Sunday Morning 10/10/2021: We Got a Lot Done

Sunsets have been practically non-existent this past week. The sky tried hard on Wednesday, but the above was as good as it got.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

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This past week felt discouraging for some reason, at least the beginning of the week, and it put me in mood. Although good things happened during the week, and we were busy and got a lot done, overall the feeling seemed to be one of time standing still, and nothing happening that moved us forward. I’m not sure why I felt so down though as I’m not usually a glum person. Maybe it’s just that I’m just feeling restless and ready to go now. The mood has passed for now but I’m afraid of its return as we move toward our departure.

I found a message via Etsy first thing this past Monday morning that several pieces of the jubako I had sent the previous week had arrived broken. The jubako had been very well packaged for shipment (a box within a box with layer upon layer of bubble wrap around each piece and everything cushioned with loads of styrofoam peanuts), but the photos the buyer sent me showed a box that had been severely mishandled by the post office. The box was crumpled and looked like it had been dropped as well as punctured. I had to refund the purchase and lost what I paid for postage because I had foolishly forgotten to add insurance (I always do but forgot this time). It’s weird and very frustrating that the other jubako I sold and packed exactly the same and sent through the mail (uninsured as well) made it all the way to France in perfect condition but this one to the west coast ended up smashed. Between the movers who packed us out from here in 2018 and now the post office, only two of the seven beautiful jubako we once had have survived intact. Prior to this, all had been moved several times with no issues.

From what I could find out though, having the post office trash an item now and again is a given when selling through Etsy (or eBay), although most packages seem to arrive safely. I read a few threads where sellers told horror stories about the condition some of their packages arrived in (if they even ever arrived). I believe I pack things very securely, but I have to be careful about the package size as the postage from here can be prohibitive, more than the value of some of the items I’m selling! This past week Brett checked the UPS store’s prices for packing a plate I sold this past week: they quoted $34 and 24 hours for the packing, and for the size of the package the postage would have been an additional $90 (!!!) to ship to the mainland using the least expensive USPS option, w-a-y more than my asking price for the plate (which includes free shipping)! So, we strengthened the box we had, added heavy cardboard around the rim of the plate to protect it, wrapped it in two layers of heavy bubble wrap, packed it securely in styrofoam peanuts (hopefully), and shipped for less than half of the earlier quote. The package is insured, but I’ll be holding my breath until I know it’s arrived safely. Sometimes I don’t think I’m cut out for this though because it makes me so nervous.

Our granddaughter turned five this past week. She was still three, just coming out of the toddler stage the last time we saw her, and will be six when we see her again next year. She looks so grown up now, and her English is amazing. She had just a few words when we last saw her, but chatters away now and uses English more than Japanese these days. Our grandson is also growing and changing rapidly and it’s almost impossible to accept that he’ll be in middle school when we see him next. We miss them so much, and have lost so much of the little time we get with them. Next year can’t get here fast enough!

