Sunday Morning 9/19/2021: The Great, The Good, and The weird

Sunset of the Week: Thursday evening’s spectacular production followed a stormy afternoon.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

In what was a surprising twist to last week’s hibachi-selling frustration, the woman who bought the big one last week contacted me on Monday and made an acceptable offer on two smaller hibachis I had listed for sale on both Etsy and eBay. She said she would come by to pick them up later that day so I took the listings off those sites but then she didn’t show up. I wrote her on Wednesday to check if she still wanted them and she apologized (she had been under the weather) and came and picked them up that afternoon! It is such a relief to have the hibachis sold. I knew when I listed the two smaller ones on online it would take a long while to sell them, and although I would have earned a bit more selling them online it would have been very difficult to pack them adequately for shipment (as well as costing a small fortune), so having someone local buy them was a happy and ideal solution.

The mugs are the only things that didn’t sell this past week but I got an offer for them this morning. And additional box of golf balls also were sold.

It was also a very quiet week on both eBay and Etsy with no orders from either site. We listed our first two boxes of golf balls on eBay early in the week but got very few views even though I had priced them well below what eBay suggested and what similar lots were going for. After a few days I decided to cross-list them and two other eBay items on our local Buy & Sell as well and in one day sold the two boxes of golf balls and my old travel daypack and made more than I would have on eBay after paying for postage! Brett took along another box of golf balls I was preparing to list when he delivered the yellow balls and the man bought that box as well! It ended up being a great week for sales, and we have decided to take more of our stuff off of eBay. A couple of coffee mugs (not the ones shown above) and some other Japanese stuff will stay there for the time being but otherwise we will focus on selling our stuff locally. Postage costs from Hawaii are high and I believe that has been a real deterrent to online buyers.

