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Kauai Fixer Upper – Master Bedroom edition and… life update.

As usual it has been a while since my last post. But stick with me, there will be lots of photos! Here’s one right off the bat that Barb took in Kapa’a at an orchid shop. I think the gecko is actually posing for the picture.

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First a quick Kauai life update.
Apologies to any of my Facebook friends as I have almost completely stopped posting and looking at Facebook. I just became so tired of political rants and posts from both sides and ads etc. that I’ve just given up on using the app for the immediate future. Probably the only thing you will see posted from me on Facebook will be these blog posts as I have them linked to my profile.

Okay okay, the life update.
We’ve been keeping very busy with general repairs and working on the Master Bedroom Renovation. As usual, the renovation always turns up more issues than you expect and everything takes a lot longer than you think it will. So we’ve been estimating worst case scenarios on how long it will take to do a job and then doubling THAT (haha).

The kitties are doing great and appear to not have a care in the world. They are really good at pointing out any geckos that have invaded the house so that we can capture and relocate them outside. We’ve been calling Mr. Beasely by a new nickname ” ‘lil G”, which is short for “The Gangster of Love” (apologies to Steve Miller).

It’s time for Barb to go back to work after having her summer break (always a downer) and I am pretty much always working so things are pretty stable there right now.

The band is still practicing and playing. We’ve had a couple of private gigs recently. One at Salt Pond beach and another at a private residence in Po’ipu. They both went very well and we are looking forward to more in the future.

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We have more visitors coming to stay with us in a week or two. Barb’s brother and his wife will be with us for a couple of days before hopping over to Maui. We always have a great time with them and are looking forward to the visit.

We FINALLY got our permit from the county approved so we can start work on removing the fireplace and replacing it with a large sliding glass window. Having the construction in the house for a month or two while I am trying to work won’t be fun, but I can’t wait to see the place once that big ugly fireplace is gone and we have a clear view out to the Pacific.

On to the improvements and (more) pictures!

The “Before” pictures of the Master Bedroom.

Here are some photos of the room before the project. These are from our walk-through of the house before we bought it. The previous owner had some big furniture…

The Demo:

Not as much to demolish in this room but we did have those built-in drawers that were thrashed and needed to be removed. Barb gave it the red glove treatment…

We wanted to build in a shelving unit before we started on the rest of the room. We designed a place to put the litter box and supplies for the cats in the unit so it will easier to maintain and to contain the litter.

We still need to build the doors to enclose the shelves, and it is on our list, but it might be a couple of weeks before we get to that part. 🙂

On to the rest of the room

There was a lot of prep to do before we could actually start painting the room.

We had to:

  • Remove all the base board, repair all the holes, gouges and  fix nails that (inexplicably) protruded out from the ceiling.
  • Remove all structures from the closet so that we could paint the inside of the closet and install a closet organizer.
  • All electrical sockets were replaced.
  • A wall switch and associated light fixture above the old built-in dresser were completely removed.
  • The TV cable, which had been installed by drilling a hole in the floor and sticking the cable through, was routed into the wall into a proper box with a proper wall plated to connect to. The hole in the floor was filled and repaired.
  • We removed the old aluminum jalousie mechanisms for all the windows and replaced them with new vinyl mechanisms that seal better and are a bit more secure.
  • Old termite damage around some of the window frames was filled and repaired.

    The new jalousie mechanisms.

    The new Jalousie mechanisms.

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The closet organizer

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Our cat Cali, enjoying the afternoon

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The room from the entrance. Again, Cali is enjoying the day.

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The “new” closet doors. We got these at the local thrift store for $15 per two panels ($65 including tax!)

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A view back towards the room entry.

You can see we still have a lot of finish work to do. We need to install the baseboard but we can’t do that until after we refinish the floors. That project will happen in about 3 weeks. Then we can finish everything up and get to decorating the room.

Other projects.

The outdoor shower next to the pool had no enclosure so we decided to enclose it with bamboo so we can use it as a real shower. Taking outdoor showers in Hawaii is one of the singular pleasures of living here. But you don’t want to aggravate the neighbors with your birthday suit so an enclosure is required. 🙂

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Then we built a door out of re-purposed wood and bamboo sheeting to ensure privacy while showering. We had to stain the wood and varnished the bamboo to protect the door from the elements. I think it looks pretty good.

