Sunday Afternoon 4/22/2018

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It’s going to take a long, long time for Kaua’i to recover from last week’s floods, especially the towns from Hanalei to the west. The slideshow above is a small look at the destruction caused by the record rains and flooding (Hanalei received 28 inches of rain in 24 hours). The flood’s effects won’t stay localized to the North Shore either because tourism, the main industry on the island, will be affected all over. Visitors come to Kaua’i to experience nature and the local environment versus staying at a resort the entire time, and road repairs, trail maintenance and other clean-up will be a long process.  Although other areas on the island fared better than the north shore, all of Kaua’i was affected by the storm. The Coconut Marketplace (where the man is on his paddleboard) is just around a couple of miles away from us in Kapaa, and areas on the south shore were flooded as well and had to be evacuated.

And yes, that’s a buffalo on the beach! Buffalo are raised on a ranch, near Hanalei and flood waters drove all 85 of them off the ranch with three making it all the way down to the beach. Almost all the buffalo have been rounded up taken back to the ranch, but it was something to see video of them running along the beach or pictures of them standing in the middle of town.

Food donations have been pouring in from all over the island, and soup kitchens have been set up to feed residents who have lost their homes or don’t have power. Pet food has also been donated.

The island is receiving assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers, but most everything that’s being done has come from state and local residents pitching in. Over $20 million has been donated for relief and rebuilding (Google and Facebook each donated $1 million). Many families on the island lost everything. We learned this past Friday that our next door neighbor’s sister’s house in Hanalei was destroyed, and it sat on pilings seven feet off the ground!

Toys for our granddaughter. The Chatter Telephone is an American classic!

Our son and family arrive this week, and I am so excited I can hardly stand it! I’m especially looking forward to getting to spend time with the grandkids. Our granddaughter (“the Destroyer”) was just five months old the last time we saw her, but now is walking and talking. Our grandson has gotten taller and lost several teeth since we were in Japan last year. I’ve promised our grandson that I will go down both slides at the pool with him, and Brett and I are planning to take him out one day for a belated birthday excursion, including hot dogs at Puka Dog, a stop at Lappert’s Ice Cream, and finishing the outing with a visit to the toy section at either Walmart or Kmart so he can pick out something he wants (the last time we did the choosing we got him something he already had). We’ve already gotten a couple of toys for our granddaughter that she can play with here, as well as some Kona coffee for our daughter-in-law, flour tortillas and cheese for our grandson (he loves quesadillas), and plenty of Diet Coke for our son. In spite of the ongoing clean-up, I think there will still be plenty for them to do while they’re here, although some plans are going to have to be adjusted. Fingers are crossed that the weather improves while they are here.

Finally, last week I gave myself a goal of commenting on someone’s blog at least once a week. I have tried to comment not once, but twice this week, on two different blogs, and my comment vanished each time when I hit the publish button! Sigh. Hopefully it’s just a temporary glitch with Blogger.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished Goodbye Things on Friday, and give it one thumb up. Lots of points the author makes are things we’re already doing or have done, but the book got me to think more deeply about what we’ll put into storage while we travel, and what we’ll keep for when we eventually settle down again (not much). I downloaded Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng, from the library yesterday. I’ve been waiting for it for a long, long time, and am excited to get started.
  • Listening to: The birds are back! Lots of birdsong outside today – it’s been missing for the past couple of weeks due to the miserable weather. But, it’s not raining and there’s blue sky peeking out between the clouds. The next door neighbors also have a large (noisy) humidifier running – the hot water gasket under their kitchen sink failed the other night and almost the whole house was flooded so they’re drying it out. Inside, YaYu is preparing her traditional bowl of Sunday ramen (with added vegetables, sliced Chinese barbecued pork and LOTS of hot sauce) and Brett is listening to Youtube videos. The laundry awaits.
  • Watching: Brett and I greatly enjoyed Case Histories, and wish more episodes had been available through Prime (there are more, but you have to pay to see them). Last night we watched one of my all-time favorite movies, Kung Fu Hustle. Tonight we’ll go back to watching the Ruth Rendell Mysteries, which are OK but not the best mystery show we’ve ever watched.

    Chocolate Overload (otherwise known as Brett’s birthday cake)
  • Cooking/baking: Dinner tonight is Chinese stir-fried tomatoes and eggs again, because we found big, ripe tomatoes at the farmers’ market this past week, and it’s a dish that makes all of us happy. I baked Brett a triple-chocolate bundt cake with chocolate glaze for his birthday yesterday, so he and YaYu are set with sweets for a while. On the dinner menu this week will be meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy (one of our son’s favorite meals, and difficult to make in Japan); noodles with pork sauce; slow cooker chicken adobo with bok choy; and stuffed peppers. We don’t have a schedule for getting together with our son and family for meals, but I think I’ve got all the bases covered.