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I’ve been reading Snow, by John Banville, a mystery set in Ireland. I love finding a new (to me) author who has a long list of titles under their name and I’m looking forward to checking out some of the author’s other work because this book is a good one, with a twist on the English “cozy” format (it’s also quite adult). What’s kind of weird though is that the library has no record of me checking out this book! It’s on my Kindle, I’m reading, and yet it doesn’t exist in my library files. Hmmmm.
  • Listening to: If I had to pick a word to describe this past week it would be windy. We have had strong, LOUD wind blowing across the island and around our building and through the yard all. week. long. Wind gusts on Friday and yesterday were in the 30 mph range and we could barely hear each other or the TV inside for all the noise outside. It felt very cool to cold most of he week as well and it’s still quite cool this morning, almost worthy of a sweater. Anyway, it’s still very windy outside but there are brief moments of quiet which are delightful (and almost surprising). Brett’s putting away last night’s dishes and making coffee, and our neighbor is stomping away upstairs (he has grown increasing loud up there over the months), so it’s kind of noisy overall this morning. And, the wind is picking up again . . . .
  • Watching: The new season of Great British Bake Off is underway on Netflix, but it started two weeks ago! So, we caught up with the first two episodes this past Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and then watched the newest episode on Friday. Until a new winner is crowned it will be our Friday viewing for the next few weeks. We’ve moved into Season 3 of Billions, and have been watching two episodes each evening, and we’re still enjoying Only Murders In the Building on Tuesday evenings although I think we only have a couple of episodes left to go for this season. The girls have recommended Squid Game (on Netflix) for our next show.
Boosters were quick and easy procedure for both of us. Brett had less residual pain than I did this time.
  • Happy we accomplished this past week: 1) Brett and I got our boosters on Wednesday. Both of our arms were more sore this time compared to when we got our initial vaccines, but that only lasted a couple of days. 2) I found a great flight schedule at a great price that will bring YaYu directly into Lihue without having to go through Honolulu, so purchased her ticket for December. This was the last flight we purchased for our children – after graduation they are responsible for their own tickets. 3) Brett and I did some downsizing last Sunday on our day off. He went through his things in the closet and put together a bag of Japanese items (books, calligraphy supplies, etc.) that he took to the Japanese teacher at WenYu’s and YaYu’s high school, and I packaged up our son’s collection of Christmas ornaments that we’ll send to him this week. 4) After a lot of thought and research, we figured out how to get a couple of some awkwardly shaped items back to WenYu’s for storage while we travel. They’ll go back on the plane when she and Meiling fly back to Massachusetts at the end of December. It was a relief to figure this out because sending it as baggage will save us a bundle versus other shipping methods. 5) I filed my quarterly Hawaii GET estimated taxes. It was super easy to do and the total due was just $3.52 (because all but two of my sales were out of state and are not taxed by Hawaii). 7) We made a reservation for Edinburgh!
  • Looking forward to next week: We have absolutely nothing on our calendar next week so all I’m hoping for is another Etsy or eBay sale and at least one more thing leaving the apartment, and hopefully good walking weather and maybe a beach day.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: 1) We’re now set for all the girls to be here for Christmas with YaYu arriving the day after WenYu and YaYu! 2) After a few slow weeks with almost no sales, this week I had a sale on both eBay and Etsy; the Etsy sale was another bigger one. 3) We finally have another avocado tree on the way – the seed we have been soaking for over three weeks finally produced a tap root, so here we go again.
We were just to the point of tossing out this avocado seed when the tap root finally emerged.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We reserved our lodgings for our Edinburgh stay using our credit card (then paid it off), and since our card currently rewards rebate points 3X for any travel-related purchases we are looking forward to a BIG jump in our rewards balance at the end of the month. We’re thinking of using our rewards to load up our Kindles with books to take on the road. October is Brett’s month for provisioning and he has ordered a pair of pants and a rain jacket from LL Bean. He got 10% off his order, free shipping, and the order was made through Swagbucks so I will be receiving some extra bucks from the purchase in a couple of months! (Swagbucks has been so much more pleasant and stress free since I gave up doing surveys. I’m saving for a $50 gift card for more free books for our Kindles). We didn’t put anything into the change/$1 bill bag this past week but we ate all our leftovers and didn’t throw any food away except for a rotting sweet potato that had gotten lost in the back of our pantry.
The hand-painted plate that sold was from the famous pottery village of Mashiko. Fingers remain crossed that it arrives safely to its new owner.
  • Adding up what we sold last week: A coffee mug and a large Japanese pottery plate left the house this past week. The funds from those covered the amount lost in the jubako debacle with some to spare. The coffee mug made it safely, but I’m still waiting with fingers crossed on both hands to learn if the plate arrived in one piece. I have another box of golf balls up on our local Buy & Sell but no takers so far.
  • Grateful for: When I’m feeling discouraged I try to make sure to take time each day and remember all that I have to be thankful for: my good health, a loving husband and family, a comfortable and safe place to live in a wonderful location, an ample variety of healthy foods to eat, and a steady income and money in the bank. I have a blessed life.
  • Bonus question: Do you have a travel bucket list? Sort of is my best answer. These days my list is more about revisiting and learning more about places we just touched the surface of because we didn’t have time for more exploration, like Oxford, Strasbourg, and Edinburgh. For all the many visits and time we’ve spent in Tokyo, we never run out of places to see and new things to experience there and elsewhere in Japan – our visits are always an adventure which is one of the many reasons we love going there. Amsterdam and Venice are sort of bucket list destinations, and we are going to make an effort to see those places in the next couple of years. But otherwise, I’ve seen and what I wanted to see and do.
Note the gap across his chest and how blurry the fabric is!

The cool, midcentury modern aloha-style shirt Brett ordered months ago finally arrived this past week. He had had so much trouble communicating with the vendor when the shirt initially didn’t arrive when promised that he cancelled the sale in August and received a refund, but the shirt still somehow showed up this week. And what a joke it was! Although it was advertised as being made from cotton, the fabric was instead a sleazy, shiny man-made fabric of some kind, so thin it had to be lined (with the same sleazy fabric); the design was poorly photo printed onto the fabric and blurry; and although he ordered the size he usually wears, Brett could barely get the shirt buttoned around him! Not sure where the company is located or how they stay in business, but we were so glad Brett had gotten his money back! Returning for a refund would have been a nightmare.

That’s a wrap for another exiting week at Chez Aloha! Actually, it was pretty exciting, and although the week started off in a discouraging place, it ended with exciting things happening so everything is good. We’re looking forward to another busy week, and more good things happening – hope everyone else is too!

14 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 10/10/2021: We Got a Lot Done

    1. I love it too – so multicultural. And, the bakes all seem more “normal” than they have in the past few years. Things were getting sort of weird there for a while.

