Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
The wind this past week was in Surrender Dorothy territory every single day. It has blown hard, strong, and LOUD almost all week long and I was honestly tired of waking up to it, having it as background all day, and having to listen to it at night while I am trying to fall sleep (it could be heard though earplugs). Thankfully things quieted down a bit yesterday. Unfortunately it looks like it may be around for a while as we’re now officially in La Niña conditions, which means cooler temperatures (air and water), more wind, and stronger storms for the next few months. Reduced humidity (if it isn’t raining) has been a nice side effect of the weird weather although I’m not particularly crazy about how cool it’s been. We’d love to go to the beach, but there hasn’t been any beach weather for a while. I honestly feel sorry for the people who have been coming on vacation recently (and there have been a LOT of them) as the weather has been less than ideal.
And, there was an earthquake last Sunday! We have been though several of them in Japan – 6.4 was the worst, strong but mercifully short – and recognized immediately what was happening (versus it being our upstairs neighbor’s washing machine off balance again). Apparently somewhere south west of the Big Island the ocean floor “bent,” whatever that means. Kilauea had erupted again recently, but the two events were not connected this time. I think this earthquake was somewhere in the 4-point range, but it was also over quickly, thank goodness. Still, it was strange to feel things shaking here, if only for a few moments.
We have only four items left to sell on eBay (an antique tea ceremony basket, an antique iron teakettle, a coffee mug, and a group of vintage navy cloth patches), and only the remaining hashioki and a few other vintage items are left on Etsy. The items on eBay have been getting lots of extra looks and have picked up some watchers, so we’re hopeful they will sell before the end of the year as we’d like to close that account. I may close the Etsy shop then as well (for tax purposes). We’ll see what happens in the next couple of months. There is a man who keeps messaging me (politely) on Etsy asking me to sell him the antique iron tea kettle at a price that, after postage, would leave me with around $15. I keep explaining to him why I won’t sell at the price he wants, he says okay, but every few weeks he’s back and tries again. I’ll keep the teakettle before I let it go at his price – it’s valuable. After a lot of thought about the cost to send our wool area rug back to Massachusetts, we decided to sell it here before we go. Although we deeply love the rug, the shipping cost is just too high and too complicated, even sending it back on the plane with WenYu and Meiling. I read a great article the other day on moving overseas (which is sort of what we’re doing), and the main message was “get rid of everything and minimize as much as you possibly can” and we’re determined to do that this time. We’re going to store a very few small but meaningful items with WenYu, but otherwise everything else will be sold this time. Downsizing remains a process – so many things we thought we’d keep we no longer will. Some things are more difficult to let go of than others, but we’re getting it done, and as always, once the stuff is gone I never miss it.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished John Banville’s Snow on Monday, and started Life As We Knew It just because I wanted to reread it again. The book is the first in a dystopian trilogy for YA readers written by Susan Reid Pfeffer, about what happens to a family and community in eastern Pennsylvania after a world-wide, catastrophic natural disaster. I love the book for not only its great story (written in the style of a teen’s diary), but for also showing how the family survives (albeit barely) and the steps they take to overcome the many hardships that arise – there’s lots of food for thought. It’s not really a mystery as such, but since I otherwise do not care for dystopian fiction, I figured I could fit it in this year. Anyway, it was finished on Friday and I am now reading The Perfect Nanny, a thriller by Leila Slimani. It is a sort of Columbo-style mystery: you know what happened and who did it right from the start, but have to read to find out the why and the how.
- Listening to: The wind isn’t as loud as it has been this week, but it’s still having its moments this morning where things pick up. There are lots of clouds in the sky as well, so who knows what the afternoon will bring? Inside it’s quiet – Brett got up early this morning and has already left to run some errands up in Lihue and Kapaa.
- Watching: This week was almost the same as last week: Only Murders In the Building on Tuesday, Great British Bake Off on Friday, and Billions every other evening. Billions has become more interesting since the main characters seem to reacting less to each other and instead dealing with other characters and plot lines in Season 3. I finished all the available Father Brown episodes this past week, but we discovered that BritBox has the entire Inspector Morse series, so we began watching those, and will follow up with the Lewis series, and finally catch up with Endeavour so that we will be very ready to take a Morse/Lewis/Endeavor walking tour when we’re in Oxford. I’m looking forward to hooking up with Apple TV next month and watching Ted Lasso – I’ve heard nothing but good things about it for months.
