The gloaming last Thursday evening. Gloaming is a poetic word for “twilight,” or the time of day immediately after the sun sets . . . a word with a strong Scottish heritage, adopted from Scottish dialect during the Middle Ages.
Good Morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
Brett and I have been planning to spend our last week on Kaua’i living in one of the beach cottages at Barking Sands. Those plans got dashed this past week when Brett called to make reservations and learned the first available opening is May 16! We’ll be back in Pennsylvania then, and getting ready to depart for France! We discussed whether we should book a hotel here for our last week, or ask our landlord if we can pay a pro-rated daily amount and continue to camp in our empty apartment for our last few days on the island. A hotel stay, we know, would be expensive but give us a chance to decompress as we take care of last minute business on the island. Staying in the apartment would definitely save a lot of money but it would also be very uncomfortable, tiring, and most likely depressing. After finally deciding we really did not want to live here with just an air mattress, I started searching and found an affordable studio rental at the same complex in Princeville where we stayed when we arrived in 2020, and booked that. We’ll have a comfortable bed, a TV, and a small kitchenette for meals, all for less than a hotel, plus a somewhat poetic bookend to our two years on Kaua’i.
We still are a bit worried about a car for our last few days here, something that’s a whole different thing than it was before. Renting a car on Kaua’i is outrageously expensive these days, and costs are w-a-y outside of our budget. A 10-day economy car rental now is nearly $1100 where when we left in 2018 it was only around $400. We plan to sell our car mid-April of next year, but it looks like we will have to ask if we can continue to use it until we depart (which happens frequently here), or at least until we move up to Princeville. Friends have offered us the use of one of their cars, and it looks like we may have to take them up on their offer.
COVID cases are on the rise again in Europe, and experts are predicting another hard winter there. Much of the increase, it seems, is attributed to children not being vaccinated – COVID seems to be spreading like wildfire through schools, and then children bring it home as well or pass on to other family members. Also, some countries apparently let down their guards too early (Denmark and Austria, for example), even with high vaccination rates. Europe has much higher numbers for vaccinations than we do in the U.S., so we’re probably going to have an equally bad winter here, even with children now being vaccinated. Hopefully things will be better next spring, although we’ve read that as long as we’re vaccinated and have received the booster we will be good to go. Mask-wearing will most likely need to continue all the way through 2022 according to experts as COVID is not going away, at least for the time being. Daily COVID deaths continue in Hawaii; there were on two on Kauai this past week. Another person I know of who had been adamantly opposed to getting the vaccine and mask wearing, and has touted her “natural immunity” over and over, was diagnosed with COVID this past week (“it’s just a cold!”), got the ($$$$) antibody infusion, and is now grateful the government paid for it. If you haven’t already, please get vaccinated!
This morning I am:
- Reading: I’m still reading both The Brutal Telling and Truth Be Told, but am almost finished with both. A Slow Fire Burning by Paul Hawkins came off of hold this week, was downloaded, and is ready to be read next. I also put four new (to me) mysteries on hold at the library, all having been recommended by Ian Rankin. I’m not sure if they’ll be available before the end of the year, but they’ll get read whenever they show up.
- Listening to: There is currently not a leaf stirring outside and it’s humid. But, it’s still coolish, there are birds singing (some loudly), and I can see bits of blue sky peeking through the clouds in a few places, so who knows what’s going on out there today? It’s mostly lovely and quiet inside though. Our upstairs neighbor has turned into a clomper though. He was quiet when he moved in but these days stomps around upstairs with abandon. He currently has houseguests and we can barely tell they’re there, but with him it’s been thump, thump, thump all morning.
- Watching: We finished Billions on Thursday evening (with a fitting ending for my least favorite TV character EVER), watched Inspector Morse and the Great British Bake Off on Friday, and went back to watching Squid Game yesterday. We’re down to the semi-finals on the GBBO, and almost done with Inspector Morse – just four episodes to go. After we finish we’ll start Ted Lasso. A new season of the Shetland series also became available this past week, with a new episode available weekly we watched the first one on Friday evening as well and will continue that each week until it’s done. Television is an embarrassment of riches these days.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: We got seven boxes of golf balls sorted and listed, and sold two boxes right away. We know it will take a few weeks to get them all sold though, Our Big Shop list for next week is completed so we’re ready to go. Making a shopping list is beginning to get a tiny bit complicated though as we are trying to fit in things we’ll need when the girls are here but space is limited so we have to be careful what we buy, and when. We’re also trying to figure out the things we don’t need to buy at Costco any more, like laundry detergent. I got both my shingles vaccination and flu shot ordered, forms are filled out, and can hopefully get them done this week.