I did an in-depth look at monthly rental prices in both Blockley and Strasbourg this past week and a return to Blockley may be impossible. Monthly rentals are limited as it is, and rental prices are off the charts right now – the little cottage we rented in 2019 is now going for over $1,000 more per month than it was when we were there! I can understand why though – after everyone was cooped up for so long the Cotswolds must be an extremely popular getaway location right now. As it is, Brett and I are thinking again about whether we really want to do another three month stay there. Our time in 2019 was magical but we know it might feel less so on a second visit as we saw and did so much in the area the first time. We reminded ourselves it was also a location where we had to take a bus to get to an ATM let alone buy groceries, etc. and maybe there are other places in the UK we could visit, enjoy, and get to know that wouldn’t requires as much effort. Strasbourg, on the other hand, seems to have plenty of wonderful rentals in our price range, so hopefully we will have no problems finding something there when it’s time to make our reservations. Our former Strasbourg rental is currently not available, and as much as we loved staying there we know it’s probably too small for a three-month stay. I worry too that we might not find Strasbourg as special as we did the first visit but there are still loads of things in the area we didn’t get to see and do before and we are still feeling eager to visit again.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: Six Four, the Japanese detective story I inadvertently downloaded from the library when I couldn’t find anything else, has turned out to be a page-turner! Loaded with detail, it goes slowly but gives a deep understanding of the Japanese police hierarchy and relationships, as well as loads of other deep Japanese cultural insights (fascinating to me). The mystery itself is also a slow burn and good reading. I have been grateful for my background in Japanese though because I think I would otherwise go crazy trying to keep everyone’s names straight. Another book, Sixteen Horses, became available this week, but I’m going to stick with Six Four alone for the next week and hopefully finish before starting the second book.
  • Listening to: We woke up to a stormy morning with overcast skies and rain but not too much wind. It’s supposed to blow out by noon, but we’ll see. Several chickens in the area are sounding off though so it’s not all that quiet. Brett’s putting away last night’s dishes and making coffee, so there’s a little bit of noise inside the kitchen right now but the coffee will be finished soon, things will quiet down, and the rest of the morning should be peaceful and quiet.
  • Watching: We binged the final three episodes of Whitechapel on Thursday and watched the new episode of Only Murders In the Building on Tuesday. On Friday we watched two parts of the four-part documentary about LuLaRoe called LuLaRich, and finished it last night. I remember LuLaRoe being hot, hot, hot here before we left in 2018 but now there is nothing and now I know why. Sad that so many did so much and then lost so much. HBO Max is currently offering some of their shows for free, and since we’re not sure how long that’s going to last tonight we’re going to start watching Mare of Easttown.
  • Happy we accomplished this past week: Besides getting our Big Shop done, our other big accomplishment was putting together the first boxes of golf balls for sale. The sorting and grading was a bit more difficult than we thought and we’re now trying to figure out how to sell the ones in less than great condition that have been accumulated. Brett and I talked a lot about our upcoming travel plan and came up with some possible ideas for a final itinerary, but other than heading to Japan first there still are no firm decisions yet about where we should go next (France or UK). I got another six-week set of activity cards ready, and all the regular stuff got accomplished once again.
  • Looking forward to next week: We getting together again with Bob and Betty Lowry on Tuesday for happy hour and puupuus (heavy appetizers) at a nearby restaurant, and then will have coffee/tea and dessert at our place before taking them to the airport for their flight back to the mainland. We’re looking forward to hearing about their Kaua’i adventures from this past week. The weather has behaved for them most of this past week, thank goodness.
Everyone’s happy after breakfast and conversation at the Tip Top!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: The highlight of our week was breakfast with Bob and Betty at the Tip Top Cafe on Tuesday. We could have easily stayed at our table for a couple more hours to continue talking – it was like we had known each other for years. So thrilled to have finally met them – they’re just as down to earth as you would image from his writing on Satisfying Retirement (and, he’s got a new blog starting early October!). Also, what could have been a very disappointing week for our side hustles turned into something very good thanks to our local Buy & Sell.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We stayed under budget with our shopping on Wednesday but it was close: all we had leftover for the change/$1 bill bag was $1.58! Bargain of the month at Costco was a twin-pack of giant 20.35 oz. boxes of Cheerios for $3.96, or $1.73 per box. We also picked up a few things in preparation for the girls’ December visit and would have spent less if not for those (like a case of Izze sparkling juice, on sale this month at Costco). Hopefully by picking things up starting now we will be able to avoid being slammed with a huge food bill in December. We ate all our leftovers this past week and I’d love to say I didn’t throw any food away but I discovered several small bags of produce odds and ends way past their time that had gotten buried and forgotten and that had to be tossed. I gave myself a stern talking to about making sure things this doesn’t happen again.
  • Adding up what we sold last week: Although there were no Etsy orders nor eBay sales this past week, two hibachis, a daypack, and three boxes of golf balls left the apartment. Residual funds were released from Etsy and along with the other sales, $489.02 is going into our travel account tomorrow (more if the mugs sell)! I am mentally prepared however for a very quiet week coming up.
  • Grateful for: I have always enjoyed meeting readers, and finally getting to meet Bob and Betty last week was no exception. When I’ve meet readers it’s been like connecting with old friends again. I’m so very thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given to get to know so many wonderful people because of this blog, for the friends we’ve made, and I hope it continues long into the future. I am also beyond grateful to Hawaii Planner for finding and sending some very valuable information that was lost this past week (see below).
I also like having an uncluttered desktop.
  • Bonus question: Is your email inbox full or empty? I don’t get a whole lot of email these days with so many other efficient ways to communicate, but mine is always empty or near empty because I organize my email daily. However, yesterday my Gmail account appeared to go crazy and not in a good way. I’m still trying to figure out what happened but it was very weird. Old email I had saved because it contained important information, including one of our $500 Delta gift cards, disappeared and couldn’t be located anywhere. The email with information on my leggings order of 9/14 from H&M also vanished. I found a few of the older saved emails on my phone, but neither the missing Delta card nor the H&M email were among them. I had a special Delta subfolder in saved email where I kept screenshots of the Delta card information as a safety measure, but yesterday only one gift card could be found there, and the Delta file on my phone was completely empty! To keep things even more interesting, during my search for the lost emails I checked my inbox at one point and found it filled with hundreds of old messages, all of which had been deleted months ago! Also weird was the appearance in my saved file of 10 chat messages from our son from 2009! My very tech-savvy daughters did everything they could to help me straighten things out and find the missing emails, but nothing we tried worked nor did any of Google’s tips, and there was no way to contact Google for help as they only have online help and none of it covered this situation. However, Hawaii Planner came to the rescue! I had bought one of the Delta cards from her last year, so in desperation I wrote and asked if she still possibly had any information about the card and she did! YEAH!!! I now have both the missing card number and the PIN, and that information has been saved in three different places so it hopefully doesn’t get lost again (she suggested I find out if I can put the gift cards in my online wallet so I’m going to check on that). I am absolutely sick though about all of this because for now there doesn’t appear to be any way to retrieve the other lost emails, and some were special ones from Brett that I wanted to save and remember, and others contained photos from friends and family that are now gone. Thanks, Google. My inbox however is clutter free again, so there’s that.
My reaction 10 years ago if you had told me we would someday move to Hawaii (also my all-time favorite Gary Larson cartoon).

