I Could Get Used To This

Coffee on the lanai every morning . . .

Just two days in the condo and I never want to leave (well, almost).

. . . along with beautiful sunrises.

Whether w’re watching the sun rise and enjoying our morning coffee out on our lanai or sitting under an umbrella by the pool or just relaxing in our cool apartment, we feel like we’ve won the lottery. We enjoyed “living local” for the past four years, but I’ll be the first to admit that having air-conditioning is beyond fabulous. I had forgotten what it’s like to walk across a room or step out of the shower and not immediately break into a heavy sweat. Humidity has not been my friend here on Kaua’i so this is truly a special treat for me. I keep reminding myself though that going without A/C for the past four years is one of the reasons Brett and I were able to afford to stay here now and set off on our adventure next month.

The only time in my life I’m going to have a Sub-Zero fridge and Wolf range and oven. The dishwasher is so quiet we have to check to make sure it’s running!

The living room is very comfortable and inviting. All of the original art work in the house was painted by the condo’s owner.

The entire apartment is pure luxury and very comfortable, especially so in our case because of the last three miserable weeks we spent working on the house. The kitchen is equipped with very quiet appliances, and has more than adequate dishes, glassware, cookware and utensils. We have a full-size washer and dryer. All the rest of the fittings and furnishings are comfortable and top-of-the-line as well. It’s taken me a couple of nights to adjust to a different mattress, but the king-size bed is very comfortable now. I’m still marveling at how quiet everything is is overall – the apartment has been sound proofed so we don’t hear any noisy neighbors, roosters, traffic, pool noise, etc.

There’s a soaking tub for two in the bathroom and a separate shower in its own room around the corner to the right.

The view from our lanai includes a partial ocean view (we see more of the ocean from the living room). The building we look over is an air-conditioned fitness center.

After our last few weeks in our house and the disappointing end to that experience, I’m more grateful than ever that we chose to stay here for our last days on the island, and beyond thankful for the small inheritance from my mom that helped make it possible.

And of course there is the pool – even on an overcast day it’s fabulous.

I really could get used to all this. However, we have only three more weeks to enjoy it and I intend to make the most of it.

Sunday Afternoon 7/29/2018

Sunset was approaching when we finally finished cleaning and arrived at the condo.

We are out of the house!

The landlord was a no-show for the inspection this morning. We arrived at the house with Cheryl and Alan at 7:15, and waited around until 8:30. Brett texted the landlord at 7:45 and he started out with “I forgot.” Then he began listing all the other appointments he had set up and had to get to (????), that his workers were no-shows, etc. At 8:30 we messaged him that we were leaving the keys and garage door openers on the kitchen counter (we took pictures of all of us at the house, the keys on the counter, etc.) and that we would see him in small claims court. Then the excuses started, each one contradicting the one before – he kept trying out different reasons for not showing up, I guess trying to find one he thought we might accept. He said we were “panicking” and that he didn’t need us there to do the inspection (Hawai’i law would beg to differ on that), and that he would have our check tonight – he was the one panicking! We sent him our forwarding address and told him to mail our check because we were done with him and all his excuses at that point. Anyway, the house was SPOTLESS and we took TONS of photos. We’re pretty sure the landlord knows at this point that his goose is cooked, and we doubt we’ll ever see our deposit, but the Hawai’i tax department is definitely going to be getting a message from us before we leave the island. I’m normally not a vindictive person, but after all the work we put into cleaning the house, his no-show and subsequent messaging is going to end up costing him a whole lot more than our deposit.

Pound cake french toast with Nutella, fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

On a brighter note, we had a wonderful breakfast with Cheryl and Alan at the Kountry Kitchen. Alan and I had more traditional breakfasts, but because it is Cheryl’s birthday today she and Brett decided to have the completely decadent (and delicious) pound cake french toast. How they finished it I don’t know, but they both managed to clean their plates. After breakfast Brett and I did a little grocery shopping so we’re set for the next couple of weeks.

I can’t express enough how nice it is to finally be at the condo. It’s air-conditioned, and we slept like babies last night although the bed is a little soft for our liking. It’s very quiet here – we can sleep with the windows closed and not have to listen to loud neighbors, screaming roosters, fans, etc. In fact, last night was the first I’ve been able to sleep since we arrived in Kaua’i without having to wear earplugs. The condo has a garbage disposal and best of all a dishwasher, something we’ve done without for the past four years. And of course there’s the pool! Brett and I are heading down there in a short while to walk some laps in the lazy river and lay out in the sun and RELAX!

We found out this last week that YaYu has to have her wisdom teeth removed ASAP – one of had become infected. She saw the oral surgeon last Monday, but they didn’t have any open appointments until September. Then we got a call on Wednesday that there was a cancellation on August 6, so she will be going in that morning to have three wisdom teeth removed. Hopefully it will go easily and she’ll only miss one day of work. Both Meiling’s and WenYu’s wisdom teeth came in without any issues, but they of course had to endure years of braces which YaYu didn’t need, so I guess the universe decided that things needed to be evened out.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished Standard Deviation (loved it!), am still reading The Child Catchers, and just downloaded a new book by James Fallows and his wife, Deborah: Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey Into the Heart of America. In 2012 they splurged and bought a small plane and then spent five years flying around the United States, visiting small(er) towns and cities all over to try to understand the country at a more local level.
  • Listening to: Nothing – it is blissfully quiet here. Even the appliances are super quiet.
  • Watching: No one has been watching much of anything this week, although I did catch a few episodes of the new Netflix show, Sugar Rush. I’ll just say the show has potential, and I also now want to stop by Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie when we’re in Sydney. I also watched the latest episode of The Great British Baking Show on Friday. Tonight we’re going to watch Endeavour on an actual TV!
  • Cooking/baking: Although it was fun eating out for a while we are all glad to be where we can cook our own food again. I’m especially looking forward to eating more healthy foods again – restaurant meals and processed food were not my friends, and I gave up trying to avoid carbs. We’re having mabo dofu tonight (I brought our wok from the house), but I’ve put yakisoba, spaghetti with marinara and grilled Italian sausages (the resort has several grills available for guests to use), a soba salad with chicken, and noodles with pork sauce on the menu for this week. Even if YaYu is not home for dinner she said she will enjoy the leftovers.

    Lots of places in the girls’ shower for mildew to hide and grow, especially under that bottom ledge. Definitely NOT the best shower surround design for a house with no A/C in a very humid climate. The white stuff coming down from the bottom is a bleach paste I used to get rid of the mildew.

