Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
As if we needed another big expense before we go, last weekend I was eating something soft, and bit into something hard and discovered the top of a crown had broken off! The crown goes over a back tooth that is anchoring a bridge I had done back in 2000, but thankfully the bridge is holding firm. I am already seeing the dentist next week and they’ve added some time to my appointment to see if it can be fixed. Best case scenario, although expensive, will be to have a new crown made before we leave. Worst case scenario is that the whole tooth, bridge, etc. will need to be removed and replaced with implants, and there’s currently no time for that. We know that it’s possible to get high-quality dental work done overseas for a fraction of the cost here (and our dental insurance can be used overseas) so however this turns out I’m going to be investigating dental tourism in the coming days and possibly weeks.
Otherwise, things are moving along as they should. Packages are getting packed, things are being sold, and so forth. It’s almost hard to believe that next weekend marks the end of January leaving us with only three more months to get everything finished up.
We enjoyed another beautiful week, but appointments, errands, and other tasks kept us from getting to the beach. Still, we got in lots of walking, sold some things, and kept moving forward on our departure from Kaua’i. Brett and I continue to make progress with French even though Duolingo is less than ideal (let me count the ways). We’re into Level 3 now, and can read most sentences easily and make only a few mistakes. However, we struggle with understanding spoken French and can only create the most basic of sentences when we try to speak, and our pronunciation is awful. I remember feeling the same way before we traveled in 2018, and yet I was able to understand more than I thought I could and even made a couple of appropriate comments in French toward the end of our time, so I’m hopeful the same will be true for Brett and me this year. We plan to continue studying while we’re in Strasbourg.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished The Girls In the Garden last Monday, another good mystery, although I sort of had things figured out before I finished. I’d like to read more of Lisa Jewell’s books though. I’m now almost done with The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee, the third in his detective series set in 1920s India. This past week I cashed in some Swagbucks for a $50 Amazon gift card, gave Brett half, and I am going to buy two books this coming week, Crying In H Mart and Dial A For Aunties. I put off reading them last year as neither fit with the mystery theme, but the current wait from the library is too long for both books and I’m dying to read them. In the meantime, as soon as the Mukherjee book is finished I’m going to read 1979, by Val McDermid, then Bury Your Dead, by Louise Penny, the next book in the Inspector Gamache series – they both finally came off of hold from the library on Friday.
- Listening to: We’re enjoying a very quiet morning. There’s only a very light breeze outside and other than some birds singing nothing is going on out there. Even the chickens have quieted down. Inside Brett is reading and finishing his breakfast, so I’m in my happy quiet morning place with a hot cup of coffee in front of me.
- Watching: We finished all available episodes of You this past week, but there will apparently be another season coming up! Such a creepy show, but well done. We’re still enjoying Kim’s Convenience, but started rewatching Call My Agent this past week to hear spoken French and hopefully improve our listening skills a tiny bit. They all talk very fast but we usually can understand at least one expression and a few words here and there. I guess that’s progress.
- Happy I accomplished: 1) I ordered our free home COVID tests for Brett and me. We plan to use them when we’re in Pennsylvania in May as that’s when we’ll be around and involved with the most people. 2) We dropped off another load of stuff at the the Habitat for Humanity thrift store yesterday and I filled four more boxes to be mailed for storage; I’m close to getting finished with packing everything for storage although some things will have to wait until nearly the end of next month (i.e. the rice cooker). 3) Brett and I cleaned and polished the entire set of All-Clad cookware and listed it on Buy & Sell at the beginning of the week; it sold in less than half an hour (with several back-up requests), pretty good for a 30-year-old set of cookware! We are now using the nice big skillet and saucepan from when we arrived back in 2020 – they will be sufficient until we leave. The cookware buyer also made a deposit on our sofa, dining table and chairs, and market umbrella, but won’t be picking them up until after the first of March. 4) We took our big suitcases out of the closet to air out before we depart, as well as Brett’s sports coat and my leather tote bag (which somehow thankfully did not mould).
