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Our Hawaii Fixer Upper, Project #2: The Guest Bathroom

Our second renovation project is the guest bathroom. This is a small, but not tiny, bathroom that is next to the guest bedroom that we previously updated. We have guests coming to stay with us on May 31 so we had a limited time to get everything done. And believe me when I tell you that this was pretty much a gut job. There was almost nothing that we would keep from the original bathroom.

First a few “before” pics of the bathroom in its former, uh, glory.

Sorry for the bad angle on the shower. The enclosure was corroded and the walls were Corian sheets that were just glued to the wall. Not really watertight.

The cabinet for the sink was full of water damage and had been harboring mice at one time. Note the position of the outlet on the wall. Not even enough room for a full sized wall plate.

If you look at the base of the toilet you can see way too much caulk that was used to mask the cracks in the tile. The tiles were cracked because the subfloor underneath was rotten from water damage. The picture doesn’t do justice to how tilted the toilet was because of the failing floor. I’m just glad no one fell through!

At least the window was OK. ūüėä


So¬†the demolition began… everything came out. We took the shower area down to the studs, removed the cracked and degrading shower pan and removed the old tile which¬†had cracked in many places. Essentially stripped the place down.

The Shower Area


This is after we removed the Corian sheets from the wall. They had just been glued over regular drywall – and not very well. I was able to pull the pieces down by hand. They peeled right off. At the bottom right you can see that the drywall had degenerated from water damage. It was very soft at the bottom. This damage extended to the floor underneath the tile and shower pan.


Yes, ugly like the other side!


Surprisingly, there was not as much water damage behind the drywall as we thought there might be. The wood was solid and not soft at all.


The shower pan is out. The flooring is 3/4 inch oak, which is used as both the floor and sub-floor in this 1979 house. At the corners where the shower pan ended, the floor had rotted almost all the way through from water damage.


It doesn’t look that bad here, but when we started scraping away the discolored wood on the floor it went almost all the way through. You¬†can also see that the tile was laid directly over the old linoleum.

The Toilet Area

Under the toilet we also found water damage. Prior to the demo the toilet leaned to one side and the tile on that side was cracked due to a soft floor underneath. There must have been water leakage going on for a LONG time to damage it that much.


Yeah, not a pretty sight. You can see through the floor to the ground where I pulled out the loose, dry-rotted flooring. All of the flooring in the immediate area around the toilet ring was badly damaged.



This is a view from underneath before we started the demolition you can see where the dry-rot had gone all the way through all around the drain. Another fun fact: When they installed the drain they cut right through the joist and never bothered to support it anywhere. I believe this was the reason for the floor bowing so much and the tiles cracking in this area. Too much flex.


Yeah – just kind of hanging out there in space!



We cut out a large area around the drain to make sure all the bad wood was removed, and to allow us to access¬†two more joists in order to support the 3/4″ plywood we were going to patch¬†the floor with.

The Sink Area

The sink/cabinet was a Home Depot unit that was in reasonable condition from the outside. But the construction is mostly particle board which has a short shelf life here in Hawaii. Once moisture gets into particle board it starts to expand and come apart and this cabinet was doing all of that. It had to go.


You can see the wall had some raised spots behind where the cabinet sat. We found that, for some unknown reason, there were cardboard shims stuck on to the drywall there and then covered over with joint compound. Its still a mystery to me. You can also see that the linoleum did not continue under the cabinet and the tile had been glued directly to the oak floor.  Removing the mortar from that area was not fun, but we wanted a nice flat surface before we started  installing the floor. We also had remove all the baseboard and the trim around the door.


Prep work: Now that we had all the bad crap out, it was time to start prepping the area. We had to patch the floor around the toilet drain and install cement board on the floor and in the shower stall.


First, we wanted to support the joist where it had been cut to accommodate the toilet drain. I used some 2 x 4’s nailed to a wood base to give them better stability and supported those with cement block and termite barrier.


