We had a few pretty/interesting sunsets this week, but they all were over quickly.
Good Morning! 🌴🌺🌴 Aloha kakahiaka! 🌴🌺🌴
We now officially have less than six months left until we depart Kaua’i for Pennsylvania and then France! Time is moving along very quickly, with the days flying past, which is actually getting bit concerning as we have much left to do. Lots has been accomplished already with things continuing to get sold, money going into our travel account, plans being made, research getting done, and so forth. I am trying to focus as much as I can on our girls’ upcoming visit and getting ready for that (less than a month to go until they arrive!) but I still feel like there are a lot of plates I need to keep spinning.
We made a couple of positive financial discoveries this past week. One. our little car is apparently worth quite a bit more than we imagined, more than double what we thought we’d ask for it. With the current shortage of cars on the island, both new and used, we now may be able to get a couple of thousand dollars more than planned, although we’re not going to get greedy as the point will be to sell the car quickly. And, we had planned to take the train from Paris to Strasbourg, but discovered we can save $$$ by flying. Taking the train would require taking a taxi over to Gare L’Est (60 Euros) from the Paris airport and although the train is non-stop to Strasbourg tickets cost more than flying with the travel time the same. The wonderful and affordable Strasbourg tram system runs out to the airport, so by flying in it will be just as easy to get into the city after our arrival. Anyway, I am always happy when I find a way to make money as well as save on travel expenses! However, as of November 1 France is no longer providing their health pass online for free; we will now have to pay (36 Euros each) to get one at a pharmacy after we arrive Strasbourg. You win some, you lose some.
My Etsy shop has now shrunk to one box of hashioki, an antique basket and a small jubako. Although selling online has had it moments, I am so grateful to have been able to downsize through Etsy sales, and be able to sell so much of my hashioki collection (close to half of it has now been sold). We have earned far, far more selling this way than we could have otherwise. I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to keep the shop open though, or what I’ll do with the remaining hashioki. WenYu had said in the past she would take it over but she’s very busy these days so not sure that will be possible any more. We are done with eBay though. We sold a few things, but for the most part it was a very unsatisfying experience for us.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished both Truth Be Told and The Brutal Telling last Sunday, and have been reading A Slow Fire Burning this week. All three are so different from each other, and transitioning from one author to another required a major adjustment.
- Watching: Two of our three favorite bakers on Great British Bake Off are going to the finals! We were positively shocked when Jurgen was eliminated after the semi-finals last Friday, but unsurprised that Chrystelle was sent through to the final. She’s photogenic but an inconsistent baker (she has done poorly on every technical challenge), but I sensed the fix was in with her from the beginning and she is indeed going to the finals next week as expected. Oh well – fingers are crossed that either Guiseppe or Chigs wins next week. We finished Inspector Morse on Tuesday evening – the final episode, “The Remorseful Day,” still remains hard to watch and as always, I got choked up at the end. Our time with Inspector Lewis will begin after the new year and then we will be on to Endeavour before we leave so we will be well-prepared for the Morse tour when we’re in Oxford. And what can I say about Squid Game? It was crazy, violent, and yet very thought provoking – I’m glad we watched. We also watched another episode of Shetland, we absolutely love Ted Lasso, and we just started Little Fires Everywhere (on Hulu).
- Listening to: I was curious what the weather would be like this morning because it was very humid yesterday, rainy and cloudy at times, but there’s not a cloud in the sky this morning, and a lovely cool breeze blowing. Brett’s already made his breakfast, I’m enjoying a hot cup of coffee, so it’s a perfect, quiet morning inside and out.
- Happy I accomplished last week: Big Shop done: check. Eye exam done, new glasses ordered: check. French studied every day: check. Christmas shopping finished and gifts wrapped: check. My shingles and flu vaccines done: check. Everything that needed to be accomplished this week: done! (P.S. The shingles vaccine knocked me out! I was tired and sore by Thursday evening, but I felt truly awful all day Friday. I was mostly fine again yesterday though, thank goodness. Still glad I got it done, because who wants shingles? I will be better prepared for Round II.)
- Looking forward to next week: 1) Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday of the year as it centers on family and food without all the hoopla about presents, decorations, and so forth. Once again this year it will be just Brett and me, but we’re planning to take a long walk, watch The Descendents, and enjoy a simple but tasty meal that ends with some pumpkin pie. 3) Hopefully we’ll get another beach day.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) A day at the beach is always a good thing. We headed out to Barking Sands on Tuesday and enjoyed relaxing under the umbrella with the whole beach practically to ourselves again (we also walked the 2+ mile Waioukapua Trail before getting set up on the beach). 2) Our daughter-in-law sent us another huge batch of photos and videos of the grandkids’ fall activities. I think I’ve looked at them more than 100 times now. 3) I enjoyed this week’s episode of Rick Steve’s Monday Night Travels and learned a lot about the current state of travel in Europe and how we can be better prepared. We also got some ideas for future travel destinations. 4) I had six sales from my Etsy shop, something that’s always a good thing. 5) My vision had only very slightly deteriorated from last year and it will be a while before I need cataract surgery – yeah!
