Sunday Morning 2/21/2021: A Tumultuous Week

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. We got quite a show on Friday evening as an all-day storm finished up and blew away.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

It’s been a somewhat tumultuous week. Last Sunday evening Meiling called us in tears to say she and her boyfriend had broken up. We talked with her for a long time, until we were sure she would be OK and that she would be able to move ahead. She is going to, as she says for now, spend time nurturing her relationship with herself. We are of course sad because we all thought her boyfriend was “the one.” They had been together for several years, but being cooped up together for the past year in a small apartment brought out things in both of them that they might have not discovered until much later, when things would have been far more complicated to get out of or fix. She went up to Massachusetts this weekend and is now staying with WenYu and her partner but is making appointments to view apartments in Boston next week and will relocate there as soon as it’s possible. We were very relieved to hear that she will be continuing with her current employer and working remotely. She loves her job, they love her, and she makes a very good income and has great benefits. She amassed an impressive amount in her savings account over the past year, so has a good cushion for her move and settling in. 

Many, many thanks to so many for the support and many suggestions I received following this past week’s Facing Reality post. It was very helpful to read others’ experiences and ideas, and gave us a lot more to think about, something we are thankful to have time to do. We are not leaving Hawaii any time soon, or at all if we can work things out here – we love our life here and it’s a good fit in so many ways for us. Plus, the thought of organizing another big move is overwhelming, and we’ve barely gotten ourselves settled again. It was an expensive operation too and we’d like to enjoy it for a while. However, the desire to be nearer to our children is a strong pull, and the housing situation here is discouraging, so for now we will keep investigating and saving and see where we end up. Our kids want us to stay here for now as it gives them all a reason to travel to Hawaii! Early 2023 is our target for making a firm decision on whether to stay or relocate, so we’re going to take our time and get it right.

From the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished files, Hawaii is still moving slowly with getting its population vaccinated, with only essential workers and those over 75 still eligible to get the shots, and new shipments of the vaccine going for second doses to those populations. When the vaccine first came out, Hawaii’s allotment was slashed nearly in half because of its successful efforts in keeping COVID levels down (“you don’t need so much”), with vaccines instead going to states who were experiencing excessive outbreaks (because of poor management decisions). Our tier (65 and above) is up next though and we’re hopefully things will start moving in the next couple of weeks. Brett and I are beyond ready to receive our jabs!

