Sunday Morning: 3/6/2022: Getting It Done

No clouds, no sunset. They have been very few and far between since the beginning of the year. Usually all we’ve been seeing is a soft glow along the horizon and a darkening sky above.

The Sunday Morning post is back! I’ve dropped a few things to streamline it a bit which I hope will keep it from becoming overwhelming, which was what was happening back in January. Most of the news will still be here, but in a more compact format.

Things are moving along as we get closer to our departure. We’ve sold almost all of our furniture . . . to one family! They are moving to Kaua’i at the end of this month (the house they bought is currently being refurbished) and it will basically be furnished with our stuff – the buyers’ and our style match up pretty well and it’s a win-win situation for both of us. We’re also happy to be able to keep our furniture a little longer than we expected before having to live with our patio furniture and sleep on the inflatable mattress. There are only three items left to list on Buy & Sell (which will get done this coming week), and we’ll hold a yard sale at the end of April to get rid of the rest of our stuff. The car will be listed for sale the second week of April, giving us a month to get it sold. Used car prices on the island are high right now, and we’ll be able to ask what we paid for it two years ago! We have rented a car beginning April 22 to use until we leave in May. Rentals are crazy expensive here now and we got the best deal we could using our military discount with Budget, but we’re still paying around five times what we paid before we left in 2018. Friends have offered to loan us a car to get through to the 22nd if we need it, but hopefully we can work out the timing with a buyer.

We’re closely following the situation in Ukraine and will make a call on whether we should to go to France or to Mexico around the end of this month. We very much want to go to France, but also are feeling a bit uncomfortable, and that this may not be the best time to travel to Europe. For now we’re more concerned about the people in Ukraine and all their suffering than our travels. What’s going on there makes whining about wearing a mask or inflation seem very petty. The destruction of the nuclear power plant this past Thursday is especially concerning as are the citizens fleeing, and the destruction of Mariupol. The entire situation in Ukraine is heartbreaking and tension-inducing, and like most of the world, we hope it can be resolved but for now it’s hard to know the direction things will go. We continue to pray for an end to conflict and for peace.

Thinking about this past week, this morning I am:

  • Thinking of what we accomplished: 1) We sold our barbecue in less than an hour after it was listed last Sunday. Used barbecue grills typically take a while to sell here but we had nine full price offers in less than 30 minutes! I spent all day last Saturday cleaning the grill so it looked almost new (a truly awful, messy chore) and we included the gas we had left in our tank as well as our barbecue tools so maybe that’s what did the trick. 2) At our suggestion, the woman who bought the grill also bought our fire pit as well! 3) I’ve been reading like a house afire every day, and am currently having to read two books thanks to the library sending them out at the same time. 4) I play Wordle every day, and Brett and I continue to study French every day as well. 5) We dumped Duolingo last month and are now working with Memrise every day, which is providing some good listening practice. Neither program is really very good, but they’re what’s available to us here.
We spent two days in a row at the Shipwreck Beach last week. The whales put on a show each day.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: 1) Learning I didn’t have to get a root canal last week was the best news of all. The pain I had been having turned out to be from the temporary crown and once the permanent crown was attached the pain disappeared. 2) Selling the grill and fire pit was also a good thing – we’re glad to see things go these days as it means less of a scramble as we prepare to move out. 3) We enjoyed two long days in a row at the beach, and saw whales breaching and then got to watch one whale roll and whack the water with its fin 10 times in a row! These animals are absolutely magnificent – watching a Hawaiian humpback whale breach is like watching a bus come up out of the ocean; they’re that big.
Round 1 of our storage items are on their way to Massachusetts, for slightly less than we estimated.
  • Thinking of ways we saved: 1) We kept our food spending at $48 under budget this past week and have enough food to get us through until the middle of the month when it will be time to shop again. 2) We’re on a quest to use up as much of the food as possible out of the pantry and freezer, and especially as many condiments as possible before we leave and we’re making good progress which is also saving us $. 3) Once the grill was cleaned (so. much. work!) I raised the asking price by $50. 4) Other than our food shopping trip and a tank of gas for the car we had a no-spend week. 5) Using funds from our travel savings, the first round of packages (14 of them) were sent to Massachusetts for a little less than estimated and another seven are ready to go this coming week. 6) We received a surprise $20 gift card from Costco – apparently they had renegotiated the price of the laptop Brett bought and sent him the difference between what he paid and the new price. Sweet!
Condiments-B-Gone: I made a dipping sauce for our potstickers from chili crisp & soy sauce from the fridge, and sesame oil & mirin from the pantry. It was delicious with just the right amount of heat.
  • Looking forward to next week: We don’t have any appointments on the calendar for next week and are hopeful for more good beach weather although the forecast is not looking good. I’m going to list the TV, the hibachi table, and our sake jug lamp for sale on Buy & Sell and see what happens, and we’ll get a few more packages mailed off to the mainland. Otherwise there’s nothing much exciting happening next week.
  • Sharing family news: All is well or better than well. Meiling is getting ready to move out of her tiny studio in downtown Boston and into a lovely apartment in Cambridge with her long-time boyfriend. After a year+ stretch apart they are ready to live together again. I believe marriage is also being discussed. WenYu and her partner both caught COVID last month (both vaxxed and boosted) but they recovered quickly. She said she’s had worse colds, but COVID left them feeling very, very tired. YaYu is feeling somewhat overwhelmed as she finishes things up before graduation. She has a job interview for a research position at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital coming up, so we’ve all got our fingers crossed for her. And, our son and family are all well, and the grandkids thriving. Brett and our grandson had a Zoom conference yesterday – C is writing a paper for school about aircraft carriers and he wanted to get some information from Grandpa. Hopes are high that we’ll be able to see them all in Japan at the end of the year.
My favorite baby photo of all time: our grandson at age one. He looks like he’s just finished plotting world domination.

