What another strange week this has been, trying to balance social isolation with getting ourselves ready to move into a new place in less than two weeks. We’re off to a good start, but there is still much to do, all while trying to have as little interaction with others as possible.
We signed our lease this past Tuesday. It was great to get another look around at the layout and start figuring out where things could go. After taking care of that, we headed back up to Kapaa to Otsuka’s furniture store, where the manager opened the store just for us so that we could shop for a sofa and mattress. We purchased a beautiful, pale gray leather sectional sofa (on sale) and a hybrid memory foam mattress. With a friend’s help, we will pick up both on our own tomorrow and get them down to the apartment as the store is not allowed to do deliveries under the current state shutdown rules. On Wednesday we went back down to the south side to open a post office box and set up a weekly CSA pickup at the Monkeypod Jam store, then went to Costco to get started on getting things we need for the new place. We had hoped to stop at Walmart as well that day, but by the time we finished at Costco we were too tired so headed straight for the condo. We took Thursday off from shopping and took care of things like address changes, internet service, voter registration, and census forms. Brett got a next-day appointment for the internet set up so was down at the apartment again early Friday morning, but while the network is operational the internet doesn’t work! The technician wouldn’t come into the apartment either because according to him we had not been quarantined long enough. Brett has been on the phone with the internet company and they think the problems can be fixed tomorrow over the phone. Brett also did our Walmart shopping on Friday and got some more things we needed. Yesterday we visited another furniture store in Lihue, Two Frogs Hugging, that also graciously made special accommodations for us to come in and shop, and we found an affordable teak table and chairs, and a storage cabinet that will also function as a TV stand. Brett will be up early on Monday to rent a truck or van from Home Depot, the only place such things are available right now. We will run over to Costco first and pick up a gas grill and TV, then go back up to Otsuka’s to pick up the sofa and mattress so all the big and/or heavy things can go down to our place at the same time (our friend Alan will be helping move the heavy pieces). Anyway, things are moving along and we will be ready to move out of the condo this Friday morning to begin life in our new apartment!
Although we’re getting things done, moving and starting over from scratch in the middle of all the shutdowns going on all over is still proving to be a challenge at times and we’re constantly having to change and adapt. Stores here don’t have the things we need (can’t find a white bathmat, for example). We had planned to place an order with IKEA and include flat packs in our shipment from Portland that Brett would assemble here. However, the earliest possible delivery date available from the Portland IKEA was May 15! At that point, our shipment probably wouldn’t leave Portland until the end of the month at the earliest and not arrive here until late-June/early-July at the earliest. So, we decided to scrap the IKEA idea and use local sources and Amazon to find other pieces of furniture and things we need. It may end up costing us a bit more, but on the plus side we should end up with better quality goods than what we would have gotten from IKEA and our shipment over here won’t cost as much. We’re going to get started next week on getting our stored items back over here and have our fingers crossed there are no problems with that.
Airbnb stepped up this past week and refunded the full amount of our Mexico stay, overriding the host’s decision to only refund 75%. We’re still out of luck with our Aeromexico tickets, but are going to hold off on contacting Alaska Airlines as things may change yet again next month. We also received a credit from Bryn Mawr for part of YaYu’s flight home! That was a nice surprise and reduced the cost of that ticket. Both WenYu and YaYu are receiving refunds for some of their room and board costs, as well as a small final lump-sum payment for lost income through work-study. YaYu will be banking both amounts to use toward next year’s costs. Finally, I qualified for a break on my student loan – no payments due until September 30 – something I wasn’t sure would happen as it’s an old loan contracted under different rules than now. I’m on autopay though so payments will continue, but all of it will go directly to knock down some more of the principal.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I have tried to read a couple of times, but my mind still wanders too much and I can’t focus. I think once this move is over and we start getting settled I’ll be more relaxed and ready to read again.
- Listening to: It’s a beautiful, quiet morning. The sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze blowing, Brett is puttering around in the kitchen, YaYu is still asleep, and other than birds singing outside it’s perfectly quiet. It makes me think how noisy this condo complex must have been when it was full of tourists! The whole island has been quiet ever since we arrived, and we’ve heard several locals comment that it’s almost been a return to how it was in the past.
- Watching: I watched this week was the movie Parasite on Amazon Prime, but that was all. I thought it was superb and completely worthy of the academy award. Meiling sort of jokingly asked if we had been watching Tiger King, but I don’t think there is anything that could make me watch that. I’ve been compiling a list of movies to watch on Amazon once we get settled and get our streaming services up and running.
- Cooking: I haven’t really come up with a menu for the week, and am not even sure what we’re having tonight. YaYu is the cook these days (I’m the prep cook), and I’m going to let her look at what we have and decide what she’d like to make. Costco had chicken in when we were there on Wednesday so I grabbed a package of thigh fillets, and we still have ground pork, tofu, pork chops, and eggs on hand for protein as well as plenty of vegetables and bread. I’m pretty sure we’ll be having mabo dofu this week and the pan of stuffed peppers from Costco, but other than that I haven’t a clue what she’ll come up with! We’re going to order a pre-made meal from Monkeypod to have on Friday evening as we’ll be busy unpacking and settling in that day. The following week YaYu and I will work together to make a menu for the week on Monday after we receive our CSA bag and see what we have, then we’ll do the grocery shopping for the rest of what we need on Tuesday.
