Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
It’s October! Time to break out the pumpkin recipes! We zoomed through September but got a lot accomplished, and we are hoping for similar results this month. There will be more reservations made, and more savings will happen as will other things that get us ready for our next big adventure. This is Brett’s month to provision, but he hasn’t decided what he’ll get for himself.
Now that our departure from Kaua’i has been moved up, I find myself feeling nervous now and again about selling our things. How soon is too soon to let things go? How late will be too late? The local auction company, the one we thought we’d use to sell our big hibachi table, on close inspection does not seem to be a wise choice. It turns out they do not handle single auction items, and only do whole-house deals. That sounded like it could be a plan, but after reading reviews about the company I don’t think it’s for us, especially since we don’t have that much stuff. We would be responsible for creating our own catalog, photographing everything, getting it listed online using their software, and they would take 25%. No thanks. It looks like we will be sticking with Etsy and eBay, Buy & Sell, Craigslist, and a garage sale and hoping for the best.
Can I just whine for a moment too that I wish the weather here would make up its mind!?! Seriously, it’s sunny in the morning, rains in the afternoon. Or, it rains in the morning and we spend the day chewing our nails wondering if it will clear. Or, we get a nice day . . . but just one and the next day it rains from morning to night. It’s been crazy windy more often than not. Everything around us is lush and green, but I would like to be able to go to the beach more frequently than once a month . . . maybe. I am very grateful the humidity has not been awful this year, but otherwise every day has been something of a crapshoot when it comes to the weather and it’s getting sort of old.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished the very creepy but very good Sixteen Horses at the beginning of the week – the ending was a shock. I’m about two-thirds of the way through Box 21 and will be hunting for something new today to start when that’s done.
- Listening to: It’s currently pouring rain outside, and it’s expected to continue for most of the day. Good thing it’s our day off from walking! There’s a flock of chickens in the distance going nuts; they almost sound like geese honking! Brett’s making coffee and puttering around in the kitchen, so other than all the rain it’s a pretty normal, peaceful Sunday morning.
- Watching: Besides watching Only Murders In the Building on Tuesday it was Billions every other evening, sometimes two episodes. It can be a frustrating show to watch at times because it seems that bad actions are too often rewarded. Money is always the ulterior motive and the foundation for everything in the show, and it does a good job of exposing that, whether the outcome is good or bad. The casting for this show has been superb, in my opinion.
- Happy we accomplished last week: On top of reserving the apartment in Strasbourg, this past week we also reserved eight weeks of lodgings in Oxford following our stay in Strasbourg – this time next year we should be finishing up our time there and getting ready to head to Bath. It may seem premature to be booking so early but affordable long(er)-term lodgings are few and far between, especially in places like Oxford, so we wanted to book as soon as we found a nice place in a good location that came in under our budget. We’ve also found a wonderful apartment in Bath and one near to our son’s new home in Tokyo. We hope to reserve the Bath apartment in the next couple of weeks, and we communicated with the owner of the Tokyo apartment this past week with a few questions but that reservation won’t happen until sometime next year (Japan is getting ready to lift their emergency restrictions – yeah! – but full opening up will be a slow process). My other big accomplishment for the week was getting my Etsy order packed because of size and fragility, but it’s on its way!
- Looking forward to next week: Both Brett and I are scheduled to receive our COVID boosters this coming Wednesday – yeah! Otherwise, we plan to take each day as it comes – we’ve given up trying to schedule anything because the weather has been so unpredictable.
- Thinking of good things that happened: A big shoutout and big thank you to reader MaryAnn who purchased the six Starbucks architectural mugs from us this week! I also had only one sale on Etsy, but it was a big one. I also received a “Star Seller” designation from Etsy this month: This seller sets a shining example for providing a great customer experience, with a history of 5-star reviews, on-time shipping, and quick replies. Yeah me! Everything left in my Etsy shop is now down to one crate and my two hashioki boxes. Otherwise, we had some annoying weather but it was a very good week overall!
