Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
Something in me snapped this week, and although I love Kaua’i for so many reasons, right now I am feeling somewhat done with it. Every single time we have listed an item on our local Buy & Sell it goes something like this: For a couple of days I will get a message or messages asking if the item is still available. I answer yes, and then never hear back from 99.9% of these people again. Sometimes there’ll be a ridiculous low-ball offer or two that I have to refuse, but usually I hear nothing back. I’m a patient person, and the .01% of the requests eventually messages back and a sale gets set up, but then sometimes that person doesn’t show up, and doesn’t reply to further messages and I have to start the cycle all over again. If this had happened maybe once or twice I wouldn’t think much of it, but it has honestly happened with every item we’ve listed and it’s gone beyond just being annoying. It has happened seven times this week with our rug listing, and the last person who messaged about it lives on the Big Island! Why ask if an item is available if you have no intention of buying it? It’s like being trolled over and over and over again. So far we’ve thankfully ended up selling the items we’ve listed but it’s been a frustrating, discouraging experience each time. I don’t know if this current situation is related to a the pandemic economy or if something else is going on but when we sold our stuff in 2018 nothing like this happened even once, and no one quibbled about prices. People would ask if an item was available, come over and buy it, and talk story for a while. We have our items priced well below market value, and I never expect a quick sale for anything, but this current situation of mystery requests, no shows, and low-ball offers has gotten very, very old. I know I’m like an old lady screaming “get off my lawn!” for writing this but I am feeling so frustrated these days, especially since we have more to sell locally over the coming months. Our eBay items are getting lots of looks and watchers, and I made a sale this past week. Etsy sales have slowed way down although I had two good sales from the shop the past week as well. But the Buy & Sell situation has gotten ridiculous.
Although it’s over a year away, Brett and I spent several days this past week talking about where we’d like to go after we finish our stay in Japan in February 2023. We toggle between going back to Europe or maybe back to Australia for a long stay. It’s all academic at this point, especially since both Japan and Australia are still closed to visitors, but it’s been fun thinking about where we’d like to go. The UK is currently seeing a big spike in COVID cases again, apparently because of their recent reopening and for a variety of other reasons including limited mask wearing, lack of vaccinations in young people, low numbers for boosters, and a few other things. So, we will be watching how things go there, but hopefully by August of next year the situation will be under control once again. We’ve also talked a lot about a possible future landing spot in the U.S., from the standpoint of knowing we should have a game plan or framework for that set up before we depart and as we travel. We have a preference for where we’d like to go, but want to have a couple of back-up locations as well.
After all the wind, rain, and other weird weather we’d been experiencing, this past week was very pleasant. The winds died down to mostly gently breezes, the sun shone without being too hot on most days, and we didn’t have to worry each time we went for a walk whether or not we would get wet or not before we finished. Ally the cat even showed up on a couple of days to let us know she was okay – we hadn’t seen her in a while and were sort of worried. We assume she takes shelter under someone’s house during bad weather but she must still get fed as she didn’t look any worse for the wear.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished the The Perfect Nanny on Friday evening. It was a pleasure having just one book to read even though this book was creepy (and sad) one. With perfect timing, Apples Never Fall, by Lianne Moriarty, came off of hold yesterday so I segued right into that. I am waiting to see if someone will give me a new Kindle for Christmas (there have been hints not to buy one now). My current one, purchased in early 2015, can barely hold a charge these days so I’m nursing it along. If I don’t get one for Christmas I’ll get one in January.
- Listening to: The wind was howling again when I got up this morning, but it seems to have gotten itself under control so now all I’m hearing is a gentle breeze. I really love how quiet this location is from all the other neighborhood noises we put up with before. Anyway, it should be a lovely day. We woke up later than usual this morning, so Brett is in the kitchen putting away last night’s dishes and making coffee. After I have a cup it will be my turn to make some noise in there, fixing pumpkin apple pancakes for our breakfast this morning.
- Watching: We finished Season 1 of Only Murders in the Building this week, but The Great British Bake-Off, Inspector Morse, and Billions continue. Squid Game with be up next as will Ted Lasso and The Morning Show. There are also some other detective procedural series on Britbox we want to check out as well. So much to see, so little time!
- Happy I accomplished: 1) Our Big Shop on Tuesday went well, although as always it made for a tiring day, and we went slightly over our budget picking up another Christmas item for the girls. 2) I got a couple more things listed on Etsy including the blue fish plates we use when we have pizza, and got Etsy orders packaged and sent out as well as an eBay order that’s going to Hong Kong! 3) We organized some more golf balls for local sale as well; they’ll get listed in early November. 4) I got another six weeks of activity cards set up too – by the time I get through those we’ll have finished Thanksgiving and be into December. Time is going by swiftly these days.
