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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Wonders of the Deep ....

After so many days of gusting winds and choppy seas, today was a (lazy) paddler's dream outing.  The ocean was like glass:  small bloppy waves at the shore and then soft, gentle... swells is too big of a word, implies too much up and down.... we were in the soft, undulating bosom of the sea.  The sun was out and visibility down to the ocean floor was, well, I'm pretty sure we could have seen all the way down to the sampans bobbing in the South China Sea.  I know I'm being a little overly dramatic here.  Everyone knows its nighttime there and you wouldn't be able to see much looking up through a moonlit sea.....

What we could see in these perfect conditions was the most amazing coral bed.  I wish you could see - the colors, the textures - a huge field of knotty, brain-like coral with sea anenomes tucked in here & there, and big (BIG) mushroom-like corals, and even some fish.  It was like we were in a glass bottom boat.  We were dry snorkeling.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.  What a treat.

And on we glided through this soothing and glorious morning.  And, lo, what splash through yonder ocean breaks?  It's two sleek, graceful Nai'a having a little morning frolic.

(Not my photo... thank Google images)
 [In looking for the photo, I found one that, for reasons unexplainable, I felt the need to also share ....

.... but I digress.]

We hung out with the dolphins for a while (alas, no cows).  Then turned around to paddle back across the stunning coral beds and awww, shucks - the breeze is kicking up and we paddle into the wind all the way back.  Oh well. 

You can't always have a lazy, lovely morning watching dolphins at play not 30 feet in front of you, now can you.

Blogus Interruptus....

Funny how one litte aspect of your life comes a tad off the rails, and you find you have no time or energy for stuff you like to do!  Tending all the details of our currently very needy property up in Haiku has consumed me, lo these past three weeks.  And, to add vinegar to the baking soda (anyone with kids who've gone through the 4th grade will know what a mess that can make), Michael was off island, trying to do what he could to help from 6,000 and 10,000 miles away.

We had the combination of finishing clean up & painting of the studio, then trying to get it rented (so far unsuccessfully), PLUS beginning the task of rehabing the 2-bedroom unit.  Locating & coordinating a cleaning/hazmat crew, a painter, a handyman, a carpet/flooring guy and the million details and possible permutations in between was no damn fun.  And between showing the studio to prospective tenants and meeting with these various vendors, shopping for and/or buying necessary items (like new kitchen cabinets, grrrr), I think I've put more miles on the car in 3 weeks than the entire year!!  Happily, gas is just now starting to come down a smidge ($4.56/gal).

Oh, and in the middle of all that orchestration, we get a call from the tenants who are still there that the cess pit is overflowing.  Happy Happy Joy Joy!  Luckily, it was not as dire as it sounded, although we did have to throw money at the problem and get taken care of.  Crisis averted (until the credit card bill comes anyway). 

Sooooo.... studio still empty.  Lots of phone calls & emails.  Numerous viewings.  Couple of applications.  But then, in a peculiarly oh-so-island style,  no further follow through, or additional details come to light, stories change....   Honestly though, we are thankful to figure out those things sooner rather than later.  So, we wait.  We hold out for the right tenant (yeah, when pigs fly and they let lawyers into heaven).

And the former petri dish unit - the two bedroom - is making significant progress.  Old carpet gone, every inch cleaned with a toothbrush (okay, many toothbrushes) , fresh paint top to bottom, new flooring throughout, some architectural upgrades (the afore-mentioned new kitchen cabinets, built-in closets in bedrooms, laminate flooring in living room, carpeting elsewhere).... we are getting there.  Couple more cosmetic touches and we'll be calling Better Homes and Gardens to send a photographer for our two-page spread.  Then we start the advertising/talking to people/showing routine and the search is on for a good tenant.  And that should happen right about the time Michael takes off again for another - tho mercifully much shorter - bout of off-island travel. 

Livin' La Vida Loca, we are.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ami's Escape from the Horrors of Haiku ...

The Horror of Haiku ....

Something like 8 years ago, we were sitting talking with a friend about the pros and cons of owning rental property.  He basically said, "Really, what's the worst that could happen?"  Well, Chuck, let me run it down for you.....

We had our HUD tenant vacate one of our units up in Haiku.  He and his now 14 year old daughter had been living there for 3-1/2 years.  There is no question that he did not clean, dust, vacuum, sweep, wipe down or so much as brush away a crumb in all that time.  Based on the eye-watering stench, between the chickens (yes, chickens) running around inside (yes, inside) and the cats, the carpeting seems to have served as a passable toilet for them both.  Well, sure.... because the real toilet was so filthy and disgusting, not even fit for a barnyard animal.
And the tenant kindly left us some food, too.
Perhaps needless to say - but I shall nonetheless - the condition of the inside of the unit was abysmal: filthy, reeking of cat urine, chicken feathers and garbage on the floor, stains and cat-claw damage to the carpets and curtains, cobwebs, cockroaches, curtains ruined, the curtain rod pulled off the wall in one bedroom, the wardrobe broken in one bedroom, blinds caked and furry with dirt, window screens torn, the ceiling fans black with dirt, the bathroom filthy, toilet stained and area disgusting, the refrigerator still full of rotten food, the freezer completely iced up and full of food, and the front door screen missing entirely.

We flea-bombed the interior of the unit. An astonishing number of cockroaches and other dead bugs now litter the already disgusting floors in the unit. 
Big, giant coackroaches scattered all throughout the unit, pinschers up.

Oh, but it doesn't end there.  Noooooo.  He also left us what will likely be three to four truck fulls of junk, trash and debris to be taken to the dump. 
Stacked behind this fence is a 4-5' wide stack o' crap.  Plus there's a double-wide storage locker still full of more crap and a pile of yet additional crap in front of the storage area.

But, on the positive side (say, what?), those pots you see nicely lined up have been removed by the oh so thoughtful tenant.  They are each full of dirt and very likely many seeds of the mighty marijuana plant.  (HUD may not have known about his "home business" before, but they do now.)  And get this - those were all INSIDE the unit, among all his other hoarded furniture, boxes, toys, clothes and stacks and piles of whatever he could accumulate and keep inside the unit.  Along with the chickens and cats. 

We've got quite a bit of work (and expenses) ahead of us to get this place back into a habitable condition.

So really, what's the worse that could happen?  Maybe a fire would have been worse.  Maybe not.