    With the garage freezer shut down, everything from the Big Shop had to fit into the house freezer. I don’t think there’s room in it right now for a piece of paper!
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I worked some more on my travel notebook, and I am caught up for now. I was thrilled this past week to find an amazing non-stop fare from Boston to Portland in early December and booked that leg of our journey in extra-comfort seats (flight is 6 1/2 hours). WenYu is going to come stay with us in Boston for the night we’re there, and then see us off at the airport the next day. I also found a sweet, affordable apartment in Sydney, located fairly close to the Botanical Gardens, and not too far from the Opera House. We had not intended to reserve anything this early, but this place was too good to pass up and we knew it wouldn’t last long. Brett and I did our monthly Big Shop last Friday, probably the last “big” one before we leave. We got the last few things in the garage freezer moved into the house, and shut the outside one off. I studied French almost every day, drank lots of water, but we only got in two walks because of YaYu’s schedule and the weather. Next week isn’t going to be much better, unfortunately. Both Brett and I are very ready for YaYu’s obligations to be over!

    The living room of our Sydney apartment
  • Looking forward to next week: I can’t ask for more than having my son, beautiful daughter-in-law and grandkids here.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We learned this past week that YaYu will be one of 43 valedictorians in her class (WenYu’s class had just nine). So proud of this girl – she has maintained a 4.0+ GPA all through high school. I have been seeing our eye doctor twice a year for the past two years because I was beginning to develop cataracts, but they are no longer growing and my vision has stabilized for now, so the Dr. said I can go back to once-a-year vision checks (having to have my eyes dilated is not a good/fun thing!). Costco surprisingly had a few items that we haven’t seen for a while back in stock, including frozen cherries (one of my favorite snacks) and the big packages of ground pork! I woke up to sunshine yesterday morning – the first time in weeks – it was glorious!
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) We are changing to T-Mobile’s military plan today, which will save us $48/month and give everyone unlimited data. 2) We will also be eligible for free Netflix through T-Mobile (we didn’t qualify with our current plan), for another $14.00/month savings. 3) We ran out of quite a few things this past week, but I shopped the fridge, pantry and freezer and was able to come up with some tasty meals without having to go to the store before the Big Shop on Friday. 4) In spite of buying some extra items for our son and family, we still came in under budget on the Big Shop. 5) We put just $3.00 in the change/$1 bill jar, our leftover from the farmers’ market.
    Truckloads of pet food have been donated and dispersed.

    Volunteers set up soup kitchens to feed displaced persons and rescue workers.
  • Grateful for: The outpouring of help and aloha we’ve seen this past week has been awe inspiring and humbling: boats evacuating stranded residents and bringing in supplies; a doctor setting up clinic for those trapped by landslides; massive amounts of food donated and cooked for those who lost their homes; funds donated for farmers who lost all their crops; community or school groups volunteering their time to assist with clean-up; paniolo (cowboys) helping to round up escaped livestock (buffalo or otherwise); city and county workers putting in extra hours to clean up debris; random acts of kindness everywhere, and on and on.
  • Bonus question: Do you enjoying gardening? In a nutshell, no. I wish I did and am somewhat envious of those who do garden and enjoy it, but any sort of yard work or planting or such just does nothing for me. I blame my father – he made gardening a chore when I was young, and I developed a strong aversion to it. While Dad was planting, watering, trimming, harvesting and doing all those things that would have been fun, my siblings and I were stuck with weeding and hoeing, or things like cleaning and sorting wood chips – necessary but backbreaking, miserable and mundane tasks that destroyed my desire to have a garden. Brett and I have set up and maintained a garden in the past, but gardening has just never been my favorite thing to do. I am thrilled that we have someone taking care of the yard here, and I would be happy to live in a condo with nothing more than a deck or lanai and a few plants in pots. I used to have a green thumb when it came to houseplants, but currently don’t have any (because of bugs).

That’s all for this week from Casa Aloha. How was your week? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you?

(I don’t have any way to credit the flood-related photos above – they’ve just shown up in various feeds on Facebook, taken by different people around the island.)


8 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 4/22/2018

  1. How awful. I remember visiting some of the places in the slideshow and am sad to see such devastation. It is nice to see how everyone is pitching in and helping out though. Hopefully things will return to normal in the not too distant future, but it will take time.

    Congrats to YaYu! Enjoy the grandchildren!

