Monthly Archives: February 2016

Back To School

The schools in Panama started back today. If you were out at the malls, over the weekend, ,you saw a lot of activity. There will be more this week too as final purchases are made.

New school uniforms, books and supplies. And all prices are going up. Lots of families feel school related stress this time of year.

Many churches have programs to help students with expenses. Lilliam and I have contributed to our church’s student support for many years.

If you want to be a part of assisting students in need, you might check with your local church and see if they have a similar program.

Say NO! to drugs.
Say YES! to drugs.
It really doesn’t matter what you tell drugs because if you’re talking to drugs, you’re taking them.

Stop blaming your parents.
If you’re over 32.
Blame your spouse.

If I say, “Don’t worry, I’m on it,” there’s a 98% chance I’m referring to my couch.

Solved – But Not Without An Enormous Struggle

After working on this problem for three weeks, the problem is solved.

What I thought to be a problem with a POL letter that was not responded to, turns out to be quite different. However, the difficulty in getting payments available was unbelievably difficult.

From the previous post, it was evident that the individual had not registered as being a resident in Panama.

After verifying that the February payment had indeed been deposited in the checking account, the problem moved to being a bank problem. While the Embassy can communicate directly with another government agency, the bank is a private institution and has different regulations.

Bottom line is, for one reason or another, the bank card was locked. The exact cause is unknown.

The only one that the bank wanted to talk to was the owner of the account. Since the individual had had a stoke, voice communications was impossible. The Embassy offered for me to host a SKYPE conference in which the bank could varying the individual was indeed the account owner.

The bank was unable to do have a SKYPE conference. Through continued efforts by the Embassy, it was determined what the problem was and the card was reset.

Following that, I was called and told that the card still didn’t work. Panic was close to setting in because the bank’s only option was to send a new card to the address on file.

Yesterday, I received a call saying that the the individual was at Supermarket Rey and wanted me to come see the problem with the card.

I went and was told the card didn’t work. I said to try it again and I wanted to watch the process. When the individual went to insert the card, the card was inserted backwards. I took the card out and inserted it the correct way. The code was entered by the individual and all selections were made and the money was dispensed.

What a relief. OK. What lessons are to be learned.

Problems with receiving SS deposits are not always a problem with the SSA..
Dealing with a US bank is virtually impossible if the account owner has had a stroke.
Not updating your address with SSA and Banks can be problems in the event of health problems.
Living in Panama greatly increases the time to solve simple problems.

What to do if a woman says…
I’m upset: Console her.
I’m mad: Buy her chocolate.
I’m furious: Buy her wine.
I’m fine: Flee the country.

If it’s “easier said than done” then I’d rather we just keep talking about it.

Koki (my dog) can predict when an earthquake is going to happen. But television knock on the door versus actual knock on the door baffles her every time.

Filing Time

I have completed my taxes. As it turns out it was not Cable Onda that was preventing me from accessing the TaxAct website. It was TaxAct.

I went to Cable Onda and they were kind enough to test and said they could not access it in Panama City. Since I could not access it from Claro, I felt it was a more universal problem.

I finally received the following response from TaxAct.

Dear TaxAct® Customer,
TaxAct takes the security of our customers and their information very seriously. We have industry-standard security protocols in place and are taking additional measures this tax season to further protect our customers.
Accepting returns originating from US-based computers is one example of the extra steps we are taking to protect the security and data integrity of our customers. We are truly sorry that this has impacted you.


Thank you for allowing me to help you today.  Please reply back if I can assist further or if you have any additional questions.
You’ll receive a brief email survey for you to provide your feedback of today’s communications.  We appreciate you completing the short questionnaire to help us ensure the best service to our customers.

Steve M.
TaxAct® Support

I had to use a VPN to complete my taxes and consider TaxAct’s response a little foolish. However in checking, they were not the only tax software not allowing filing from Panama.

Using VPN software I was able to file my Federal return and will mail my state return today.

Living in Panama always keeps you on your toes, if not from challenges from the Panama government, then from the U.S. Government. If you have tried to open a Panama Banking account you probably know what I mean.

I live somewhere between playing my cards right & not playing with a full deck.