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished Searching for Sylvie Lee and The Ice Beneath Her this past week and was looking forward to only having one book to read but no . . . another book came off of hold at the library! So now The Thursday Murder Club is my evening book, and I’m reading Still Life by Louise Penney during the day. I’m hoping for a break after these two so I can finish The Woman in White before I forget everything I’ve already read.
  • Listening to: There’s a brisk wind blowing outside but we’ve got the windows and French doors closed for a change so it’s nice and quiet (and warm) except for the sound of the trees. Gray clouds are still hanging around but I can see a bit of blue as well so hopefully we’ll be able to get out for our walk today. Later on I’ll have the washing machine and dryer going but otherwise I think it’s going to be a very quiet day. Our upstairs neighbor came back last night after a week away – we hadn’t really noticed he was gone until we heard footsteps upstairs last night. He’s a pretty quiet guy so we hadn’t noticed he was gone. Quite a change from the previous tenant and his stomping!
  • Watching: We finished watching The Umbrella Academy and I immediately started watching The Great British Menu (via Amazon Prime), a cooking show where top British chefs compete to prepare a four-course banquet. It’s like a combination of The Great British Bake-Off and Top Chef, and I love it. Brett is not as enamored as I am with cooking shows, but he has other things to keep him busy while I watch. I’m thrilled there are several seasons to binge on as well. We’ve got Crime Scene: The Vanishing At the Cecil Hotel on tap for when we’re done with Call My Agent (final episode is tonight). A line in the preview caught our attention and made us want to check out the show: “Is there a room in this hotel where someone hasn’t died?” We’re also hearing good things about WandaVision so it’s been put on the list as well.
    Shopping list is done for this week. I have a new rule though: at least one thing has to come off the list before we shop. Not sure what that is yet though.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Not a big week for big accomplishments, although I did get everything filled in on my activity card which always makes me happy. I also prepared a big pot of meat sauce for pasta, and put seven servings for Brett and I into the freezer and one into the refrigerator for this week. I prepared our shopping list – fingers crossed we can find everything and fit it into our budget because we have a nearly three-week stretch coming up until we shop again. Brett got his scans done for the surgeon on Thursday – took the better part of a day – so now he’s waiting to hear when the surgery will be scheduled.
  • Looking forward to next week: Better weather? We’ve had everything from the sublime to the ridiculous this week. We’d love to get a beach-worthy day.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We took a wonderful hike last Sunday down on the Barking Sands base, on the Waiokapua Trail and are looking forward to doing that again in the future. Our son and DIL closed on their house, and are now in the process of getting their remodeling projects going (new floors, kitchen remodel, and some other projects). Although the new house has fewer bedrooms than their current one (three versus five), it’s basically the same size overall so they have a lot of space. The living room looks positively massive, there’s a separate dining room, and the kitchen is big enough to have an island, very unusual for Japan. We’re excited to see it after everything gets done.
    Our four-year-old granddaughter took this commemorative photo of our son and DIL getting ready to enter their new home for the first time as owners.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We put $7.44 into the change/$1 bill jar, leftover from our grocery shopping and farmers’ market trips. We stuck to our shopping list, but Costco unexpectedly had six-pound packages of fresh ground pork available (they rarely put it out – it usually all goes to restaurants), so we bought one of those as we use ground pork in recipes fairly frequently and the price was much lower compared to what we pay out in town. I earned 1,830 Swagbucks, we ate all the leftovers, I made and froze 7 packages of meat sauce for pasta, and we didn’t throw away any food. In other words, a pretty normal week for frugality.
  • Grateful for: This was a week that could have gone off the rails very quickly for Meiling, but we’re grateful that 1) WenYu lives close by and has the space to for Meiling; 2) Meiling has a great employer that can work remotely and keep all her benefits; and 3) her foresight in building such a solid savings account this past year. While it remains an emotionally difficult time for her, we’re all thankful she has a solid foundation and plan, and we believe she’s going to land on her feet and start moving forward quickly. Something like this in the past would have completely devastated her but her maturity and ability to move herself through a big change like this now makes us proud (and yes, relieved).
    The girl Brett saw from the window.
  • Bonus question: How did you meet your spouse/partner? I met Brett on May 25, 1977, in Millington, Tennessee – he was one of my instructors for a two-week lab course on transistor theory. I can still close my eyes and distinctly remember what he looked like the first time I saw him. We talked with each other during the course – ethically he could not ask me out, but we had our first date (to a movie) right after I finished the course and moved on to the next one. It was pretty much love at first sight for both of us, and we knew in a couple of months that we were going to get married, although that took a bit longer to accomplish because I was sent to Pensacola for my first duty station and we did not want a long-distance marriage. I learned later that before I walked into Brett’s classroom that first day he had seen me out the window while I was taking a break from my previous class, and he told his friend and fellow teacher that I was the girl he was going to marry! He wasn’t sure how we would meet, but then I walked into his classroom and the rest, as they say, is history.

Not the weather we had hoped for this week.

When we see what the weather has been doing in other parts of the country we know we honestly have nothing to complain about, but the weather here has been nuts this past week, from the sublime (last Sunday) to the ridiculous (Friday) and everything in between. Spring has always had the potential to get pretty wild on the island (like the rain and flooding back in April of 2018), but we know things will eventually settle down and sunny, warm days will be back. I’ve been nursing a sinus headache most of this past week thanks to the weather, and am looking forward to that getting resolved. Brett’s sister and BIL live in Dallas, and had no power for a week but we just heard from them and they’re OK, thank goodness. There are just no words for what’s been happening in the Midwest and Texas, and suffering that’s occurred and the reasons for that.

