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.

 

Paia Secret Beach (Clothing Optional)

Located between Baldwin Beach Park on the north side, and Paia Bay on the south, this small beautiful beach is a nude beach. The day, and only day, I went there were two people  (weather wasn’t perfect) and both were reading books, one in a hammock and one in the sand. Both were fully clothed. I was actually relieved. At the Paia end, there is an old WWII pillbox that local artists use for creative endeavors. On the north end there is a wooded area with a fair number of homeless people living in tents.(Maybe 25 to 50). The only way to access the beach is through the woods, or by 4X4 through a locked gate, or walk up the beach from the Paia end.

Wooded path to the beach from Baldwin.

There is a manmade rock wall on the Baldwin side that always has a lot of Sea Turtles swimming near it. That is also where the homeless live.  From what I have witnessed and read about, the homeless pretty much stick to themselves, and have never bothered me on many, many trips to the beaches. The waves are fairly substantial here, no reef protection, so not the best for the average swimmer. There are no facilities at this location, you would have to carry all your beach stuff. No lifeguard either. If you have kids that like the water, Baby Beach on the north end of Baldwin is the place to take them, not here. But if you are looking for letting loose, this would be a great place to do it. The other popular nude beach is on the west side of Maui at Makena Beach (the nude part is called Little Beach). That one is a lot busier, so what ever makes you comfortable.

                                                                       Beachfront condo on Paia Secret Beach.

 

Kama”ole Beach Park III (Kam 3)

Kama’ole Beach Park III is one of three beaches named Kama’ole (called Kam 3 to make it easy) in Kihei, a town on the dry western side of Maui, population a little over 20,000.  Because all three beaches are right in town, they are very popular with the many tourists and snowbirds who stay in the condos and homes in Kihei, where they can walk to the beach.

This is my kids favorite beach, and given a choice, always want to come here. The beach is not that wide, but the sand is very soft, and it gently slopes into the ocean making it a great place for swimming and boogie boarding. Because its on the leeward side of the island, there is less wind and smaller waves. Also a great beach for watching sunsets and whales in season. If you like to snorkel, there is great snorkeling around the protruding rocks that bracket the beach on both ends. There is a bit of a hill to go down to get to the sand, but there are many wooden stairs and ramps to use to make it easy.

A nice feature of this beach is a fairly nice sized parking lot, which Kam 1 and Kam 2 do not have. There is also a lifeguard station, playground equipment, outdoor showers, picnic tables, large park, and restroom facilities. I will mention it more than once, but don’t expect much when you come to the public beaches as far as the restrooms are concerned. They are very basic, and show the signs of lots of use. Not anything like you get at the big “Westworld” resorts, but then again, they are free to use for everyone.

On weekends, it gets hard to park because there are always private parties going on in the large park, many times with inflatable rides, slip and slides, and food. There is street parking on the south side of the lot if that is the case. The beach is usually busy too, being the most popular of the three Kam beaches. Its a great, laid back place for the kids (and you) to have fun in the water. Also, being right in town, its and easy drive to get lunch or shop at the many places available not to far away.

Thoughts about turning 64

Today is my birthday, turning 64 years old. I would like to share what it feels like for me.

When I was young (in my teens and early 20’s), I never thought I would live to be old. Old at that time was anyone over 30. Dying didn’t scare me, too dumb to know I guess. In my 30’s through 50’s I was way too busy with life, work, family, relationships to think about the aging process. My biggest worry was making money. Turning 64, money is and always will be an issue of course, but now it has softened and I realize it isn’t the be all and end all I thought it was. Now I worry about health, and the fact that I have a limited number of years left, unknown of course. I could live 1 more year, or maybe 40. I take less chances, watch more of what I eat, pay attention to how I feel on the inside. My biggest worry now is to be around as long as possible for my kids. I know the pain of losing a parent, I have lost both of mine. I want to delay that pain for as long as I can for them.