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We still need to figure out something to hold soap and shampoo and hang towels and clothing but in the meantime we have a small table inside to set the shower supplies on.

Well that’s a wrap. Considering all the work we went through to get these projects done, this seems like a pretty short post! But probably better that way.

Aloha to everyone and see you later!

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June on Kauai

It’s June and I’m late for my monthly blog post. Usually they come out on the 7th since the anniversary of our move to Kauai is April 7th. But I’ve been a little stressed with work and house stuff which has kept me busy and I’ve neglected the blog.

Hawaiian Worof the Day

The Hawaiian word of the day is ‘Kuleana’ (pronounced Koo-lee-ah-na). Kuleana means responsibility for something. Such as “It is my kuleana to make sure the bills get paid on time”. I was first introduced to this word by our realtor, Susie, when we were going through the process of buying our house here. I had a lot of kuleanas!

House Projects

We have gone into “maintenance mode” on our current house since we are going to be selling it to build our new house. It is not officially on the market because we are still in the process of designing the new home. I’ve also been so busy with work that I haven’t wanted to deal with all the kuleanas that come with getting the home staged properly. The last thing we did was to finally replace the old screen on the carport bathroom. we now have a shiny new white screen door to replace the old brown one. It was the final piece of the bathroom update out there. Exciting right!?

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The Plants

We have our first papayas from our papaya trees! It took less than a year from seed to fruit – the trees are probably 9 or 10 feet tall now. We are finally able to be fruit GIVERS instead of takers. Seriously, we have more papaya than we can eat – and we can eat a lot of papaya. Here are our first 3 that we harvested. Both trees have a lot more where that came from.

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The rest of the plants are also doing well – with the exception of the lime tree – it isn’t really growing, its just kind of sitting there. Both the orange and tangerine trees have had their spring growth spurt and are looking good. The pineapples are growing but haven’t shown any fruit yet, and the avocado tree is COVERED with avocados. That’s a lot of guacamole on the branch!

Work

Work is keeping me very busy. It looks like one of my projects will be extended for 3 or 4 more months as some requirements have changed, so that’s good for me – but I am also a little disappointed that we will miss the deadline that we set up for the end of this month. My other clients have kept me busy with some custom programming projects and have had me waking up in the middle of the night thinking about solutions to nagging programming issues. My geek certification has been re-upped for the foreseeable future. My beach visits have taken a hit in favor of keeping hot on the programming trail but I’m sure I will catch up on those on the weekends.

Barb is on summer break so work is going GREAT for her.

The New House Project

We have contracted with a friend and neighbor of ours who just happens to be a home designer. So the house plans are under way! We have decided to have him design in an ADU (additional dwelling unit) for a couple of different reasons: Our plan is to build the ADU first and move in to that unit while the main house is being built, This will give us a place to live and make it easier to sell our current home while the main home is being built. It will also give us a source of income once we move into the main house as we can rent it out. That’s the plan and we will see what roadblocks await us…

Fun Stuff

Yes, there is actually fun stuff happening here too! We have been driving up to Hanalei on the North Side every couple of weeks. It’s just beautiful up there and hanging at Hanalei Bay is the best. We’ve also had the opportunity to get together with some of our friends form the North and East sides and that is always a great time.

This week we met with a couple of friends of my sister who were visiting the island. We were able to meet them and have a couple of dinners and had a really great time. We hope to keep in touch and see them again soon.

The Weather

Rainy and sunny, rainy and sunny. The weather has been great in my opinion: plenty of rain and plenty of sun and a green, green island!

The Band

We have 3 gigs next week. One at the Hilton in Wailua and 2 parties on Saturday. So I’m keeping busy with that too, what with learning new songs and such.

Politics

Haha. Not even going there! It’s my kuleana to keep this light and fun.

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13 Months in Paradise

Hawaiian word or phrase of the blog: Pau hana. Pau hana means ‘finished working’ or ‘after work’. So there are a lot of places that incorporate this term into their name or advertising because who doesn’t want to be done with work and ready for a little pau hana time?