- Happy we accomplished: We try to do at least one task each day that moves us closer to our goal of selling (almost) or getting rid of everything before we go, and did several things this past week toward that end, including packing up some things to take back to YaYu next year, getting other items ready to list on our local Buy & Sell, and sorting other things that will sell better at a yard sale. Otherwise it was pretty much just taking care of regular chores around here. We did get our shopping list made for Tuesday’s Big Shop – that’s always an accomplishment.
- Looking forward to next week: Same as always these days: good/better weather, possible a beach day, and hopefully selling something on eBay or Etsy. I am looking forward to our Big Shop on Tuesday as we’ve done a good job this last month of using things up.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) Our daughter-in-law sent us a load of pictures from this summer and fall – I think I must have gone through them about 20 times already! I miss them all so much, but seeing so many pictures helps. 2) The pottery plate I sold on Etsy arrived safely at its destination – what a relief! 3) We found something other than golf balls on one of our walks last week: a ripe lilikoi! We have been walking past a vine that has been flowering like mad for the past few weeks, but has only produced a couple of fruits. We watched one of those ripen and then picked it on Wednesday, and it was delicious. 4) Not the most exciting thing in the world, but we got a new toilet on Thursday. The previous one had been slightly problematic since we moved in, maintenance and repairs had nursed it along, but it finally gave up for good on Thursday (not the toilet itself but all the seals, gaskets, etc.). Our landlord got a plumber in right away, and by early evening we had a brand new toilet. The only not-good part was having to go without for a few hours during the day – not fun, but we survived. And, the repairs/labor didn’t cost us a dime!
From blossom to fresh picked to wrinkled and ripe to yum! on top of coconut cake
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We had a boring, but frugal week: it was completely no-spend and we had two no-drive days as well. We didn’t put anything into the change/$1 bill bag but we ate and enjoyed all of our leftovers and we didn’t throw away any food. My sandal purchase from Duckfeet earned me enough points that I will get a discount when I make my next purchase (the boots). It won’t be much, but every bit helps. In other good financial news, there will officially be a 5.9% increase in our Social Security payments next year, and in Brett’s military retirement pay as well. It couldn’t come at a better time.
- Adding up what we sold: I sold four hashioki, my Japanese bamboo shopping basket to a local woman from Japan, and a box of 60 golf balls. $74.35 went into our travel account.
- Grateful for: We were very thankful once again this week to have such a great landlord. We were also grateful to be renting last Thursday and not shouldering the expense of several hours for a plumber, including his having to drive back and forth to Home Depot a couple of times for parts and eventually a whole new toilet.
- Bonus question: What streaming services do you use? We dumped cable and switched to full-time streaming back in 2016 and have never looked back. One of the best things about streaming, in my opinion, is that you can share accounts with others which can give you more for less. Currently we stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu (without ads), Showtime, and Britbox. Netflix is free with our phone plan and we share it with the girls: Amazon Prime is necessary for survival on Kaua’i (IMO) so we pay for that and use the streaming service (the girls share their own Prime account); Hulu and Showtime are free courtesy of our daughters’ accounts (we also used to have access to Disney+ but our daughter dropped the account that provided that service for free); and we pay for Britbox. Total out of pocket for us is $16.91 per month, very affordable for all we get. When I purchase a new phone next month we will pick up Apple+ for free as well. We have been known to sign up for free trials for a week or month in order to binge-stream a particular show, but that doesn’t happen often. Some of these streaming services will travel along with us but there are often barriers in place in many countries that means we can’t use them. Japan has more streaming services than we have in the U.S. though, so we always have plenty to watch there!
A very affordable price for premium economy seats on a flight over to Paris showed up this past week, and after some checking around to be sure this was a good time to buy, we went ahead and purchased them. We will be using the Delta gift cards earned through Swagbucks to cover our flights to YaYu’s graduation – we’re going to fly into Baltimore-Washington (BWI) because it’s nearly $500 less than flights into Philadelphia – but even using what’s left over on our gift cards Delta could not match the other airline’s price (or good schedule) for our two seats. While it was quite exciting to make our Airbnb reservations last month, it’s almost more exciting to book our first flight – we have just seven months until our departure!
That’s a wrap for this week! Other than our plumbing issues it was a pretty good week and lots got done to move us closer to our departure, even if it was only a decision to make some changes. We were sort of surprised to realize we have less than seven months to go, but time seems to be moving along quickly these days and there’s lots to do. Here’s hoping it was a good week for all, and that next week is as good or better!