Most of the sunsets were uninspiring, to be honest, but we did get a few good ones these past couple of weeks.
It is good to be back!
I enjoyed my time off, and managed to keep busy the past couple of weeks. We walked almost every day over at Kukuiolono and went to the beach a few times. We walked, usually at Kukuiolono, but one day we drove up to Kapaa and hiked out to the Pineapple Dump, always a beautiful place. We did our food shopping and went to the farmers’ market on Wednesdays. I read. I cooked. I played games on my phone. We occasionally watched TV, and greatly enjoyed Hamilton this past Friday, a bit bittersweet as we didn’t get to see it on Broadway in May. I did some thinking about whether I wanted to continue blogging, but the answer was always yes. I may not be writing these days as much as I did in the past, but I missed it and am glad to be back at it again.
We started off week before last with news from our bank that our chargeback claim with Aeromexico had been denied, supposedly because it was simply a “billing error” on Aeromexico’s part. The letter gave me a number to call for details, and after speaking with someone from the dispute department it turned out they had never gotten an actual receipt for the tickets, so all they saw was the cancellation letter from Aeromexico and figured I had gotten another flight (or that’s what Aeromexico told them). I still have the receipt for the tickets though, and what we paid, so the bank agreed to reopen the claim and we submitted the receipt along with all the other original paperwork. So, we are waiting again, and hopefully we will finally get those tickets refunded.
Our storage shipment is scheduled to arrive on Kauai on Friday, July 10!! That means we should get delivery sometime the week after – so exciting! And, my new glasses were finally ready for pickup this past Thursday. I don’t know what the problem was, but getting them took nearly five weeks from my exam. The prescription is much stronger than the previous pair, and it’s going to take a while to fully adjust to them (I was warned about this). The only unknown left is when the dining chair pads I ordered through Etsy will arrive. They were supposed to be finished and shipped by June 9, but I got a message from the store owner that she was swamped and they would be shipped on the 16th. The actual shipment date ended up being June 25, but at least they are now on their way. The pottery bowls I ordered arrived last week, and are beautiful and getting plenty of use.
Finally, this morning as I write I am enjoying my final Diet Coke. I feel a bit sad, and am going to miss them, but I am also ready to let them go.
Anyway, this morning I am:
- Reading: I am slowly working my way through Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood With Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour. I somehow had the impression that this was a less dense book, but I can read for an hour an only get through a few percentage points on my Kindle. Thankfully it’s well-written and very readable, and interesting as well. I put several other books on hold at the library, but will have to wait for most of them.
- Listening to: It’s kind of a noisy morning outside here. Lots of birds singing and there’s a strong (and cool) breeze blowing through the trees. A few roosters are doing their thing as well. YaYu is still sleeping, and Brett’s reading. One thing I realized this morning is that there is no barking! Constant barking, nearly 24 hours a day it seemed, was always in the background when we lived here before, but I don’t think I’ve heard even one dog bark in this neighborhood since we’ve been here (and many of our neighbors have dogs).
- Watching: We are still watching Ozark, and are close to finishing up the second season. We took a break last Friday to watch Hamilton, which was better than hoped for.
- Cooking: Costco currently has big tubs of marinated mozzarella on sale, so we picked one up last week and tonight we’re using some of them in a Caprese-style salad which we’ll have with grilled Italian sausages and rosemary-garlic focaccia (made by YaYu). Also appearing on the menu this week will be chili pork sauce over rice; Costco’s enchilada casserole (two nights); breakfast for dinner (scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit, and toast); butter chicken and rice; and spaghetti with homemade marinara.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I got my annual fasting blood work done this past week and everything was good so my prescriptions have been ordered for another year. We also got all our paperwork (HIPAA Permits Disclosures and Advance Health Care Directives) ready to be turned in to the clinic. Brett walked every day these past two weeks but I only got in four days this past week (six the week before). I got all of my activity cards filled in for the past two week, and charted my eating every day on MyFitnessPal (and stayed within my calorie/macro allotments too!). We had bought YaYu a case of ramen when she arrived back in March, but she said it was too much so we mailed off what was left to WenYu and Meiling this week – they are looking forward to it because it’s the “good” stuff, Sapporo Ichiban, which is supposedly difficult to find and expensive where they are.
