Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
YaYu heads back to school tomorrow evening, and we’re saying goodbye with mixed feelings. We’re ready to have our little apartment back to ourselves again and not have YaYu’s stuff all over the place (it’s really too small for three people), but also know we will greatly miss her and that it will many months before we see her again. This long, extended stay with us has not been easy for her and she’s pretty much been bored out of her mind for most of it, but she has also hasn’t seemed as prickly as she’s been in the past. I am looking forward to not having to cook so much so often, and pick up after her so often as well. Anyway, she’ll fly from here to Honolulu tomorrow evening where she has a couple of hours layover, then on to Seattle overnight to meet up with a good friend in the morning before heading back to Pennsylvania together. They’ll share an Uber ride out to the campus, and classes will begin toward the end of the week. YaYu has a heavy schedule, and a lot to decide this term – she’ll be hunting down a research internship and researching graduate programs. She has a few options if she does not nail down the internship, but she definitely won’t be coming back to Hawaii – once again there won’t be anything for her to do here.
Brett had to begin quarantining the minute he came back from Honolulu, and that doesn’t end until Thursday evening at 5:00 p.m. YaYu has been freaked out about him possibly having brought the virus back with him so he has been wearing a mask inside and even out in the yard (and she wears a mask inside), she’s been eating separately from him, and he has not been allowed to touch the dishes (washing, putting away, etc.) or anything she uses. He still makes the coffee in the morning, but that been OK with YaYu because she doesn’t drink coffee. Brett has spent most of his time reading, but he has been taking care of various tasks around the apartment so our windows now sparkle, light fixtures are spotless and bug free, everything is dusted, the refrigerator has been scrubbed out from top to bottom, and so forth. His appointment with the doctor in Honolulu went well, and he’ll have one more test done here before surgery, which will thankfully also be done at the hospital here. He’s not sure whether he’ll have to go back to Honolulu for a post-op exam or whether that can be done via tele-med, but if he does have to go we’ve decided I will tag along as well and we’ll give ourselves a little break there. We’ll see.
We’ve had another week of crazy weather with rain, wind, thunderstorms, and unusually cold temperatures. We had a few days where temps dropped down into the mid-50s to low-60s in the morning and at night, and stayed in the upper 60s during the day – it was uncomfortable. Friends on the mainland have laughed and reminded me that they haven’t had temperatures in the 60s for weeks now, but we don’t have insulation or heaters here, so if it’s in the 50s or 60s outside it’s also 50 or 60 degrees inside as well and all we can do is bundle up and hope it eventually warms up (we would have turned on the heat back on the mainland if it was this cold inside). It’s sort of like a reverse heat wave for us when it gets this cold here, the opposite of a few days of weather at 107° or so with no air conditioning, no ceiling fans, no breeze, and insulation made to keep the cold out. Anyway, things finally appear to be moving back to normal – the temperature is noticeably warmer this morning.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I’m just about done with The Perfect Spy, and then will go back to The Woman In White again this week. Hopefully I can get that done before the next book comes off of hold at the library. I had hoped to finish four books in January, but because of library scheduling and book length and density, that didn’t happen.
- Listening to: The sun is out and the sky is blue, blue, blue. There is a normal amount of breeze, and it’s 10 degrees warmer than it’s been all week – I don’t have to put on a sweater for the first time in a few days. There are a few chickens/roosters out screaming in the distance, but otherwise it’s very quiet both inside and out. YaYu is outside with the cat, and Brett is reading so it’s very quiet inside. I’ve got a nice hot cup of coffee sitting in front of me – the morning couldn’t be more perfect!
- Watching: We’re still watching Call My Agent and The Umbrella Academy – both are great. I can understand a few more words in French these days but most of it is way too fast for me in Call My Agent.
- Happy we accomplished this past week: Since he’s stuck at home, Brett has been taking care of loads of chores around the house: the windows have all been washed, inside and out, he cleaned the refrigerator, and several other things have been taken care of. I finally made a dental appointment for an exam and cleaning, but only because a small piece chipped off of one of my back teeth. I have sort of been avoiding the dentist because of the pandemic but can’t put it off any more. YaYu mailed two packages to herself, things that weren’t going to fit into her suitcase or backpack going back (including the yoga mat we gave her for Christmas and some of the snacks she got for herself). She was appalled by the cost of postage. She’ll get her packing done later today.