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) Our upstairs neighbor finally paid us for another three months of Internet sharing, and that went right into our travel account this week. We asked him if he wanted to pay for six months, up until we left, but he said he might be moving on in another three months. 2) Because of the cost of gas and known delays due to highway maintenance, we combined all of our errands in Lihue into one this past Thursday. We first shopped at Costco, then went for my eye appointment, and followed that with a small shop at Safeway, where we used one of our $10 off $50 coupons. I also got both my shingles and flu vaccines done at Safeway while we were there and received a 10% off any purchase coupon (and, I’ll get a second coupon when I got back for the second shingles shot in a few months). 3) Although we put $0 into the change/$1 bill jar last week (we used our debit card), we ate all of our leftovers. and didn’t throw away any food. 4) Between Costco and Safeway we went approximately $45 over our shopping budget, but that’s because we picked up two instead of one of a few items where stock was low. For example, I bought two bottles of the wine I drink because that’s all that was left in Costco: two bottles. The apples we usually buy were gone so we bought a larger package that cost more. On the other hand, a couple of items we had planned to buy this trip had completely sold out since our last time there, and Costco still didn’t have their organic peanut butter in stock – it’s been missing for months. Overall though we found what we needed. We know things can disappear quickly here though, but lots of floor space at Costco these days is being used for non-food items with the area for food items shrinking.
- Adding up what we sold last week: Fourteen hashioki (five orders), a book, two sets of blue fish plates, and three more boxes of golf balls left the house for a total of $152.91 into the travel account. We have two more boxes of golf balls left to sell (whenever) but from now on the only potential sales happening until next year will be on Etsy. The fish plates were a challenge to get ready to ship (we had to build our own box). Packaging and postage ending up taking a good portion of my profits, but I still made more than we would have selling them at a yard sale, the buyer is thrilled to be getting them, and they’re something else now out of the house.
- Grateful for: We grow more thankful all the time for Medicare and that Brett stayed in the navy to retire and receive continuing healthcare insurance. Our savings this week for two health-related tasks were considerable. I was told my shingles vaccine might cost up to $250, even with Medicare, but the entire cost of the vaccine was covered by Medicare and Tricare For Life so there was nothing out of pocket. Same for my eyeglasses – I paid less than 25% of the total cost for both the exam and new glasses that have all the bells and whistles, much less than expected. When Brett was serving we gave no thought at all about having insurance later in life, but this benefit alone has provided us a quality of life that was unimagined back then.
- Bonus question: What’s been the most influential change in your lifetime (so far)? We memorized phone numbers. We memorized driving directions. No one knew what we looked like. No one could reach us. We were gods. (from a tweet I read this past week). I honestly wonder sometimes though how we ever managed without the Internet, Google, etc. in the past. Actually, I do remember how we managed but I am much, much happier with the technology we have available today. If I need or want to know something it takes just moments to search and find the information I’m looking for whether it’s the definition or spelling of a word, comparing flight schedules, the cost of something, and so forth. I can buy food, clothing, airline tickets, a car . . . anything but the actual experience of being somewhere online now (and I guess that could happen with virtual reality, but no thanks). It’s beyond amazing when I think about what we can do now, something our children and grandchildren take for granted. I love my cell phone, and use it constantly, but still have mixed feelings about its (potential) intrusiveness. And, also the impatience it engenders. Still, a (good) camera in my phone? Amazing and absolutely wonderful. And, the best part about technology? It’s maybe the only thing gets cheaper as it gets better, unlike cars, houses, and other items.
With the holiday season starting up, the number of visitors to the island is already starting to increase again. Traffic is getting worse, there are more shoppers in Costco, Walmart, and Target, but thankfully the changes are fairly subtle for us so far as we tend to stay down in our little un-touristy neck of the woods. We noticed several retired couples on the beach at Barking Sands the other day, far more than usual, but we are guessing the beach cottages are probably fully booked through the summer by now. We avoid going anywhere near Poipu, or driving up beyond Lihue because of the crowds and traffic. We are starting to wonder how crowded it will be in Europe next year. Rick Steves said it will be something of a “transitional” year for both tourism and businesses that serve them, and he feels the crowds will be less than pre-COVID times but building again. I read this week that there is yet another version of the Delta variant now in England, more infectious than the current variant but apparently less deadly, but vaccines are holding their ground against it. COVID, like the flu, is always going be with us going forward, but people want and are going to travel and will make adjustments. I think though most countries are going to require a vaccination for entry, or at least a negative test at the barest minimum, and require mask wearing for a long time going forward. Fine by me!
And, there goes another week! It was a lovely one, with mostly good weather, lots accomplished, a beach day, and more. I hope it was as lovely for everyone else. I’m looking forward to the coming week and Thanksgiving, and wishing the best for all!