I have done and learned a lot of things in my 64 years. Some good, and some not so good. That doesn’t mean that advise will pertain to anyone else. I have finally learned that what I know may or may not work for me, but not for everyone else. If someone asks my opinion about something, I will gladly give it, but I no longer feel the need to try to direct someone else’s life. That is their responsibility.

Physically, I feel the same as I did when I turned 30, or 40, or 50, or 60. Not much has changed, except my appearance. My teeth are all still there, I still have the same glasses prescription, I can still lift the same amount of weights at the gym, my back is still sore getting out of bed in the morning, I drive the same speed as I always had, I get up and go to bed at the same time, and don’t consider myself old. (Maybe 64 is the new 24). I am more aware of the consequences an injury might have, so I do take less chances of getting hurt.

I am more patient, or at least I think I am. It comes in handy with a teenage daughter and a son under 10.

I care less about what others think of me. I try to be the real me with everyone, including my kids. I want them to know their real Dad. That doesn’t mean I don’t care, but you are being unfair to yourself and others by pretending to be someone you are not.

I am more grateful for the things I have, and less worried about the things I don’t. I am so grateful for my kids. I can’t imagine my life without them. I am grateful for all of the ups and downs in my life, for it has made me the person I am today. Sure, there are lot’s of regrets, but that’s life. The big lesson there, let it go…

Finally, I see the value in living every day 100%, even though I still have a lot of work to do in that area. Life was meant to be enjoyed, each and every minute that we are here. I enjoy sunsets. I only have 365 of them this coming year, and I hope to enjoy each and every one of them.

 

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.

 

How to make a book cover for paperback and kindle

While I was writing my how to buy a car book, I researched the process of making a cover. I was having a bit of anxiety with all the steps to get done. Then I discovered Fiverr. If you don’t already know, Fiverr is a global marketplace matching freelancers from all over the world to get your task, whatever that may be, done for anywhere from $5 to over $500 per job. I used them to make my book cover. Here is how that worked.

When you log on to their website, Fiverr.com, you search for what you want to have done, in this case a book cover. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of people offering their services. They advertise what they will charge, and what you will get for that. They also have additional work if you want, but everything is up front about what they charge. I was not sure about what I wanted being my first book, so I chose two freelancers to design a cover for me.

The first person I chose was a gal from the US, who said she could produce a cover in 48 hours. All of this is done by email through the Fiverr site. Once you have chosen someone, then you pay for the service upfront, which in this case was $15. The freelancer then has 48 hours, what she advertised her turnaround time was, to produce a cover. I heard from her once, when she got the order, and never another word. But Fiverr keeps track, and when the 48 hours was up, they gave me the option of cancelling the job, and get a refund, or wait longer. I chose to cancel and they refunded my $15 and put it on account.

Because I was anxious to get something done, I ordered my cover from two different people next. One was from the US with a 48 hour turnaround time, and the other from India with a 5 day turnaround. The person from India was a lot busier, as you could tell by the amount of reviews he had. They both came through with covers on time as promised. I spent $20 on one, and $27 on the other, tip included. You pay for the job up front, but if you are pleased with the work, you can leave them a tip. I know 5 bucks in the US might not go too far, but in some countries, it may be quite a substantial amount. Besides, I pride myself on being a good tipper, having worked for them at one time.

What they send you is a completed cover, and yes, you can revise it all you want, which I did a couple of times. Before they design it, they ask what format you will be using it in, in this case paperback and Kindle e-book. They will then send you the right format to send it to Amazon. They also ask what other designs caught your eye, to get an idea of what you like, or are looking to have something similar.

I am glad I found out about Fiverr, before I tried to make one myself, or paid a designer big bucks because I didn’t know there was another way. Both designs were great, so I could have gotten by with investing only $20 buck for the cover, instead of $47 for two designs, but hey, call me the big spender.

Here are the two covers. I chose the one on the left because I liked the curves up ahead symbolism of trying to negotiate a car. I think the one on the right stands out better, and with Amazon publishing, I can switch covers with the push of a button (key).

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.