I don’t have time………….

I picked up my kids from school today, same time every day, 2:20 PM.  And as always, sunny skies and warm. The kids just had a three day weekend over Labor Day and weren’t much in the mood for school this morning. Can’t blame them.

But my son happily gets in the car, had a great day at school, and says “Let’s go to the beach”.

I had a busy day, getting the kids to school in the morning, picking up gas and groceries at Costco, and watching Youtube tutorials in preparation for switching my website design. I had been thinking as I was driving to get the kids that I was anxious to get back and finish one particular video that had a lot of information (it is three hours long). And my blog site was a mess. Then I was cooking dinner and needed to do a little cleaning and laundry. And it was hot in the house.

“Not today Bud” I said. “And weren’t we just at the beach every day for the last three days for at least 3 hours a day?”

“So?” he replied.

“So isn’t that enough for the week? We can’t go every day. Why don’t we just go this weekend?”

“No. I want to practice some Boogie Board moves. Let’s go today”

Didn’t he know it was a thirty-minute drive? Didn’t he know I was in the middle of a project? Didn’t he know rush hour was going to start? Didn’t he know I had dishes to clean, dinner to cook, laundry to wash, things I wanted to get done? Didn’t he know I would have like a beach break?  I didn’t  even need to ask. I knew what he would say. “So?”

What is it that prevents us from living in the moment. I know that with work and family come responsibilities. I know it isn’t always convenient. It’s guilt. Maybe it’s not guilt. Maybe I’m not sure. I guess I have never been able to explain that brake on life I seem to apply when faced with situations that fly in the face of the planned day, week, month, the life that I think I should adhere to.

I want to be spontaneous. Take chances, live an unplanned day, drive the opposite way, wake up late, leave the dirty dishes in the sink. Have no idea what time it is, don’t care what the stock market is doing, never watch the news again. Take a shower at night instead of the morning, grow my hair long, put an earring in my nose, (ok, not that one). I want my kids to know how to enjoy life. Not by someone telling them, but by living it.  I want to enjoy an unfettered life.

Took me 3 minutes to say “Yes, let’s go to the beach.”. See, I am getting better. But with conditions.

“We can only stay an hour. You need to do your homework when we get back. And if we go today, absolutely no beach tomorrow.”  So I’m not perfect.

We went and he had a great time in the water even though there were only small waves. I had a great time watching him. We stayed two hours. I wanted to stay the extra half hour to watch the sunset, but I had let myself off the leash for enough time. We saw the sun set in the rear view mirror on the way home.

It’s interesting seeing posts on Facebook. If you throw out the shares, likes, comments, and ads, what you are basically seeing is someone at their “enjoy life” time. Pictures on trips, at the cabin, day off, family get together’s, pictures of the kids, pets, and other fun stuff. This is the life we all want to have. All the time.

Other than when I was a kid, this is probably the closest I have come to let some of the chains off my strict control of my happiness. I have heard this on more than one occasion, but when the subject of enjoying life comes up, the word is that I think too much. Analysis paralysis. It is true.

I am definitely going to start thinking less, when I get time.

Leave the dishes, let’s go have fun.

I asked my daughter if she wanted to come with to the beach with us. She said no. I think she has issues.

 

 

 

You Rich Beach……..

Want to feel like a billionaire on the beach, but the guy begging for gas on the corner has more horse power than you. Then Palauea (or White Rock Beach as is known locally), is the place to set your umbrella up for the day. Remember the blog about Polo beach? This one is just down the road from there, maybe a half mile past oceanfront villas and beachfront mansions in the upscale town of Wailea. Instead of turning right into the lot for Polo beach, turn left until you come to a single lonely Porta Potty. There it is. You have to park your car along the road, no lot, and walk on one of two tree covered paths to the beach, maybe 100 feet or so. There you are greeted by a beautiful white sand stretch of beach about three football fields long, capped on both ends by lava formations. Lot’s of fish and Sea Turtles occupy these waters, and since it is facing west, would make for some killer sunsets. The picture above is my beach gear and my daughter pretending we are rich. (She’s better at it than I am).

Because there is no formal lot, facilities, and is in a residential neighborhood, it doesn’t attract a lot of tourists or locals who want to come and have their weekend get together’s. It’s pretty quiet as you can see by the pictures, and this is on Sunday on Labor Day Weekend. So if you picture your life in a beachfront home with about as private a beach you can get, then this is it. My kids both agreed we should look for a house there. Sorry kids, no lottery in Maui. Here’s looking south first, then north.

My son loves to be in the water, and he did just that for the three hours today we were there. Of course, he is a social little guy too, so made some boogie boarding friends right away. Dad and daughter didn’t stray far from the umbrella, the waves were too big for wading, and the sand was hot from the 89-degree midday sun. I know, what the heck is he complaining about.  On the north end were some fishermen with about 6 lines in the water. The only thing they caught was a turtle, which they let go. Here is my son catching a wave.

Now if we could walk up to our beachfront villa, we could just wash off in the Private outdoor shower along the gated path to the house. Put on a soft silk robe and settle next to the infinity pool with a cool Pina Colada and think “I wonder what the poor people are doing today?” But no. We have to climb in the hot car with everything we have full of sand, and sit on hot leather with wet clothes. That’s what the poor people are doing today. Most of the larger beaches have showers to rinse your stuff off, so there is a price you must pay if you want to play rich and you’re not. But after unloading the car, rinsing everything off including us, clothes in the washer, and a quick vacuum, I couldn’t have spent the day any better. Just to prove it, here is a quick three-minute video in case you didn’t get to the beach today. Rich Beach that is……

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Poke fun time…………

It’s not Polka all you Bohunks and old farts.

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And it’s not that crazy but lovable character Pokey and his faithful sidekick Gumby.

Gumby and Pokey

It’s Poke, pronounced Poh-Keh. (I think of it as Poe-Kay). It’s fish, usually ahi tuna, that is cubed and sold mainly raw. If you want to cook it when you get home, that’s up to you, but it is traditionally eaten raw. It is mostly mixed with other ingredients to soften the fish flavor, I like the California mix myself. A tangy sauce, some other mystery things I have no idea what it is, and cubed raw fish. When I first got here, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to eat the stuff, comparing it to lutefisk, that dreaded northern staple. But after seeing how many people buy it at the grocery store, I decided to give it a try, and I really like it. My kids don’t even want to look at it. Some of the best places to buy Poke is supermarkets. Here is the display case at my local one, Foodland.

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Yup, that cooler is stuffed with raw fish, and a few other strange sea creatures on the left. All Poke is not created equal. There is fresh, and there is fish that has been frozen and gassed with Carbon Monoxide. Frozen to preserve it longer and kill any potential health threats, and gassed to preserve the fresh fish red color. I prefer fresh, but have eaten both kinds and really can’t tell the different the way I dress it up to eat.  It’s not cheap though. I bought some today, and here is what I paid.

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Yup, $12 bucks a pound. But half a pound is a lot, and about all I can eat even if I am really hungry. As you can see, there are a few other ingredients. That’s because of the mix I get. I started to eat the Hawaiian way, but switched when it got a little to fishy for me. The only thing they put in that is onions, soy, sea salt, and a little bit of seaweed.

No one knows the real origin of Poke, although the Hawaiians claim it. Many cultures around the world eat raw fish, and have for centuries. I think you know by now that fish is good for you. In moderation. I say that because large predator fish like tuna also carry Mercury in their flesh (the part we eat). Although there are no definitive proven Mercury dangers, the recommendation is to only eat tuna 2 or 3 times a week. If you want to eat more fish, eat small fish like sardines or smelt (That’s a fish you don’t hear much about). They don’t have the Mercury issue as much.

I know Poke has moved off the islands an is now very popular on the Mainland (what Hawaiians call the 48 states). It has caused some demand pressures, and that’s why it’s probably spendy as it is. While I am on the subject, fish and chicken are two of the most expensive meats on the island compared to the mainland prices. You can get hamburger at Costco for $3.99, and steak for around $9 a pound for good steak. Salmon can get up to $12 a pound, and chicken close to $6. We are surrounded by water full of fish, and there are loose chickens all over the place. Go figure.