Anyway, here’s looking forward to a better week coming up for all, no matter where you live or what’s been going on!


24 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 2/21/2021: A Tumultuous Week

  1. So sorry to hear about M’s breakup with her boyfriend but glad she has landed on her feet. In NM, we are also waiting for our age group to come up. 75 and older has been up forever. Also grateful that we do not live in TX.


    1. She is landing on her feet. The two of them remain close – he is helping to pay for her move – but they both realize they need time on their own to figure some things out, and that may mean they don’t get back together.

      Same here with the vaccine – 75 and older have been getting it for weeks. We have to keep reminding people we’re not that old yet. Fingers crossed things change soon, both here and in NM!


  2. I’m so sorry to hear of Meiling’s heartbreak. However, as we know from our own experience, in 20 years time she will look back and be grateful that the break happened now rather than after marriage and a couple of children. It’s lovely that she has the support system of her sister nearby to help her through this. Fingers crossed the weather in the US eases soon and the vaccinations continue to flow. Here in Australia, vaccinations started yesterday. As we are under 60 we have been told we are likely to be vaccinated later this year. We are fortunate in that we do not need to be overly concerned about catching CV at this time but I just want life to return to normal for the world.


    1. She is heartbroken, but has made some good plans for the future and will be in MA with her sister tomorrow. I told her the same thing today, that although it might not seem that way it’s better to figure this stuff out now before marriage, children, or other commitments that are hard to dissolve.

      I am so ready for things to be “normal” again (well, except for hoards of tourists returning to Hawaii), but don’t think the normal we knew before is going to be the one we get next. It will be different.


  3. So sorry for your daughter’s heartache. What a sweet love story about you and your husband!!!!


    1. Meiling is doing OK – we’re very proud of her.

      Sometimes Brett and I marvel at how we met, but we both agree something “clicked” right away between us and whatever it was has held on all these years.


  4. I am sorry about Meiling’s breakup. I am the parent of adult children. When they were in their 20’s my son had a very painful breakup. He went back and broke up again. It was very hard on all of us. I told him it was good to recycle just not girlfriends. He is happily married now!

    Sweet story about you and Brett!


    1. What an emotional roller coaster week you have had!

      1. You inspired me to buy a digital food scale and get back to using the food diary portion of My Fitness Pal. My husband and I are motivated to downsize after gaining the COVID 19#. I am very impressed that you can get 8 meals of meat sauce from 1 pound of meat!
      2. After getting vaccine #2, I am almost ready to go back to the gym. I need the structure of a class. I lack your self-discipline to exercise on my own and lack your scenic walking trails.
      3. I finally got my post-vaccine haircut. Also I went inside a new grocery store. Big mistake. There were too many people. It was too visually stimulating and overwhelming for me. There were many empty shelves because deliveries were weather delayed.
      4. Vaccines in Texas are available for 65 and older, if you can get an appointment. There are a few advantages to getting older. We still wear a mask, socially distance and wash hands but it is good to feel less vulnerable.
      5. I have thought about moving to California to be closer to only son and d-i-l. (probably no grands) We are so spoiled by the cost of living where we live (west Texas) that we are staying put for now. A compromise may be to rent an Airbnb for a month in CA a couple of times a year.
      6. I am grateful that where we live was not part of the electrical grid that wreaked havoc in the rest of the state, although we are scheduled to join in June.
      7. Also I am grateful that my husband and I have been good pandemic partners. We met in high school. I was not impressed. We became good friends in college and got married after graduation. Somehow we managed to grow up together instead of apart. Also I learned that I don’t always need to be right (even if I am!)
      8. Thanks for sharing your How We Met story. I would like to know more about your experience in the Navy.


