The Price of Paradise, Too


You may have noticed – I’ve been AWOL from this blog.
If death and taxes are two inescapables on the mainland, then you must add a third when you live in Hawaii: termites.
Because of termites, this blog has not been updated. Because of termites, our cherry-wood floors are being systematically eaten:


We had to move out of our house for two days while the house was tented. Our bank account is sickly.

But wait, there’s more…

I have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), which means I am like a canary in a mine. When any type of toxic substance is introduced to my environment, I go down for the count.

In 2009 we tried to go to the organic route, with orange oil. ($3,000.) It seemed to help for a while – they drilled tiny holes into our wood floors and poured orange oil inside. I crossed my fingers. But they returned. The problem with termites of course, is that you don’t see the damage they’re doing until it’s too late.

By the time our floors were buckling and cracking in places and the termites were starting in on our kitchen cabinets, I broke down and called the exterminators. The big local guy who came weighed at least 350 – maybe more, and when he got down on one knee to examine the damage, I heard a sickening cracking sound. Another floorboard bit the dust.

I had heard we would need to wrap our food for this procedure. Then I got the REAL list:
All the spices, all the baking goods, dry goods: crackers, cereal, pasta, etc.; coffee, tea and liquor; all the condiments in the refrigerator (!) ALL the food in the refrigerator, all the food in the freezer. Double bagged, every bit of it. And we have two refrigerators. All the sunscreen, makeup, toothpaste and toothbrushes. All the vitamins. All the medications, double-bagged. The cat food…Essentially anything that would go in anyone’s mouth or touch their skin.


As Higgins used to say on “Magnum, PI” OMG.

By the time the tent went up over the roof, we had spent two full days preparing, and I started calling it the circus tent.


Imagine what this does to the weekend of a working couple. Now find a place to stay, with cat, dog, kids…for two days. That’s noxious gas, plus teargas that they pumped into the house…your living space.

That’s why all the cabinets and drawers must be left standing open. Just eewww.


Of course we were dying to get back into the house, if nothing else to get all the things we forgot to take with us, except everything was in BAGS and we couldn’t find anything. Then it was a full day of UNpacking.


We spent $3,725 for the pleasure. Goodbye, vacation.

And I have been sick for a week from the chemicals. I could actually taste them when we came back, even though the house had been aired, with fans on for a full day. Mike? No problems! (He also doesn’t get seasick.)

No one escapes termites here. Even if you lived in a concrete bunker, you would still have some wood furniture and wood kitchen cabinets.

The price of Paradise? You bet. Now I understand why the early Hawaiians lived in grass huts!

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

To Reflect on the Sea


Today we pause to reflect on the sea, from as essay by E.B. White (author of “Charlotte’s Web”).

“The sound of the sea is the most time – effacing sound there is. The centuries reroll in a cloud and the earth becomes green again when you listen, with eyes shut, to the sea – a young green time when the water and the land were just getting acquainted and had known each other for only a few billion years and the mollusks were just beginning to dip and creep in the shallows; and now man the invertebrate, under his ribbed umbrella, anoints himself with oil and pulls on his Polaroid glasses to stop the glare and stretches out his long brown body at ease upon a towel on the warm sand and listens…

The sea answers all questions, and always in the same way; for when you read in the papers the interminable discussions and the bickering and the prognostications and the turmoil, the disagreements and the fateful decisions and agreements and the plans and the programs and the threats and the counter threats, then you close your eyes and the sea dispatches one more big roller in the unbroken line since the beginning of the world and it combs and breaks and returns foaming and saying: ‘So soon?'”

From the essay On a Florida Key

A hui hou… if you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the right. Mahalo for reading along.

Aloha! Jamaica

It’s Aloha Friday!


“It’s Aloha Friday… No work till Monday!” Drive around the islands on a Friday, and you will no doubt hear this catchy tune on the radio. To listen, click here:


I’ve never really understood it, though. Maui is a 24/7 society. The sugarcane workers work on the weekends, all hotel workers work on the weekends (except the GM of course). So that leaves office workers. Maybe this song was written on Oahu, with all the high-rise office buildings…

So I go to my source for all things Hawaiian, the guy who sits across the breakfast table from me every morning. “Can you shed some light on this?” I ask Mike. Did they sing “It’s a Aloha Friday, no school till Monday” when you were in school?” He said no. “So when do you remember first hearing the song?” I asked. He gives the reply that always makes me smile: “We didn’t have radio reception on the North Shore of Oahu.” So, no reception, no song. But lets’s not forget, he was too busy surfing and having fun in life to care about radio reception.

“I do remember singing along to it when I got a job as a carpenter hanging doors at a condominium in Kailua,” he said. (Apparently they have radio reception in Kailua.) “On Fridays four or five of us would pile in a pickup truck after work, turn the radio on, and sing along to the song…” (Which features beer predominantly.) “And we would stop and buy a sixpack.”

I wonder how much beer that song has sold?
And by the way, riding in the back of a pickup truck is still legal in Hawaii.

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad this week is almost over. It’s been the week that would not die.

Dang, now I can’t get that song out of my head. Oh well, Happy Aloha Friday, wherever you are!

Next post, the history of the Aloha Shirt….

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica