A few front-door sunsets from last week.
It’s been a so-so week, a continuation of our new normal. We’ve gotten out for a couple of walks (although that can be difficult to do with the restrictions), and to get food and supplies. Our washing machine was delivered and works great, but the dryer can’t be hooked up yet (no vent) so clothes will need to be hung up or go to the laundromat to be dried for the time being. Finding a drying rack on the island though was like searching for a needle in a haystack, although a small one was eventually found. A few more packages arrived from Amazon this past week with items to make our lives easier, but we are still waiting on several other things, especially our bed linens, which seem to be either lost or trapped in limbo somewhere. The weather has been mostly delightful, but we’ve also had rain and it’s been cloudy and quite windy some days. The sunsets have been amazing though. It feels for the most part like we’re neither going forward nor moving backward. Kaua’i hasn’t had a new case of the virus in over a week, and only two people on the island still remain in isolation. Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island had only a handful of cases last week which has been wonderful news as well. Openings are already being planned for next month, but as for visitors, how many will dare get on a plane to fly here? What will open? And, testing someone for the virus after they arrive is too late for the islands, but who is going to test everyone before they come? And what happens if a visitor brings the virus again – what will happen then?
Last Wednesday, following the advice of a reader and reading up on our rights for a refund, I contacted Aeromexico. Because the flight would have arrived in the U.S., and because they, not us, canceled the flight, US Department of Transportation regulations clearly state we are entitled to a full refund. Period. Aeromexico wouldn’t budge though – all they would offer was a voucher good for 365 days or a reservation on another flight, neither of which works for us. So, we are now disputing the charge through our bank and have reported Aeromexico to the DOT, who has already issued strong warnings to all airlines about the rules for issuing refunds, international carriers included. It may take a while, but hopefully, we will get those tickets refunded (not sure of what happens though if Aeromexico declares bankruptcy).
We are also having difficulty setting up anything with Royal Hawaiian. We have called and emailed, and have been told they will get right back with us, but we’ve heard nothing. We are trying to be patient – it can’t be easy for them under current conditions, but we also don’t want to have to buy more things to tide us over until our shipment arrives. We learned this past week though that one saucepan and one frying pan were not enough to work with so we added a big covered saute pan to our collection of cookware as well as a ladle and serving spoon. These are all things we already own but that are currently in storage, but will be put away for YaYu once our stuff does arrive.
I was able to snap a few pictures at Glass Beach before we had to leave.
We’d like to get outside every day, but sometimes all we manage is a trip out to the deck to sit and read. On Monday we drove down to Poipu to walk and see the sunset – it was lovely and the sunset was gorgeous. We also got back for a walk yesterday afternoon. On Wednesday we went in the other direction to walk on Glass Beach, but the police arrived about 10 minutes after we did and ordered all nine of us that were there to leave. Thank goodness for our Hawaii driver’s licenses because we would have received a ticket and fine otherwise. We had hoped to put off shopping until next week, but we ran out of food on Wednesday, so on Thursday Brett and I went to Costco and then to Big Save in Koloa, the nearest store to our house, and stocked up again. Other than a weekly trip to the farm stand, we now have enough to get us through at least another three weeks. There are no bargains to be had on Kaua’i though – our food bill was through the roof again, especially since we’re feeding three right now.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished Secondhand, and am a little over halfway through The Splendid and the Vile – it’s a much longer book than I realized, although very interesting. Midnight at Chernobyl came off of hold at the library this past week so that’s my current daytime book. It’s very readable, especially for such a complicated topic – I actually can now understand nuclear fission, radioactivity, and how a nuclear reactor operates because of the author’s clear explanations. Secondhand was a very thought-provoking book about what happens to our stuff after we’re done with it, and after finishing the book I felt pleased with how well we did before leaving Kaua’i in 2018 in getting our things recycled and reused. We threw away very little.
- Listening to: Sundays have been very quiet in our neighborhood, but someone was mowing their lawn earlier. Otherwise, all I’m hearing is the sound of a fairly strong breeze blowing through the trees outside. YaYu is still sleeping, and Brett’s quietly making himself breakfast in the kitchen.
- Watching: All three of us have been watching the British detective series Shetland, one episode an evening in order to stretch it out. We have three more seasons left to go, each with six episodes, so we’ve got another couple of weeks until we have to find something else. YaYu watches a couple of other shows, but I have no idea what they are.
- Cooking: Our small refrigerator and freezer are full once again, as is our pantry. Tonight we’re having grilled Polish sausages with potato salad, and we’ll also finish up the last of some four-bean salad. Also on the menu this week will be mabo dofu with steamed rice; grilled fish tacos with fresh mango salsa; and fried rice. We’ll be trying out the Instant Pot as well, although we’re not sure what we want to make just yet.
