Sunday Morning 9/5/2021: Labor Day Weekend

The sunset of the week was on Wednesday.

Good Morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

We have been saying all along that we were going depart Hawaii by April 1 of 2023, but this past week we decided to push things forward and leave at the end of 2022 to spend Christmas back east with the girls and then head to England to spend the first three months of 2023 in Blockley. However, that meant giving up our fall trip to Japan, so we decided to change things up and will begin our travels by heading Japan instead to spend Christmas with our son and family. A winter stay in Japan will be very chilly, but so would England or France, and if we have to quarantine anywhere we’d rather it be in Japan where there’s family near by. We will have to use a mail and a baggage shipping service to send the very few things we were going to drop off with our daughters but otherwise we will depart Hawaii with just what can be packed into our suitcases. With a departure date at the end of next year the whole thing seems more real and provides a major boost of motivation. 2023 was so far out there and I know we would have gotten very discouraged along the way.

I had a decent Etsy week with everything on sale, filling five orders the first two days, then none until Saturday when I woke up to three more sales, one of them a large one of 18 hashioki. eBay has been a whole different ballgame for us though. The cancelled bot sale is still in some sort of limbo – it can’t be deleted from the sold section, and their messages make it sound like the whole thing was my fault because I didn’t require the buyer to pay immediately. Their shipping options are outrageously expensive as well. Although I’m able to select USPS Parcel Select Ground service when creating a listing, when it’s time to ship it’s no longer an available option, and I’ve been left with using either Priority Mail or UPS, both of which are super expensive from Hawaii (it seems to be a bug with eBay). eBay’s fees are also quite high, especially when compared to Etsy’s, but it’s the best online venue for some of the items we’re selling, so we’ll stick with it for a while longer and see how it goes.

There were no beach days this week, just another seven days of wacky weather including rain, big winds, clouds, cool temperatures, etc. There’s been some humidity as well, but for the most part we’ve stayed cool and comfortable in our apartment (actually cold at times). I am remembering summer and early fall weather here during our first four years though and how we thought we would melt from the heat and humidity, and the weather and cooler temperatures are far preferable along with being great walking weather. However, I am beginning to think we might not make our goal of 26 beach visits this year. Today is actually pretty nice, but it’s a scheduled no-drive day, so no beach trips. Maybe tomorrow.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished An Advancement of Learning last Monday, and of course as soon as I did another book came off of hold at the library, A Rule Against Murder, the next book in the Louise Penney Inspector Gamache series. So, I am once again having to read two books at the same time: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy during the day and Louise Penney at night. When I finish these two books though I will have met my reading goal for the year: 52 books!
  • Listening to: There’s a fairly stiff breeze blowing through the trees (and the apartment), a nice change from the freight train that’s been blowing through the yard the past couple of days. A chicken was screaming her head off a short time ago, but she’s thankfully quiet now. Skies are blue with a few clouds and it’s nice a cool with very low humidity – a perfect morning. It’s nice and quiet too, both inside and out although I’m going to have to get up in a few minutes and make breakfast for the two of us (pancakes with fruit).
  • Watching: We finished McDonald & Dodds, loved it and hope there will be more episodes in the future. Tuesday evening we started watching Only Murders In the Building, starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez on Hulu, a spoof of true crime podcasts. We caught up on all the available episodes, but going forward there’ll be only one new episode released each week. A new episode of Vera was also released, but on the same schedule of one new episode per week released so in the meantime we’re watching another Britbox show, Whitechapel (the area where Jack the Ripper operated in London). Father Brown marches on with season after season left to go. I was surprised to learn this past week that Father Brown was/is a daytime serial in the UK – who knew?
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Tuesday was “errand day.” We headed up to Puhi and Lihue and stopped at four stores looking for styrofoam peanuts (none available), but found the smoke detector battery we needed at Ace Hardware, got our shopping done at Walmart and Costco, and got the eBay package sent from the UPS store. I also got eight Etsy orders packaged and five shipped this past week (three more will go to the post office on Tuesday morning) and listed a couple more items on both Etsy and eBay. Otherwise all we accomplished were the usual tasks we do around here, which now includes washing and sorting all the golf balls we find.
  • Looking forward to next week: There’s nothing on our calendar for the coming week, but I am enjoying these unhurried, quiet days more and more, with time to get everything done around the apartment as well as time to read, take care of sales on Etsy and/or eBay, go for walks, and talk with our kids. We have enough to do each day that the time passes fairly quickly.
Delicious Bartlett pears – one of my favorites!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Costco had flats of beautiful Bartlett pears this past week – a perfectly ripe pear is one of my all-time favorite fruits and I’ve been enjoying one every day. We heard from all three of the girls this week, and our son (love, love, love their new house!) and Meiling has set up our family Christmas exchange list in preparation for our gathering in December. My Etsy Labor Day sale did kick up sales a bit at the beginning of the week, but then they dropped off again although there were lots of views and favoriting, and some big sales did come through on Saturday.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We stayed under budget on our fill-in shopping trips to Costco and Walmart. We had more than $20 leftover which went into savings ($11.15 went into the change/$1 bill bag). I earned 2,333 Swagbucks, which includes a 602 SB bonus for the month of August. I just hope I can drag myself over the finish line for that Delta Card before the end of the year. Otherwise, regular frugality reigned with leftovers eaten, no food thrown away, and no spending other than on shipping supplies for Etsy/eBay.
The set of Chinese pots that sold this last week. They’re all reproductions, and not as old as they look.
  • Adding up what was sold: Thirty-six hashioki left the house this past week as well as the three-piece set of vintage Chinese pots (sold on eBay). Our upstairs neighbor also paid us for three months of Internet sharing bringing our total side hustle income this past week to $266.38.
  • Grateful for: Every day I stop to give thanks for everything we have. Not just our material things, but also for those things that are easy to take for granted: fresh, clean water (hot and cold) on demand, electricity, a reliable car, a good food supply, and so forth Even as we downsize and part with our things, I realize how fortunate we are and that we always have enough, more than so many. I am also grateful for those whose labor provide these things for us: the farmworkers, utility workers, mechanics, and so many more.
  • Bonus question: What’s been the best part of growing old? What’s been the worst? Watching our children grow and create and build their own lives has been, hands down, the best part of growing older for me. I worried in the past about so many things, especially the ramifications of having our children in two groups so far apart, but the timing actually turned out to be to our advantage, with our son established in Japan with two children, and our daughters just beginning their careers and life on their own. It’s allowed Brett and I to make our nomadic fantasies a reality. Growing older has also given me a gift of perspective, the chance to look back and see what I did right as well as acknowledge that other things I worried about really weren’t all that important in the long run. Everything has turned out better than I imagined and I actually created a very happy life for myself. The worst part? The small aches and pains of an aging body – I am in good physical shape and healthy, but every day my body lets me know that I am growing older.

