Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Brother Steve

Happy Birthday to my Brother Steve!  People thought we were twins when we were young, we are just a little more than a year apart in age.  We went everywhere together.  We were the team that ganged up on the other kids.  We were the Dick and Tommy Smothers of the neighborhood....I played the straightman....Steve is the funny one.

Steve can make me laugh....he can say anything and make me laugh.   He used to just call out a word...rutabaga, horseshoe, quantum physics...and I would be rolling on the floor laughing.  I lost the "who can go the longest without laughing game" EVERY time, and it was all Steve's fault.  If I was playing against anyone else, guaranteed I could win, but Steve is the master of making me laugh. 

I miss Steve, I only see him every few years.  I haven't seen him now for 5 years.  He lives in Indianapolis, I live in Hawaii.  Who knows when he will come here or I will go there, maybe someday we can meet in the middle, but  meanwhile, I miss him. 

Love you, Bro, have a wonderful day and may this year be a good one for you, Lord knows it is time for you to have some good years.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hiking in a Lava Tube!

Well, while you were probably snowed in and busy watching the Superbowl, we were hiking in a lava tube!   I didn't even realize until today that yesterday was Superbowl Sunday.  Not that I would have watched the game since we don't have a TV. 

I sold the TV right after David passed away. I haven't missed it a bit though I confess I am going to watch Survivor on, it is my one TV vice and I've been a fan since the very first show.  Enough of that, back to the lava tube.
Rachel, U'i and I drove to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park yesterday after a short visit to our local farmer's market.  The drive was lovely, maybe a 1/2 hour from our house. 

 We started out at an elevation of 53 feet from sea level, and went up to well over 4,000 feet.  The volcano we visited is Kilauea. This volcano has been continuously erupting since 1982, adding many square miles of new land each year where the lava flows into the ocean.  The park also encompasses another volcano, Mauna Loa, which is actually the tallest mountain on earth when measuring from its base in the ocean to the top. It is well over 35,000 feet tall.  It also has snow at the summit and many people ski there, then in 15 minutes they can also surf in the ocean.  There is snow on the summit right now. 

 We didn't go that far yesterday,  just limiting our stay to the summit of Kilauea, the visitor center there and hiking the Thurston Lava tube.  We will be spending many, many more days in this wonderful National Park in the future. 

Here is a picture of the fern filled trail on the way to the Lava Tube. 

 After a short hike,  the trail enters the actual lava tube.

The tube itself took maybe 5 minutes to hike through, and then it was another short hike back to the parking area.

Just a few miles away is the caldera.   Quite a contrast to this first  part of the park! 

 We spent about 4 hours in the park and just barely scratched the surface.  Stay tuned for further adventures. We can't wait to see the lava flowing into the ocean and this same caldera at night, where the steam looks like fire shooting into the sky!

Friday, February 4, 2011

On the hunt again!

This has been one of those whirlwind kinda weeks.  Since I last posted, our world has turned upside down!

We moved into the rental house.  It is a wonderful house and we have a great landlord.  Steve is just the nicest guy and has been above and beyond helpful and friendly.  He has a cat named Snow Tiger or ST for short,  ST and Ui bonded immediately.

He designed and built this house.  He had a bunch of furniture that was not being used so when we moved in on Saturday, he set up 2 twin beds in Ui's room, beds he built himself.  A double bed in Rachel's room and a double bed in my room, which was also built by Steve. My bed is very high, and has shelves for storage underneath.  A real move up from sleeping on a futon on the floor which is what I have done since April 15, 2008 when I moved back to Hawaii!!!

There was a table and 3 chairs for the dining room, a huge desk for Rachel,  a futon couch and several bookshelves and a couple of storage cabinets for each room.  The house is very open and spacious with a HUGE kitchen.  Wood floors throughout with the exception of Ui's room which is carpeted. Two bathrooms and a separate kitchenette off Rachel's room. 

The house is on an acre set quite a ways back from the road. 

The neighbors have a couple of sheep and everyone has free range chickens.  Just down the road are some woods and wild boar!  We have spotted at least 4 adults and 8 babies.  So cute!  

 A friend shipped 3 boxes of our stuff  from storage on Sunday and pots and pans, cooking utensils,  curtains,  and some of Ui's toys and miscellaneous other items arrived on Monday afternoon. So we can cook again! Yaye! The remaining things from storage will be shipped out on Feb. 16th when Rachel goes back to Oahu to take care of that, now that we have a place to live.