Prologue

So here is the update. I got back from the mainland last week with a little visitor: A cold virus that hitched a ride in my throat and has now blossomed into the full glory of a cold. So I am writing this blog under viral duress today. I’m pretty sure that’s a thing.

Progress on the new house

Well, no actual progress on the house itself, but we are scheduled to close the deal on the land this Wednesday. We will then be proud owners of 10,200 square feet of Kauai real estate. Our first step will be complete, and we can now start work with our home designer on our new digs.

This Old House

The house we are in now will need to be de-cluttered as we will have to put it up for sale PDQ. Fortunately we threw out most of our belongings before we moved here, so it shouldn’t take too long to have this one presentable for potential buyers. The fly in the ointment is we are looking for a buyer who is willing to rent back to us until the new house is ready so this could get tricky. A rental unit somewhere close by is not out of the question, but we have 3 cats so finding a rental could be tough.

So if any of you are looking for an investment property on Kauai with built-in renters with good credit for a year or two, give us a call 🙂

Work

Work is keeping me very busy. I am putting in a full 8 hour day or more every day now. The project that keeps me traveling to San Diego will be winding down soon. I expect that to be reduced drastically by the end of June. So it’s all good. Still.

Island Stuff

The island is just beautiful. We have been getting rain nightly and the trade winds have been great. Whenever I drive to town I still can’t quite believe I live here.

I thought I would have more to say, but I’m not going to bore you too much more by just writing junk. I’ll blog at you again soon. When my cold is gone.

It’s pau hana time anyway.

 

 

One Year on Kauai

Today is our 1 year anniversary of our move to Kauai. We’ve had  our ups and downs, but honestly mostly ups. So today I will look back on our genesis of life on the island.

We arrived on April 7th, 2015 (with cats in tow) to our new home in Kalaheo. It’s a cute little yellow house.

 

Our belongings arrived two days later (much to our surprise!), including our truck and car. We were very happy to have all of our things come across so quickly. We had done a lot of planning (particularly with making sure that all the cats’ paperwork was in order) in order to make sure things went smoothly. For the most part they did. 🙂

Expectation and  Reality

As you can imagine, we did a lot of research on island life and we had some expectations of what life might be like (good and bad) before we moved and some of those things are what we expected and others were not rooted in reality.

  • Expectation: We were going to have to change our eating habits drastically because the food we ate was either not available or too expensive on the island. Reality: We have been able to find most of everything we like to eat here. If we shop at Costco for the main stuff the price is only slightly higher than San Diego. But if you shop at the ‘regular’ grocery stores you will pay a higher price. The fruit has been free for the most part because we have neighbors who periodically leave us fruit and veggies on our doorstep. there are also the fruit stands that people set up around the neighborhoods where we can get bananas, citrus etc. for very low prices. Papayas grow wild around here and its not too much work to walk down the street and pull one off a ‘volunteer’ papaya tree. I definitely eat more papaya than I used to! Definitely there has been some adjustment because the produce for things that aren’t grown on the island like broccoli, cauliflower and iceberg lettuce  are quite bit more expensive.
  • Expectation: Gasoline is prohibitively expensive on the island. We are really going to have to cut back on driving. Reality: The gas prices have actually been less expensive than what we were paying in San Diego (if we get it at Costco). Plus the lower speed limits mean we get better gas mileage and everything is closer (we are on a small island!) so we actually spend a lot less per month on gasoline here than we did on the mainland.
  • Expectation: Utilities would be very expensive on Kauai. Reality: The electricity is quite expensive here. For the first few months we were very frugal about our electricity usage – the price per kilowatt hour was about 44 cents. We ended up installing solar panels on the house to reduce our utility bills. Water on the other hand is very inexpensive compared to what we spent in San Diego. Cable TV/Internet is comparable in price to San Diego.
  • Expectation: Bugs, bugs and more bugs!!! Reality: Not that bad. Yes there are plenty of bugs here and some do get in the house. The mosquitoes love how I taste. But honestly it’s not a big deal.
  • Expectation: Life would be simpler and more laid back. Reality: Yes and no. It is definitely a simpler life here and things just move slower. But the process of finding our way kind of negated the laid back part. Plus we are both busy with work and my travel to and from the mainland keeps me pretty busy. Plus we have a new big project we are working on. More on that later

The First 3 Months (April – June)

I won’t lie to you. The first 3 months had some challenges. Here we are – 2 people on a new island. We have left behind a life on the mainland that we were familiar with, quit our long-time jobs and left our families in order to move here. We also went from living life in the city to a life in the country on a tropical island to boot. We also had the hurricane warnings/watches and had to prepare our home in case on hit. It was amazing to see how fast the plywood flew out of Home Depot! As you can see below, it wasn’t looking good for awhile there.

