Cuff happens.

On Mothers Day, I was giving my Daughter a ride to her Mom’s house to spend the day with her. We were passing a bus stop not too far from her house, and noticed 3 police cars with lights on in the middle of a side street. Going past, there was a huge young man standing in the middle of about half a dozen cops getting handcuffs put on. Big, but docile. I was thinking to myself of all the cop shows where they wrestled the bad guy to the ground, the guy on Meth or something. We kept driving. A few blocks later, my daughter made a comment that she had never seen someone getting handcuffs put on, other than on TV. It was one of those happy/sad comments. Glad she hasn’t seen that side of society, but sad that she finally did. I commented how big he was and that the cops were lucky he wasn’t fighting them. She said he wasn’t that big. Pretty sure neither his Mom or him had a good Mothers Day.

Later on, as I was driving alone down to the beach for my walk, I passed a car with a young couple in it. You couldn’t have put a piece of paper in between them, they were sitting that close. Talk about bringing back memories. I fondly remember those magic days of young love, and how you couldn’t get close enough. I have even had girlfriends sitting in my lap driving down the road. Pretty sure now you would get a seatbelt violation. Now this is a guys point of reference, but it was intoxicating the look, smell, and touch of having a girl you are crazy (and I mean crazy) about sitting so close. If there is one thing I would like to bring back from my past, this would be it.

At the same time I was driving past the young lovers, a song came on the radio titled “Kissing Strangers” by Nicki Minaj.  Some of the lyrics are:

Kissing strangers, till I find someone I love.

Kissing strangers, till I find someone I trust.

Kissing strangers, open heart, open mind, never know who’ll you find.

It is such a natural human drive to want to connect with someone that pushes you to unbelievable lengths. And the whole process (that sounds so sterile) of finding a mate, who gives you what you need, and then trusting them with basically your life, is such a random event. We all have tales of love gained and love lost. Give life and love 100%, and I guarantee you will never regret a single minute. You will regret it if you don’t.


To Yoga, or not to Yoga.

I think I am in pretty good shape for my age. Maybe we all feel that way because we don’t look at ourselves as old. My vision softens when I look in the mirror. Pictures don’t soften so much.

The sixties were my formative years, and two things happened to shape my habits for the next 50 years. The 1960’s that is. Although when I think about it, now being in my sixties, there are a lot of things forming too. Guess it never stops.  I grew up on a farm, and when formulating the food for the animals, my Dad always put lots of vitamins in the mix. It made a huge difference in the quality of their health and weight. I was able to witness the difference with the animals other farmers raised without vitamins. I started taking vitamins in my mid teens and still do to this day. Not some single pill One a Day, but a well researched regimen of pills that has been numbering in 30’s per day. I honestly feel it has been an effort well rewarded.

I also loved old Hercules and Tarzan movies, which weren’t old at the time. Also liked the crazy muscle beach movies too. Maybe because I am half Greek I imagined myself as Hercules, and living free like Tarzan in the Jungle appealed to me at the time (funny, but that is exactly what I am doing right now). I was a scrawny kid, couldn’t pack on muscles no matter what I tried. But I tried. Always had a weight set at home, and used it, and as soon as I had enough money, I joined gyms wherever I lived. Never really felt good unless I worked out with weights, even though lifting weights went through a long journey of good for you/bad for you times in the media. My weight has never really changed my whole life, and inside I feel like I did when I was 30. I would like to think that resistance training (a fancy term for pumping iron), has made me much healthier than I would have been without it.

For the twelve years I lived in Minnesota, I belonged to a Gym. Not sure if you can even call it that, it was more of a athletic and relaxation destination. 2 pools (indoor and outdoor), 2 restaurants, huge exercise floor, running track, locker rooms with hot tubs and steam rooms, massages, tennis courts, kid’s daycare, mini golf, trampolines, clothing store, the list goes on. Wasn’t cheap, but the kids and I liked to go there. Kind of figured I would try to join the same kind of place in Maui. Figured wrong. Turns out the gyms are tiny (but still expensive). Apparently, people here get their exercise in other ways, or not at all. Come to think of it, winter was always busier than summer in the northern gyms.

I ordered some resistance bands from Amazon, took about a month to get here, and they really didn’t give me the same feeling as weights. I started walking on the beach for cardio, and that’s a great workout. Then I looked into Yoga. I have always heard it’s good exercise with a side benefit of stress relief. Stress relief is not something you get in a busy gym. Lots of sweaty people you have to work out next to, and just imagine of you are a germaphobic. Looking into the different types of Yoga, trying to find one that replace my gym workout, I stumbled across the Five Tibetans. Been doing just that for the last three months, and still have not gotten to the full 21 repetitions of each movement. And I still get that same wonderful somewhat sore the next day feeling. I feel it has helped keep me toned, given me more flexibility in my muscles and joints than lifting weights, with the added benefit of stress relief. After 40 some odd years of weight training, I feel I have found a workout for the next 20. When I get to be 90, maybe I will switch to Tai Chi, like you see on TV.