The sections I took out from the old Sunday posts were mostly ones that were either boring, difficult, or a chore to write (i.e. the bonus question). We’re not watching much TV these days, the books I’m reading can be found in the 2022 Reading List at the top of the page, and it seems all we’re listening to now are the feral chickens who have made a home in the far back corner of the yard, under the orange tree. They’re obnoxious, and I told Brett that once we had noisy chickens in the yard again I knew it was time to go. The most difficult section to let go of was Grateful For, but it always felt sort of strange to pull one thing out each week as we feel thankful for so many things. Anyway, for now it will be a shorter post overall, but all the news will still be there!

It was a great week here and we’re looking forward to the one coming up. We hope to get more accomplished, more packages mailed, more things sold, and more reading done. I hope everyone had a great week as well!


19 thoughts on “Sunday Morning: 3/6/2022: Getting It Done

  1. Glad you’re back! And that you haven’t skipped a beat in your prep to leave the island. Travel plans are So unsettling; I have several friends with trips and cruises lined up who don’t know what they’ll do. And we’re just hoping we can afford the gas to get back to Oregon😉We’re all praying that this craziness and pain for the Ukrainian people ends very soon and that everyone’s lives can go back to some semblance of “normal.”


    1. The world is in a very crazy place right now. It’s happened before, but we mostly don’t remember. I’m thinking of our parents going through the Cuban missile crisis, and other scary things, and we got through that and we’ll get through this too. (I have to believe this or I’ll go crazy.)

      Things are moving along. We waited until almost the end last time before selling things, and didn’t want to go through that again so little by little things are moving out of here. Our hope is that it all just flows along and gets done before we leave the apartment so we can completely enjoy our last week on the island, at the condo, relaxing by the pool.


  2. I am currently in France and, like the rest of the world, have been watching in horror at the events unfolding in Ukraine. My original plan was to travel in Europe for 10.5 months this year. I haven’t decided what I will do but my trips to Estonia and Latvia are on hold.

    There are personal safety concerns, but I also don’t want to rent an apartment that potentially is taking space away from a refugee. On the other hand I want to support economies that are taking a hit from the loss of tourism money. I’m also not convinced that the USA is any safer than NATO Europe….but the reality is none of us has a crystal ball and can predict the future. I have been trying to think through a decision tree process that if x happens, I will do y. It’s still a work in progress.

    If anyone is sitting on the fence, the dollar has strengthened. My conversion rate today was 1.11 dollars per Euro vs 1.15 two weeks ago.

    So glad that you are back writing again and YOU GO GIRL with all the selling of stuff. Also glad you can sleep in a real bed for a while longer.


    1. I still laugh every time I see that picture! He was so chubby then, but now is a typical skinny 10-year-old (and an absolute delight).

      We still plan to go to France. We sort of decided this morning that we’ll watch what Rick Steves is doing – if he’s still taking tours to France, then it will be OK for us to go too.

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  3. Great to have you blogging again! I love the baby pic of your grandson, too. They grow so fast, don’t they?

    I have to commend your work on that grill! I know how nasty they get, and that one looks just like ours. Cleaning it to that level clearly made it much more desirable, so even though it was a lot of work, it was worth it, I’m sure!

    Hoping France works out for you, but I do understand your concerns. We have friends planning a Viking river cruise at the end of the month, and I’m wondering if they will go through with it. The pictures coming out of Ukraine are heart rending. The ones that I find most painful are the young parents fleeing with kids. They’re wearing their little snowsuits and look like they could have stepped out of our local elementary school. I hope and pray that the violence ends soon.