- Looking forward to next week: Tomorrow will be my weekly day off from walking, and then I’ll be up at the park by myself for three days, so I am greatly looking forward to walking with Brett again beginning on Friday, once he’s out of quarantine. I’m also looking forward to preparing simpler meals once again next week, and not having to spend so much time in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to washing fewer dishes as well as Brett will be helping out again (he does the afternoon/evening dishes).
- Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and YaYu hiked up Sleeping Giant last Sunday; it was one thing YaYu greatly wanted to do before she left, and the weather cooperated. I received a lovely email this past week from our host in Florence checking up on us and letting us know they were selling the apartment we stayed in there. It was one of our favorite homes during all of our travels – so charming and in such a great location. We were so cold on Friday morning that Brett started a small fire in outdoor firepit to help warm us up (it was too early in the day for s’mores though).
- Thinking of frugal things we did: Other than Brett’s trip to Honolulu, the farmers’ market (where I only spent $8), and a quick trip to Big Save ($20.15), it was a no-spend week. We put $7.93 into the change/$1 bill jar this past week, leftover from Brett’s trip to Honolulu and the farmers’ market. Our total change/$1 bill amount saved in January was $28.94. I earned 2,430 Swagbucks, which includes a 632 SB bonus earned in January. As always, no food was thrown away and all the leftovers were consumed.
- Grateful for: Both Brett and I are very grateful for the time we’ve gotten to spend with YaYu and the chance we’ve had to spoil her a bit. We’re also grateful for the efforts her sisters have made to stay in contact with her while she’s been here as well. They have a strong relationship with each other, and it’s been a joy to see them support each other even though they can’t get together.
- Bonus question: How many places have you had a driver’s license? I counted these up the other day and was surprised to discover that I’ve been licensed at one time or another in eight different states: California, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, Maryland, Florida, Oregon, and Hawaii. I learned to drive in California, but attended college in Arizona and needed a license there, then later lived in Colorado for a while before I joined the navy, and had licenses from Tennessee, Maryland, and Florida during Brett’s time in the navy. Oregon and Hawaii licenses came after, for obvious reasons. Other than my initial test in California, I’ve never had to take another driving test, only written exams for a new license. I also had a special driving license each time we were stationed in Japan, issued jointly from the navy and the Japanese government (again only a written test). That license was equivalent to one for a “professional driver,” such as a taxi driver, truck driver, chauffeur, etc. and if I’d ever had an accident there would have been assessed differently (i.e. stronger penalties) than a regular driver. By the way, in Japan we drove on the left side of the road, like in the UK, Australia or New Zealand. It was easy once I remembered to always keep the steering wheel to the center of the road. We lived in Japan long enough too that when I would watch American films or TV shows they were driving on the wrong side of the road!
Hawaii’s current visitor quarantine requirements are due to expire on February 20, but we heard rumors this past week that they may continue until more people/visitors have been vaccinated, especially with the relief bill coming with continued unemployment insurance, etc. Cases of the virus here have been dropping rapidly, but Hawaii is currently not getting enough of the vaccine, and what’s coming now is being used for the second dose of those who have been vaccinated instead of getting new people taken care of. Hopefully that will change soon. Everyone we talk to here admits to loving quiet and calm we’re enjoying now, the lack of traffic on the roads, etc. and is not looking forward to having hoards of visitors descend on the island once again once things improve. Hopefully some lessons have been learned, and tourism won’t reach the levels it was at back when we left in 2018 – it was overwhelming back then, and unsustainable. I am sorry though for all the businesses that weren’t able to make it without tourist dollars and won’t be coming back – peace and quiet has come with a price.
Even with the cold, there’s been lots going on in the yard this past week.
It’s been another quiet, low key (and cold) week but a good one and I’m looking forward to the week coming up and hope everyone is as well. Hopefully there will be more and better picture-taking opportunities. In the meantime, here’s to good food, good books, safe travels, frugal living, and good things happening for all!