If you are interested in learning more, there are a lot of similar videos on U-tube about the Five Tibetans. I combined a few of them to come up with my own individualized variation. It’s always hard to give up something you’ve done for a long time. This was one I’m glad I did.







Leaving your old life behind.

We have all heard about the crackpots who give up all their worldly possessions to live a simpler life high on a mountain. Kind of like those people moving from a big house into one of those tiny homes you see on TV. Moving to Hawaii is kind of like that in a way. You have a choice to drag your current world to Hawaii, or leave it all (or most of it) behind. The choice can be financial or psychological, or both.  My process has changed many times in the few months I have been living in Maui.

I have always been a collector and a pack rat. I have moved numerous times, and always dragged my stuff with me, the moving truck getting larger with each move. Having kids compounded the issue, now with bikes, toys, skateboards, not to mention the memory stuff you will never part with. And every time, I started with your basic garage sale to skim off the junk that no one every really wants, getting a quarter for stuff at a rummage sale, it all seems to go. The rest you load up and haul to Goodwill.

I did that a couple of months before I actually got on the plane to Maui. Had my big garage sale, with my kids help, and got rid of the stuff that didn’t matter. A three car garage full of junk, and when it was all gone and the garage nice and clean, it didn’t look like I got rid of anything when I went back in the house. Didn’t matter at that point, because I hadn’t decided to completely pull the plug on my house yet. I set up some security cameras to watch on my phone, turned the heat down to 42 (remember this is Minnesota in the winter), shut the water off, and parked my car safe in the garage.

In Maui, I have been living in a furnished VRBO (vacation rental by owner). The only thing I brought with me from home was my clothes and toothbrush. Everything else is just sitting there like a wife waiting for you to come home from the bar. It has really been difficult and enlightening at the same time to not have everything you cherish with you. The only comfort has been knowing I still own it. But I have made some decisions, and I just might be turning into one of those crackpots.

House:  I was one of those people who bought my house right a the peak of inflated prices. Now I am able to get out with a small (and I mean small) profit. Here is the emotional part. It’s a way bigger house than I need, but it’s hard to part with all that room. And my kids grew up there, the only home they have known. That probably doesn’t mean as much as it used to. But moving away and having time to really think about parting with it, I feel it would be good emotionally to move on. I look at that house now like a memory museum. Not all of them were good either. It will sell quickly no doubt. That brings me to my next big item, my car.

Car:  This is the easiest decision for me to make. Being in the car business for 28 years, I am not attached to cars at all. I really don’t care what I drive. as long as it’s safe and reliable. The car back in Minnesota is going up for sale. I, like a lot of people, just replaced a bunch of stuff. Timing belt, tires, battery. But after viewing the market here on used cars, I really can replace it in Maui for about what I can get for it back home, and the two grand it would cost to get it here. Then I don’t have to rent a car while I wait, and hassle with the titling. Might even be fun getting something different.

Household stuff:  These are things you don’t really have an emotional attachment to, like TV’s, appliances, cookware, linens, exercise equipment, and stuff like that. Need to have, or like to have stuff. The TV has been an interesting transformation for me. Back in Minnesota, I have not one, but two 55 inch flat screen TV’s. I spent a lot of time with the TV on, and really enjoyed my shows on the many cable channels. Here the cottage came with one TV, a 37 inch Gypo Box hooked up to an antennae with 7 channels that don’t always come in. And internet that shuts down when it is being used by more than 2 people at the same time. Needless to say, I have missed my TV’s, but to tell you the truth, it has been enlightening to not have them. I rarely turn on the TV, except to watch Survivor now. That means very little news too. I have become aware of all the extra time I have for reading, writing, beach walks, and anything else I would like to do. The TV’s had me locked in, and I had to go through a sort of withdrawal process to realize I don’t need more than one, and don’t need cable, and it can be fairly small. I am not shipping them.

The rest of the stuff is simply a matter of cost. Is it cheaper to ship, or replace. The average cost to ship here is about $3 a pound. That is going to vary somewhat by where you live, but I lived in the middle of the country, so a good average cost. So let’s think about a few examples:

Keurig coffee maker-  13 pounds-  cost to ship  $39.

Pots and pans –  35 pounds-  cost to ship  $105

Bedroom set- 600 pounds- cost to ship $1800

Sheets and towels- fairly light, good for wrapping around stuff when you ship- do you really want to ship that stuff?

You get the idea. A thousand pounds of stuff is going to cost you about $3000 to ship. And a thousand pounds of household stuff is not that much. I decided I am going to replace my stuff here.