  • Happy I accomplished last week: The house was spotless when we were supposed to meet the landlord for the inspection this morning, all except for the floor being stripped and waxed, but that’s because he had told us he wanted to do it (we did thoroughly mop the floors though). The cleaning took a LOT of work, especially at the end, but we kept at it and got it done. You might think the house was filthy because of all the work we put into it, but it really wasn’t – things just get dirty here very fast. For example, I deep cleaned the girls’ bathroom nearly two weeks ago, and got rid of all the mildew that grows underneath the edge of the shower wall and other nooks and crannies. From then to now, the shower has not been used, and the windows in the bathroom and bedroom have been closed. Still, the caulking ended up covered again in mildew because of the humidity we’ve been experiencing, so I had to go in with the bleach again and get it off – ugh! Brett washed the house and cleaned all the screens last Tuesday, but our next door neighbor mowed his lawn on Wednesday and our lawn care guy came on Thursday, both of which filled the screens again with dust and dirt so Brett had to stop and wash them again. That’s the kind of stuff we found ourselves up against again and again, and along with packing and sorting, trips to the thrift shop, and the heat and crazy humidity it caused the cleaning to take longer and be more difficult than we imagined. Anyway, we also sold the last few things that needed to go last week (microwave, fan, folding table) and took more stuff to the thrift store on Friday (but we still have a couple more bags of stuff to go).
  • Looking forward to next week: Both Brett and I are so looking forward to doing nothing but sleeping in (in air-conditioned luxury), and relaxing out by the pool or swimming every day. It’s been too hot and way too humid to walk (and we’ve been too busy), but I’m going to walk several laps in the pool’s lazy river a couple of times every day.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We sold the car! Alan and Cheryl decided it was a great island car for them at a great price and they are buying it from us! Neither Brett nor I are interested in owning a car again, but I have to admit I’m going to miss our little Civic. It it was also very convenient having two cars this weekend to get us moved over to the condo (our rental car is tiny!). I met some more wonderful Kaua’i people this past week and got to talk story with them for a while when they came to pick up the things they bought. These interactions will forever be one of my favorite Kaua’i memories. There are definitely some very strange/weird people here on Kaua’i but there are also the friendliest, warmest, and kindest people I have ever met or had the privilege to interact with and get to know.

    Smoked salmon board at Sam’s Ocean View – there was enough salmon left over for our bagels next morning! We also had a grilled cheese board (brie with fig jam), crispy cauliflower, and a small but yummy pizza.

  • Thinking of frugal things we did: I used my last Southwest gift card that I had earned through Swagbucks when I purchased WenYu’s ticket to come to Portland for Christmas and saved $50. We still have to get her return flight to Boston but she doesn’t have a date yet (she wants to spend time in Oregon with her best friend and with Meiling before she goes back). We also kept to our budget while eating out this week, and enjoyed some very tasty meals.
  • Reporting gains and losses for July: We no longer have a scale so I have no idea if I’ve lost or gained weight. I’ve probably gained a few pounds though because we’ve been eating out so much and we haven’t been walking. I’m not really tracking our travel savings for the time being as we’re currently using the savings!
  • Grateful for: We thought it would be amazing if YaYu could earn a couple of thousand dollars or so this summer, but she will put more than double that amount into her savings account by the time we leave Kaua’i. Restaurant work here can be very lucrative, but YaYu is also a hustler, and has been proactive about picking up extra shifts, always willing to substitute for others when they need time off. We’re all very thankful that the restaurant manager took a chance on her (she literally had no job experience before she started) and that she’s been able to work and save so much toward her college expenses. Her scholarships covered most of her out-of-pocket costs this year, but she should have enough saved by the end of summer here to cover next year’s costs as well.

    My brown linen pants after cleaning blinds – lovely, aren’t they? The blue pants I was going to take along with me on our travels were also ruined.

  • Bonus question: What was the most difficult thing to clean for the move-out? Poor Brett put in a LOT of work this last week cleaning off the tops of the kitchen cabinets. What should have been a couple hours’ work took nearly four days because our wonderful landlord had apparently sprayed the tops of the cabinets with a ton of Pledge or some other kind of wax, and even though we regularly vacuumed up there, the heat and humidity had turned whatever he used into a thick, black sludge that had to be scraped off by hand. There was less dirt/grease on the tops of the cabinets in our Portland kitchen where we lived and cooked daily for nine years than what was on top of these cabinets – it was nasty. The landlord had also insisted that the tops of the ceiling fan blades should be sprayed with Pledge because “then the dust just flies fight off.” Uh no – Brett had been scraping off Pledge sludge for over two years because of all the dust that had stuck to the melting Pledge on the fans (which of course all had a grooved design in the blades). He put a very light coat of Pledge on the tops of the fan blades for the inspection but did not put any on the top of the cabinets – he said he just could not do that to the next tenants. My toughest cleaning job was getting the fabric tapes on the blinds clean and white again. It took several days of work and I ruined two pair of pants because of bleach splatters and stains. The smell was awful too, but that’s gone now and the tapes were clean and white and ready for inspection.

That’s it for this week. I am still exhausted from the cleaning and inspection, but the worst of this move is over and we are moving forward again. How did your week go? What good things happened for you? What did you accomplish?

Sunday Afternoon 7/22/2018

After a long absence, Pensive Cat was back in the yard again this week.

Less than a week to go until we move to condo, and less than a month to go before we begin the Big Adventure! Time is really starting to fly now, almost too fast at times. We will be ready for both happenings, but we know we’ve got to stay focused so that everything that needs to be done gets done and we don’t forget anything.

One very clean stove

We’ve been steadily plugging along with the house cleaning and are closing in on finishing it up. The inspection with the landlord will be next Sunday morning between 7:00 & 7:30 a.m. He was upset with us the other day because in spite of what we’d told him, in his mind he had decided he was going to get the keys the morning of the 28th, that we were going to give him back four days! Nope – we don’t move over to the condo until the evening of the 28th and will be working that whole day to finish up.  For all the work we’ve already put into cleaning this place, I still have a bad feeling about the final meeting with him and am expecting him to be a total jerk, but once it’s done we can move on, no matter the outcome. To strengthen our hand we are going to have a friend with us during the inspection as a witness so the landlord cannot claim damages/dirt later. We finished cleaning the stove this past week, and I’m working on the refrigerator and freezer today. One of the biggest challenges this past week was cleaning the white fabric tapes on the blinds. Because half of each blind sits in front of an open window, and because of the amount of dust, dirt and moisture that comes through the windows, the tapes in those areas of the blinds developed stains that I wasn’t sure we could get out. I discovered though that some judiciously applied bleach and some time out in the sun got them looking like new. The beautiful, clean blinds are now lying across the floor in the girls’ former room and will be hung up again right before we leave the house on the 28th to go to the condo. Another thing Brett and I have both noticed this past week is that there are absolutely no smooth surfaces anywhere in this house (except maybe the mirrors in the bathrooms). From the baseboards to the doors to the window blinds to floors to the faucets, every piece of this house has grooves or ledges or borders or some design feature which invites dirt or mildew to accumulate. It’s a lovely house, but has required a lot of extra work to keep it clean these past 33 months and now we know why.