- Looking forward to next week: 1) Our mid-month Big Shop is happening on Tuesday. We’ll get a few last things for the girls and then we’re done with their Christmas shopping. I almost can’t believe that Meiling and WenYu will arrive in a month from Tuesday, and YaYu the day after! 2) I have my semi-annual eye exam on Thursday and will be choosing new frames for the coming year. Fingers are already crossed that everything else is okay with my eyes. 3) Something we’re not looking forward to is the drive to both Costco and the eye doctor (and back home) because of road work going on between where we live and Puhi, where Costco and the eye doctor are located causing one-lane traffic for miles. We’re going to have to give ourselves at least an hour, if not more, to make the commute each way. 4) I think I am looking forward to finally getting my shingles and flu vaccines done, although I know the shingles one is going to be painful. 5) Brett and I studied French every day for 20 minutes. We’re not struggling . . . yet, but already has been challenging for us at times.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) We got news this week from our vision insurance plan that we will have fewer co-pays coming up, and that our vision care will now be covered overseas! We’ll have to pay upfront for exams, lenses, frames, etc. but we will reimbursed for some of the cost. That means we have the trifecta though: health, dental, and vision insurance while we’re living on the road – yeah! 2) One of the hashioki I sold this past week actually completed a set for the buyer. The buyer had the same design in four other colors but was missing the yellow one I had. I’m still amazed at the odds of my having the missing piece to the set in my shop and her discovering it. 3) Although we didn’t make it to the beach last week as hoped, we did enjoy a lovely evening out by the fire pit on Friday – we ate dinner outside (the fire kept the bugs away), made s’mores for dessert, and enjoyed some nice weather and good conversation.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) I had desired and watched a certain 3/4-sleeve knit top for several months on the J. Jill site, patiently waiting for it to go on sale. However, when it finally did go on sale at the end of last month it wasn’t available in my size – sob! Last week though my size popped up again along with an additional 40% off the sale price, making it extremely affordable even with shipping and tax, and the top was ordered. I’m so happy I both waited and was able to catch it when I did as it is now completely sold out in every size. I’ll have to wait a few weeks for it to arrive though – J. Jill shipping is the absolute slowest when it comes to getting things over to Kaua’i. Anyway, other than ordering boots from Duckfeet in January, that’s it for clothing for me. 2) We bought gas for the car this week, picked up some wrapping supplies and a key lime pie at Target using our grand-opening coupon, and bought a container of Japanese namasu salad at Times supermarket. $12.46 went into the change/$1 bill bag. 3) Another $5 grand-opening Target coupon showed up in our mailbox to use later and we also somehow received three coupons for $10 off if we spend $50 or more at Safeway. It’s extremely easy to spend $50 at Safeway here, and the discount will be a big help when we purchase meat and a few other things we need for the girls’ visit in December. 4) All the leftovers were eaten, but we had to throw out an entire loaf of (expensive) Dave’s 21-Grain bread that went moldy. That was painful.
- Adding up all the things that were sold last week: It started out as a slow week on Etsy with only two hashioki sold. But, I woke up on Saturday to a big order of seven items that included hashioki and some other things, and we sold two boxes of golf balls. eBay also finally released funds for items we sold a few weeks ago, so a total of $343.27 is going into our travel account tomorrow.
- Grateful for: I am thankful for the income that my Etsy shop and other things have been consistently providing for our upcoming travels. Some weeks are better than others, but something always gets sold and there’s always money getting deposited into the travel account. Sometimes I worry (a lot) that we won’t be able to sell some things, or I get frustrated with the process here, but I remember that last time everything we wanted to sell eventually did, and remind myself it will happen again this time as well.
- Bonus question: Do you play games on your phone? Yes, every day! Right now my #1 favorite game is Match Triple 3D. On my old phone the screen was so small that I could never get very far because I couldn’t see the little objects to north them out, but I can now see them more easily and have gotten much further along than ever before. It’s a very addicting game. I love word games and sudoku puzzles as well, and play a game called 7 Little Words every day, which I enjoy because I have to think carefully about meanings, synonyms, and how different words can be used in English before I can assemble them. I play Sudoku at the “evil” level which is always challenging, but if I’m patient I can usually solve the puzzle. Sudoku requires lots of logical thinking which I figure is good for my brain. Brett doesn’t play any games and has no interest in any of them, not even solitaire!
It’s almost hard for me to believe, but next month will the last for putting funds away for YaYu’s college expenses – she will make her final payment to the college the first week of January. After that she, like her siblings, is on her own (financially) except for her return ticket back to college, which we’ll purchase for her in January when she has a better idea of when she wants/needs to go back. This is a huge milestone for us – four kids raised and put through college, three graduating with no or very, very little debt (our son paid off his debt, both college and law school, within a year of graduation). All four have their feet firmly planted and are thriving, from our son in Japan to YaYu, who will be continuing on to grad school to earn a Ph.D. Meiling and YaYu are both working at jobs they enjoy and supporting themselves, and are in happy relationships. Over the years, we’ve been told how lucky our kids are, especially the girls, but Brett and I have always felt we are the lucky ones, to have had the privilege of parenting four such great kids. It hasn’t always been easy (a couple of times it’s been downright terrifying) but it’s the best and most satisfying thing we’ve ever done.
That’s it for another good week. I’m looking forward and hopefully ready for whatever comes next and hope everyone is as well. Cheers!