I am having the BEST time with our son and family! We’ve already had our grandson over for a couple of sleepovers, and I spent all day last Thursday with him in the pool at their resort (I think I went down the slides around 20 times – fun!). Our granddaughter recognizes us now, and points us out to her mom and dad (at 18 months she’s still not quite ready yet to let us hold her though we’re getting close). I went down to Poipu for a day at the beach with them yesterday (the beaches here on the east side remain closed due to the lingering brown water advisory from the floods) and then they all came over for dinner last night, and were back for a big breakfast this morning. We’ve also all gone out to breakfast at the Kountry Kitchen, which is always fun. The pool at their resort is fabulous though – I knew they’d have trouble getting our grandson out once he got in, and our granddaughter loves the kiddie pool there too.
I’ve had no plans to book a place in Portland for next summer until after the first of the year, but this past week I was checking at what was available in our price range and discovered there wasn’t much – only five places! Portland is a very expensive city these days. I began to have visions of having to move from place to place all summer because all I would be able to find later were rentals for a week or so at a time. Or, we’d have to rent a car because the only place available would be in an un-walkable neighborhood or far away from public transportation, and our costs for the summer would skyrocket. So, I started down the list and wrote to each owner of the five possibilities, telling them about us, and asking when was the earliest they would accept a reservation. Our first choice turned out to no longer be a rental, and our second choice wasn’t available during the summers. But, the owner of our third choice said he’d be willing to book us now if we wanted, so I went ahead and did that and we are now set for next summer! The house is a lovely two-bedroom condo that’s within our budget, and located in one of the prettiest areas in Portland, in a great neighborhood with convenient public transportation.
This past week our landlord here brought three potential renters through the house(on the same day, so not as disruptive as it could have been) – the first was the original Mr. Potential Renter, the one who wants central air; the second was a couple with one child; and the third was a single professional woman. All three loved the house and the second couple was willing to write a deposit check on the spot, but we learned from the third woman that he is asking for $500 – $500!!! – more a month than what we are currently paying! Unbelievable. That’s also $300 more per month that what was published in the ad, but he blamed that error on his wife. We’ve loved living in this house, and we’ve had a great relationship with the landlord, but yesterday made me glad that we’re moving on. Like a lot of landlords on the island he’s charging that much because that’s what the market will bear right now, but I also feel it’s a bit greedy.
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I’m still reading Little Fires Everywhere, and I love it, but didn’t make much progress this week as I usually fell asleep after the first few pages. My insomnia is over, but it’s like I’m now catching up on all the sleep I missed.
- Listening to: It’s a bit overcast (again) this morning, but it’s not raining so lots of people are out working in their yards, and the roosters have been on a tear too. Everyone is over here now – M & M came for breakfast this morning – so there’s lots of chatter going on. Our grandson spent the night last night, but right now he and YaYu are playing a game on the Wii. We just got the laundry started too, so it’s a happy, busy, noisy morning here!
- Watching: Brett and I really haven’t watched anything this week – we’ve been so busy and/or tired every evening. We did watch the movie Coco again with our grandson – it was just as enjoyable the second time as the first.
- Cooking/baking: We’re having fried rice with Chinese barbecue pork, eggs and vegetables for dinner tonight – I’ll do all the prep but YaYu will fry it up. No baking will necessary for a while – our D-I-L brought us loads of treats from Japan, including several matcha-flavored ones for me, which I am slowly enjoying. I’ve put slow cooker kalua pork (we’re going to make a Hawaiian-style meal for our son and family); pulled pork tacos; grilled Korean-style chicken; and grilled chicken & apple sausages with rice on the menu this week, but we may go out to dinner with our son, or eat over at their place one evening, so nothing is set in stone. YaYu’s track season is finally over, so she and Brett will be home for dinner every night again – yeah!.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I didn’t really accomplished much of anything special this last week – I’ve just mostly been enjoying my time with the family. I have spent some time working on our travel budget, figuring out how much we’ll have each day to spend for meals and transportation, but there’s still work to do with that because every month is different with some having more travel than others, or one area being more expensive than others. I drank lots of water every day this past week, and studied French almost every day, but we didn’t even get to take one walk because of the weather, track meets, and family. Next week should be better though with track season over. I did get that whole day in the pool though (and slept like a log that night)!
- Looking forward to next week: Just spending more time with my family! I’m going on a tubing tour with my son and grandson tomorrow, floating through the old sugar cane and pineapple plantation irrigation channels. It’s been on my bucket list so I’m looking forward to going.
- Thinking of good things that happened: I spent a wonderful, sunny afternoon at the beach yesterday with my son and family, and got to swim in the ocean for the first time this year. We headed south to Poipu, where the water was clean and the clouds were few – it was glorious! Finding a great long-term rental in Portland for next summer and being able to book now was a very good thing, and a big relief. I loved being able to swim and play in the pool with our grandson the other day – he is a lot of fun (and a total bundle of energy), and I can’t wait to do it again this week. I also got our hotel room reserved for Hong Kong, and most of our New Zealand lodgings booked. The only lodgings left to set up now are in Perth, Australia, and Napier, New Zealand, but the place we want to stay there isn’t accepting bookings yet for our dates.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: Other than paying our regular bills (water and gas), we had a no-spend week! We put $5.15 into the change/$1 bill jar, change back from paying our water and gas bills.
- Reporting gains and losses: I didn’t lose any weight again this past month, remarkable since we got in so few walks, so my total weight loss since last year still stands at 32 pounds. Our son and D-I-L said they could see a difference in both Brett and my appearance, that we both look “slim and fit!” We paid $1570 on our credit card balance this month, but there’s still a bit more to go.
- Grateful for: I take the Internet for granted most of the time. Sometimes when I need to look up something I’ll stop for a moment and wonder how we ever managed before it came along, but most of the time I never give it a thought unless we’re knocked offline for some reason and I start to panic a bit because I’m not connected. I have been extra thankful recently for the ability to look things up on the Internet, make reservations, compare locations and prices and so forth. It’s an amazing tool and is helping us not only save but also get the most for our money on our upcoming Big Adventure.
- Bonus question: Do you eat junk food? I’ve thankfully never been all that into junk foods, except for Cheetos, which I adore. They’re one of those foods I can start eating and lose track of time and suddenly, the bag is empty and I’m still craving more. I’ll eat potato chips, popcorn, and some other savory snacks occasionally, but they don’t call to me. Cheetos (the fried ones) on the other hand are on a whole different level, but I know better and just don’t buy them even though I am often very tempted. I also really, really like caramel corn, and G. H. Cretor’s “Chicago Mix” of cheese and caramel popcorn is an especially dangerous snack for me. I guess Diet Coke counts as junk food too – I usually have one a day, but can stop with that, and I’ve gone long stretches without drinking it. But otherwise I have no problem avoiding junk food.
That’s a wrap for this week from Casa Aloha. This coming week is going to be a busy one for us, but I have a couple of posts ready to go, so things here should keep rolling along. How was your week? What are you reading? What good things happened for you?