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We put the two Airbnb reservations on our credit card and then paid them off, and earned a nice amount of rewards for doing so. We did a mid-size Big Shop on Thursday and did well, all things considered. We went over budget, but by less than $3 and would have been under except for the three items not on our list we picked up for part of the girls’ Christmas presents. $7.03 went into the change/$1 bill bag last Thursday, making the total saved for September $21.42. I made kale chips last week (yummy!) to use up some leftover kale, and all the other leftovers and odds and ends were finished up as well.
- Adding up what we sold last week: Six Starbucks mugs and a large jubako left the apartment this past week, and $114.88 went into our travel account. LOL – the $12.88 I received from Etsy last week was my reserve fund thanks to a very slow couple of weeks! Things are still slow on Etsy and eBay, but I’m still getting lots of views, so hopefully things will pick up a bit this month. By the way, all Occasional Nomads readers can receive a 25% discount if purchasing from my Etsy shop, FuruiShibuiVintage (just let me know that you want to order and I will send you a discount code).
- Grateful for: Once again we are feeling very thankful for our “socialized healthcare:” Medicare and Tricare for Life. I received the statements this past week for my July endoscopy: total costs for the procedure added up to $6,315.88, but Medicare paid most of it, and Tricare picked up what was remaining so we had no out-of-pocket costs. Everyone in the U.S. deserves to have insurance like this and not have to worry about what they’ll have to pay or if it will bankrupt them, either through monthly premiums or excessive co-pays (or whether they’ll be covered at all).
- Bonus question: What shocks you these days? The older I get, the less shocked I am by most things that happen around me – times change, as they say – but I have to say I remain truly shocked and surprised these days by people who refuse to get vaccinated for COVID and their reasoning for not doing so. I know someone who has refused the vaccine for purely political reasons (the vaccine is Democratic, they’re Republican, so they’re not getting vaccinated – seriously). We learned this past week that the doctor that lives above us refuses to get vaccinated, and believes the vaccine is nothing but a way for the government to control everyone. He told us that he knows what’s going on and that we’re eventually going to figure this out as well – we’ll see, according to him, and regret getting vaccinated. He also doesn’t need the vaccine because he’s never gotten a flu shot and has never had the flu even though he worked in ERs for years (masked, gloved, and gowned of course). The chef and his wife that used to live on the other side of our building also apparently decided against the vaccine; they were supposed to be traveling through Europe right now but can’t get in because no vaccination; they instead have bought a camper van and are going to do a road trip on the mainland. I am honestly shocked by all of this because none of these people had any issues with being vaccinated in the past for smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, Hep A or B, etc. and yet suddenly, with over 700,000 people dead in the U.S. and people still dying in large numbers (mostly the unvaccinated) from this virus, the COVID vaccine is where they have drawn a line. I honestly don’t get it and continue to be shocked by the intransigence (and sometimes magical thinking) I’ve encountered.
I watched a Rick Steves program this past week, and during the show he talked about a recent trip he took to France this past month. Things are slowly returning to normal there, and he said Paris almost felt like before, but if you are not vaccinated, forget about going. Europe, he said, is not messing around about vaccinations – you either have gotten your shots and can enter their countries, eat in restaurants, visit museums, ride public transportations and trains, etc. or you don’t go. The world for the unvaccinated, as he said, is becoming very, very small (one article I read had only six countries listed where a vaccine is not required). Almost all of Rick Steves’ tours for next year are fully booked and they are looking forward to a somewhat return to normal. However, Hawaii had their worst month for COVID cases and deaths in September, with deaths occurring in some who had no underlying conditions, and COVID deaths nearly doubled in the U.S. from what they were in August. Although there’s a long ways to go, in the U.S. especially, I feel like the world is maybe starting to get this under control, and that the ship of recovery is finally beginning to make its turn, albeit slowly.
That’s all for this week. Not a lot going on here, and yet things are starting to heat up again as we work toward our departure next year. Much is done already, but there’s still much to do. Here’s to looking forward to another great, productive week with good things happening for all!