Here is the 3/4″ plywood patch that we applied. the wood is green because I treated it with termiticide before installing. Also a brand new toilet ring/extender was installed.


Next the cement board went down for the flooring. We used 1/4″ Wonderboard Lite for the floor. This would keep the floor from flexing and¬†cracking the tiles that we would later install.



Here is where we had torn off the shims that had been stuck to the wall. We spackled and textured the area to improve its uniformity with the rest of the wall.


We framed out an insert for shower goodies.



After mortaring the joints we applied RedGard as a moisture membrane to keep the shower water tight.  You just roll it on like paint. Pretty cool stuff!


Unfortunately all the demo and prep work was not as easy as it sounds. It was grueling work to get it to this point. There were other tasks that I didn’t get pics of ¬†– like relocating the power outlet and rewiring the light in the shower, etc. But¬†now we were finally ready to start the finish work….

The Finish Work

Our next tasks were to install the tile on floor and in the shower. We had tiled floors before but not a shower so we knew we were in for a fabulous learning experience. We went with large grey tiles for the floor to give this small bathroom a larger feel. For the shower we went with 16 x 4 white subway tile and a stone accent strip.  We used grey grout to better define the white tiles. The walls were painted with white semi-gloss paint to keep it bright in the small space.



We were worried about getting the insert done, but it turned out to not be as difficult as we thought it would be…


…and we think it turned out pretty well!


The pictures look good but it actually took us 3 full weekends of tiling to complete the shower. The floor we knocked out in a few hours. Grouting the shower took 3 days to complete even with the pre-mixed grout. But we are first timers for the shower part and we were learning on the job. Our next shower will benefit from the knowledge we picked up on this project.

The Final Product

The fun stuff. We had ordered a bathroom sink/cabinet from IKEA. Since IKEA doesn’t ship to Hawaii, we contracted with a firm that specializes in shipping IKEA items to Hawaii. You place your order through them and they ship to the port here on Kauai where you pick it up. The shipping is pretty steep but even with that we were able to get a nicer wood (not particle board!) cabinet and sink for less than buying (a decent) one at Home Depot. We also ordered a ceiling fan appropriate for wet areas from Amazon and installed it over the commode. The LED light fixture was a Costco buy. The mirror we found at Home Depot by accident and it perfectly matched our cabinet (Score!!!!).

We are still going to install a glass enclosure for the shower but we haven’t settled on what we want yet – and we had to wait until we were done tiling to get good measurements before ordering one.

Anyway, here are the photos of the bathroom that I just took a few minutes ago. I hope you like the final product!


The Cost of it all

The final cost of the project to this point is about $3,100. That doesn’t include the glass enclosure which we estimate will be another $700. So an ultimate cost of $3,800 for a full bathroom renovation. Plus about 2 months of our time from start to finish. Everything in this bath down to baseboard, door trim, wall plates and electrical switches were changed except the medicine cabinet, which was repainted and re-used (and a cool little ceramic fish knob added).

Well, that’s it – I hope this was interesting to you.¬†Our next project will probably be the Master Bedroom – although we are hoping to get the living room remodeled shortly as well.



Our Hawaii Fixer Upper, Project 1 – The Guest Room

OK – it’s been a while since my last post. That’s because I wanted to be able to post the pictures from our first big house project from beginning to end. Since both Barbara and I work, we do most of our renovation work on the weekends (and sometimes in the evenings if we are feeling industrious).

Project #1 is the guest bedroom/sewing/craft room. We chose this because well, we are having guests coming to visit us soon (Kauai, who would’ve thought?!) Anyway, this room is your run of the mill 10.5 x 11 foot room with a closet and a small entry area to accommodate the door. When we purchased the home, the room looked OK but after all the furniture was removed we found some issues.

Here are some photos we took during our initial walkthrough of the house before we had purchased it.


You can tell that the room is pretty dark. But it didn’t look too bad on initial inspection. The walls were painted a yellow which may have faded over time. The drapes were very thick and the jalousie windows which look out on the front yard were made of wood rather than glass so they didn’t let much light through when they were not opened. There is a wall switch in the entry but it wasn’t actually wired into anything.