- Happy we accomplished this past week: We have bought everything we need that we could find here on the island; everything else for the apartment will be coming from the mainland. I have ordered some things from Amazon that we couldn’t find here, including a bed frame and nightstands, but much of the order isn’t due to arrive until the end of the month, and some of it not until the end of May!
- Looking forward to next week: Although there’s a lot to do to get ready, I am looking forward to moving into our place and getting adjusted to our “new normal” on the south shore of the island. We are also looking forward to getting the paperwork completed for the car transfer and also getting our driver’s licenses updated.
- Thinking of good things that happened: We had a lovely anniversary dinner last Monday, and we discovered we had everything on hand to make banana splits so dessert turned out to be a bit fancier than originally planned! Also, we’ve seen some Royal Hawaiian trucks out on the road delivering and picking up shipments this past week, so that gives us hope that it won’t take too long to get our stuff. We’ll see. The sofa we bought was a great value and something of a dream come true for us, and we’re happy with the other furniture we found as well.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: There is nothing frugal about setting up housekeeping from scratch, especially when there are only two places open to buy necessary items, but we are doing the best we can. It’s felt though as if our money has just flowed through our fingers this week, but it’s also been sort of amazing all that we’ve needed to get, even to set up a simple lifestyle. However, with the discount we were given at Otsuka’s we ended up paying less for a better sofa than the leather one available at Costco! Getting our refund from Airbnb was a huge relief because of the host’s pressure for us to cancel without guarantee of a refund. There’s been no food waste since we’ve been at the condo, I’m happy to report, something of a surprise considering the amount of food we moved in with.
- Grateful for: We were both touched and thankful that the managers of Otsuka’s and Two Frogs Hugging offered to open their stores for us so that we could shop safely on our own. There are very few furniture stores on the island (and they’re currently all closed), and Costco has an extremely limited supply of furniture, with just two sofa choices that didn’t appeal to us at all. Two Frogs Hugging had a great selection of interesting pieces at affordable prices (as well as many things way outside our spending limit), and we were allowed to shop in their warehouse for some great bargains. We’re also very thankful for the Monkeypod Jam store setting up and serving as a CSA pick-up location. It’s very close to our new place, and we’re looking forward to getting some great Kaua’i produce as well as helping out local farmers. We’ll be getting a bag of mixed items for the same as what we used to pay when we lived in Kapaa (only this time the farmers will choose what we get).
- Bonus question: How are you filling your days under a stay-at-home order? When we are not busy in some capacity working on getting moved, I’m mostly on my laptop, reading blogs and news, (I think I’ve solved the WordPress/Blogger commenting issue!), checking into Twitter to see what’s going on, writing or at least trying to come up with topics for the blog, and looking for sources for things we need. I’ve also been playing a fun game on my phone from time to time, Animal Restaurant, recommended to me by Meiling. Although I thought it started off slowly, I’m now completely hooked. Nothing I’m doing requires a lot of concentration though – I’m still unable to read more than a couple of pages before my brain is off thinking of all the other things I’m juggling in my head. It’s the same with watching TV. Of course, there are always meals to fix or at least prep for, cleaning to be done, beds to make, laundry to do, and endless things to pick up around the condo and those take time too. It’s kind of a sad, lazy life right now and somewhat depressing even with all we have going on.
From what we’ve heard from our son, and what I’ve been reading, it seems we got out of Japan, or at least Tokyo, at the right time, although Japan recently extended stays for visitors, including short-term tourists like we were. We still could have been stuck there for several more months though. Foreign visitors are currently stranded though as almost all international flights have been suspended. Many of these visitors were having to crowd into immigration offices along with the usual spring rush of students and other workers to try and get their visas extended, but the wait time for that deadline was recently extended by 90 days. It’s scary to think where we’d be at this point if we had stayed, and especially where YaYu would be. Japan is bracing for COVID-19 cases to explode again and what’s going to happen in the next few weeks is unknown. By the time we left many, many people in Tokyo were ignoring the social distancing orders – restaurants and shopping malls were full, and people were gathering for outings cherry blossom viewing parties in parks. High schools in Tokyo have been ordered to remain closed until May, and whether other schools will follow next week is currently unknown. I am especially worried for our daughter-in-law because she works for the national government, and it’s extremely unlikely that she will be ordered or even allowed to work from home – she is considered “essential.” She has to ride the train to and from her work as well as parking near where she works is completely unaffordable.
I hope you are all continuing to stay safe and healthy, as are your family and friends, and that you’re keeping your distance. To those of you with relatives or friends who have contacted the virus, I’m sending you and them all my good thoughts and prayers, for a speedy recovery. What a trying, scary time this is!