- Looking forward to next week: 1) I’m not sure I can say I’m looking forward to going to the dentist this week, especially with this current issue looming over me, but at the same time I would like it all resolved, or at least know what my options are. 2) I booked a surprise brunch date for Brett and me next weekend. We haven’t gone out for a very long time and where we’re going should be fun (and delicious)! 3) We also have our fingers crossed that we can get to the beach again one day.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) This past week, our son received the package we sent with his baby book, a few pieces of his earliest baby clothes, his first pair of shoes, and some other paraphernalia and paperwork. He and his family had fun going through everything, but his message to Brett and me at after finishing his baby book was, In all seriousness, I could feel the love. 2) Our daughter-in-law sent us another big bunch of photos and videos of the grandkids. They continue to get older and bigger and we miss them terribly. 3) I met a long-time reader, TexKauai, at Kukuiolono park one afternoon this past week when Brett and I were walking!! She usually walks there in the mornings, and we walk in the late afternoon, but the other day she and her husband were there in the afternoon – lucky me! They are also moving off island about the same time we are, so we had some stories to share. So very happy to have met her before we left. 4) I had two Etsy sales, always a good thing. 5) My final skin check went well; one small spot on the side of my temple (from sun exposure as a child!) was burned off but otherwise the dermatologist said I have beautiful skin for my age. My lab results from last week’s blood draw were also great in spite of my forgetting I was supposed to have been fasting. 6) We had lovely weather almost all week.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) We have been thinking several clothing items were going to have to be dry cleaned ($$$) before we left, things that had gotten musty in the closet they’ve been stored in these past two years. Brett’s sports coat is now getting lots of fresh air and will be fine before we go. I tumbled our Edinburgh cashmere scarves in the dryer on low heat with a Bounce sheet and they smell fresh again, and washed a couple of sweaters by hand and all the musty odors are gone from them as well, so that’s money saved. Everything else that’s been in our storage closet the past two years can and will be washed before we pack. 2) We returned a pair of flannel pajama pants I had ordered for Brett that (finally) arrived this past week but he didn’t need any longer because Meiling gave him a pair for Christmas! 3) Brett ordered himself a pair of Duckfeet boots and saved $40 using a discount I had received for answering a survey for Duckfeet. We both now have all the clothing we need for travel. 3) We had a very low-spend week: just some spinach, a bunch of green onions, a can of beans, and nigiri tofu from Big Save. 4) We put $5.48 into the change/$1 bill bag, ate all our leftovers, but sadly had to throw away a block of firm tofu that had gotten pushed to the back of the fridge when the girls were here and was well past its prime.
- Adding up what we sold: Besides selling the cookware this past week, I had two Etsy orders and $266.26 will go into our travel fund this week.
- Grateful for: Both Brett and I are feeling very thankful at this point in our lives for the good health we currently enjoy. Our teeth have been problematic, but we’re grateful to have good dental insurance.
- Bonus question: What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever pulled off? In early 2006, Brett and I decided to take the girls for a week’s vacation to Walt Disney World in January of 2007 for their birthdays (which all fall together within a period of about one month). We wanted to surprise the girls, so while we saved and saved (we paid cash for the entire trip) and plotted all year we never let them know what was coming up. We used a travel agency that specialized in Disney vacations; they helped us get lodging, meal reservations (including breakfast with the princesses in Cinderella Castle), and other treats for the girls at bargain prices. We gave each girl a carry-on bag for Christmas, supposedly for “sleepovers,” and after the new year I began to secretly pack them. We contacted the girls’ teachers to let them know; they kept the secret and set up a fun assignment for each girl to do while they were there (journaling, etc.) The travel agency had sent Disney identification tags for our luggage along with big birthday buttons for each of the girls to wear, and after they fell asleep the night before our departure, still having no idea what was going to happen, Brett and I finished packing their carry-on bags, attached the Disney tags, and set all the bags at the foot of our bed. The next morning, Brett surprised the girls when he woke them up – he would have usually already been on his way to work – and told them to go wake me up for a change. When they came into our bedroom and saw those bags and tags . . . oh WOW!! At first, all three girls burst into tears! “Are we really going to Disney World?” “Today?” Then the laughing, screaming, and jumping began, and there was absolutely no hesitation that morning getting them dressed, down to breakfast, and in the car to go to the airport. We had an absolutely wonderful trip to WDW from start to finish. Just turned six-year-old YaYu cried the day we left – she had never imagined such a place existed – and she still has her luggage tag and button from that trip. The girls’ reaction that morning though was something I’ll never forget for as long as I live. Best surprise ever, even if it took nearly a year to pull it off!
I was very scared the other day when the doctor’s office called to tell me he wanted to speak with me personally. Usually after lab work is done someone calls and says everything is fine and within normal range and that’s that. However, this time I thought something awful had been discovered in the results and he wanted to tell me in person. I was so nervous when he called, so you can imagine my relief to hear that not only were the results of my lab work okay but that the numbers were better than ever and all the efforts Brett and I have made to improve our health through exercise and eating better had made a discernible difference! Of course I still have this major dental issue to resolve, but now I remain hopeful the news won’t be as bad as it could be.
And that’s a wrap for another week at Chez Aloha! Shows watched, good food eaten, good books read, good news received (along with a bit of not-so-good news), and tasks accomplished. We’re hoping for the good things to continue into next week, and I hope everyone out there is looking forward to the week coming up as much as we are!