At our final walkthrough we were distressed to find out there was termite damage in the oak flooring (which also acts as the subfloor). We found this out when Barbara’s foot nearly went through the floor while inspecting the room.


The picture just shows the initial damage we found. Two full floorboards were pretty well eaten through and a few surrounding boards had minor damage but were still solid. If you looked through those holes you could actually see the ground under the house. No doubt the termites thought this was a great place to eat and were return customers. Until the tenting stopped the insect buffet a couple of years ago.

We brought in a termite inspector and he confirmed there was no current infestation, that it was old damage from before the house was tented back in 2014 and there were no active termites in the house (whew!)

Other problems we found included stained baseboard that we assume happened when the floor was previously refinished – the spatter looked like it could possibly have been wood stain and they hadn’t removed the baseboard when they did the refinishing work. There were many, many holes in the walls from towel bars that had been installed. The home had been used as an Air BNB for some time and the towel bars were for the guests to use. Also, a lot of other holes from pictures, previous pictures that had been moved, hooks, etc. There were also some deep gouges in the wall behind the mirror that had sat on the dresser. We also found nails that had just been pounded into the wall instead of being removed and patched. I wish I had taken more closeup photos of the walls to share with you, but I didn’t. My bad.


The staining on the baseboard/wall. :-0

At any rate, the room was certainly not what you would consider move-in ready. On the upside, it does have the vintage 3/4″ plank oak flooring and the size is pretty good for a secondary bedroom. And it is on Kauai. ūüôā

To begin we first moved all of the boxes and small stuff out of the room so we could get started cleaning and patching the walls – all the prep work. This has had the effect of turning the rest of the house into a storage area with everything everywhere. Fortunately I have been regularly self-medicating with copious amounts of liquor.


You can see that the baseboard was probably still original from 1979 when the house was built. Looks like it was redwood…

We also removed all the jalousie mechanisms and repaired them as most of the levers were missing or broken.



Old gecko eggs on the inside of the mechanisms. No gecko eggs were harmed in the renovation of this room.

We cleaned and repaired the jalousies and replaced the old wooden slats with glass slats that we found at the local Habitat for Humanity store. A good deal – only about $30 for 40 slats!

It really took about three weeks to get the room ready to paint. This included scrubbing the walls and ceiling, removing all nails and screws, patching all the holes and gouges and sanding all the repaired ares smooth. I take very little credit for this part because Barbara did nearly all the work. I’m more of a ‘hit it with a hammer’ kind of guy. Plus Barb’s and my idea of ‘clean enough’ may not be exactly the same (wink, wink). On my side I did do some patching and removed some butterfly anchors, replaced all the electrical outlets, terminated the electrical at the unused switch and replaced the switch itself with the wall mount for the ceiling fan remote control. And I tore out most of the old baseboard and the moulding around the door. Together we tore out the shelving and hanger rod in the closet.

Finally we were ready to paint. We decided on just a basic bright white paint for both the ceiling and walls in eggshell finish. For the window trim, baseboard and door moulding we are using basic white semi-gloss. I know it sounds like a lot of white, but we want the room light and bright and will use pops of color from decorations to liven it up. (yes, I watch HGTV too).



The wood pile outside is where my friend Jon will sleep when he comes to visit this summer. Cozy.


If you compare the first and last photo of the closet, you can really see the difference. So the painting made a HUGE difference in the look of the room.

The next step was refinishing the floor. We went back and forth between wanting to whitewash the floor and wanting to just clear coat it to preserve the vintage oak look, but with a more natural hue instead of the standard darker oil stain. The benefit of the whitewash is that it would cover up the patching job we did where the floor had been damaged by termites. It also might lend a beachy feel to the room. The drawback was that it would be a LOT of white in that room! Eventually we decided to go with a water based urethane clear coat. We were still worried about how the patch job was going to look though.