Here come Kilo

5 day forecast showing Hurricane Kilo

On the good side, I was lucky enough to have secured some clients to work for remotely and we had stockpiled a bit of cash as backup in case we couldn’t find work right away.

There were some times where we questioned whether we had made the right decision, but we had promised each other that we would give Kauai two years at least before we gave up on it, and we determined to to do just that.

The Second 3 Months (July – September)

We started settling in, trying to find a routine. One of my projects on the mainland began to require me to fly back every 3 weeks or so. My first trip back was very challenging as I had caught a sinus infection the week that I was to leave. At this point we didn’t have health insurance yet, but I was able to get some antibiotics from urgent care. Unfortunately the antibiotics side effects were insomnia and a general feeling of aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh!  I had to cut my first trip short because I felt so crappy and return to the island. Not to worry though, my client was very understanding and once I was healed up, I was able to resume travel back to the mainland for the project.

Meanwhile, we had been working on the yard and the house. We planted our papaya, orange, tangerine and lime trees as well as a continual planting of pineapples (eat one, plant one).

Here are some then and now photos.

We also worked on projects around the house such as the carport bathroom upgrade. Here are some more before and after photos:

 

The Third 3 Months (October – December)

Finally we are settling into somewhat of a routine. Barb is getting used to her job at the school and I am getting into a routine with the work travel. I still am not that fond of traveling this much but it is part of the deal. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to do work that I like and am good at and also to be able to touch base with my friends on the mainland periodically.

For Thanksgiving, my Aunt Justine and her daughter Monique and family were on-island. We had a lot of fun with them on a kayak/hiking tour and we ate a low key Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant near Kalapaki Beach. At Christmas, we traveled back to the mainland to be with family for the holidays. We stayed with Barb’s brother, Dave and had a great time visiting with everyone. I was worried that Barbara would want to move back after visiting her friends and relatives in San Diego, but it turns out that we were both anxious to get back to Kauai. While we wish we could spend more time with our old friends and relatives, we couldn’t wait to get home. A subtle change had now made Kauai ‘home’ in our minds. We missed the green, the slower pace and (believe it or not) the humidity that envelopes us on the island and keeps us from drying out.

The Last 3 Months (New Years’ until now)

We spent New Year’s Eve at Poipu Beach to watch the fireworks with our neighbor’s Jan and Rodney. It was a very good time but next time we will bring our own food. It was a mob scene at the food places. The fireworks were excellent!

We finished up building a new enclosure and gate for our outdoor shower. We also installed pavers as a pad to stand on instead of just the gravel. The gravel itself is now contained behind a low rumble stone retaining wall. Much cleaner, private and nicer to use than before. I actually prefer to use the outdoor shower over the regular indoor shower.

In February, my sister Tammy and her husband Kent came out to visit. Our first house guests! It was a lot of fun to have them around and the house seemed kind of empty after they left. We were able to see some whales from our lanai while they were here so we want to thank all the whales that were so instrumental in making that happen.

In March we had our second set of house guests. Jon and Debbie came over and stayed at the house for a bot 5 days and then we all hopped over to Oahu. We went to Pearl Harbor and had Easter Dinner at the Disney Aulani Resort. The resort itself is phenomenal but very crowded. But that is what Disney is. We actually weren’t staying there -we were down the street a block or two at the Marriott.

Some great sunsets from Oahu!

Again, it was good to get back home from Oahu even though we had a great time there.

The Present

OK so now what? Well, we are in the process of buying a small lot up in the development of Kakela Makai in order to  build what will become our dream house. The view from the land is amazing – ocean views from Poipu west as well as mountain views. We have been meeting with builders and architects in order to get something that falls within our budget. This also means that we will be selling our current home. Hopefully we can find a buyer or investor who would be able to rent back to us while our new house is being built. So we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we hope to be in the new house inside of two years. So stay tuned to this blog as you will get to ride this new roller coaster with us.