      1. Susan: I apologize for the late reply – your long comment went into the spam file, and I only check it around once a week or so. Hopefully it will make you feel better to know that you’re not the only one – I have a few regular commenters who get sent there now and again. One of WordPress’s little gags, I guess.

        1) The food scale has proven invaluable and made in real difference in seeing what a serving should be, as have my measuring spoons from Weight Watchers. We like meat, but I prefer it to be more like a condiment if possible and not the “star.” That doesn’t always happen, of course, but with this sauce I like the vegetables to stand out.
        2) We are very blessed here to have beautiful places to walk, and normally good weather. I’d drop out very quickly if I went to a gym though – I seem to need the outdoors to get anything done.
        3) Haircuts have been happening here for a while, but masks are worn by everyone, and customers are limited in the salon as well. They have chairs for seven, but I’ve only seen two people in there at a time since COVID.
        4) Over 75 are still being vaccinated here, and our tier has been delayed because of bad weather back on the mainland. Shipments of the vaccine were delayed, and they are now behind giving on second doses.
        5) I’m a California girl and could happily live there again except for the expense. It’s worse there than here! We’ve worked things out in Hawaii, don’t want to have to relearn how to do it in California.
        6) Brett spoke with his sister today (lives near Dallas) and they did not get stuck with one of those huge bills, thankfully, although they were without power (and cold) for a week.
        7) Brett and I have been on the same page about the pandemic. We have always gotten along well, and even though we live in a small space we know how to carve out our own spaces when needed and respect the other’s space. We can always find something to talk about as well, even after all these years, and enjoy sharing dreams, ideas, plans, and all sorts of stuff.
        8) My navy experience is pretty boring, frankly. Book camp was like childbirth every day for eight weeks, but I was determined not to stay there a moment longer than I did. My job turned out to be doing the air traffic control for flight trainers, getting the “planes” up in the air, have the trainees change course, and so forth. Easy peasy, and interesting. I hated being stationed away from Brett, but we got through that.


    2. Just a few years ago Meiling would have melted into a puddle over this so we are happy she is able to move on from this now. They are still very fond of each other, but Meiling knows she needs to be on her own for a while, that staying around “to work things out” is not the answer.

      Something clicked immediately between Brett and me, but he was seriously the nicest man I’d ever met. Still is.


  5. Sorry to hear about Meiling’s breakup, but as others have said, it’s better they found this out now than after marriage and kids. It’s great Meiling’s employer is ok with her moving and working remotely.

    Your boot camp photo makes me laugh every time you post it because you look so happy! In other photos I’ve seen, the people look terrified/nervous. You and Brett are very lucky you found each other. Love at first sight is so rare and even rarer when it actually works out!

    I’m glad you’re staying in Hawaii for now. I agree there’s no rush to make a decision. Love the photos from your hike. I really must check out Barking Sands next time I come to Kauai, which I hope will be next year.


    1. The boot camp picture was taken about two to three weeks before graduation, and at that point I knew I was going to make it, so yes, I was happy! My mother’s last piece of advice to me before I set out for boot cam/school was “For God’s sake, don’t marry a sailor!” So, when I told her I was going to marry Brett she came right to Memphis (like in a couple of days) to check him out. She fell for him right away and gave him the thumbs up and they always had a good relationship.

      You can’t get on Barking Sands without military ID, but if you want to go let us know and we can bring you on as a guest. It would be a fun way to meet up!

      Everything is good to go with her employer – she does a job that can be done remotely and they do not want to lose her.


      1. Oh yes, I forgot Barking Sands is military only, but thank you for the offer and I will definitely take you up on it! Let’s hope next year things will be normal or whatever normal will look like.

        That’s funny about your mom’s warning! I went out with a guy who was in the navy years ago. My mom gave me the same warning your mom gave you, but I had to remind her that my dad was in the navy when she met him, LOL. I didn’t marry the guy I was dating, but we are still friends.

        I think companies have learned that a lot of people can work remotely and don’t need to be tied to an office anymore. I’m hoping for the same thing, but my boss, even though she’s much younger than I am, is very stuck in the past and not up on technology, oddly enough. Glad to hear Meiling found an apartment already!