Ui started school on Monday.  I went with Ui for that first day as Rachel was buy with conference calls from work and couldn't get away.  I met the teacher and toured the campus with Ui to get her bearings.  We really like this new teacher,  Mrs. Nakamura, she is an older grandmotherly type woman, very friendly.  After school she walked Ui to the car and hugged her and welcomed us.  She told me that they had done some preliminary reading testing and that Ui is reading well above the 2nd grade level at 5th or 6th grade level.  I knew she was reading well, but was happy to hear that she is that advanced.   Ui made a few new friends on the first day, her new best friend is named Harley.  By today, which is Friday, I think Ui knows half the school already.  

Tuesday Ui rode the school bus for the first time.  We have a little hike down the unpaved country road we live on to get to the bus stop.  The bus picks her up at 6:30am and drops her off at 3pm.   Rachel and I have been walking to and from the bus stop twice a day, it is about a 15 minute walk each way, so instantly we are getting a good hour of exercise.  We are really enjoying this. 

Today Rachel and Ui had to RUN for the bus as we left the house late and they made it to the bus stop with one minute to spare.  I plodded along and got there right after she left on the bus.   I'm sorry, but I am not going to run!

I have been applying for jobs all week.  So far no calls for interviews but I'm hoping I will hear from someone soon.  Job hunting is really stressful when you have not worked a regular job for 12 years but I know something good is waiting for me.

Ok, back to the house.    Last thing I wrote was that we had a 5-6 month wait on the house due to a title wording mistake.  A friend here has a brother-in-law who is the head of the realtors in all of Hawaii.  He called and asked us what was going on.  Turns out that the attorney who did the foreclosure on the house Rachel was trying to buy had screwed up over 200 foreclosures including this one!  D... told us that this is why there is such a backlog at the land court.  We talked to him on Monday afternoon.  He dictated a letter to Rachel over the phone to put some fear in the bank, realtor, attorneys, etc. involved in the house deal.  He told Rachel to give them 96 hours to respond and either reimburse her expenses,  or take care of the problem,  or seek legal recourse. The letter included this information and Rachel immediately typed up a draft and sent it to D.... for approval before sending copies via certified mail to all parties involved.  This was Monday. 

By Tuesday morning Rachel's orginal realtor called to let us know that the bank that owns the house had backed out of the deal and pulled the house off the market.  This was before even receiving the threat letter, apparently someone realized that this mistake on the title would be causing some real legal problems.  So.... our dream house is not even  available now. 

This is ok, it relieved us of having to make a decision of whether to wait out the land court backlog or to look for another house.   Our new realtor, D...  has already sent us a bunch of listings, we have driven by those houses and found a handful that we are interested in.  We meet with D... tomorrow to get a closer look at these and one in particular Rachel is thinking  of a making an offer on if the inside is as nice as it appears on the website.  

Anyway, we are no longer homeless.  We are settling in and have made several new friends already.  So life is looking up and we are ready to move onward and upward!   Thanks to all who wished us the best and gave us encouraging words that things would work out.  We feel at peace. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sigh....I will not freak out, I will not freak out.........

Today was not a good day. Rachel heard from her lender and the house may take ANOTHER 5 -6 MONTHS to close. Yes, months. It is a long story about an attorney that didn't do her homework and worded the title wrong and then didn't file the petition to change the wording when she should have and now there is huge backlog at the land court so this is not going to happen for awhile.
 Soooooo, we found a house to rent and will be moving in tomorrow. It is in the same area the house is in, in fact just one street away and a few blocks down. It is a 3 bedroom house and is clean and neat, even has some furniture in it. The guy is willing to rent it month to month which is good. Meanwhile Rachel needs to decide if she wants to go thru with the house purchase, sue the lendor, or find another house to buy or what. I don't know what to tell her but I do know it was a real let down to hear this today. We did get U'i registered at school and she starts on Monday. Rachel is going to Oahu on Tuesday to ship our stuff that is in storage.

I didn't cry, but Rachel did, but we are all ok now, we can get thru this, it is not the end of the world. One point Rachel made was when she first looked at houses, many she liked she would not even consider because David could not have gotten in them, but that is not a consideration any more so maybe we will find something even more perfect if she decides to buy something else. Still going to be a Koki Villa though and have some land and some rental type deal. Anyway, I will let you know what happens. I am going to do the job search thing starting Monday when U'i goes to school. That is stressing me, but I know it will be ok too.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ok, did you miss me?