It’s been the perfect island car

The auto detailer came over to the house last Monday and did a superb job on getting out all of the red dirt stains we had accumulated in the past four years. The result was worth every penny we paid and the car looks fantastic. We began advertising it last Tuesday but have only had one person ask questions so far. The detailer told us Civics are a popular car here, and ours is in very good condition and is priced right so we’ll see. We pick up our rental car this coming Friday – I can’t believe that date is arriving so quickly. I also admit to being a bit hopeful the car doesn’t sell before Saturday so we have two cars to take our things over to the condo – otherwise it will mean at least two trips.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’m almost done with Standard Deviation, and have also started The Child Catchers:  Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce. The book is about how international and domestic adoption by evangelical Christians has become “a new front” in the culture wars. I’m just getting started and it’s already a very interesting read.
  • Listening to: It’s been quiet here all morning – YaYu left for work early, and Brett has been quietly plugging away at cleaning the tops of the kitchen cabinets. The washing machine is doing its thing though, but this is the last Sunday we’ll do laundry here!
  • Watching: None of us is really watching much of anything now. I watched the latest episode of Great British Baking Show on Friday, will watch Endeavour tomorrow (I think the last episode for this season is tonight), but that’s all.

    Brett and I shared this deliciously monstrous slice of Kauai Pie for dessert when we ate at the Olympic Cafe in Kapaa. We were shocked at the size of this “dessert for two” but we somehow finished it (and then didn’t feel like eating for another 24 hours).

  • Cooking/baking: Once we got the stove cleaned we decided that we’d also had enough of processed microwave-heated meals and are now getting take-out or going out for meals. The refrigerator/freezer is currently turned off so I can clean it, but once that’s done we’ll turn it back on so we can keep cold drinks and YaYu’s hot sauces in there (but nothing more). We still have our toaster and are having bagels and fruit for breakfast now, but otherwise we’ve been trying out affordable eateries in Kapaa for lunch and dinner. Thankfully YaYu gets most of her meals at work, so we haven’t been spending a fortune on eating out. Once we’re in the condo I will start cooking again.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I reserved all of our train tickets for the France part of our journey (Paris to Caen; Caen to Strasbourg; and Strasbourg to Bordeaux) and reserved cars for our four days in Normandy and to drive down to Lucerne, Switzerland in October. Other than pre-booking some museum visits, everything we planned to get done ahead of time has now been taken care of. Brett and I are going to make the museum reservations after we’re at the condo and have time to sit and talk about what we definitely want to see. I got the rice cooker and a few goodies packed up and sent off to YaYu, and a box of odds and ends that didn’t get into our shipment sent off to our friend on the mainland to go in with our other stuff. It has been much too humid, and we’ve been too busy, to walk this past week, but we’ve been getting LOTS of exercise in the house and will go back to walking again next week.
  • Looking forward to next week: Finishing up this damn house and moving over to the condo!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Pensive Cat, so called because he comes to our yard to sit and think, was back this week after a somewhat long absence. He’s a stray, and has been visiting us ever since we moved to this house in 2015. The tip of his left ear has been snipped which indicates he was caught and spayed at one point. Brett ordered and received the leather chukka boots he’s been wanting (Red Wings) this week and has been wearing them around the house to break them in a bit. They look good, are comfortable, and will be great for hiking around on our travels. Otherwise, nothing else really stands out this week – we’ve gotten a lot done but it’s been nothing but work, work, work.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We got a rebate of $28 from the electric company which will be enough to cover a couple more lunches out this week. Other than our meals, the only things we bought were bagels, cream cheese and ice cream – Safeway has been running a BOGO sale on ice cream this month: 2 Safeway Select 1/2 gallons for $5.99, and 2 Breyer containers for $6.99. But with the freezer off that pleasure will disappear for a while.
  • Grateful for: Both Brett and I are very thankful that our friend Alan has agreed be here during our inspection next Sunday. The landlord has been giving off vibes that he is going to try to use double talk, intimidation, or maybe even threats with us but we think he may be less likely to do so when he sees we have a witness with us. We don’t want him able to say one thing to us and then something else later if we have to take him to court, and it will be harder for him to complain that something is not clean when there’s another person who can see that it obviously is.

    My secret cleaning weapons!

  • Bonus question: Do you have any special tools that you’ve used for cleaning? I’m not sure if these are unusual or secret, but the Sharpie pen, some felt-tipped pens, a pedicure sponge and baby wipes have all been proving useful. For example, I was stumped about how to get the metal burner ports on the stove cleaned but discovered that a disposable pedicure sponge, along with a little elbow grease, made the ports look like they’re brand new! The abrasive side of the sponge is handy because it’s small and flexible enough to get into tight places, and with just enough abrasion to get things clean without scratching them. Unscented baby wipes have been another great cleaning tool. We are running out of rags, but the wipes don’t contain lotion and have made cleaning dirty window blinds and other surfaces easy. The black Sharpie pen and the colored felt-tipped pen have been useful for small touch-ups in the kitchen (small nicks on the cabinets, a scratch on the stove top).

That’s a wrap for this week! What good things happened for you? What did you accomplish? What are you reading these days? Do you use any unusual items for cleaning?

I’m thinking next Sunday’s post will probably be short, and really not more than a check-in, but I should be back to regular posting after that. Keep your fingers crossed for us that we get our deposit back and our car sells!

Sunday Afternoon 7/15/2018

This is pretty close to the view we’ll have from our condo – we’ll be a couple of floors down though, looking out over the roofs of the pavilions at the pool and the beach.

Less than two weeks to go before condo time! Sometimes the thought of being there in another couple of weeks seems like the only thing keeping me sane.

