest road test and and drove all the way from Vail to Houston and back (in Italian). Almost 3000 miles, slept in the car bed-with-wheels, loved every second. Except the fucking Texas heat in October. Met a lot of friends along the way and finally hugged people I've been talking to since 2008 but never met in person yet. In an Austin bookstore, I bought Armada by Ernest Cline which costed me a lot of respect-points with one of our finest f13 members. To make up for that I paid for lunch. HEH.

- I got the job. Behold the meteoric rise of the fastest to ever become Lead Driver in the history of Colorado!

- All of a sudden me and my thick accent were training Americans from all over the country, people ranging from 21 to 70 year old, not to mention the returning seasonal drivers, some of which applied for my same job and hated me for somehow mysteriously jumping ahead.

- The pay was not really much better as a Lead Driver, but the additional duties made things more colourful and eventually pave the way to higher positions.

- Then Halloween came, and I ignored it. And then Thanksgiving, which followed the same fate. But snow was very late that season so instead of being out there busting my ass on a van I stayed home more than I planned and bought about 18 games, mostly Visual Novels, on the Steam Autumn Sale. On top, of course, of the New Mexico expansion for "American Truck Simulator".


And this is where I am now. On a bed, typing on my "GAMING LAPTOP" (  awesome, for real ), waiting for the 16 hours shifts to come back while I have so much free time that I can actually stop and think about all that happened in slightly more than a year.
I think I have been so incredibly lucky. Granted, I haven't won a lottery, I haven't discovered unobtanium, I haven't found a cure for cancer nor I stopped the DAPL. Yet, for the first time in my life I am serene, I don't feel plagued and pursued by money issues, I don't hate my job, and I love all the things that I see when I get out of the apartment in the morning. My friends like to tell me that this is what I deserved, that I worked hard to get here, that it's what I built in those previous messy years. But I don't think so. Sure, I worked to know myself well enough to be able to tell what I wanted and what I did not want, but it would be ridiculous to claim that that is all we need to find tranquility, serenity. I have been lucky in so many tiny little ways that I made a bullet-point list of it. So much could have gone differently and without any chance for me to change it. Instead, I rolled a couple of natural 20s here and there and as of now, 43 years old, things look amazing. It could have been Finland, it could have been Scotland. It's the USA. I am cool with that.

By the way, thank you all. You may not know why, but if I am here it is also thanks to you all. f13.


SHORT VERSION (in English):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z67G1jEFxh8

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Reply #90 on: December 01, 2017, 09:02:34 PM

TIL
 

Falc has a kid

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Reply #91 on: December 01, 2017, 09:40:37 PM

That's great to read, Falc. We haven't had many tales of people finding serenity in this corner of the world in the last year, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer internet stranger. Cheers!
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Reply #92 on: December 01, 2017, 10:50:37 PM

Glad you are enjoying CO and the new job!

- Viin
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Reply #93 on: December 01, 2017, 11:06:33 PM

You also are fully bilingual and write very well in English.  Better than most Americans probably.  That’s maybe another monetizing skill.  Good luck and great write up.
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Reply #94 on: December 02, 2017, 04:21:39 AM

Good for you man. Glad life is treating you well. Keep on keepin on.

Paelos: Somebody find that post where I declared Seattle dead, because those fuckers are NFL cockroaches in the NFC.
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Reply #95 on: December 02, 2017, 06:04:54 AM

That's an amazing story, glad to hear it's worked out.
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Reply #96 on: December 02, 2017, 08:49:59 AM

Glad things are working out for you.

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Reply #97 on: December 02, 2017, 10:00:53 AM

Great update and congrats on finding harmony in life. Sounds like things are going great, so congrats!

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Reply #98 on: December 02, 2017, 10:12:47 AM

I take CME all the time when I'm going from DIA to my parent's place in Edwards. I'll ask for the Italian guy next time!  DRILLING AND MANLINESS

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Reply #99 on: December 02, 2017, 10:14:01 AM

I'm happy that you finally found the place you love!  Good luck to you, your partner and the new pooch.  You still have room for cats!  Good place to live, too.  I love Colorado and these days it must be even better.  Pot, skiing and delicious cantaloupe... don't really need too much more than that.   Heart

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Reply #100 on: December 02, 2017, 11:48:41 AM

Thank you all for the warm responses. And Paelos, I can't believe your family is here! Edwards is a little west of Vail but it's where our office is and where I start and finish my shift every day. This valley is so small that I am pretty sure I've met your parents before. I'm also pretty sure one of these days I am gonna be your driver to or from DIA.

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Reply #101 on: December 02, 2017, 12:59:47 PM

What a great story Falc. This is an inspirational story to hear for any 40 something wondering about reinventing themselves. If you can hop on a plane with $5k in your wallet and come out the other end happy -and- internet famous  awesome, for real, there's no excuse for any of us not to do the things needed to be happier in our own lives.

I should get back to nature, too.  You know, like going to a shop for groceries instead of the computer.  Maybe a condo in the woods that doesn't even have a health club or restaurant attached.  Buy a car with only two cup holders or something.

-Signe

I LIKE being bounced around by Tonkors. - Lantyssa

"let go of my dick you mother fucker!"  - Jimbo
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Reply #102 on: December 02, 2017, 01:38:25 PM

This is a very nice thing to read. Thanks for writing it and glad that you're having a good turn in life!
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Reply #103 on: December 02, 2017, 02:19:15 PM

Thanks for the story Falc.  I'm so happy to hear that you're enjoying life.  You're an inspiration!

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
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Reply #104 on: December 02, 2017, 04:27:04 PM

Great to hear things are going so well for you Falc.

Expect poison from the standing water.
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