Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
We had hoped after last week’s expensive car repairs that we would be done with that for a while, but it was not to be. A few days after we got the car back we began having trouble getting the car started; last Monday morning it took Brett eight tries. So, instead of running his other errands that morning he went directly to our mechanic and ended up having the starter replaced. Ugh. The car starts up nicely every time now so it was a needed repair but once again that was several hundreds of dollars we wished we hadn’t had to spend. Our car otherwise runs very well, gets great gas mileage, so both of us now have our fingers and toes crossed that this is it for awhile.
There’s been some sunshine this week, but mostly cool, windy weather has continued. It’s been cold enough on a couple of nights that I had to break out my cold weather pajamas (which are now too big!). We were up in Kapaa this past week for my hair cut, and took our walk that day on the beach path. If the wind hadn’t been blowing at nearly 20 mph it would have been hot, but the wind kept it cool the entire time. The ocean was fierce though, and between the noise from the wind and the waves Brett and I could barely hear each other. The rain has mostly been at night, but we had a couple of stormy days that have kept up indoors as well. Our guava tree is starting to bud out, so we’re hopeful for another good harvest this year. Lots of flowers blooming around us as well, and I’m getting antsy to start hunting for new hibiscus colors.
Brett has an appointment for his COVID vaccination this week! Slots for 70-75 year-olds opened up statewide on Friday, nearly two weeks ahead of what had been predicted. They expect to open up vaccinations for 65-70 in another couple of weeks, again ahead of schedule. Fingers are crossed! We have no plans to do anything differently than we are now once we’re both vaccinated, but are excited about having the extra security the vaccine will provide.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished Tana French’s The Searcher last Monday so that it could be passed over to Brett before it has to be returned to the library. Death and the Chaste Apprentice was finished next, on Wednesday. I finished the Shirley Jackson classic, The Haunting of Hill House, on Friday night. I’ve seen the movie of The Haunting of Hill House (still scary) and there’s now a series based on the book on Netflix which has been added to our watch list. I’m going to read a book I’ve had on my Kindle for nearly two years, Trial on Mount Koya by Susan Spann, and then get to finishing The Woman In White. I have a whole list of new authors and books I want to download/reserve, but am holding off until I finish TWIW.
- Listening to: I can barely hear anything outside this morning because all the doors and windows are closed up tight. It’s still too cold and windy to open things up even though the sun is shining. The wind is strong enough that it will probably stay cold/cool for most if not all of the day. It’s nice and quiet inside though – we’re both working at our computers, drinking our coffee, and getting our day started.
- Watching: I’m almost done with the first season of The Great British Menu and can’t wait for more. I honestly had no idea there were so many Michelin-starred chefs all over England, and I love that some of them, if they lose, come back to compete year after year, win or lose. Brett and I finished the first season of The Sinner on Friday and will start Season 2 tonight. It’s an interesting series that has grown on us. Yesterday evening we watched Nomadland. I read the book back in 2018 and the film does a very good job of capturing it all. I also love watching anything Frances McDormand is in.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I got a much-needed hair cut on Tuesday, and Brett and I followed that with a lovely four-mile walk on the eastside beach path. Otherwise, all we accomplished was the usual day-to-day stuff. We did a LOT of talking about our future, and are sort of moving toward a decision about what we want to do and where we want to be. There is much still to be decided and figured out though.
- Looking forward to next week: Besides getting his vaccine, Brett meets with the surgeon on Wednesday and should have a date for his surgery arranged then. We have nothing special planned for this coming week otherwise. There are always things to do around the apartment though, and we’re talking about driving up to Kilauea and hiking the Stone Dam trail if the weather permits. With the amount of rain we’ve been having though it may just be too muddy now. If we get a really nice day we’ll head down to Barking Sands and spend some time on the beach.
- Thinking of good things that happened: My new walking shoes arrived and they’re great! We talked with all the kids this week as well. We talked last night with our son, DIL, and granddaughter, and they sent loads of new pictures and videos. The grandkids are growing so fast, especially our granddaughter. The biggest change is that she is now English-dominant – it was great talking with her last night and hearing about all she’s doing at school. Meiling moved in to her new apartment and is doing well, and WenYu finally got her Massachusetts drivers license – a big accomplishment for her. She continues to crochet like crazy and hone her skills, and is even creating her own patterns now!
- Thinking of frugal things we did: Outside of another expensive but necessary repair on the car this was a very low-key spending week. We shopped at the farmers’ market and I got my hair cut (price of the haircut went up by $10 though), but otherwise there was no spending. We only put $2.00 into the change/$1 jar this past week, left over from the farmers’ market. I earned 2,572 Swagbucks, which includes my February bonus of 723 SB, and we did all the other usual frugal things.
- Grateful for: I didn’t realize how much I had been missing them or how much they would cheer me up, but I am very thankful for the return of blue skies now and again this past week. It always makes a difference in our moods.
- Bonus question: If you could only go back to a place you have visited before, what would be your top three destinations? This turned out to be not an easy questions to answer for either Brett or me, and if I had asked myself this three months earlier I know I would have had three completely different places than I do now. In three months’ time I’ll probably have three new ones. Right now my number one choice would be to return to England, to the Cotswolds again. There is so much we didn’t see or do last time, and with a car we’d be able to get further afield than we did before. My second destination choice would be Buenos Aires. We were only there for 10 days in 2018, and regretted that we didn’t have more time to explore and get to know the city. Number Three on my list, after a great deal of thought is split: either more time in Bordeaux or Normandy. Again, we didn’t spend a lot of time in each place, but enough to discover that there was so much more we wanted to see and experience. As I said, three months ago my choices would have probably been Paris, Rome, and New Zealand (I would cheat and visit the South Island on a second visit), and who knows what they’ll be in another three months – as I think about our travels different memories come to the surface and I’m constantly reevaluating the places we visited. If we had to go back and live full time in one of the places we visited it would be Strasbourg – it remains our favorite. Second choice would the village of Blockley.
We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of being back on Kaua’i and have been thinking of the wild ride it’s been in many ways. It’s been an expensive ride too, as we set up housekeeping again and are dealing with higher prices. We learned a lot about living frugally in an expensive location during our previous residency, and those skills continue to guide us and help us navigate the cost of living here. The pandemic has kept us from doing many of the things we did before, but overall this was the right place for us to come, for now anyway. It’s been very safe, and the state, the county, and residents here have taken (and continue to take) the pandemic very seriously. You just don’t see anyone out here without a mask, for example (except for a few tourists who think the rules don’t apply to them). With the return of tourists, life will be returning to some type of crazy normal in the next few months but it’s time.
We didn’t have a bad week, but between the repairs and weather not the greatest of weeks either. Lots got done, we’re moving forward, and we’re looking forward to the new week, and excited about the changes that are coming, both Brett receiving the vaccine and the next stimulus arriving which will recoup what we’ve spent on car repairs and fatten our savings a bit. Here’s to good food, good books, good friends, good weather, and lots of good things happening in the coming week!