      2. My dad was in the navy too when my mom met him, but he was a officer and Brett was only enlisted (as was I). Big difference in their minds.

        Meiling’s apartment is very cute – a small studio but with a nice view and a Trader Joe’s around the corner. She doesn’t drive but they have a good metro system so she can get around easily. And, WenYu is just a short train trip away as well.

        We would love to take you to Barking Sands – fingers crossed!


    1. I will have to dig around and see if I can find one. We had our picture taken together before I left for my next duty station but our son has it and says he is never giving it back!

      The movie we saw was “I Will, I Will, For Now” starring Eliot Gould and Diane Keaton. I remember nothing about the movie at all other than the title.


  6. Look at you, all fresh faced and bright-eyed! I always wonder how people know when they look at a person that that is the person they will marry – think even more on it when it is a long-married couple who say they knew on sight.

    The ups and downs of being a parent and feeling the joy and pain of our children! Your son is so lucky to have such a big place. Hope Mailing heals soon.

    I do love the child’s view of parents!


    1. Even though there was definitely something between us right from the start, I admit to being nervous for a while that it would burn out, but that never happened. I think the big thing is that we LIKED each other and always have. We’re very different people with very different interests and ways of approaching things, but we’ve always agreed on the big things and are both willing to stop and listen and work things out when we do disagree.

      That picture cracked me up!

      Oh yes – my curly hair in that photo? I needed a permanent to get it to curl that way evenly all over. These days it wouldn’t be necessary – the older I get the curlier my hair gets.

      Meiling is doing so good – she’s in pain but keeps moving forward. We’ve had some deep discussions and for those I’m grateful.


  7. A sweet love story of how you 2 met. It’s a horrible feeling to know our kids are hurting & we can’t fix it. Sounds like your daughter is well prepared to move own even though it might not have felt like it at the time. I would enjoy walking those trails along the beach. Nice pictures.


    1. When I met Brett all I knew was his last name because we all wore name tags with only the last name. It was well over a week before I knew his name was Brett – he outranked me so I had to be careful. Before that I guessed his name was David!

      Meiling has already found an apartment in Boston and signed a lease! It’s a cute place and in a good location so fingers crossed all goes well.

      The trail at Barking Sands was a pleasant surprise – we’re looking forward to walking it again.


  8. Sorry to hear of M’s situation. But, as you say, better now than later. It’s hard to see our kids in pain. At our age, though, we now this too shall pass. And so happy she has sister support to rely on. What a gift.

    That pic of your son and DIL made me LOL. Such a great 4 yo picture taking adventure. I can see our grandson doing the same. They must all be excited to be in their new home!

    DH & I met at work and were friends for 10 years first. I love your “love at first sight” story…you were a cutie!

    We got an Instant Pot for Christmas and I have yet to use it. Today is the day. Not sure why I’ve been hesitant, as I’ve heard great things about them. Maybe the warnings about not scalding myself when I vent it. 🤷‍♀️ At any rate, if it works as advertised, I can probably get rid of my crockpot too.


    1. Meiling will be in MA tomorrow, and she is packed and ready to go in NYC – her boyfriend is paying for the move to help her out (she joked that it was her “severance pay”). I’m glad she’ll be able to spend a few days with WenYu before moving into her own place.

      Other relationships prior to Brett were with men who were friends first. I think liking a person is one of the strongest indicators for a good relationship, although you can eventually learn to dislike someone. Both of us had previous marriages, so we did not go into our relationship all starry-eyed.

      I never saw the need for an Instant Pot, but now I love it. I only use it every other week but it’s great, especially for risotto! I will be slow cooking in it later this week.

      There will two to three more months to go before our son and DIL can move into their house because of the remodeling. In Japan though those things get done quite quickly – a whole crew will come in to do the work versus just one contractor and maybe an assistant, like what happens here.


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