- Looking forward to next week: The chair pads should be delivered this coming week although the way things have been going I’m not entirely counting on it. We’re especially looking forward to some good weather, another couple of days at the beach, and some more good walks.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Getting my new computer, getting my new glasses, and learning that our stuff will be here soon were all very good things, and they all happened on the same day! I’m glad that we were able to reopen our claim again Aeromexico – fingers are doubly crossed this time that we get our refund. Summer fruit season has “officially” started: dragonfruit appeared at the farmers’ market for the first time this year – it’s one of our favorites – and Costco now has ripe peaches and nectarines. Watermelon and pineapple are also available at the farmers’ market, but they are expensive, so we’ll wait until later this month to get them at Costco.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We spent about $35 over our food budget last week, but we’re OK with it as we somehow had ended up with a LOT of non-food items on our list (shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, probiotic, aspirin, contact cleaner, and so forth – it added up quickly). We put just 50¢ in the change/$1 bill jar these past two weeks, but our travel account now has $673.97 in it! I earned an additional 1075 Swagbucks during the past two weeks and am growing ever closer to our first $100 Southwest gift card. We have done a phenomenal job finishing our leftovers if I do say so – no food has been thrown out!
- Grateful for: We are beyond thankful, as always, for the abundance of produce grown on Kaua’i year-round, and the ease of procuring it at the weekly farmers’ market for an affordable price. We have always been good about including fruits and vegetables into our diet, but we are able to have so much more here.
- Bonus question: How has the humidity been so far? As of now I am happy to report that it hasn’t been bad at all! Those of you who read this blog in the past know that humidity was my chief nemesis when we lived here before (and it was pretty bad when we visited last January), and I suffered mightily from it. Our new location though has made a world of difference – we get wonderful breezes through the apartment all day which keep it cool and don’t give the humidity much of a chance to settle like it did in our former place. The only thing that moved the air there was the ceiling fans – the house had hills on two sides, and its windows were not placed to catch any breeze at all keeping it continually humid, sticky, and hot inside. I also think it just may be less humid down on the south side of the island where we are now. We have had only a couple of days with high humidity, like yesterday and one the week before last. Both times big, heavy clouds settled over the area, but both times it eventually rained, the clouds passed, and the breezes came through again and all was well. If the trade winds die off again this summer though things could get sticky here, but so far it’s been very pleasant and a world of difference from what we experienced last time.
Hawaii is now planning to open to visitors on August 1st if they can get a testing regime in place even though the virus has already returned to the islands. Visitors with proof of a negative Covid-19 test from an approved tester (CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, Kaiser for now) can avoid quarantine, but without test results they will have to undergo the 14-day quarantine with no car rentals, etc. No one is sure how this is going to work or even if it will work, especially since in most places on the mainland tests aren’t available unless you have symptoms – you can’t get one just because you want to go on vacation to Hawaii. Things are continuing to slowly open up though in anticipation of visitors coming back. Our upstairs neighbors just finished their 14-day quarantine this past week – the police and/or national guard were by every day to check on them so the quarantine enforcement is still taken seriously here. We also watched security approach a few people at the farmers’ market and remind them that masks are still required outside as well unless you are exercising. Kaua’i now has 36 active cases of the virus, all within three families – those seem to have come from inter-island travel and then spread within the families and their friends. All contacts are being monitored and known positive cases have been isolated. They appear to be contained (for now) but it is still unnerving, especially with the thought of visitors returning to the islands in possibly significant numbers.
YaYu continues to look for work but has almost given up hope, especially since she will probably only be here for another couple of months. Her college still plans to open, and she has already filled out a request for a private dorm room. The fall semester bill will arrive within the next couple of weeks (ugh) and she will re-register again for classes (the entire previous schedule that she register for last spring has been changed and upended in order that social distancing can be maintained). WenYu is also looking for employment back in Massachusetts, and Meiling is up for a promotion at her job in New York! We are tentatively planning to gather here for Christmas this year if things are better and travel is possible, but we all realize it may not happen, and we’ll have to postpone any reunion until next year.
How was your Fourth of July holiday? We got together with our neighbors and another couple yesterday evening for a barbecue, with Cary the chef manning the grill, and then did fireworks out in front of the house afterwards. We supplied the dessert, a peach cobbler and ice cream.
That’s a wrap for my two weeks away! I hope the past couple of weeks have provided lots of good things for you all, including good books and good food, and that you accomplished a lot and are looking forward to the week coming up.