Yesterday when we were out on our walk we ran into a woman who we met back in April when the landlord first advertised the house. She was interested then, but he just contacted her this past Friday and told her she had been “chosen” (while at the same time renewing the ad on Craigslist). We have heard him say some very unkind and untrue things about her over the past few months, and while we were talking with her we also learned he has been sort of trash-talking us. He was also hinting to her that we won’t be getting our deposit back because of all the “damage” we’ve done to the house. The reality is the house will be as clean as (or cleaner than) it was when we moved in, and I think he’s going to be quite surprised when he discovers he’s dealing with me over the inspection and the security deposit. He’s going to find out pretty quickly that I know Hawai’i law and our rights as tenants, I’m not a pushover, and that he can either deal honestly with us or see us in small claims court – we have up to a year to file against him. No matter what happens though, we’ll still be out on the 28th, and I can’t wait.

The girls’ room is clean and ready for inspection (minus the last of our hanging clothes)

Things are moving along with the cleaning though. The girls’ room and bathroom have both been deep cleaned and except for cleaning the ceiling fan both are ready for inspection. Brett’s going to do all the fans in the house a couple of days before we leave so they are super clean for the walk-through inspection (dust accumulates quickly in this weather). I got our bedroom closet cleaned out and freshened up this past week, and we’ve started cleaning our bedroom and in the kitchen – all the cabinets have been emptied and the insides wiped down. The oven was supposed to be repaired this past week but that didn’t happen and it’s looking more and more like it won’t be done before we move out. I’m going to go ahead and finish cleaning the stove this week (we’re not really cooking on it any more) so it’s ready whether the oven is or not. We’ll be emptying out the refrigerator and freezer this week so that I can turn them off for a while next weekend to deep clean it as well. After it’s empty (or nearly empty) and clean we’ll be getting take-out for our meals.

On top of all this turmoil though we got a surprising piece of good fortune dropped into our laps this past week. On Wednesday evening I received an email from Airbnb suggesting that we cancel our 2019 Tokyo reservation because our host still had not obtained licensing for the rental. We communicated with the host, and will be working directly with her versus booking another Airbnb rental, staying in the same apartment at the same price. However,  Airbnb gave us a gift certificate for the entire amount of our three-month stay even though we had only paid for the first month (which was refunded in full). The certificate is worth several thousands of dollars, and can be used for any Airbnb rental anywhere in the world if we book before July of next year. They also gave us a gift certificate for $100 to use toward any Airbnb experience! We’ll have to think about that one, but right now it looks like we’ll be traveling again after we finish up next summer’s stay in Portland – stay tuned!

I won’t be posting this week until next Sunday – there is so much to do around here and I need to focus on that. It’s been busy enough that even if we don’t get out for a walk both Brett and I usually get all our steps/miles just from working in the house!

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’ve tried to read more of Standard Deviation this week but haven’t gotten through much – a few pages and I’m ready to fall asleep.
  • Listening to: Apparently a whole lot of babies hatched at the same time this past week because the yard is filled with the sound of peeping baby chicks! They are making enough noise to drown out just about everything else. The washer and dryer are doing their thing too – we have to get YaYu’s uniforms ready before she goes to work this afternoon. So far the neighbors are quiet, but we’re expecting the neighbor above us to turn on his wood chipper or whatever other noisy piece of equipment he’s using any moment now.
  • Watching: I caught up with another episode of the Great British Baking Show, and we’ll watch another episode of Endeavour tomorrow after it posts online. Otherwise, I’ve been watching an episode or two at a time of Victory at Sea (Amazon Prime) and the Ken Burns’ documentary about World War II (The War, on Netflix) when I can find time to squeeze them in. I’ve watched both series before (a couple of times actually), but the second world war era is my favorite historical period to study (followed by the Civil War) and the film clips, photos and stories from then still fascinate me even though I’ve seen most of them before. The narration for Victory at Sea is a bit over the top now, to the point where it can make me laugh out loud at times, but I get that it was a different time when the series was made (1952), and the war and the Allied victory were still fresh in everyone’s minds.

    Nothing says fine dining like eating a microwaved chicken pot pie on a paper plate.

  • Cooking/baking: With the oven still not repaired, the party pan of Stouffer’s chicken enchiladas I had planned to fix tonight won’t be happening – it will instead be going over to the condo with us. Brett and I are having steak sandwiches tonight, and chicken pot pies, quiche, macaroni & cheese, and pork tacos this week in our effort to completely clean out the fridge and freezer. I’m actually looking forward to doing some cooking and eating “real” food – all this processed food is starting to wear me down.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I finally got all of the touch-up painting done. It was nothing that particularly needed to be done, but I’m not giving this landlord an inch (and he did leave paint for us if we ever needed it). Getting the girls’ room finished was a big accomplishment, especially getting the blinds cleaned, and the closet freshened up. The room was not really dirty, more like cluttered, but it looks really, really good now and is move-in ready. Brett took a full carload of items to the thrift store last week – we should only have a bag or two left to go, if that, when we leave the house. I finally remembered to order locks for our luggage and luggage tags from Amazon – they should arrive next week. Brett and I got in a few walks last week, but usually we were too busy in the house and/or the weather was awful (rain or oppressive humidity). I booked the last two flights inside Europe with RyanAir, and reserved our hotel stay in the Cinque Terre.
  • Looking forward to next week: The car detailer is coming to the house tomorrow to get that job done, and once the car is spiffed up we will get it listed for sale. Fingers are crossed that sale goes quickly. I am also going to begin researching and reserving our train travel in France, reserve our rental cars, and Brett and I are going to discuss what museums we want to visit and pre-book those.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Because of the humidity, mildew is a constant issue here. We had some in the showers that was very stubborn but I researched online and found two ways to treat it and both methods worked perfectly (although the whole house smelled strongly of bleach for a couple of days). YaYu paid for her first semester at Bryn Mawr – no loans! She has enough in the bank now to cover the rest of this year’s expenses and most of next year, and she’ll be working right up until we leave so she can fatten her bank account even more. The generous gifts from Airbnb were a complete surprise, and are a game changer as far as future plans are concerned.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We sold a few more small things and I’m setting all that money aside for now for our final week in the house when we’ll be going out or getting take-out for our meals most of the time. So far though our monthly food bill has been less than half of what we usually spend, even it if it mostly prepared foods. Including fees for our luggage, reserved seats, and carry-ons, the total for the two RyanAir flights for both of us were less than $300.
  • Grateful for: I’m feeling more and more grateful each day for the time we have to clean and get ready to move out of our house, especially with the summer heat and humidity we’re having to deal with now. I cannot imagine only having a week or less to get this house ready for our crazy landlord. We may end up getting screwed over by him, but we know we will be leaving the house in superb condition.

    Clean and tidy has a different meaning now that we’re sharing our bathroom with YaYu.

