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!

14 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 7/15/2018

  1. tpol1 says:

    What a wonderful gift from Airbnb! I hate cleaning but if it has to be done, it has to be done. With so much done already I am sure, you will be fine by the the time you move out. Congrats to YaYu on saving so much money. It must be great to have all your kids to be so responsible and hard working. I wish them all good luck in their lives.

    At this end of the world, I am rooting for you guys. Take care and be well…

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    • Laura says:

      That gift certificate was quite the wonderful surprise! It was very generous of them, but we will definitely be booking with them again.

      I sure wish the weather was less humid than it’s been – it’s been very hard to work for longer than a few minutes before being drench in sweat. But, things keep moving along and soon we will be on our way.

      YaYu is working six days this week – she has a goal for how much she wants to save and is working as much as she can so she can reach it before we leave. Restaurant work on the island is thankfully very lucrative!

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  2. Laurel Hill says:

    Wow…great surprise re: Airbnb. AND you didn’t lose your original rental. And very impressive that YaYu has her year’s expenses covered already. She’s a real go getter.

    Maybe because I was the oldest and we cleaned every Saturday, but I don’t hate cleaning. There is a sense of satisfaction in finishing it and looking around seeing everything ship shape. That said, I much prefer the bathroom. It’s smaller and has less nooks and crannies for dirt. I do, however, clean up my kitchen every evening because I hate waking up to a mess. When I come down for coffee, I like to look at a clean sink and countertop.

    Best of luck getting the rest of your move done. You are certainly making good progress!

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    • Laura says:

      I don’t mind cleaning either, and believe if you keep up with it then it never gets overwhelming. Like you, I clean the kitchen up every evening (although that’s hard to do right now) – I too like a clean sink and counter. Although I don’t mind washing dishes, one of the things I have most disliked about not having a dishwasher is the dishes accumulating on the sink in between meals. It drives me nuts!

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  3. Janette says:

    Get out your phone and record his walk through. Point out you have been without an oven for a month forcing you to eat out more while on the walk through. Have him state what deductions will be taken and when, exactly, you will get your deposit. That is what a lawyer suggested to a family member. Small claims is a pain , and good documentation is worth it’s weight in gold 🙂 Have a great week!

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    • Laura says:

      We are going to record the inspection. The guy is a total jerk though but we will be prepared. According to Hawaiian law he has to give us a written estimate of deductions at the time of the inspection, and he has just 14 days to get it to us. He can’t just “find” things later. So we will see what happens.

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  4. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    It’s too bad your landlord has turned into such a difficult man. I hope you will surprise him with your cleanliness and knowledge and he will know to just give up!

    Personally, I can’t believe time has gone this fast! I visited three months ago and your departure seemed like it was ages away, yet here you are! You are going to enjoy your condo (and the AC lol!) so much. What a great way to prepare to leave the island!

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    • Laura says:

      He was here yesterday to show another family the house but we think they passed on it as well though. It’s too expensive. After they left he was ranting about how he had to raise the rent to cover all the tax increases so we checked online through the county records and his taxes went DOWN last year!!! Also, right before he left yesterday he asked to use the bathroom. After he was gone we went in and discovered he had gone through our things, opened up the shower curtain to check things out, etc. This is who we are dealing with. And, after a month and a half we still don’t have an oven door.

      He is now giving a “$100 move-in credit” because no one will rent from him, and his ad now says people who were going to rent “declined due to serious illness.” Just lies, lies, lies.

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      • Laura says:

        For this stuff going on now, there really isn’t any place to file a complaint. Here on the island all we can do is get through the inspection and then take him to small claims. We have a year to do that.

        However, and this is a BIG however, this guy does not pay Hawaii state taxes on the rent he collects from us (or probably from any other rentals) – totally illegal. We know it, and he knows we know it. IF he gives us a hard time and doesn’t want to return our security deposit or at least most of it, I will have NO problem reporting him to the state before we depart the island – not only will he have to pay back taxes, but fines and penalties as well, considerably more than our security deposit.

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  5. Janette says:

    I have a totally off topic question to ask you. What type of charger/converter did you get for your travels? Did you just get a USB port ( Syncwire 34W/6.8A 4-Port Fast Charger) or are you carrying a larger converter (Like a Travel Smart All in One Converter). We haven’t been overseas in a while and I don’t know which way to go. I figure you already have something because of your travels to see your son…..

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    • Laura says:

      Japan’s electricity is 100v versus 120v, and most plugs are compatible so all we’ve ever had to travel with is a small adapter for three-prong plugs (all Japanese outlets are only two-prong).

      For this trip we bought a universal plug adapter and a universal voltage converter.

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  6. JJ says:

    It depends on where you’re going. I recently returned from a trip to Europe and all the countries except the UK use the same adapter. I have universal adapter for European countries that I brought with me and it worked fine in the UK and the other 6 countries I visited. I went to Japan a few years ago and had to use a different adapter for the three prongs, as Laura said.

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