This whole online selling thing is something of a challenge for me, and I have a lot of respect for those who do it a whole lot more than I do. More than anything it’s making me a more patient person. I of course want everything to sell now, but every day I have to accept that it will take time, especially since most of the things I’m selling are niche items – not everyone loves Japanese antiques or vintage like we do or has the disposable income to buy them (even though my prices are very low for said items). I sold some things on eBay back in 2013, before we moved to Hawaii, and often have to remind myself that it took weeks for some of the items to sell back then. One book took almost a year to sell! Also, there is more to it all than just the listing and selling – there are taxes to pay, supplies to buy, and so forth. I learned some valuable lessons this past week when I shipped those three Chinese pots this week, that I need to plan better and price accordingly so that selling doesn’t turn into an expensive and frustrating chore. Whenever I get frustrated about it I tell myself that least the pots were sold, and I made more than I would have selling them at a yard sale. I want to retake the pictures above at the end of the year and hopefully see a lot fewer things than there are now.

That’s all for this week. Life continues to be good, and what needs to be done is getting done, albeit slowly at times. Things got accomplished and we have things to look forward to, along with good books to read, good food to eat, good things happening, and much to be grateful for. Time seems to be moving a bit more slowly these days, but in some ways it feels better than it moving too quickly. Here’s to another great week coming up! Welcome September and this last (official) summer weekend!

9 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 9/5/2021: Labor Day Weekend

    1. No – we try to assign ourselves one day per week when we don’t drive the car. It saves on gasoline, wear & tear, etc. Sundays work best for us because it’s usually our day off from going to the park to walk.

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  1. That pear is perfect. I find them almost as difficult to time as avocados. Probably because I’m the only one who eats them and I get excited and overbuy every time. 😂

    It’s great to be able to move your travel plans around, and I have fingers and toes crossed for you that it all works out sooner rather than later, as I’m sure you are anxious to get moving again.

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    1. I let the pears sit out a day too long on the counter, but they were all still delicious. There were too many of them as well for the two of us. But, they were delicious and I’ll probably buy them again next week if they’re there.

      I can believe how much better we feel now that the date’s been move up by only a few months. The best thing too is that all the parts are interchangeable. If Japan still isn’t open in December we can either go to the UK or France first.

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  2. I learned a tip for free packaging materials – although it might not work for you. Put paper from the shredder into plastic bags and use them as the cushioning. I doubt you have a shredder, but maybe a local business or acquaintance is happy to let go of their paper shreds?

    I know what you mean about gratitude. When I’m spiraling down, I stop myself and realize that all of my needs and some of my wants are being met. I heard this idea last year: what if you only have tomorrow the things you gave gratitude for today. That stopped me in my tracks – clean tap water, electricity, living in a safe place, etc.

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    1. This is a great idea because we shred a lot. Usually it goes up to the paper recycling, but we’ve also used compressed ball of shredded paper as fire starters in our fire pit. We’ve thought about using it for packing material, but with the fragile stuff I worry about it compressing too much.

      Gratitude is what gets me through these days. Even just a few moments of thinking of all we have and giving thanks makes a big difference.

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  3. Hope the next year goes slowly yet quickly. Slowly to enjoy your time on the island; quickly enough so travel feels close. As things to feel grateful for – the ability to travel is one of them. If I only knew my last trip was my last trip for many years, I think I’d have valued it more.

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    1. I feel the same way, that if I had only known how long it would be before we could travel again, I would have valued it more. We know now we could have stayed in Japan, that they would have most likely extended our visa for several months, but at the same time we needed to be somewhere where our youngest could stay when her college closed. It all worked out, and we’ll be traveling again in the not too distant future. In the meantime, I can think of worse places to be stuck than Kaua’i.

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