The other morning, when I woke up and opened the French doors in the living room, I looked out at our yard, the blue sky and clouds, the breeze blowing through the palm trees, and realized how much I am going to miss living here. I thought about how very blessed and fortunate we have been to live on Kaua’i. Ten years ago I would have thought you were crazy if you had predicted we would move to Hawaii, and yet somehow we made it happen, not once but twice, and we’ve enjoyed/are enjoying a wonderful life here. I will be forever grateful that we were given this opportunity, and we will always carry a piece of Kaua’i in our hearts. I am resolved to make the most of all the time we have remaining.

That’s a wrap for another great and good week, and glad for the happy ending to the weird! We’re looking forward to the week coming up, and hope everyone is as well.

12 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 9/19/2021: The Great, The Good, and The weird

  1. Have you thought about elsewhere in Great Britain? I absolutely loved Ireland, I was in Mayo County in the western part. It’s not a real touristy area. I didn’t get to see a lot but what I did see was amazing. I’ve also been to Scotland in the Isle of Skye area. Another area I’m very interested in is in the Fife are, there is a coastal walking path I would love to check out.

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    1. We’re seriously considering stays in both Bath and Oxford, two places we visited for a very brief amount of time but both enjoyed and knew there was for more to see and do than we were able. A visit to Blockley would be very easy to do from Oxford. Both Ireland and Scotland (the highlands) are on our list of future destinations as well as Cornwall (great walking path there), the Jurassic Coast of England, and the Welsh coast.

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  2. We loved Oxford! On the Gmail mess, all of mine prior to early July has disappeared😫 This happened about two weeks ago. I checked my account and will send them an email soon and let you know if I get any help.

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    1. We loved Oxford as well, and since I didn’t get to do the Inspector Morse/Lewis tour last time, a repeat visit is in order. Also, there are so many other things to see in the area, but the city and colleges alone can be explored for days.

      Sorry to hear about your Gmail issues. I was terror-stricken when I discovered what had happened and can only imagine how you are feeling. Something though went terribly wrong at Google.

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  3. We lived in Windsor for 5 years and it’s a great base for travel around the south of UK. Can be in London in less than an hour. If you want to do long distance to Bath or Oxford it’s just a 10 minute to Slough to pick up the long distance trains. I’d probably also think about Newcastle or Yorkshire and definitely consider Cambridge. I think Cornwall could be problematic if you want to venture further and don’t have a car.

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    1. Thanks for the great advice! Newcastle, Yorkshire, and Cambridge are already on our shortlist for destinations, but hadn’t thought of Windsor. IF we to Bath, our idea is to rent a car for 5-7 days and drive around Cornwall.