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And now…

So I have been writing this blog for the last year or so. Many of you already know me but some of you don’t. I haven’t really posted any pics of myself and have kind of kept my name out of the posts. But I feel like we are old friends now 🙂

My name is Dave and I am a Kauaiaholic.

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10 months on Kauai

So I am sitting here at the airport in Honolulu. I have just returned from another business trip to San Diego and I have a couple of hours before my next hop home so I thought I would throw down some things in the blog. My apologies if the thoughts are broken and the flow is not great – but hey, it’s a blog!

We just passed the 10 month mark on our Kauai adventure and things are going pretty well. We are really settled in now and getting in the island flow. Work has kept me busy traveling back and forth from the mainland and has given me the opportunity to keep in touch with my family and friends in San Diego.

The progress on house projects has continued and we have been pushed forward a bit because we will have our first houseguests at the end of this week: My sister and brother-in-law will be staying with us for a week or so; they arrive this Friday. So the outdoor shower project has gotten some steam behind it. We have the new enclosure up and the retaining wall built and a platform to stand on while showering. The only things remaining are a gate and a privacy overhang. Hopefully we can knock those out this week.

We have also been looking at vacant lots in a development called Kakela Makai and have a couple likely suspects that we may want to buy and build a home on. The main draw are the unobstructed coastal views from those lots. We are excited but this is only in the beginning stages right now so it will be another journey if we can swing it.

Work has been going well – very busy which is good for the bank account but not so good for my beach time LOL. I am very thankful that I have the opportunity to work with good people and to be able to work remotely from paradise.

Ok – I’m not going to let this drag on and get too boring so I will just say aloha for now and will try and post again later this week with some pictures from the shower project and the land that we are looking at.

 

Mele Kalikimaka! 8 Months in Paradise

The holiday season has arrived on Kauai. We have now been on the island for over 8 months. Here is our update.

The House Projects:

Our projects continue but mostly we have been maintaining and repairing small house issues.

The fridge:

Our refrigerator’s door seals were cracked and leaky (we think) – possibly damaged during the move but also by age – the refrigerator is about 5 years old. Condensation would build up between the doors where the cold air was escaping and combining with the humidity here.

So we ordered new seals from Sears for both the freezer and refrigerator doors. The seals came within a week or two but I was unhappy to find out that they sent 2 freezer seals instead of one for each door. You can envision the steam escaping from around my collar. If had a collar that is, I live in Hawaii. I called Sears and they sent an ‘expedited’ order for the correct seal at no charge. We just received that a couple of days ago while I was on the mainland for work. So that will be my project today. UPS was supposed to pick up the old seal but haven’t done so yet.

The ceiling:

The previous owners of our little house must have replaced or re-done the ceiling. Unfortunately they never painted the ceiling in the living areas or Master Bedroom. This led to a nasty run-in with dirt and surface mildew. Cue the ride to Home Depot. 2 cans of mildew resistant paint later (and a lot of ceiling scrubbing) our ceiling looks great. A big fat pain in the neck but at least it is done. There is something to be said for having a smaller house – stuff like this can be completed in a couple of days.

The carport bathroom:

Yes, we still haven’t installed the new flooring for this bathroom but we have bought the slate. Maybe next weekend will be tile day. We will have to rent a tile saw so we want to have everything ready so we can get the cuts done in less than the 4 hour time limit for the rental. The drive to/from HD will eat up 20 minutes each way so that leaves us less than 3 1/2 hours to complete all the cuts. Fortunately the bath room is very small, so there are only a few cuts we will need to make.

The outdoor shower:

Nothing to see here. Move along.

The Garden:

The fruit trees and pineapple plants are still doing their things. We’ve planted some more hibiscus, plumbago and some other plants that are endemic to Kauai to add a little color to our very green yard.

Last week I pruned down our panax hedge on the west side of the yard. These things grow like crazy and were 20-25 feet tall. 6 hours of work later and they were down to a more manageable 12 feet or so. Our views out the west facing windows now are much more appealing. Even some ocean views! I still need to do the north side of the yard. Maybe this week…

Having Fun!