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  1. I totally understand about wanting to see grandkids. I am fortunate I was able to fly to see grandchild last July and that was the first time in a year and a half. I think everyone feels like they are standing still. I keep working and one of the many reasons is that I really do not know what to do. So, I keep doing the same thing.

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    1. We are so grateful that our son and DIL are so good about sending videos and photos frequently of the kids. We talk with them every few months but it’s hard because of the time difference.

      We just have a year to go, but hopefully in that time things will be open there and somewhat back to normal in Japan. Right now there are still restrictions, quarantines, etc. I’m glad we now have a deadline for things, and are finally moving along.

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  2. What’s up with these winds? We are expecting high winds here as well for the next couple of days which, of course, has triggered the wildfire warnings. It seems like we barely recovered from the bad air days and I am not looking forward to having more. One of the local power company has already announced power outages in some areas to prevent sparks should big trees are to fall over power lines.

    I don’t have a travel bucket list. However, there are places I would like to experience in person. Not sure when that will happen though, so yes, I feel a little stuck as well. For now, I try to stay focused on the present and take one day at a time. My pandemic granddaughter is turning 18 mo old next week and she keeps me busy and on my feet. I can’t believe how time passes by. Your traveling time will be here before you know it.

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    1. The winds have not stopped here! It’s crazy (and annoying). Today is also rainy and humid, so not my favorite weather. We long for a nice, sunny day so we can go to the beach!

      We seriously looked at settling in California, and if not for the fires we probably would have (up near Lake Shasta or over by Lake Tahoe). But, it’s just too much of a gamble now because of climate change.

      Time is starting to move quickly. Brett mentioned last night that we only have six months to go and we both felt a little panicked for a moment because there’s so much to do!

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  3. Although I have seen my granddaughter in England as recently as May, it seems forever now. I can only imagine how frustrating and sad it is to have that long a gap between your visits. Fingers and toes crossed that things improve and your plans can go forward. We are encouraged to see EU and UK citizens being allowed into the US soon with vaccinations. Crossing everything that things proceed as planned for all of us!

    The postal service is SO unreliable lately. They do so well for a while and then totally trash something. Sorry that happened to you. I have similar issues shipping to England…things need serious packaging, but there is a fine line between appropriate packing and the crazy shipping fees. Last year’s Christmas packages were ridiculously expensive. This year, I’m hoping to ship things directly within the UK or buy lightweight gifts. 😂

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    1. The hard part for me is how quickly our grandkids are changing. Our plan had been to visit once a year, but it will be nearly three years when we get there. We are just happy to have things moving along again, and a destination and date to get going again set up.

      Most of the time the PO gets things right, but now everything is going to slow down even more, and right before the holidays. I read yesterday that the AGs in 20 states are suing the PO because of the slowdowns. And the costs! I just shipped an order with Etsy and the postage had gone up by 30 cents since the last shipment. And, we just mailed a medium flat rate box to Japan: $81.40, more than the value of what’s inside. It’s nuts, but at least we can mail things there once again. We are sending a framed print to our granddaughter next year – I am terrified of what the postage will be, but it’s something that’s been in the family for years and she wants it.

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  4. Glad that your week ended on a better note! We got our boosters also….after trying to get an appointment though the large healthcare system that my PCP is a part of (a three week wait!) we were able to get ours at CVS with no wait. Our arms weren’t nearly as sore this time, but about 24 hours later, I guess my immune system kicked in and I had chills, ached from head to toe and felt generally awful. No fever though it felt like I should have had one! But that only lasted about 12 hours and since then I have felt fine. Glad to have it done. Our state is very slowly inching up in the percentage of fully vaccinated adults, while the new cases are going down fairly rapidly.
    Hope you have a good week and get some good sales!

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    1. Having a timeline and plenty to do after sitting around for so long is making a big difference in my mood these days! We have been talking a lot about what we want to do while we’re staying at our different locations (we plan to do one “long weekend” getaway at each location) and see something different. But there are also things to be sold, etc. so the days are moving along.

      Hawaii is up to 69.9% vaccinated, but at the hospital the other day the nurse said they had been very busy with lots of people coming in, so that was good news. Still lots of cases (for Hawaii) every day, and deaths as well sadly.

      The vaccine I am dreading is the shingles one that I should be getting next month. Everyone who’s gotten it, Brett included, has said it’s very painful.

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  5. I read Mary Berry’s autobiography and then baked two of her cakes – loved one of them – the lemon drizzle cake. She didn’t move The Great British Bake-off when it moved networks.

    Shame about the shirt but how good is it you got your money. Ack first!

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    1. Love, love, love lemon drizzle! Mary Berry was wonderful on the show and a good balance with Paul Hollywood, but Prue Leith has grown on me (same for Noel, but the other new guy leaves me cold).

      The shirt is in the thrift store bag and will be leaving the house shortly.

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