When I have a little left over, that no longer may qualify for “fresh”, I fry the poke up in a pan with some eggs, and it makes a killer scrambled egg dish.

But for now, I’m hungry. It’s Poke time………….

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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.

 

 

 

Why Maui

Why move to Maui. Beyond the obvious of great weather and gorgeous scenery, there are many factors that go into moving from the known to the unknown where ever that may be. My first trip to Maui was back in 1993, on a trip I won with Chevrolet while I was working at a dealership. All expenses paid, staying at a beautiful resort in Wailea, the upscale part of the island. I remember walking along the paved ocean path, looking at the resorts and condos overlooking the ocean. I was here for 8 days. One day as I was walking, there was a condo that stood out from all the others, being closer to the ocean and having the best view. As I walked , there was a nurse pushing an elder gentleman in a wheelchair out on the covered veranda overlooking the ocean, and I could see (maybe 40 feet away) that he didn’t have a lot of time left on this earth. I vowed right then and there that would not be me. I was not going to move here when I could no longer enjoy living.

Over the years, as I got married (in Maui) and my family grew, Maui was always the dream. So when I got the chance to move here, it was if a manifestation dream came true.  Is it perfect, of course not. There are bugs, and spiders, lots of traffic, high cost of living, people different than me, too hot, too muggy, blah blah blah.  Was life perfect back home in Minnesota? Absolutely not. So now it comes down to the age old question of choices. I am still facing that choice.  Back in Minnesota I still have a wonderful 3200 square foot home, which the kids can’t wait to go back to this summer, and I have to make a decision. Sell and move on, or move back, or take the in-between route and rent my house, having the backup plan to move back if it doesn’t work out in Maui.

So right now it is 8:30 PM at night. Temperature is 75 degrees.  On my deck I am listening to a band, might even be Santana, practice in the home across the jungle from me. They sound great. I just got done watching a beautiful sunset, and getting ready to view a starry night unparalleled anywhere on earth. Maui is living up to all the expectations I have placed upon her. So why am I so torn. What is causing the anxiety in me?

Change. When I was 20, I could change my life on a dime. Then life happened. By life I mean responsibility. Now I fight change like a fish fights the hook and line. I was never like this. I want to be like the person I was at 20, open to everything and anything.

What are you trying to say? There is a place for you. Whether it be beach or iceberg, it is your destiny. My destiny is Maui, no matter how I may try to fight it. I hope that you find yours. It took me a lifetime to find mine.

 

SPIDERS SPIDERS SPIDERS

Upcountry is living on the side of the volcano. The elevation where I live is 1800 feet above sea level. The reason that people like it up here is that the weather is cooler, the price of homes less expensive, and they like spiders. They must, because there are lots of them here, and big ones too.  I DON’T LIKE SPIDERS.

This morning my daughter, who is 13, shouted one of those “Dad” alarms, the kind that tell you something is very wrong, and I came out of my bedroom as she was pointing into hers. She had flipped on the light switch, and on her wall was a huge, nasty spider. The kind you get in nightmares. Not sure if he was looking for a small dog or cat to eat, we don’t have a pet. Of course I had to balance my Dad will take care of it with my heart pounding from shock. I grabbed a mop out of the closet, and in short order he was disappearing down the toilet.

This wasn’t my first encounter with the beasts. A couple of weeks after I moved in, I opened the lid of the washer (it’s in the carport), turned on the water, and when I was about to put the detergent in, a big nasty was trying to climb out. Scared the you know what out of me. Needless to say I am a bit apprehensive about that washer now.

The second time was about three weeks ago. I opened the louvered folding door to the linen closet, and I could see one duck behind the louvers. I climbed in my car, went to Home Depot, and bought a huge bottle of bug killer. When I got home I doused the closet. Sure enough, about three hours later, he was crawling on the floor, looking like he had a huge hangover. Down the toilet went that one too.