Before the start of this project we had patched the termite-damaged flooring with some old scrap oak plank we found under the house. We had never done anything like this before so were just kind of figuring it out as we went. The planks that we found still had some adhesive stuck to it – we think that when one of the bathroom floors had been re-done that they cut out some of the oak subfloor and replaced it with plywood. Anyway, at least we had some of the tongue and groove flooring – even if it was really ugly. We took the two best pieces we could find and set them aside. Then we used a jig saw to cut out the old termite damaged pieces.


The damaged area. Yes that is the ground under the house that you see!


The ‘new’ slat in all its glory.


What was left of one of the slats we removed.


What it looked like after we installed the new pieces. Yikes!

We actually got lucky with the smaller of the two pieces – it fit EXACTLY into the opening left by one of the damaged boards so it was able to slide it right in with a little bit of pressure. The longer piece was not a perfect fit and, because it was in the middle of the floor, I had to cut away the tongue from both it, and one of the boards it rested against in order to get it to fit in. We nailed it to the joist like the rest of the boards and then I went under the floor and attached a piece of scrap wood across a few of the planks under the patched area for extra strength. I probably didn’t really need to, but it doesn’t hurt to be sure.

So. Ugly – but patched and secure.

Now, back to the refinishing of the floor. We rented a drum sander from Home Depot and bought 80 and 120 grit sandpaper for it. At the same time we bought miter saw for the future baseboard/moulding work and an orbital sander for the edge work. Then we got down to business. Neither of us had ever run a drum sander before so it took some getting used to. Our main worry was that this floor had been sanded before and we didn’t want to go down too far. So we were trying to err on the side of caution. After some trial and error trying to figure out how best to use the sander we were finally able to get it under control and it went fairly smoothly (haha no pun intended). But sawdust EVERYWHERE! If you decide to ever do this, wear a good dust mask and be prepared to clean EVRYTHING in the vicinity of the sanded area once you are done.


Mr. Drum Sander. Sorry about the unfocused picture…


The patch job. Partially hand sanded but hadn’t been drum sanded yet.


After a couple of passes with the drum sander the patch is looking better…


You can still see the streaks after the first pass or so


Mostly finished but the edge sanding still left to do.


Just about done with the sanding. Loving how the wood looks! The patch job is on the left side – the darker plank.


Ready for the finish coating…

Time for the varnish. We decided on a water based urethane finish (Varathane). Again, we had never done this before but we knew we didn’t want to stain the floor dark again and we wanted something that wouldn’t yellow. Plus easier clean up. So water based it is! We put on 6 coats, and did a light sanding by hand after coat #2 as the wood grain had stood up a bit and needed to be smoothed. We also went with a satin finish instead of gloss as it covers imperfections a little better. We love the look, the results are below. You be the judge.


The last step for this room is the baseboard and quarter round. By this time I’m pretty much done with the effing renovation, LOL, and I’m ready to get this knocked out.


Testing the miter saw. I still have all my fingers.


Door moulding installed.


Some of the bare baseboard without the quarter round installed


The quarter round really gives the floor a much more finished look.

So we are finally in the finishing stages of the project. Barb has dyed some white cotton drapes in a gradated pattern so that it goes from a darker shade at the bottom to a lighter shade as it gets higher. the top remains white. These will look great once our curtain rods get here next week. We have also installed the Murphy Bed and it’s ready to go. Here are some of the final pictures of this project.


So, you may ask, “How much did all of this cost?” To get to this point we spent about $600 on the renovation. Probably another $200-$300 on alcohol and therapy. Mostly alcohol.

So the next part will be decorating and getting Barb’s craft area set up in the closet. I think that can wait until the next blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading this and hope you will check out the next post too.

Aloha and Mahalo for stopping by!!!!

Our Kauai Fixer-Upper: 2017 starts… and so do the projects

Well. By now it’s not a secret that we bought a new home (which officially became ours on December 16th) and that it “needs some work”. That is putting it mildly. Here is a short list of stuff that we have identified already that need uh… refreshing.