Memories:  This is where the going gets tough. Both my parents are gone, but I still have all the little things to remember them by. Presents, pictures, items I saved from childhood, books, etc. Stuff from old girlfriends, my sisters, now gone pets, friends, things I collected, stuff the kids made, projects to be started. I have rooms full of the stuff. My first and a thousand subsequent impressions was to keep and ship it all. Then I decided to rent a storage unit and put off making a decision about them. My separation from my memories the last few months has freed me to part with most of it. I have been living in the past, and reminded of it every time I was in my house. I have great memories, but what I have discovered is that for me to be happy and healthy, I need to live in the moment. The past is history, as they say. I am now ready to leave it behind.

Once you make the decision, it’s like a great burden suddenly being lifted. But now you have to decide what to do with it. If you want to entirely be done with it, don’t give it to a family member. You will be reminded of it every time you visit, so you still won’t entirely cut the cord with the past. I am going to sell what might have value, throw away what is really not worth anything, and donate everything else. Of course I am going to keep my most precious of things. Not the stuff you have to take out of the rummage sale when you know the person who gave it to you is coming over. The things that changed your life, made you feel good, things that made you who you are. If I have to spend some money to get it here, it will be money well spent.

I am starting a new chapter in my life. I was lucky to not have the option of loading everything I own into a truck and move it somewhere else. I am ready to be the crackpot giving up all my worldly possessions (well, not all). And come to think of it, I do live high on a mountain.




The cost of shipping your car to Hawaii


To ship or not to ship, that is the question. Depends. How much money you have, and how attached you are to your things. I became a lot less attached once I found out the costs involved. Lets talk about your car.

This info is easy to find, and actually very simple. There is a Port to Port cost for the ship, and a truck shipping cost if you have to get it from your house to the Port. First, to ship a standard size vehicle (car, Suv, Pickup) costs from $900 to $1000 from Port to Port, one way of course. You can either drive it to the West Coast Port yourself, or have a transportation company do it for you. Working for a car dealership, we had a website that you posted the job, and got bids from various truckers who needed to fill a load, or were heading that direction and wanted to pick up a paying job. To ship a car to the West Coast from Minnesota was around $800. You can visit your local dealer, and a lot of them will be glad to arrange this for you. Otherwise, if you do it yourself you will probably pay a couple of hundred bucks more. Obviously less if you live closer to the Port, and more if you live farther away. You can also have your car put into the container with your household goods, if you get one big enough.

In order to ship your car by boat, it has to be completely empty of personal belongings, and very little gas, or they will not take it. You will also need a copy of the title, and if you owe money on the car, you will have to have a letter authorizing that you have been approved to take the car off the mainland by the lender.

It take a couple of weeks to get it here, then once you pick it up from the Port, you have 30 days to register the vehicle with the state. You will need to have the car inspected at an independent repair facility before you are able to register it. Most cars, no problem, if you are shipping a junker, then maybe a problem.

Here are the fees right off the Hawaii DMV website:

Vehicle Registration Fees in Hawaii

Vehicle registration fees in Hawaii are based upon your county of residence, vehicle weight, plus taxes and other county/state fees.

You will need to contact your motor vehicle registration office to find out exactly how much you will owe.

Below are some example registration fees for Hawaii County:

  • State fee: $45.
  • County fee: $12.
  • Transfer fee: $5.
  • State weight tax:
    • 0 to 4,000 lbs.: 1.75 cents per lbs.
    • 4,001 to 7,000 lbs.: 2 cents per lbs.
    • 7,001 to 10,000 lbs.: 2.25 cents per lbs.
    • Over 10,001 lbs.: $300 flat rate.
  • County weight tax:
    • Passenger vehicles & trucks up to 6,500 lbs.: 1.25 cents per lb. (minimum of $12).
    • All vehicles over 6,500 lbs.: 2.5 cents per lbs.
  • Beautification fee: $1.
  • Sticker renewal/replacement: $0.50.
  • Plate replacement: $5.
  • Duplicate registration: $5

Let’s figure out what this means. If you are shipping a small SUV or midsize sedan, your vehicle will weigh about 3800 pounds. So here is what it will cost:

State fee-                $  45

County fee-                 12

Transfer fee                 5

State weight tax-       76

County weight tax     47.50

Total                       $185.50

Big vehicles more, small vehicles less.

So now you have about $2000 to ship your vehicle, give or take a few hundred bucks depending on where you live. The plus is that you will have the vehicle you are comfortable driving and won’t have to shop for a new one, the negative is that you will have to do a bit of work, and maybe have to rent another vehicle to drive while yours is being shipped, which will end up costing you more.

We will talk about buying a new or used vehicle in another blog.