In researching the beast, I think it’s called a Cane Spider, which is common in Maui, and can grow up to 4 inches.  4 inches is a pretty small fish, but a 4 inch spider on your wall looks like something right out of Aliens.  Supposedly, they seldom bite, and kill lots of other bugs, which is fine with me. Just do it outside. In fact, I live in the midst of lots of trees, and have come to accept the abundance of webs surrounding my house. I figure its like having a natural screen house, since I don’t have one. I don’t like how they spin their webs in the carport every night, and you walk into them getting in your car. You always wonder if you have one on your head or back.

But for today I promised my daughter to spray her room, and wash her bedding. She said she would not be sleeping in it if I didn’t. Smart girl.

                                                                The beast, about to be flushed. Sorry, bug lovers.

Are there snakes in Hawaii

I am not a snake person. I won’t go out of my way to kill one, but I will go out of my way not to see one. Hawaii is the perfect place for me. There are actually two species of snake that are native to the Hawaiian Islands, and one rarely seen non-native species.

The Yellow Bellied Sea Snake is a native marine reptile (lives in the ocean) that is not commonly seen. It is poisonous so it’s a good thing it’s rare.

The Brahminy Blind Snake is non poisonous, and the size of a worm. Anywhere from 2 to 6 inches long. They are harmless to people.

The Brown Tree Snake originally came from Guam, presumably, and is also rare to see. They are poisonous, and are actively being sought to eliminate.

I originally believed that there were no snakes due to the many Mongoose you see here on Maui. It may be true that they will find and kill a stray imported snake that gets free, but snakes are just not native to these islands.

Mongoose were introduced to Hawaii in 1883 to control the rat population in sugar cane fields. Unfortunately, rats are out at night, Mongoose by day, so it had no effect. It did affect other native species however, and endanger them by raiding their eggs, both birds and turtles. There are only two islands which do not have Mongoose, Kauai and Lanai.

There are fines and possible jail sentences in Hawaii for importing or keeping snakes and Mongoose.

How to get a Hawaii drivers license

I have always had a Minnesota drivers license, even though I have lived in other states. Never felt the need to switch it. But my time ran out.  I am in Maui, for 4 months now, and my Minnesota license expires this month. I contacted the Minnesota DMV, and I could do an out of state application, but requires a vision check by a doctor, so looked like a hassle. So I went to the local Hawaii DMV office to find out what I needed. In order to get a Hawaiian license, I would need a passport and SS card for identification, and proof of residency (a six month or more signed lease agreement, and two utility bills in my name. Luckily I have the identification stuff, but I am on a month to month rental, all utilities paid. Got around that by having my landlord sign and notarize an affidavit that I live here, and could use their utility bills as proof that they live here. On my second trip back, I decided to not be the crabby person that they usually confront, which starts the whole bad DMV vibe. It worked, got my license, no hassles.

It was hard for me to give up my Minnesota License for a weird reason. I like to enter sweepstakes, contests, and buy lottery tickets. The State of Hawaii does not allow gambling. If you look at many sweepstakes rules, Hawaii is typically excluded, and luckily my sister who still lives in Minnesota will still buy my lottery tickets for me. One good thing however is that Hawaii residents get discounts on various events that tourist don’t. The other good thing is that I am truly a resident of the state, another bite out of the elephant on moving here.

How to Start a Blog

The most current accomplishment has been putting together this blog website.  After I left my job, and in the “what am I going to do now” phase, I took some time to learn how to build a website. I signed up with GoDaddy for a domain name, and with HostGator for hosting the site. Lesson number one, use the same hosting service as you would for getting a domain name, makes the whole process a lot smoother.

I spent about a month learning all the ins and outs of WordPress, which is how to build your website the way you want it to look, and signing up with email services to handle the huge numbers of people who wanted to get on my email list. I won’t get into the specifics, after about 4 months, with not one person subscribed, I gave up. But it was surprising that I remembered as much as I did about the whole process of getting up and running.  This time I had a workable website, in fact I have two, each one taking no more than a couple of hours to do.

My other website, burltheauthor.com, is using a free Web Builder program that is offered by Hostgator, and this website is a free WordPress platform. They both have lot’s of features and a nice look.

The cost:  Getting each domain name is $12.95 per year. The hosting service (which you need to be on the internet) was about $200 for 3 years. Building both websites were free.