1. The fireplace in the living room.

This one is a goner. The fireplace sits right in the center of what would be an unobstructed view of the ocean and coastline. Add to that the fact that there is wood rot at the base of the fireplace and that water from the rock veneer has damaged the wall surrounding it, and the verdict is in: It’s the death penalty for the fireplace.

unadjustednonraw_thumb_371 Yes. I know, it looks harmless, but trust me this thing should never have been built in the first place. It blocks light from entering the living room and is causing ongoing damage to the entire wall. The challenge now is finding a good contractor to remove this monstrosity and install a sliding glass door (that we bought on Craigslist!) and new windows. We hope to have this project completed by spring.

2. The Pool

The filter for the pool runs OK but has a couple of major problems.

  • The outgoing line from the sand filter leaks like a sieve when the pump is running. This causes a loss of water (and salt!). I’ve ordered the parts I need in order to repair this bit of plumbing. I should have those in a week or two and can get this fixed right up.
  • The controller for the filter system doesn’t work. I already replaced the main circuit board for it, but it looks like the display/interface also needs replacement. I hope to have that part in a week or two also. Previous to our moving in, the pump was running 24 hours a day because the timer would never turn it off. I have been controlling it now by using the breaker for the pump itself. I let it run about an hour a day right now. The fact that the controller doesn’t work also means that the salt/chlorinator isn’t running – or we have no way of knowing whether it is running or is even still working. That might be another expense once we get the controller going.

3. The Locks

Oh yeah – every lock on the house had a different key. And some of them were just plain broken. I mean WTF?! So we ran down to HD and grabbed about 5 sets of re-keyable locks so that we could use one key for any door. That was about a $500 project, but at least it is done. The other fun thing about this project was that the strike hole for the front door had been drilled but never mitered out for the strike plate. Inexplicably there was a wadded up paper towel jammed in the hole which stopped the deadbolt from closing completely. So I now have experience using a wood chisel to miter an area for the strike plate to fit into. (and a new set of wood chisels to boot). At least this one is DONE!

4. The hole in the floor.

What!? Yes, there is a hole in the floor in the secondary (guest) bedroom that Barbara found during our final walkthrough by stepping on it and almost going through the floor. It was caused by previous termite damage and was never repaired by the previous owner. That was a “negotiating point” before we actually closed on the house.

Currently the hole is covered by cardboard and duct tape, but I plan on repairing it today or tomorrow depending on how lazy I am. The interesting thing is that there is no real sub-floor on this house; the oak flooring is just laid directly across the joists. This actually will make the repair easier because I won’t have a plywood sub-floor to deal with. I found some scrap oak under the house that we can clean up and use to patch hole. It’s pretty beat up but will do the job, and we plan on putting a new floor down anyway once we replace the fireplace.

5. Plumb the propane in properly.

Everyone loves plumbing a flammable gas into your home improperly right? I mean it’s perfectly OK to have a 5 gallon propane tank sitting next to your dryer with a beat up line to the back of the dryer, isn’t it? Or to run a flex hose under your house, drill a hole in the floor and attach it to your million year old gas range? I mean, what could go wrong?

We had a plumber come out and are awaiting his quote for hard plumbing the propane in properly. Hopefully that will be complete within the next 2 weeks. Then we will have Amerigas come out and hook up a real propane tank.

6. Assorted little stuff around the house.

Here is a list of some of the stuff we have already fixed around the house.