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  4. Yikes about your email account. I know too many people who have had their gmail accounts hacked over the years. I pay $36 per year for a private email account that has loads of security on it. I have had the account for two decades now and have never had a problem. The provider has contacted me in the past to let me know when there was suspicious activity. Just a thought. I use Toast.net out of Ohio.

    There is so much diversity in France! A bounty of riches from which to choose!

    If you want to stay in the eastern part how about Dijon? Day trips to Beaune and Nuits St George. Plus mustard capital of the world.

    Reims with its cathedral and day trips to Epernay for champagne.

    Nice! lots and lots of walking paths, the coastal train runs every 15 minutes and you can be in Cannes, Monaco, Menton, Antibes, etc in less than 30 minutes. Good bus system. Fantastic art in the area and let’s not forget the stunning blue Med. There are many small hill towns to explore such as Biot, Saint Paul de Vence, Grasse. Stay away in July & August. September is still swimming weather. Italy is also an easy day trip.

    Toulouse – to the north are the caves with prehistoric drawings – I loved pech merle, there is also the quaint town of Saint Cirq la Poopie. Further to the north are the small towns of the Dordogne like Dommes, Sarlat, and Vitrac. To the south is Carcassone and the fascinating history of the Cathars. Further south is the impressive L’abbaye de Fontfroide. I had a car when I toured this area so I’m not sure about the public transportation.

    Avignon has history, music, art, gorgeous sunshine, on the main TGV route to Paris, and lots of fascinating sites and small villages in the surrounding area. Again stay away in July and August – too hot and too crowded.

    Loire Valley – maybe Tours or Orleans.

    Do you know what made Strasbourg and Blockley so compelling to you? Those criteria might help readers and you find new locations.

    How I love the planning of trips!

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    1. I thankfully was able to recover some important information that was lost from our email, but it still was a mess and a big frustration. I will be watching it more closely going forward to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

      France was a big surprise for us during our last travels – we did not plan to fall in love as deeply as we did. Our goal is to stay in a different area of France each time we return, but we definitely wanted to return to Strasbourg again – we saw and did a lot, but it was also a city we enjoyed just for walking around. Also the Alsatian cuisine – cannot wait to eat tarte flambee and charcroute again as well as a little fois gras once in a while!

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  5. So nice to see you two with Bob & Betty. And I’m happy to hear he’s going to blog again.

    We watched LulaRich, too. I’m still amazed the Stidhams agreed to be interviewed. They don’t come off looking very good. I know several people who are involved in MLMs, and their pitches are all the same. I almost got pressured into ones years ago and backed away at the last minute. Phew.

    The Jurassic Coast is such a great walking area, and Cornwall! Yes! My DD’s pictures from that area are amazing.

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    1. BTW, I did a google search and there are STILL LuLaRoe dealers nearby. I am amazed people are still selling it, but I did read that they defended the owners after LuLaRich came out. Go figure.

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      1. I checked on LuLaRoe sellers in Portland and Kauai – Portland still has 9, and they’re all in this one section of the city so not sure how that’s working out. The one on the island is in Lihue. I used to see the stuff advertised all the time on Buy & Sell but don’t think I’ve seen it even once since we’ve been back. I honestly feel sorry for all of those that got caught up in the scheme before and got taken for a ride.

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    2. We had such a good visit with Bob and Betty – just delightful people and we never ran out of things to talk about.

      I have never gotten involved in an MLM, but remember attending several Tupperware parties *every month* during our navy years. I think for a while I had everything Tupperware made, but so many wives did it for extra income. I’ve been to one or two Mary Kay parties but don’t remember buying anything. But otherwise I avoid them. There is only one LuLaRoe seller still on Kaua’i now. I have yet to see anything they sell though that would work for me or that I would wear.

      Right now we are considering Bath and Oxford for our England stays, but back-up is Salisbury which would put us close to the Jurassic Coast. We won’t do a long stay in Cornwall, but plan to rent a car for a few days and visit (and walk).

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