    That birthday cake looks delicious. I’m a chocoholic!

    I have an unrelated question to ask…I like the WordPress theme you use. Could you let me know which one it is? So many of them truncate the posts and I’m looking for one that shows the full post. Thanks!


    1. The storm and flooding really was awful – the pictures I put up only show a very small part of what was going on. It was the result of a very unusual set of (bad) circumstances all coming together. But, I read today that while the north shore recovers, this might be a good time for the island to reflect on how they want to move forward. There has been such an emphasis on tourism and the tax dollars they bring in, but maybe it’s been too much of a good thing. It’s really been something though to see the island pull together and help each other – as one friend said, “This is a society. This is how a real society operates.”

      The theme I’m using is Sera. It’s one of the free ones. I upgraded to have my own domain, but I’m still too cheap to pay for a theme.


      1. When I was there in 2016, I was thinking the same thing about the infrastructure. It’s such a small island and some of the roads are not meant for that volume of traffic, but if they start building highways, etc. it will really take away from the charm and ‘untouched’ feel Kauai has that the other Hawaiian Islands I’ve been to don’t have. I’ve been to Oahu, Maui and the Big Island and Kauai was the only one where I felt like I was on an undiscovered island most of the time, although the Big Island does have a similar feel in some areas, but it’s not as lush as Kauai.

        Thanks for the theme. I am working on a blog for a friend who has a martial arts business. He might want to sell items in the future so I think he’ll have to upgrade to his own domain at some point, but I agree about paying for a theme. There are so many nice free ones.


  2. The flooding looks awful. I’m so glad so many are stepping up to help.

    YaYu continues to shine. I can see why you are so proud of her. And the grandkids visiting is always so exciting. Hope you have a really lovely visit. (Love the Chatter Phone…what a classic indeed.)

    I loved Little Fires and I’ve gotten my DH hooked on Six Feet Under…he’s never seen it. 🙂


    1. It’s going to take a very long time for the north shore to recover. Hanalei is somewhat back to normal, except very few are visiting so businesses continue to suffer. As I said above though, maybe there were too many tourists – one store owner in Hanalei said he used to count 7,000 cars a day going by, which seems too much for the infrastructure on the north shore to bear with just a two-lane highway (and not all that well maintained) running through. I know when we were last up there it seemed there were 10 tourists for every resident.

      I am so excited about our sons visit, and getting to spend time with the grandkids. I also got the best daughter-in-law of them all. All of our kids except YaYu had the Chatter Phone (YaYu was five so well out of the Chatter Phone stage) so I was happy to see it still is around and hope my granddaughter enjoys it. I know our grandson is probably going to want some sort of Lego set for his birthday, but we have no idea any more of what he has and choices on the island are limited. He’s also quite the skateboarder these days, so we maybe can go in that direction.

      Each time I pick up Little Fires I have to force myself put it down to do things I’m supposed to do, like sleep. It’s that good – I can see already why it was such a runaway best seller. Ng is an amazing writer. Love, love, love Six Feet Under, and I’m ready to watch it again. The casting for the show was brilliant.


      1. Wow…that’s an insane amount of traffic. But having driven those two lane roads in a long line of traffic, I can see it. As someone else commented, Kauai is the most ‘unspoiled’ island we visited, and it must be hard for the locals to see it so overrun. And yet, money. Ack. It’s a Hobson’s Choice.

        Forgot to say that our gardens are huge and I enjoy them, but am putting in more and more perennials to cut down on the labor (I hope). And I can feel that aging is going to make me less eager to do that level of work. This is a mulching year and I’m pooped just thinking about it.


  3. Hi Laura, I am a new reader. I just discovered your blog today. I am so sad to see flood devastation in Kauai. We visited Kauai last Aug 2107 and took a boat from Hanalei bay to see Na Pali coast. We rented a condo in Princeville. Did a lot of hiking and exploring. You are so lucky to be living there.


    1. Thank you for reading, and thanks too for commenting. We do feel very blessed to live here – moving here was one of the best decisions we ever made.

      Hanalei has mostly recovered, although the bay is still kind of a mess – the storm shifted lots of the sand around, and the Hanalei river cut itself a new channel down by the pier. The pier is no longer over water! The storm created a new sandbar under it and so the pier sits high and dry now – its sad. But, Hanalei town has recovered and is open for business again. No one knows how long it’s going to take to open the highway out to the west, and Ke’e Beach and the Kalalau Trail are closed indefinitely. Brett and I were looking forward to visiting the Lumahai Gardens before we left, but that’s probably not going to happen now, which is also sad.


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