  • Replaced all the burnt out light bulbs in every room and ceiling fan with LED bulbs.
  • Removed the window air conditioner from the master bedroom jalousie window. It was a highway for bugs to enter the house because it was jury rigged, I mean installed, incorrectly. ūüôā
  • Replaced the slats for said jalousie windows after removing the AC unit.
  • Got rid of the nasty window coverings in the master bedroom. These were thick satiny things that could have doubled as blackout shades for the blitz in WWII London. (Sorry Martha Stewart).
  • Repaired the damage to the drywall in the master bedroom and guest bedroom where the previous owner had inexplicably used double stick tape to secure whiteboards to the wall. (Sigh).
  • Set the timer for the solar hot water heater to run on electricity for 2 hours in the morning when the water has cooled down overnight. Again, why that was disabled, I have no idea.
  • Replaced various outlet and switch covers that were missing and were exposing electrical wires – a “shock feature” for the house.
  • Repaired the leaky toilet in the hallway bathroom.
  • Replaced the UGLIEST CABINET KNOBS AND PULLS IN THE UNIVERSE from the kitchen cabinets with some unassuming brushed nickel hardware.
  • Had the cable company come out and replace the cable out to the main box on the street. Because watching jittering, pixelated television is only for those aspiring to insanity.
  • Cut away trim wood and trim supports that were making contact with the ground and causing wood rot.
  • Trimmed away some of the foliage around the house that was making contact with the roof and getting in the rain gutters.
  • Oh yeah, we unpacked some stuff too – but that is not complete either.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the things we’ve already fixed, and there is STILL a giant list of upcoming projects. But I will save some of those for the next installment of “Our Kauai Fixer Upper”

Oh, and I promise to include lots more pictures going forward. ūüôā

Aloha now!

The Circle of Life and a move up the hill

The last 3 months have been a trying leg of our journey here in Kauai and for life in general. During this time, we have bought and sold homes, sold our land, moved and saw my father lose his battle with cancer. They say that sometimes you are given as much as you can bear in life and it seems that lately that has been put to the test. But even then I didn’t have to shoulder as much burden as others have. So sometimes I feel that I need to buck up and just get on with it.

My Father

My father, Donald, passed away on December 20th. He was 82. He had been fighting a losing battle with a recurrence of his lymphoma for the last nine months or so and finally succumbed to it. End of life is never easy on anyone and particularly on my brother, Steven,  and mother, Judith,  who were the primary caregivers during this time. They never wavered and gave him the great care that he deserved. I was fortunate that my business travel took me to the mainland monthly and so I was at least able to see him frequently during the last year. 

My father was great provider and father and I am comforted by the fact that he was able to retire early and live his life as he wanted to. He was an avid and long-suffering San Diego sports fan. (And anyone who has followed the Padres and Chargers can understand what I mean by that). There are too many other interests that he had to list here and I won’t even try. But there will be a hole in my life where he once stood. Enough said.

The rest of the stuff….

The last 3 months of attempting to buy and sell a home on Kauai has been the most challenging real estate transaction I have ever been involved in. The timing of the moves and the back and forth with the banks etc. was a seemingly never ending roller coaster of emotion and delay. It was like slagging through quicksand at a lot of times, but we are finally in the new house and it is officially ours. The view is incredible but the house needs a LOT of work so we are ready to get going on that. 

I won’t go into too much detail here because I want to devote a separate post to the house stuff.  Going forward, this blog will detail the progress of our Kauai Fixer Upper. There will be lots of before and after pictures so stay tuned.

To close, I would like wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and send my hope that you and all you loved ones have a great holiday season and New Year.


Twists and Turns in Paradise

I haven’t written for awhile (again) but a lot has been going on so I’m finally ready to throw an update out there.

When last we left our intrepid subjects (Barb and I),¬†they had purchased some land with a great view¬†and the idea of building our dream home¬†on it. The rub was that construction has gone bonkers out here and it is very difficult to find a contractor to build a house any time soon (particularly in our ridiculously low price range). So the land is back up for sale. It’s a beautiful lot, but circumstances have conspired to make it worth our while to put it back on the market.

What then, are those circumstances? Wellllllllllll as Barbara was perusing the Aloha Living realty site (as she is wont to do) she came upon a home that was for sale for a reasonable price – and that was close to where we already live.¬†The house has a small¬†pool, a great 800 + square foot lanai and a “protected view corridor” that assures us of an unobstructed ocean view. Sweet. The home itself could use some updating inside, but we are pretty handy and it will keep us busy and out of trouble for a few years haha.

