What follows here are just my thoughts and words. No fact checking, no spell checking, no promises of great insight or good grammar. Just me dumping the words in my head to words on the screen. Bear with me... sometimes it's a bumpy ride.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Since We Can't Take It With Us....

.... we've decided to spend all our money now.  (Sorry, kids.)

Well, it's actually a Short-Term-Pain/Long-Term-Gain kinda thing. 

Don't know if you know, but things can be rather expensive here.  You learn to grocery shop a little bit differently.  (Don't buy grapes when they are something like $15/pound, wait until they come down to a reasonable $8/pound.   Buy 20 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios when they go on sale for $4/box so you don't get caught short and be tempted to pay the $7.95/box regular price.)  You fill up your gas tank, whether you need to or not, because you heard gas is about to go up another $.10/gallon (they don't seem to do it in  3 and 4 cent increments here).  But the gauge-du-jour is electricity.

We are currently paying $.37/kwh.  I'm given to understand that is more than double what Californians are paying.  Granted... we don't need heat.  But soon, very soon, we are likely to really really really want to turn on our air conditioners.  But then we'd have to stop eating and/or driving.

So we have soul searched, internet surfed, proposal screened and number crunched options from here to the sun (snicker, snicker, snicker...) and we are proceeding with putting a PhotoVoltaic system up on our roof.  There are beaucoup state & fed tax credits available which help a bunch, and pretty cheap financing available (where they collateralize the system, not our house).  The math seems to work such that in about 3 years we will have recouped our net cost (total cost less tax credits) and in about 6 years the system will have paid for itself.

But of course, we couldn't stop there.  Oh no.  Turns out we need to put a new roof on the place before we cover it with PV.  Michael will be up on the roof this Saturday helping tear off the existing comp.  Good news:  Relatively small roof, very mild (almost no) pitch.  Bad news: It gets gnarly hot up there early in the day.  Hoping for  a little over cast and mild breeze.....  We are also adding a bunch of roof vents and attic vents to help let heat escape.  Muy importante, especially as we leave winter and head into spring & summer.  There is currently no venting and it can get quite warm & stuffy in here when the breezes are still and the sun's a-blazin'. 

So we are very excited at the thought of keeping ourselves cool when we are home, and the doggies cool when we go out without them.  And we'll still be able to afford grapes and Cheerios!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Makaukau.... Hoe Hapai.... IMUA!

Roughly translated:  Ready, Set, GO!

We are now card-carrying members of the Maui Canoe Club.  Motto:  Paddling For Fun.  We go out on the ocean 3 or 4 times a week in outrigger canoes and, boy, is it FUN!  Whenever you come for a visit, this will definitely be one of the outings we will be encouraging you to do with us.

We've seen whales, turtles and even a manta ray up close & personal.  We've floated out over amazing coral beds (Michael swears he saw electric blue coral flowers).  Just being out on the ever-changing water is soul-quenching.

It's so interesting, too, the physics of the boats.  They are apparently very easy to tip over ("huli"), if you lean the wrong way (which would be toward the right, the opposite side of the "ama" - the outrigger float on the port side).  We haven't huli'ed yet.

The club is full of really nice folks, many of whom, like us, maybe more on the September side of that May/September age reference.  (There was a big birthday party for a member and the theme was "Hawaii Six-O".) .  We're finding that many are "snowbirds", only here for the winter.  Kinda sad to see them go.  But plenty live here year round.  And there are events beyond simply paddling - so lots of opportunities for music and eating and all around camaraderie (which I'm pretty sure I can't spell).

This quote, from past MCC President Mike Elam (the Hawaii Six-O birthday guy) really sums it up:

One of our main goals is to promote the culture of Hawai‘i and the ancient sport of outrigger canoe,” said Elam. “We really hope the public will continue to embrace the many benefits of canoeing which are social, physical and spiritual… not to mention you see some great sights up close. With canoeing, you increase your strength and flexibility, make new friends, and experience the beauty of the ocean in a very special way.”

We're so excited to have found this treasure.  (Thanks to a new friend, Metha, who splits her time between Maui and Petaluma.... but we didn't meet her until we moved here.  Go figure!)

By the way... if you are at all interested in the pronunciation of the title, here is is phonetically:
           Ma-COW-COW....Hoe-eh HAH-pie....EE-moo-ah. 

 And Ready-Set-Go is too anglicized a translation.  It's the call that the captain makes once you are in the canoe and ready to go again after a "lava" (a stop).  It's almost more of a chant.  The captain calls out "Makaukau!" (asking "Paddlers, are you ready?" and everyone holds their paddles up over their heads in response).  "Hoe Hapai" (directing the paddlers to "assume the position" and everyone positions the paddle towards the water, ready to dig in).   "Imua" (commanding "Forward!"  and off we go!)  There's a sort of pagentry and cultural tradition that's in lots of what you do, that makes it fun and special.

I think this will be my new sign-off:  Aloha & Imua!!

Floralis Updatis ....

So for any of you horticulturists out there... the fabulous Trumpet Vine flowers last a solid week, at which point they slowly, one by one, start to  wither and slip quietly off the stem, littering the deck boards with their poisonous, wasted little sheaths.
Here's a dogs-eye view just before they breathe their last perfumed breath.

The flowers, not the dogs.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Riotous Explosion....

It took only four days for our Angel Trumpet to go from this:

to this....

And at night, the scent is intoxicating!!

I'll keep you posted on how long these beautiful flowers last.....

Friday, March 2, 2012

Look at All My Trials and Tribulations....

Okay... so at the risk of really ticking off some of you on the mainland... I wanted to post a little list of the Pluses and Minuses of living here in Maui.

Good news:  I very, very infrequently need to put on long pants.
Bad news:  I have to shave my legs every day!

Good news:  All day, every day and nearly every night, we have all doors and windows open, letting in the fresh island breeze and multitudinous birdsong.
Bad news:  When the grounds people come - with their leaf blowers and ride-on mowers and hedge trimmers - it is so loud!

Good news:  Less than a 10 minute walk from our house is a long nearly secret, often empty stretch of lovely beach, perfect for the dogs to swim and play in the gentle surf.  In the mornings we often see turtles (honu) popping up their little heads.
Bad news:  It's no brief excursion to take the girls down to the beach for a run and a dip.  We walk down, they play around for half hour/45 mins, we walk back, then they need to be "showered" (hosed off, which they  think is a game) which takes another 10 minutes, then more or less towel dried, but they're still pretty wet so they have to stay out on the lanai'i for a while.  It's exhausting!

Good news:  Whether it's a day we've made it to the beach for a little R&R, or on a recent drive up to Lahaina, or out on a Whale Watching trip, we have seen so many whales. Jumping, spouting, rolling, diving, fin slapping, from full breach to just a nose above the water line.  Incredibly close in, on the far horizon, and everything in between.  So many.  So wonderful.
Bad news:  Your eyes start to get really tired after a while of watching the see for signs of whales, what with the sun reflecting and the constant ocean motion.....

Admittedly, this is not my photo.  However, we have see this LOTS! 
(and that is Maui, very close to our house, in the background)

Bad news:  Gas prices are now up to $4.50/gallon. Ouch.
Good news:  Our little box car is getting something like 30 miles/gallon and we just don't drive it very far.  I'd say we fill the tiny little 10 gallon tank every other week.  There are days the car never leaves the driveway.

Good news:  We are continuing to meet new people and make new friends.  It took us three months, but we finally threw our first party (an Oscar Not-so-Gala).  Lots of food, lots of fun, a little competition with prizes and cash pools.
Bad news:  They are not our old friends, whom we miss and think of often.