Happy New Year! It’s the first Sunday Morning of 2020! And, it’s also the beginning of a very busy week in Portland, our last before departing for Kaua’i early next Saturday morning. We all have lots to do this week to get ready to go including several errands, packing, cleaning, and everything else that goes along with changing locations once again.
. . . for this.
WenYu and YaYu will depart on Friday afternoon, within a couple of hours of each other, and then Brett and I will come back to the apartment to finish cleaning and getting ready to move over to a hotel for the night. After our wild experience getting to the airport in England, and our troubles with the car rental agency here, we were both feeling more than a bit anxious about how things might go with our early departure on Saturday morning (just after 5:00 a.m.). The car rental agency doesn’t open until 4:00 a.m. and we were feeling somewhat afraid that if there were any problems whatsoever things could easily start spiraling out of control again in terms of us getting checked in and through security on time, so we decided to turn in the car on Friday evening instead and spend the night in a hotel near the airport. The hotel is just two minutes away from the terminal and has a 24-hour on-demand shuttle service, so we’re both feeling a bit less nervous now about being where we need to be on time.
Brett and I are also growing excited about our upcoming visit to Kaua’i, and are looking forward to spending time with friends and enjoying the weather and scenery there as well as getting out for walks, etc. Portland has mostly been its usual gloomy self for the past week and once again I can feel myself start heading into seasonal depression. When the sun shines I feel great, but otherwise, all I want to do is plant myself on the sofa and stay there all day. Those feelings have been combined the past week or so with one of my annual bouts of insomnia – ugh. Japan will be cold (colder, actually) when we get there and somewhat gloomy as well so Kaua’i will provide a much-needed winter respite.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished the Dead of Jericho on New Year’s Eve, and ended the year with a total of 58 books read. I decided to take a short break from Inspector Morse and am now reading Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore. I especially enjoy it when Murakami describes different neighborhoods in Tokyo or other places nearby because I know where and what he’s writing about – I can picture them in my mind.
- Listening to: The girls were up very late last night so they’re still asleep. Brett is rustling around the kitchen, making coffee and getting ready to make bacon for our breakfast this morning. The neighborhood is quiet as always.
- Watching: I don’t think we watched any TV at all this past week except for the live version of Disney’s Aladdin on Friday (and I can’t get “Never Had a Friend Like Me” out of my head).
- Cooking: We’ve been doing a very good job of getting things used up, and as of today, there isn’t a whole lot left so we should be able to finish up everything except for a few pantry items. Dinner tonight will once again be leftovers, then tomorrow I’m making pasta with pesto along with Italian sausages (which didn’t get fixed this past week). On Tuesday we’re having meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and steamed broccoli. We’ll eat that for a couple of days, and on Thursday we’ll eat whatever is left and call it good. Brett and I plan to have Swedish meatballs for dinner on Friday night at IKEA, which is located close to the airport and our hotel. WenYu’s friend is going to come over on Friday morning to take the odds and ends of the pantry supplies (soy sauce, vegetable oil, etc.).
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I don’t think I accomplished a whole lot this past week other than staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. Brett was able to get an appointment in June to meet with the surgeon, but at this point, we have no idea how long it will take to actually schedule the surgery, whether it will be in the same month or later in the year. We’re going to schedule a week to 10 days in Portland then, and will add on days if necessary.
- Looking forward to next week: We’ll be getting together with our friend Joan on Tuesday, always something we look forward to. I’m also meeting another friend for coffee this afternoon, and another friend on Wednesday afternoon. After she and I are done I’m going to get a manicure and pedicure so I’m presentable when we’re in Hawaii. Brett and I are actually looking forward to the long flight over to Hawaii because we’re flying first class which should make it a more enjoyable experience – I’m so happy to have found those low fares! Our Honolulu to Kaua’i flight will be in economy seating, but I got those tickets for free using miles, so no complaints (and the flight only takes 30 minutes).
- Thinking of good things that happened: My laptop was ready for pick-up on Friday and I am so glad to have it back! I am enjoying once again having a battery that charges quickly and lasts almost the whole day versus having to get up to charge it every three hours or so. My stomach issues have been under control for the entire week – not one bad day or episode!
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) When WenYu and her friend decided at the last minute that they would not be going out for New Year’s Eve, I rustled up some tasty hors d’oeuvres using leftovers and things we had on hand, including celery stuffed with spicy Thai peanut spread (everyone’s favorite), crackers topped with whipped cream cheese I mixed with some leftover crispy fried onions, chopped green onions, and sriracha; and pesto pizza bites, and there were no leftovers. Our hosts had brought us a bottle of good wine earlier in the day so we ended up having a very nice evening that cost us nothing. 2) We arranged to have our son convert yen for us for our rent payments while we’re in Japan which will save us around $180/month ($540 total) in PayPal conversion fees. 3) The Expedia credit in my account covered most of the taxes on Friday night’s hotel room. 4) My computer repair was only $129, $21 less than I expected. 5) Finally, I bought the Costco store brand of acid reducer for my stomach – 250 tables for just $10.99 versus 25 name-brand tablets for $12 at Winco or 90 tablets for $7 by prescription. Between the Kirkland medication and one order of my prescription, I am set for a full year.
- Grateful for: I’m thankful for all the good years we spent in Portland; it was a beautiful, affordable city to land in following Brett’s retirement from the navy and a great place to work and raise our children. But I’m also grateful we were able to move on when we did; it was time for us to go. Portland is changing, as it should, and we will always love this city, but it isn’t the right place for us anymore.
- Bonus question: What is your least favorite chore when your family gets together? The girls are very good at helping out with cleaning, cooking, and doing dishes, but the one thing they won’t do? Laundry! I get that they want a break from having to do it on their own (who wouldn’t?), but on the other hand, two to three young women can produce a LOT of laundry, and it’s an effort to sort it, wash it, dry it, fold it, and then get them to pick it up and put it away (and I don’t easily recognize anymore which piece of clothing belongs to which girl). Doing their laundry is a small price to pay for the pleasure of our daughters’ company once or twice a year, but that doesn’t make me dislike the chore any less.
There won’t be a post next Sunday as we’ll be on the move all day Saturday (and tired from having to get up so early), but I will try and instead do a brief Monday Morning post after we arrive on Kaua’i and get settled. We’ll see how it goes – all I may feel like doing once we’re there is sitting out on our friends’ lanai and sipping mai tais! Life has been something of a three-ring circus since the girls arrived, and we are enjoying every moment with them, but we’re also starting to look ahead to our quieter, “regular life” again with just the two of us.
Once again, a very happy new year to all, with added wishes for good health and prosperity. I think this coming year is going to be a bit of a wild ride for a variety of reasons, so hope everyone is hanging on tight!