But nothing is ever easy. So we set out to procure this property and put our current house on the market. In the meantime we applied for a loan. But because I am a sole proprietor of my business and it has only been full time for a little less than 2 years, the banks cast a jaundiced eye on us. Not to mention we still have the land that we are paying on. Fortunately we have a great mortgage broker and realtor who have both helped to guide us through this touch and go process. Of course the loan is not fully approved yet so that is still a stressor.

As far as selling our current house, we¬†received an offer the first day on the market. It’s a great little house in a nice neighborhood,¬†and perfect for¬†a¬†young family (which is who¬†made the offer). We definitely have had some ups and downs during the negotiating process (I’m trying to be PC here!), but it appears that we are¬†finally close to being on our way. The next step on both deals will be the home appraisals¬†– we feel pretty confident that the house we are selling will appraise for the price, but we are a little worried about the one we are¬†buying (which could be advantageous if it comes in a little under the¬†sale price, as we may have to¬†pay less). That appraisal should be getting scheduled today.

Needless to say, this has pretty much been the only thing that we have been thinking about for the last month and has dominated our lives. Quite a few sleepless nights. But I feel like we are finally making progress. This weekend we are going to do some touristy stuff and try to get our heads straight and remind ourselves why we live here.

In other D & B island news, my band has a Halloween gig lined up and we are rehearsing with an eye towards that. It’s an annual thing and will be my second time doing it, so I’m looking forward to it. The jobs continue on. I have had a reprieve from my constant travel but have been very busy with work anyway. All good. Barb continues her work at the Middle School – I’m not sure I could deal with hormonal teenagers the way she can, so kudos to her! I am positive there is a whole bunch of stuff I left out, but I couldn’t tell you what it is, so I’ll just wrap this up.

Short and sweet. Aloha and…

Wish us luck!!!!!!

The Dog Days of August

Hawaiian word or phrase of the day: Hana hou.

Hana hou (pronounced hah-na hoe) means “One more time”. If you fly over on Hawaiian Airlines you will notice that this is the name of their in-flight magazine. As a musician this is what you want to hear at the end of your set – in that case it is the same as “Encore!”.

Our second summer in Paradise

Our first summer here was challenging. We had hurricanes bearing down on us and hot and humid weather all summer. Locals claimed it was the worst summer they had ever experienced. Air conditioners were flying off the shelf at Home Depot.

This year has been much better. So far only a couple of tropical storms have come into our general area bringing the heat and humidity. But mostly it has been very comfortable. Tradewinds and temps in the low 80’s around our neighborhood have been great and falling asleep on the lanai in the afternoon is a singular experience.


Barb is back to work at the school on the hot side of the island so the weather improvement is not as good there. No A/C at the school for the most part so it can get uncomfortable but it is her second year at the school and she now knows the ropes. So that is good.

My jobs on the mainland are still going well and require me to travel back once a month or so. That may slow down in a couple months as my big upgrade project should be complete. I’m hoping to pick up some local work to pick up the slack once that one starts to slow down. I will miss seeing family and friends in San Diego, but I will be happy to spend more extended periods here on Kauai.

The new house project

It turns out that our neighbor is an architect and we have retained him to produce the drawings for our new house. In fact, he just sent the drawings to a local builder here so we can get a ballpark quote on the construction. We are ready to get going on this and get into the new house with the forever views. If, you know, the bank wants to lend us the money to build it. Small detail.


The election

I have decided to stop looking at Facebook until after the election because there are so many political posts. Either Trump is the devil or Hillary is. Trump is a liar and Hillary is. Trumps wife is a trollop and Bill Clinton is, well, never mind about Bill. I’m sick of all of it and am just going to stop looking for a few months. I have too many friends on both sides of the aisle and sometimes people can g0 a little overboard about crap like this.

The beach

The beach rules. “Hana hou!” for the beach!!!!


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 Word of 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!?


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.


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 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.


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


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