  • Bonus question: Which would you rather clean, the kitchen or the bathroom? Neither really – sometimes I wish we could afford someone to come in and do it for us. But, since that’s not happening, the bathroom is actually the easier of the two in my opinion. Although it sometimes seems like it takes a bit more elbow grease (the tub and shower stalls), kitchens actually have a whole lot more places for dirt to hide and require near constant upkeep. We learned lots of cleaning tricks back in the day when we had to clean our navy housing for inspection, and learned quickly that keeping up with the cleaning in both the bathroom or kitchen and not let it slide (however, it turned out that every house we lived in had either the bathroom or kitchen remodeled when we moved out). Here’s one cleaning trick we learned: to clean oven racks or a cast iron grill, double-bag two large trash bags. Place the racks or grill in the bag, set outside (on a patio, or rocks – just not on grass or near plants) and add a generous amount of ammonia. Tie up the bags and let them sit overnight. You will see some ammonia leaking from the bottom of the bags, but it’s the fumes inside that are doing all the work. The next day wash racks or grill with steel wool, or even just a magic sponge. The grease and dirt will come right off with light to no scrubbing, and the racks will look good as new! If your oven is not too dirty, you can also set a glass measuring cup of ammonia inside the oven overnight with the door shut. Grease and dirt in the oven should easily wash out with little to no scrubbing. A magic sponge works great to clean and keep your oven glass door clean and grease free between oven cleanings.

That’s all for this week – hope you all had a good one. What did you accomplish this last week? What good things happened for you? What is your least favorite room to clean?

I’ll be back next Sunday!

#Kaua’i: Miss/Not Miss

We have just 40 days left on Kaua’i, and I think daily now about all the wonderful things I’m going to miss about living here. It’s honestly been an amazing four years, better than I ever dreamed, and I’ve been blessed to have experiences and memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I could only think of three things that I will not miss or look back on with any fondness, and I will get those out of the way first:

  1. Humidity. I don’t think I need to say any more about this. I’ve never adjusted or adapted to it.
  2. Traffic. I cannot get over the change in the amount of traffic during the past four years. What was mildly problematic when we arrived is now nearly a daily pain in the you-know-what. And, it will be several years, maybe decades, before the infrastructure can be put in place to deal with it.
  3. Dust. Who knew that there could be so much dust generated on a little island out in the middle of the ocean? It’s been a never-ending issue, and mixed with the damp from the humidity it’s also been a frustrating one at times.

Although I find the chickens and roosters annoying at times, and I’m still terrified of centipedes and toads, those three are pretty much it though for the negatives.

There is no way I can compile a list of everything I will miss about this beautiful island, and I’m sure there are things right now I don’t know I will miss. But, in no particular order, here are some the things I do know:

  1. The absolute darkness at night With no ambient light to speak of, the sky is darker than anything I’ve ever experienced before and packed with stars. Also, the full moons here shine almost as bright as the sun.
  2. The deep, abiding spirit of aloha. It’s woven through everything here and is what truly makes Kaua’i the special place it is.
  3. Beautiful sunrises and spectacular sunsets.
  4. The ocean. I honestly never dreamed I would get to live where I see the ocean every day. It feeds my soul.
  5. Walks along the east side beach path. The views have never gotten old.
  6. The year-round farmers’ markets, and the amazing farmers who bring a bounty of fresh produce to the markets each week, including the best cucumbers I’ve ever eaten.
  7. An abundance of tropical fruit. Dragonfruit,  papaya, lychee, longan, mountain apple, rambutan, egg fruit, guava, mango, soursop and so many delicious varieties of bananas too. I’m not sure I’l ever be able to eat a banana from the supermarket ever again.
  8. Fresh papaya for breakfast. I wasn’t sold on them when we arrived but now they’re one of my most favorite things about living here.
  9. Coconut palms against a blue sky.
  10. The infinite variety of hibiscus. They still can take my breath away. Also, the scent of plumeria on the evening breeze is pretty amazing too.
  11. Going to the beach in the winter. Going to the beach anytime, actually. I still can’t get over that we live just five minutes drive away from a beach this fabulous.
  12. The luscious green of the island, and it’s breathtaking natural beauty. After four years here the amount of plants, the lush green, and the mountains still never fail to fill me with awe, and make me happy from the inside out.
  13. Shave ice.
  14. The people. I’ll miss them most of all. They’re the main reason we’ll be back.

We’ll all be leaving a piece of our hearts on Kaua’i – how lucky we’ve been to live here!

Heading Into The Next Phase

In a recent post on his blog, A Satisfying Retirement, Bob Lowry wrote about his granddaughter comparing growing older to the most exciting part of a roller coaster ride, the ending with its big, exhilarating runs. It’s a great analogy: a roller coaster ride typically begins with a slow climb, and few tame dips and turns. As the ride continues things pick up, and twists and turns, climbs and drops begin coming at a faster pace, but the when and where are a mystery and add to the excitement and increase the thrill level. Finally, the car once more heads for the top to begin its big, exciting finale before finally slowing down and coasting to a stop.

Brett and my start together was like that initial slow climb. He was one of my first instructors in the navy, for a two-week course I was required to take for my rating following boot camp. It was pretty much love at first sight for both of us, and as soon as the two-weeks were over we began dating, and before long we were talking about our life together and how we saw that unfolding. There was never a distinct marriage proposal that either of us can remember, but somewhere along the way we both realized we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with the other. We’ll celebrate 42 years together next year while we’re in Tokyo.

Just like a ride on a roller coaster Brett and I have already passed through two distinct phases in our married life: our beginning years while he served in the navy followed by a second phase in civilian life and raising our daughters. Both time periods were very different from the other, full of twists, turns and surprises (not all of which were pleasant), but we had different goals and expectations during each one, and in hindsight both phases were positive for the most part. We were always looking to the future. The segue from the first into the second phase was fairly bumpy, but we somehow managed to get over and through those bumps and came out stronger than before. Our life choices, especially adopting three additional children in our mid- to late-forties were not the ones that most people would make, and we’ve paid or are still paying for some of the choices we’ve made, but as Brett and I have always said, we can’t imagine now having done things any other way. We chose the right coaster for us.

Brett and I have been raising children for most of our time together. Other than the short time we had before our son was born there was only a six month period with an empty nest after our son headed off to college and before we brought Meiling home. Before I met Brett I had no dreams or desires to have children, let alone four of them. Or, to have them in two separate groups with a nearly twenty-year gap between them. However, that’s how it happened, and of all my life’s accomplishments so far I am most proud of my children, of their efforts and accomplishments and the adults they’ve become. Our goal has always been to give our children roots, but wings as well so that when it’s been time for them to leave the nest they would be able to fly. It’s been exciting and rewarding to watch each of them take off and soar, with their wings spread wide.