- Looking forward to next week: Once again there’s nothing special on the calendar, so we’ll take each day as it comes and take care of our regular chores and activities.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) Tuesday was our scheduled Big Shop day but we went to Barking Sands instead. We were expecting clouds and some wind, but instead enjoyed a long, perfect beach day, with a light breeze and blue skies. Brett and I needed to be there more than we realized, and we left to come home feeling rejuvenated and better than we had in a while. 2) The weather was calm enough on Wednesday that we were able to get a fire going in the fire pit in the evening and make s’mores as well as enjoy some conversation and time outside. 3) Our new avocado tree has sprouted – the tap root has developed branches and the new tree popped out this week. 4) Meiling is on her way to Paris! She had tickets and reservation to go in the spring of 2020, but those were cancelled for obvious reasons. Things have opened up again there (if you’re vaccinated, that is) and she’s finally on her way. 4) I rarely comment on Twitter, but one I made the other day about a cake went somewhat viral – it’s been fun reading the replies for the past couple of days (all positive).
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) Gas is now up to $4/gallon at Costco, the highest it’s ever been since we came to the island in 2014 (at gas stations out in town it’s going for $4.59 or higher). We’ve tamped down our driving as much as we can (Tuesday’s beach trip was a splurge) and other than going to the park almost every day we try not to drive or at least combine as many trips as we can. We also aim for one full no-drive day per week and have been meeting that goal for the past several weeks. 2) I stopped by our credit union branch on Friday to make a deposit and it turned out to be the one-year anniversary of the branch’s opening, and I was given another crisp $2 bill as a thank-you! I got one last year because I happened to go in during their grand opening. 3) We went $20 over our budget on our Big Shop, but we picked up another item for the girls’ Christmas presents and now have a well-stocked pantry, fridge and freezer. We’ll take $20 off of our end-of-the-month shop. Both Costco and Walmart had lots of vegetarian/vegan choices this time, including some things we love but haven’t seen in a while, like spanakopita. 4) Our final case of toilet paper arrived yesterday from Amazon and should see us through until next April. After that we’ll buy what we need until we leave at Target or Walmart. The price for the case was still less per roll than anything we can find on the island. We had just two rolls left from our last case, so the timing on this one was perfect. 5) We put $2.72 in the change/$1 bill bag and finished all our leftovers. We had to throw out a head of lettuce that was rotting from the inside out – ugh. 6) Other than our Big Ship it was a low spend week with, a quick stop at Big Save for four items we couldn’t find at Costco or Walmart, and an extra trip to Walmart for a mailing box (84 cents).
- Adding up what we sold last week: I sold one hashioki and two temari from my Etsy shop, and the Japanese antique iron teakettle on eBay to a buyer in Hong Kong. The total going into our travel account when the dust settles and after eBay collects their fees will be $139.87 (it would have been more but I still owed Etsy because of the broken jubako). We’re going to keep the rug listing up for another week, but we will be more than okay if it doesn’t sell because otherwise we will send it back on the plane with WenYu and Meiling.
- Grateful for: We’re feeling thankful these days for our little Honda Civic and the good gas mileage it gets (30+ mpg on the highway). We only need to fill up every 10-12 days, and with our decreased amount of driving we’re still keeping those costs are under $25.
- Bonus question: What’s your favorite season? That would be fall (if we were any place other than Kaua’i)! I have loved fall since I was a small child. Septembers in Southern California were always brutally hot, but then toward the end of the month and into October the temperatures would cool, the leaves would change (mostly just die and fall off the trees from the heat in September). I remember a favorite activity when I was very young was picking a day to sit on the curb and watch the fallen leaves swirl down the street in the cool air because I could imagine Halloween coming, and then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. I loved having to put on a sweater for the first time in the season, and also loved the change from salads, barbecues and other hot weather foods to soups, stews, and casseroles. Although I do like spring, I still prefer autumn and the feeling of things cooling down rather than warming up. When we lived in Key West there was always a day in October when the hot, steamy summer weather would “pop,’ for lack of a better word. It was still warm, but the blue of the sky became more brilliant and the air felt different. There are similar seasonal changes here in Hawaii, but they are even more subtle – our first couple of years here we didn’t notice anything, but these days I can feel the changes as they show up (although we’re currently having a different sort of year as far as weather and temperatures go).
In what passes for excitement on Kaua’i, our new Target store had their “soft opening” this past week. The opening had been delayed for weeks while remodeling of the old Kmart building went on (Hawaii time). The “grand opening” is actually today, whatever that means, but Brett and I went yesterday to see if we could find an appropriately-sized mailing box for the teakettle I just sold, and to check it out and see what they have versus Walmart and what prices were like. We would prefer to shop at Target, but we ended up going to Walmart afterwards as Target didn’t have a box that was the right size, and Walmart still has better prices, especially on food items, as well as a definitely better Asian food section. Anyway, we had to wait in line to get into Target, and the store is beautiful and bright, and will bring some much-needed options and choices to the island. When we got home I packed up the teakettle, and then discovered the printer was out of ink so I couldn’t print the mailing label. Brett will have to go back up to either Target or Walmart later today or tomorrow to get a new ink cartridge – grrrr.
That’s all for this great week – it really was close to perfect for us with good books, good food, frugal finds, a beach trip, s’more by the fire pit, and everything else that went on. Can we have another please? Here’s hoping it was a good week for all, and that the week coming up is as good or better!