The week before Thanksgiving we had some friends visiting the island and we met them for a very nice lunch visit in Kapaa. This is actually the couple who purchased our mainland home so that we could buy the house that we now live in.

Thanksgiving week brought my aunt, cousin and her son, daughter and daughter’s SO into town. We took a kayaking trip up the Wailua river and hiked about 2 miles to Secret Falls. Very nice (even though the trail was really muddy). We’ve decided that a kayak is definitely in our future.

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Of course, just living here amidst all this beauty is fun in and of itself. It still seems a little crazy that we actually live here!

Work:

Work is keeping me very busy! I have been traveling frequently to the mainland but am finally starting to get used to the travel. Not that I like it a great deal but again, it’s part of the bargain and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work from home as much as I do. Barb is still with the school district; we have a school play to attend this week and I’m looking forward to seeing the play and meeting some of her co-workers and kids.

The Band:

The band forges ahead. We have a gig this Friday in Hanapepe and then a Christmas Party (tentatively) to play. So I need to get up to speed on some of the new songs we are learning. Should be a good time.

The Cats:

Doing what they always do – sleep and eat. They’ve been on Hawaii Time their whole lives.

Upcoming:

My sister and her husband, Tammy and Kent will be visiting in February. We have other friends, Jon and Debbie who will probably be out in March. We are excited to see both of them and are looking forward to the visits.

My next post will be in January so I’ll talk to you then 🙂

So – Mele Kalikimaka to everyone and have a happy and healthy new year!

 

Fall Comes to Kauai

The leaves are turning and there is a nip in the air – it is time to get out the warm clothes and… oh wait; never mind, I live on Kauai now. It’s still shorts and Aloha or T-shirts and slippahs 🙂

However it is getting a bit cooler and the breezes are nice. It is still beautiful beach weather and there are still beautiful beaches.

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Here is my latest update

The cats – I haven’t written about them lately because they appear to be doing as little as they possibly can. They are getting along fine and have fallen into the Aloha lifestyle. Here are some pics to prove my point.

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Sheyna – it take  a lot of energy for her to lift her head like this.

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Cali and Mr. Beasely; livin’ the good life.

Projects- Yes the carport bathroom is still ‘almost’ done but we have now plumbed in the drain and water to our little mango-wood sink. It’s really nice to have the sink operational now. We just want to add a mirror and finish the floor. We are still deciding between deck paint and slate tile for the floor. One is easier, the other just looks  way cooler.

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The yard – The plants are doing well. The pineapples and papayas are growing like crazy and the citrus are growing – albeit a bit slower. We’ve also planted some more colorful plants like hibiscus and plumbago to give the yard a bit more color diversity.

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The pineapple plot. Propagated from the tops of store-bought pineapples.

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Papayas and citrus (facing south)

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Papayas and citrus (facing north)

Work – Work is keeping me busier than I thought it would, which is good. It’s always good to have more work than not enough that’s for sure. One of my clients has me traveling back and forth to the mainland regularly. Not ideal but it’s part of the deal and I’m racking up travel points for sure! Barb is doing well at her job though the job can be trying at times. But it is a school job with hormonal kids so you know what that means.

The Band – We have a Halloween gig tomorrow! It’s at a block party in Poipu so I’m looking forward to getting out the electric this time and getting my rock on. The guys tell me that a lot of people show up to this thing so it will be fun to be in front of a crowd again.

Visitors – We are having some friends visiting from the mainland this weekend. It will be nice to get together with them and have a BBQ and a couple of drinks. In November my aunt is coming out to visit during the Thanksgiving holiday, my cousin and her family will be joining her so it will be great to see everyone and do some tour-guiding.

The Neighbors – We have some very cool neighbors who continue to give us fruits and veggies. Check this out.

Swiss chard, oranges, avocados,beans and exotic eggplant - nice haul!

Swiss chard, oranges, avocados,beans and exotic eggplant – nice haul!

So, it is all good right now. We are busy, busy, busy but loving the island. There is Art Walk in Hanapepe tonight and we may go – The Right Slice pie company of Kalaheo sells chicken pot pies there that I can never resist…

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