We’re segueing now into a third phase, a time when Brett and I will also leave our nest and spread our wings. For the last 40 years our lives have been completely entwined with our children, with our schedules determined by their schedules, our plans and finances controlled by their needs. But, beginning in August it will just be the two of us, and we are ready to fly. I am so excited about being able to explore the world with my best friend, the person that knows me best, but I also realize it’s going to feel “different” for a while. It’s going to take time for me to adjust to not having children to accommodate in one way or another. Thankfully the segue into this third phase has been easier so far than it was between the first and the second because I think we’ve done a better job this time of preparing ourselves for the transition.

A roller coaster ride has been my metaphor for life for a while now. As my mom approached the end of her life a couple of years ago I kept thinking of roller coasters, and what a ride she had, and I’m beginning to see my life in the same way. Are Brett and I making that last big climb to the top? I don’t know right now, but we are preparing for an exciting finale that will hopefully go on for a good long while. Our ride up until now has been full of thrills, chills and surprises but it’s never been dull. And, like Bob’s granddaughter pointed out,  I believe the best and most exciting part is yet to come!

Sunday Afternoon 7/8/2018

The living room is now YaYu’s room until we move out. I like a clean and orderly house so this is keeping me on edge a bit, but we’ll be out of here before we know it.

We are “living rough” around here these days. We’ve still got the Aerobed and our queen-size bed until right before we move out which is helping us stay more comfortable than we imagined we would be at this point. Also, because the landlord bought our washer and dryer and they’re staying in the house we don’t have to deal with the using or paying for the laundromat. But otherwise things have gotten somewhat basic around here. We’re eating on paper plates with plastic utensils these day, and have few to no cooking tools. I will say that living this simply really helps to focus the mind on efforts to get stuff done and moving along.

The pantry these days (baking soda and vinegar are for cleaning)

As I wrote last week we ended up not having to hold our garage sale this weekend because everyone who came to pick up the items we had listed on the Buy & Sell “shopped” all the stuff we were going to put out at the sale and pretty much all of it got snapped up. We put the last few big items on Buy & Sell on Thursday and all sold in a day. Brett will take the few remaining items to the thrift store this week. Next up on our to-do list will be getting the car detailed and listed for sale.

I had a bit of a dental scare this past week when some of the glue on the bridge I have on my lower front teeth fell out. Our dentist was on vacation, and I had visions of needing to have the whole bridge replaced before we leave, costing us $$$, maybe $$$$. But I called the dentist the day he got back and he said it just needs re-gluing, everything else is fine. He said if it comes unglued while we’re traveling that I should see a local dentist about it. I guess that could end up being an interesting “cultural experience” if it happens. Our dental insurance covers us worldwide, and thankfully we’re visiting countries where good dental care is offered but fingers are crossed that after the re-glue this week I’ll be good to go for a while.

YaYu’s final scholarship check arrived in the mail yesterday . . . and was $500 more than she was expecting! The organization first emailed her last April that she was being awarded a $1000 scholarship. A couple of days later though she received a second email from them with an apology and note that she would only be getting $500. Oh well. But, when she opened the envelope today the check was for $1000 after all, bringing her total scholarship amount from local Kaua’i organizations to $5500. She continues to earn lots from her job, and will be leaving the island with a very healthy bank account.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished both the Donna Leon and Elizabeth George mysteries, and have started Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny. It’s a fun read – perfect for now when everything around us is craziness. I am also #1 on the waitlist for another book at the library, and hoping it becomes available this week.
  • Listening to: We’ve had a cool morning, with heavy rain at times. But now the neighborhood roosters are screaming, and dogs are barking, so maybe all we’re going to be stuck with for the rest of the day is overcast. We’ve got the laundry going right now but otherwise it’s quiet inside – I’m writing and Brett and YaYu are reading.
  • Watching: Without a TV, Brett and I haven’t been really watching much of anything. I did catch another episode of The Great British Baking Show online, and we’re going to watch Endeavour tonight on my computer.
  • Cooking/baking: Alan & Cheryl bought our grill, and another person who came to pick up something asked about and ended up buying our slow cooker (!) so all we have now is a rice cooker, microwave oven and the stovetop for cooking – the oven still isn’t fixed and no word when that’s happening. So, it’s been interesting, to put it mildly, trying to come up with things to fix for meals. Stouffer’s entrees have helped us fill in some gaps. but tonight for dinner I’m making Chinese stir-fried tomatoes with eggs. The pantry is empty except for some rice, a jar of peanut butter and some Diet Snapples.

    When teenagers move out of their room . . . sigh. We eventually got everything out and are ready to begin deep cleaning the room beginning tomorrow.

  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I am thrilled with how much we sold this past week, and that it has gone to people who were so happy to get it. YaYu got her stuff packed and we cleaned everything out of her room so the deep clean in there can begin next week. We didn’t get to walk much last week because of the humidity, rain, and because we were sometimes busy with customers. Somehow though we still managed to get in our steps and miles most days. I’ve been keeping up with my liquid intake – the humidity earlier in the week was brutal and staying hydrated has been a necessity.

    Friday afternoon was cooler and quite breezy for a change so we finally got out for a walk. Lots of heavy wave action was going on.

  • Looking forward to next week:  I’m not exactly looking forward to it but we’ll get YaYu’s room AND bathroom deep cleaned next week, and then move into the kitchen and get started in there as the cabinets are all empty now. Getting these two areas done will take us that much closer to getting out of here and moving over to the condo.

    Costco’s haupia cake . . . so good it should be illegal.