- Happy we accomplished this past week: It was a pain to take care of, but I’m glad I got the ball rolling to get our refund from Aeromexico. YaYu also organized the refrigerator and pantry which was a big help. I am also glad we got our food shopping done as it’s currently a difficult and somewhat unpleasant chore these days.
- Looking forward to next week: I am especially looking forward to getting our coffee table this week – I never realized how much we use one until we didn’t have one. The table we ordered is nothing fancy or expensive, but it’s solid wood, has a design we love, and it got good reviews on Amazon, so Brett and I have our fingers crossed. This coming week will also be YaYu’s last for this term’s classes – she is ready to be done with those and move on to her junior year!
- Thinking of good things that happened: Our Instant Pot arriving yesterday was a huge surprise as it wasn’t scheduled to come until Wednesday of this week. YaYu and I have been deep reading the instruction booklet and we have decided to start slow and work our way up to more complicated recipes. In spite of not being able to use the dryer right now, having a washing machine again is wonderful. A brand new stacking unit was delivered on Thursday and by that evening we were caught up with all our dirty laundry, at least the washing. Don’t know what the solution will be for venting the dryer though – possibly under the house? We actually prefer line drying for many things so we had ordered a big drying rack from Amazon, and Brett (eventually) found another small one hidden away at a local hardware store – between the two we should be able to get everything dried on laundry day and will save the dryer only for a few items. We can also drive down to the laundromat in Eleele if we need to, to use the big dryers there – the washer’s spin cycle does such an amazing job of extracting water that it didn’t take long and cost very little to dry the three loads of wet clothes we brought to the laundromat on Thursday evening. Brett also found what may have been the last set of ice cube trays on the island, also hidden away at a store, and we were set by Saturday evening for gin & tonics once again. They were made with Hendrick’s Gin, from Scotland (found at Costco in blockade runner-sized bottles) so we also had some lovely memories of our time in the UK while we sipped our drinks.
- Thinking of frugal things that happened: We had five no-spend days this past week, but then spent a lot when we did our food shopping which ran our daily spending average right back up to the limit. We are well stocked with food for the next few weeks though. I also found a quarter that had been left behind in the change machine at the laundromat, but every little bit counts, and it was put away for the future.
- Grateful for: I am both fortunate and grateful, as always, for Brett’s steadfast companionship and love, and for his willingness to assemble all these many items that keep arriving from Amazon but also for his help with unglamorous household tasks like laundry, dishwashing, recycling, and all sorts of other things that need to be done each day. YaYu has also been a huge help, especially with cooking. It’s been fun to prep everything for her knowing she will turn it into something delicious. Under what are difficult conditions for her, including being separated from her friends and boyfriend, and being cooped up in a small apartment with her mom and dad trying to finish her classes remotely, she has stayed positive and helpful and is fun to have around.
- Bonus question: What’s the first thing you want to do when the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted and things start opening back up? I NEED A HAIRCUT! (yes, I’m shouting). While I have enjoyed having longer hair these past few months, and the cut I got last December in Portland has grown out well, Kauai’s humid/windy weather and my very curly hair are not a good match. As long as I stay inside I’m OK, but if I step outside for a moment all I’m left with is a big frizzy mess. I am also growing tired of how long it takes for my hair to dry now that it’s longer (and I can’t use a dryer – that also makes for very frizzy hair). So, as soon as it’s possible, I am getting my hair cut short again. I am also looking forward to getting back to the beach and sitting in a beach chair under an umbrella with my Kindle and a Diet Coke or an iced tea. Right now if I tried it I’d get a ticket (as it’s a non-essential activity).
My wish for the next week is that outside of a visit to the local farmstand, we don’t discover something else we need so we don’t have to buy anything. I am sick of spending money! I am greatly tired of “moving in” too, and outside of the few things yet to arrive from Amazon I would like to feel a bit more settled than I have for the past few weeks. I am hoping to have a week where we can get out a few times for walks, but also really enjoy the space we’re in. The deck is all set up now, with a big umbrella, comfortable chairs and side tables for drinks, and I’m looking forward to being out there more (weather permitting) and enjoying my coffee or some iced tea while I look out and savor our beautiful back yard (which was “groomed” this past week so it’s looking especially nice!).
I try to stay positive, but it’s been a whiny, not so happy sort of week, and I have to believe this one coming up will be better. This has just been such a crazy, sad, frustrating, mixed-up time for everyone, and then having to get through this move on top of everything got the best of me the past few days. It will all work out though – things always do.
That’s all for this week – I continue to hope that good things happen for you and yours, that you have good books to read and good food to eat, and that you’re all staying safe and well.