Just a very quick update.  I'm back in Hawaii.  The house has NOT closed yet.  CROSSING my fingers that it will close on Jan. 31, but NOT HOLDING my breath!

My trip to the mainland was wonderful and very refreshing and much needed.  I will be writing of my various adventures in the near future and posting pictures.  I was more or less without a computer from Dec. 2 until now.  Both houses I stayed at only have hardwired internet access and their connections were being used for business so I didn't even check email except a couple of times.  But I'M BACK!!  I have hundreds of emails to go through, answer or delete so if you don't get a personal email from me for a few days, I hope you will understand.

Thank  you to my friends and family for your support, prayers and concern for me at this time.  Things are looking up and I'm feeling ready to tackle the next mountain.

Much love and Aloha from your Hawaiian Connection.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On the road again.....because I'm homeless in Hawaii!

It is not really as bad as I've titled it, though it is true at the moment.  

Amazingly, that very morning, Dec. 1st, my best friend Barb had called and said she was going to send me a ticket to visit her in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  She said I could leave the very next day, but I told her to wait until Dec. 3rd so I could tie up some loose ends.  So I spent that morning packing my suitcase, then started to walk to school to pick U'i up.  That is when the landlady called and said we needed to move out that day! 

I thought she meant my own apartment next door which had been vacated the week before and I reminded her I had already turned in the keys.  She told me no, the one rented was the one that we were all living in!  Ok, inside I was panicking as Rachel was at work and how the heck was I going to get us moved out that day, Rachel had LOTS of stuff left in her apartment. 

I continued my walk up to the school and Rachel called.  I asked if the landlady had called her too.  Rachel hadn't heard from her, but she had good news.  Before telling her the news I had, I wanted to hear her news.  The good news was that there was real progress on the house we are moving to on the Big Island.  More than likely it would close escrow before Christmas!  WOOHOO.  Then I told Rach about the call from the landlady.

Rachel said she would take off work and be right home!   Then the landlady called back.  This all took place on a half block walk to get U'i from school.  The landlady said that she had talked to the new renter and we could have until Friday morning at 8am to vacate.  This was good news.  It was currently 1:20pm on Wednesday.  There was no way we would have been able to get out THAT day!

So the scramble, we packed, we cleaned, we didn't sleep and we were out of Rachel's apartment by 8am Friday.  Rachel and U'i moved in with my sister, where they will stay until the house is done.  I got on a plane on Friday and am in Las Cruces, New Mexico until Jan. 1st.  I will go from here to Colorado Springs that day and stay until who knows when so I can see my ready- to- be- born -any- day -grandchild and my son Jeremy, his wife Hannah, my grandson Micah. 

 Meanwhile, my parents who have been wintering in California are going to leave CA on Jan.3rd so they can see me in Colorado and my son Jason is going to try to make it there from Kentucky.  I have a cousin and her new husband  from Indiana who are going to go skiing while I am there so it will be a mini family reunion. 

 Not sure when I'm going back to Hawaii, but HOPEFULLY Rachel will be all moved into the new house and the next chapter in my life will begin.  The chapter where I have to get  a job after not working for 12 years!  That should be interesting...stay tuned.....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cheese and Crackers

David had a cat named Zeus.   Lovely orange tabby that lived to be 23 years old.   Zeus was a very talkative cat, probably part siamese.  He would ask for his food,  talk to us when he was happy, sad or just felt like talking. 

David and Zeus shared a common love....cheese...of any variety.   Early in our marriage David got in the habit of wanting something to eat after we made love.  First it was cookies and milk but later on it became crackers and cheese.   Lucky Zeus, he would get a little piece of cheese whenever David had some.  

One night after a very pleasant lovemaking session,   I could not figure out why Zeus was sitting at the foot of our bed....talking....and then talking LOUDER.  He would not stop making noise.   Then David and I realized that Zeus was asking for CHEESE.   Sadly that night we did not have any cheese and crackers. 

I can assure you that for the remaining years of our marriage, there was always cheese and crackers around.  Zeus was happy and David and I began to ask each other if we felt like having some cheese and crackers....heeheee.