  • Thinking of good things that happened: Both Brett and I are so, so happy that  friends Alan and Cheryl are finally here on Kaua’i (but sad too that we’ll only be able to see them for a couple of months before we take off). Costco had haupia (Hawaiian coconut custard) cakes again so we are enjoying one of those – they’re big so they last for a little over a week between the three of us. For the past couple of years I have had a terrible time getting anyone to cut my hair as short as I want it (like super short), but yesterday I finally got a great cut and I love it! Along with the humidity there has been rain every day, a good thing because it means we don’t have to water the lawn and run up our final water bill. And of course, the amount of YaYu’s scholarship check was a very good thing!
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We “stocked up” on frozen meals (as much as our little freezer would hold), fruit, and produce from the farmers’ market, but otherwise we didn’t spend anything else this week. We made a nice bit of money from selling our stuff, half again what we thought we’d make! Most of it went into the bank but we’re holding on to some to cover the car being detailed.
  • Grateful for: I’m feeling very grateful the fix on my bridge will be an easy and inexpensive one versus having to spend a big amount right now on having a new bridge made. I’m also thankful and blessed that I was able to meet and talk with so many wonderful people this week when they came to buy stuff from us. The aloha is so strong here.
  • Bonus question: What’s the best thing you’ve ever found at a garage sale? What’s the best free thing you’ve ever found? Brett and I talked about this and agreed that our best garage sale find was the Cassette Feu butane cookstove that we found at Portland yard sale a few years ago. We already had one that we bought in Japan when we lived there (with all the instructions, labels, etc. in Japanese), and had been wanting to buy a second one so we were beyond thrilled to find a brand new, never-opened one at the sale for just $10. The price was amazing considering that retail price for the cooker model we got is anywhere from $70 to $90. These cookstoves are great for camping, for tabletop cooking, or to use if power is lost and the stove and appliances won’t work. The best free thing we ever found was a white KitchenAid stand mixer, complete with all the attachments. We were walking home from Trader Joe’s in Portland one day, and spotted the mixer in a free pile in front of a house. We took it home, cleaned it up, and sold it on Craigslist – the money we made went toward our move over here to Kaua’i!

That’s it for this week – I hope you had a great week too. What good things happened for you? What are you cooking or baking? What are you looking forward to next week?

Garage Sale Kaua’i Style

Happy sellers, happy customers – every piece of Japanese tableware we had for sell was purchased

Having a garage sale in Kaua’i is not the same as having one back on the mainland.

Having held too many sales back on the mainland to count, the basic steps for holding a successful garage/yard sale there are:

  1. Assemble the items you want to sell
  2. Price the items
  3. Advertise the sale on Craigslist, etc.
  4. Set out your items the morning of the sale
  5. Sell your items – be prepared to haggle with some customers
  6. Take what’s left over to the thrift store

We found out this past week though that it’s done a bit differently over here on Kaua’i:

  1. Assemble the items you’re selling, preferably in your garage or on the lanai. There’s no need to organize everything.
  2. Post larger or higher-priced items on the Kaua’i Buy & Sell Facebook page a week or so ahead of when you plan to hold your sale. People will message you about items they want to buy and arrange to pick them up the same or next day.
  3. When people come by, let them look around at the other stuff you’re selling. It doesn’t need to be priced. They will probably buy some more stuff.
  4. Talk story for at least 20-30 minutes with everyone that comes. You’ll make new friends, get hugs, and they’re thrilled to pick up stuff ahead of time
  5. In fact, these early customers may buy so much of your stuff ahead of time that you don’t need to bother holding an actual sale.
  6. Take anything that’s left over to the thrift store.

Our Kaua’i garage sale was the easiest and most fun I’ve ever had selling our stuff. Everyone who contacted us through the Buy & Sell page showed up when they said they would. One woman came to pick up the item she reserved and left with an additional $100 worth of items. She messaged me a couple of days later to ask if a couple of other items were still available. Another woman came back twice! Not one person quibbled about the prices, or tried to haggle – hopefully that’s because we asked right amount the first time. A few times we just gave people things because they bought so much from us. The best part of all was getting to talk with everyone while they “shopped” and have a real conversation with them. It was win-win for everyone.

We had planned to hold a three-day sale beginning tomorrow, but by the end of yesterday we had sold just about everything to customers stopping by to pick up their pre-arranged items. I have one more round of things to go up on Buy & Sell later today, but whatever doesn’t get sold will go to the thrift store. We also made half again what we thought we might make from the sale, so besides the whole experience being easy and fun, our Kaua’i garage sale was a big success!

Goodbye June, Hello July

July is going to be busy but pivotal month for us – we’re scheduled to move out of the house on the 28th and over to the condo we rented. We’re greatly looking forward to our stay there because Brett and I will have no obligations other than to relax and enjoy our remaining time on the island – we’ll finally get to take a Kaua’i “vacation” (YaYu will continue to work right up until we leave though). The condo is the same one our son and family stayed in earlier this year, with that fabulous pool, which is where I intend to be spending most of my time while we’re there, either swimming in it or sitting by the side under an umbrella.

The “lazy river’ feature at the condo pool

Here’s how we did with last month’s goals:

  1. Pay at least $900 on our credit card. We paid $3210 toward our remaining balance (we sold an additional $435 worth of things this past weekend). Just a little more to go!
  2. Purchase travel insurance. It turned out we didn’t need to buy this because our credit card already provides insurance for things like lost luggage, cancelled flights, etc. and our health and dental insurance are valid all over the world. In fact, we discovered that – surprise! – because we have military health insurance we were ineligible for regular travel health insurance.
  3. Clean, oil and buff all the tansu. Done! Cheryl and Alan arrive this week and we’ll get them all moved over to their house.
  4. Take down and package TV; disassemble and clean girls’ bunkbed. Done! Both of these items are also going over to Cheryl and Alan.
  5. Take down all art work from the walls; fill and repair nail holes. Done! This pictures went in our shipment, and I defy the landlord to find even one of the nail holes I repaired.
  6. Empty pantry, clean shelves (repaint if necessary). Done!

    The finished pantry closet – it almost looks better now than it did when we moved in! (I wish I had ‘before’ pictures – it was a mess)

  7. Take all items to be shipped for storage into the garage for the movers. Done – the movers came and picked up everything last Friday.
  8. Start pricing items for moving sale. We’re off to a slow start with this, but will finish it off this week, once we’ve gotten everything else out of the house and over to Cheryl and Alan’s.
  9. We also took four big bags of stuff to the thrift store and are working at filling another one.

Here are our goals for July:

  1. Hold garage sale on July 6 through July 8; take all items that don’t sell to the thrift store.
  2. Deep clean the house like we’re preparing for a navy-style white glove inspection.
  3. Detail car and list for sale on July 20. The rental car for our last month on Kaua’i is already arranged.
  4. Pack suitcases and move to the condo on the 28th.

Just four goals this month, but they will keep us busy!

 

Sunday Afternoon 7/01/2018

Everything ready to be loaded into the small container – all of this didn’t even cover one side of it though.

July is here! This is going to be a busy month for us, although after this coming week things should calm down and it will be all about the cleaning. But, we’ll be out of the house on the 28th and into our condo at the beautiful Waipouli Beach Resort for a final “Kaua’i vacation” before we go. Right now though it feels like Crazyland around here. The house has been something of a mess as we had things organized and staged for the movers last Friday and now we’re now getting things ready to go to Alan and Cheryl this week and for our garage sale on Friday. We were able to sell a few more pieces of furniture through our local Buy & Sell group this past week – those things thankfully went very quickly. The only furniture that’s left to sell now are our sofa and living room chair, and the two wicker chair that were out on the lanai, but we’ll put them out at the garage sale and hopefully they will go. Whatever is left over from the garage sale though will go to the thrift store.