    1. Brett wanted to sell the grill “as is” but I said no, I’ll clean it. Hah! Armed with magic sponges, microfiber cloths, and Barkeep’s Friend I worked on it all day Saturday (while the grill racks soaked in ammonia to loosen up the grease). I ruined all my nails, but we sold the grill in record time and got $85-$100 more for it than if we had sold “as is.”

      We are still planning on France, and will follow Rick Steves’ lead – if he starts cancelling that will be our tip off that we need to cancel as well. We thankfully won’t lose our airfare, but we will lose the $$$$ spent for our first month at the Strasbourg Airbnb.

      I’m torn between Russia running out of everything and having to withdraw or them pulling out the nuclear or chemical weapons (“if we can’t have Ukraine, no one can”). I just don’t know. I’ve been reading a lot, and most believe the sanctions will bring Russia to their knees, but others are not so sure. One woman, who lives in Ukraine, called her mother in Russia and she had no idea Russia had invaded – the propaganda has been that overwhelming.


  4. On my only trip to Mexico, I got to see a few grey whales and their babies in the Sea of Cortez. It was magnificent, something that I will never forget. These creatures can put on a show!

    The picture of your grandson is precious! I am so glad that all kids and grands are doing well and things are moving along smoothly for you. We are so fortunate to enjoy a peaceful life, my heart aches every time I see those Ukrainians leaving behind their homes, loved ones, and seeking refuge for their children and elderly. So much suffering just to fulfill the ambitions of a mad man!

    As for travel, following Rick’s guidance is wise, he has experience and contacts in Europe, and if he’s not going, that is a sign you shouldn’t be going either. Let’s not forget that France has been notorious for having strikes and protests even before the war started, so these kinds of events can happen all the time. Remember the Gilets Jaunes? They blocked roads and kept everyone in tension for months. I believe that Covid restrictions finally put an end to their protests.


    1. I still pinch myself whenever I see them – I am watching whales!! Lately we’ve been seeing lots of huge manta rays swim by the trail. So beautiful and graceful.

      I too cannot get over the scenes of Ukrainians fleeing with the children, but am warmed by the outpouring of kindness of others in Poland, Germany, etc.: inviting them into their homes, leaving strollers at the stations for them to use, etc.

      We witnesses a couple of demonstrations when we were in France before that shut down the local trams (not Gilets Jaunes, thank goodness) so we know they can happen anytime. Most of what we’re reading now seems to indicate that Western Europe should be fine to visit, but trips to Eastern Europe are questionable at this time. We’re tracking Rick Steves’ moves closely – for now he has only cancelled tours that included Russian.


  5. If you have TikTok, try “french.with.nicolas”. My friend just told me about him and I’m going to start adding his TikToks into my daily learning routine!


    1. Don’t have TikTok, but maybe I should? We have found our listening and pronunciation skills improving rapidly with Memrise. Not as much grammar, but we like it much better than Duolingo and it’s authentic (or as authentic as possible) language.


  6. Nice to read about your doings as things move along! And it’s motivating to me to downsize and keep plugging away at everything and be grateful that I have a floor to vacuum, I have clothes and laundry facilities, and I have my personal and business papers and a place to work on them!


    1. I’m currently reading a book about some people in Japan living a very “un-Japanese” life: The Abundance of Less. It’s very thought provoking, and helps me think about what’s necessary and what isn’t. Along with what Ukranians are currently going without and going through, it’s made me very grateful for all we still have, including so many conveniences. Anyway, I know we will probably open our boxes later and decided we can still do with a lot less!


  7. It’s difficult to know what to do. I have friends who booked a European cruise for July and just cancelled. They had to cancel by a certain date in order to get a full refund, so they decided to do that and may book something else if the situation improves. Watching what Rick Steves does is a good idea.

    Is YaYu still planning to go to grad school? I hope she gets the job! That sounds exciting. It’s great you were able to sell the furniture all at once to the same family and also sell the fire pit and grill to the same person. I’m planning to move a little over a year from now so I’ve been taking notes on how you have prepared for it. My situation is a little different since I won’t be selling all my furniture, but I will be moving to a smaller place so I really need to downsize.

    I like your new, streamlined blog. I always wondered how long it must have taken you to write the old ones!


    1. We change our minds from day to day about what we should do. Thankfully we have over a month before a final decision needs to be made and we should have a clearer idea of what’s going on and what we should and can do.

      We discovered before our move over to Hawaii that slow and steady makes for a much easier and less stressful move. It’s never too early to get started once you know you’re going to move/change locations. For us, we have very little left to let go of now.

      The old format was overwhelming. It took days to write. I write a little every day on, but the operative word is little. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to take over my life, which was what was happening at the end of last year and January.


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