I scored an amazing deal this past week for the car rental for our last 24 days on the island. We are going to have our car detailed and listed for sale on the 20th of this month, and want to have a rental we can use on the chance the car sells quickly. I started checking the deals Costco had (we have always found the lowest price through their site) and the best I found there was $57/day through Budget. Brett had also checked with two local car rental businesses, where you can get a “less than new” car for supposedly less than regular car rentals, but their prices, once we added in fees and taxes, weren’t any better. When I showed Brett the Costco price he thought it was OK, but suggested I call the local Budget office and see if they would give us a kamaaina discount. However, the price I was quoted was more than the Costco price (!) so I said “thanks but no thanks, I’ll go ahead and rent from Costco.” I was asked to wait for a moment and then the agent I was speaking came back and offered me the same car for $38/day, all taxes and fees included! So, one more thing taken care of – I just hope though we can fit all of our luggage in the car when it’s time to head to the airport.

Brett level (on the right) is keeping the oven light off for now. So classy.

The repairman came as scheduled this past week to replace the oven door glass, but he could not finish the repair because the landlord had failed to order an additional part needed. Sigh. So, the repair guy ordered the part but no one has any idea how long it will take for it to show up or when the repair guy can come back. It also turns out that the landlord would have been better off ordering a whole new door versus just the glass – the door costs $146 and Brett could have put it on. By ordering just the glass but paying the repairman’s service fees for installing it the landlord is paying twice that. In the meantime, without a door the oven light was staying on all the time which was super annoying, but Brett jury-rigged the light switch with his level. I also figured the lack of a door on the oven, and the fact we probably won’t be using it again before we go (and can’t anyway until the door is repaired), made it a good time to clean it for our move out, so I got that job done.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’m almost done with the Donna Leon mystery and have been enjoying it, but the new Inspector Lynley mystery, The Punishment She Deserves, also came off of hold this week so I’m reading that too (Inspector Lynley during the day, Donna Leon at night). Elizabeth George’s Lynley mysteries are always great to read, but always require just a bit more concentration to catch everything (which has sort of been hard to do this week).
  • Listening to: It’s overcast and cool-ish today (but still a bit humid) so everybody and their brother is out working on their lawn – lots and lots of weed trimmers and lawnmowers are in operation outside and it’s noisy. Inside it’s quiet though – YaYu is at work (double shift today), and Brett is reading. I’m getting ready to start the laundry though so the inner quiet will stop for a while. With YaYu wearing a uniform to work the amount of laundry we have to do has been cut in half versus what we washed while she was in school (three changes a day: school, sports, and evening).
  • Watching: Brett and I have watched a few more episodes of Bailey & Scott, another episode of The Great British Baking Show, and we’re going to watch another episode of Endeavour tonight. We’re taking a break from Parts Unknown – it’s just too much to try to binge watch. The TV will come down off the wall tomorrow to be boxed up for its move. Anything we’re watching from here on out, until we get to the condo, will be done on our computers or tablets.

    We didn’t move very much this time, but it still seemed like we had So. Much. Stuff.  (there were also a few things in the kitchen besides what’s in this picture)

  • Cooking/baking: The cookware went into our shipment on Friday so all we have to cook with now is our wok and a frying pan. Add this to YaYu’s crazy schedule and her decision to give up meat and it’s difficult to know what to have. Brett and I are going to have Stouffer’s stuffed peppers for dinner tonight, and all I know that we’ll be having next week are Italian sausages and marina fixed in the slow cooker, and kalua pork in the slow cooker. I’m putting the slow cooker out at the garage sale though so this may be the last week we’ll have it. If it doesn’t sell though we’ll take it along to the condo and use it there before taking it to the thrift store. Brett is going to clean up the grill this week and we’ll see if we can get someone to take it off our hands.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Getting everything organized for the movers was a chore – we kept going through the house and finding things we’d missed before on each round (and still found a couple of things we missed after they left). To us it still looks like we have way too much stuff, but it’s less than a quarter of what we shipped over here. I finished painting the pantry closet, and have started on the other closets. It was difficult to find time to walk this week – it rained quite a bit, and was very humid in between – but we managed to get four walks in. It was cool and windy enough on a couple of days that we were able to walk out to the Pineapple Dump.

    Fierce seas out at the Pineapple Dump

  • Looking forward to next week: We’ll be getting everything staged to go over to Alan and Cheryl’s house this week, and then setting up for the garage sale. It’s going to take some work, but it means we will be that much closer to getting ready to go. I’m not sure though what we’ll be displaying things on – we have one 6-foot table (that will be for sale) but that’s it. I’m looking forward though to getting rid of more stuff – that’s the important thing. 
  • Thinking of good things that happened: YaYu took Brett and I out on Thursday to see Incredibles 2 – very fun! It was especially nice to get out of the house for a while – we didn’t realize how much we needed a break until we had one.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We’re still pinching ourselves over huge savings on the car rental because the best we thought we might save with the kamaaina discount was around $150, tops. We also took the last of our change/$1 bill savings to the bank this past week. It was an easy way to put away a little extra every month, and it added up more quickly than we imagined. Brett and I plan to set up a new jar once the Big Adventure is over, to save for our next adventure.
  • Grateful for: I’m feeling thankful right now for the time we’ve had and will have to pull all the parts of our move together. Although this coming week is going to be hectic and busy, after this we’ll have lots of time to wrap up things up here and get ourselves relaxed and ready to travel.
  • Bonus question: Do you like any weird or strange food combinations? This question came from YaYu, who puts sriracha, other hot sauces, red chili flakes or chili powder on everything. She also likes marinara sauce on salad instead of salad dressing. No thanks! I don’t think I eat any weird combinations now, but when I was young I liked sour cream with ketchup sandwiches because they were so tangy. I can’t imagine eating that now – ugh! Also, I went through a thankfully short phase where I liked peanut butter and mustard sandwiches. I have no idea where that combination came from but I’m sure glad it didn’t last long. I never had any weird cravings when I was pregnant either – just tasty Memphis barbecue.

I had to boil eggs in the wok yesterday because all the saucepans went with our shipment. I’m going to try to boil spaghetti in it this week – wish me luck!

That’s all for this week from the shrinking Casa Aloha – I hope you all had a good and productive week as well. What good things happened for you? Did you or do you eat any “strange” food combinations? Do you have special plans for the Fourth of July?