Goldilocks and the Three Towns on Maui

Aloha!

A recent letter from a reader who wants to move to Maui asked, “What’s the prettiest town?” I think that’s a very subjective thing, and I can’t choose pretty for you any more than you could choose it for me. A better question might be about the weather of the town you choose to live in. For instance, I was at a party up in Kula, and everyone there was freezing. It was an outdoor party, and the windchill felt about 30°. I was wearing the same leather coat I wear in San Francisco and was still cold. After you live in Hawaii a while, your blood thins out and you can’t take the cold anymore, particularly if you live at an elevation that is always warm.

At the party I visited with a lady who had moved from Oahu (very warm there) and needed to choose a place to live on Maui. Her husband asked, “What about Haiku?” and the lady responded, “Too rainy.” Her husband said, “What about Hana?” The wife responded, “Too remote.” (At least she’d done her homework, lots of people don’t). So they ended up in Kula, where there is less rain, but it’s too cold for her. I almost asked her, “So what about Kihei, or Lahaina? But I know what her response would’ve been: “Too crowded. Too hot!”

So it really is like Goldilocks, you have to pick what’s “just right” for you, and you alone.

I also spoke with another couple who recently purchased a home in Maui Meadows (a residential area up the hill from Kihei) after living in a condo for years. I asked why they moved, and he said, “It gets old living in a resort. Tourists coming and going all the time.” So that’s another thing to think about when moving here: condo life might sound wonderful and low – maintenance, but there are very few condo complexes on Maui that are long-term rental only. What that means is at least half (or usually a higher percentage) of the people on the property where you will be living are transient or tourists. There is no getting to know them better, and the worst of them really feel no obligation to behave. (“We’re on vacation…par-tay!!”)

Then there are the maintenance fees at condos…ask lots of questions. I was tempted to buy a lovely condo when I first loved here, till I found out the maintenance fees were $1,200. per month– and this was fifteen years ago!

If you’re thinking of a move to Maui, like Goldilocks, I hope you do your homework and find the area that is “just right.”

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

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How Living on Maui Changes Your Money Habits

Aloha!

Well, you spend your money differently. The mainland has all those temptations that Maui doesn’t: Bed, Bath, and Beyond, for instance….which I call “the place with everything you never knew you needed, but have to have.” Same with Bath and Body Works. Wander through a place like that on the mainland and you’re buying those scented pump soaps because they’re five for $25.00 or whatever, and that’s money you hadn’t planned to spend. Now take away Michael’s huge craft store (and Richardson’s). Not to mention Kohl’s, JC Penney’s, Victoria’s Secret….Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, The Container Store. And of course, Nordstom and Neiman Marcus (“needless markup”) as my friend calls it.

But, you think, I’ll just end up ordering those things online. How will this save money? One word: shipping costs. Recently, I tried to order a sunscreen/moisturizer online that I’ve been using for years. Usually, I buy it when I’m on the mainland and bring it back (just like everything else) but I hadn’t been to the mainland lately. I’d had some luck ordering from them online before, but this time, two little bottles of cream were going to be $45.00 for shipping. (Would have been about $7.95 to ship on the mainland). I pleaded. Wheedled. Cajoled. “Can I just mail you a flat-rate shipping box? That’s $12.00, and I could get ten of those suckers in there!” No, they said. They were sorry, but shipping to Hawaii had gone way up, but most of it was the “handling.” Guess my sunscreen needed to get a massage before they could put it in a box.

These are not luxuries, they are everyday items that people on the mainland take for granted. Eventually, you just learn to do without. Eventually you learn to stop wanting. A Pottery Barn chair? That’ll be extra shipping (see the special little “shipping to Alaska and Hawaii” box), then an additional $250.00 just ‘cuz you have the audacity to live on an island.
Actually, it’s probably much more than that, because I haven’t bothered to check on Pottery Barn anything in like ten years.

So, you think, I’m gonna save a bundle without all these tempations, right? Uh-uh. All that money you’re saving goes right to the high costs of food, housing and gasoline.

Before gas prices dropped, World News would say that California (or wherever) had the highest gas prices in the country. They would name some figure like $3.68 per gallon. We would want to throw a shoe at the telecaster. Hello! We’re paying $4.68 over here. Are we not part of the country?

Actually, when you live on this island, you’re not. You are on a rock in the middle of the ocean. Entire fashion and housing trends pass you by like they never happened. People on the mainland get their shorts in a twist about things that don’t affect us, and we have major situations here that mainland people are blissfully unaware of. (The Big Island dock damage /closure after the earthquake comes to mind.)

Living on Maui, you not only spend your money differently, you think differently, act differently, feel differently.

Stay long enough, and this island will forever change you.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Hawaiian Pidgin 101

Aloha!

Here is a little primer for you the next time you are standing in line at Longs drugstore in Hawaii, listening to pidgin fly between the cashier and a customer. (Did you know that all the Longs stores changed their name to CVS except in Hawaii? It was such a long-standing institution here, they must have figured there would be a revolt. I’m a bit surprised that Walgreens dipped their toe in the water here, because the locals are so loyal to Longs drugs.)

So here’s your primer:

image

Aloha, and happy shopping!

Jamaica

Life is Waiting

Aloha!

“All of our lives are finite. Stop living like you have forever. Plan for the future, but don’t forget to sometimes live like you don’t have one.”
Phil Bennett

So what have you been putting off? What’s on that bucket list? A move to a warmer climate, perhaps… those of you up to your eyebrows in snowdrifts, plotting your escape?

I know a psychologist who got moved to another division with her job. This move actually places her in mortal danger every day… she’s working with dudes who have murdered people, nice things like that. Her cortisol levels are through the stratosphere and she is not the same person. She plastered a large sign on her office wall, marking down the days till retirement with a big X on each day. The thing is, her husband shakes his head and says that she really can afford to retire. It could save her health and sanity, so why not? Sometimes people just can’t quit, even if it’s in their best interest, even if it’s killing them. Even if the writing is in big letters on the wall.

We all get stuck. Sometimes it’s very hard to see the big picture. Could you really rent out your house and at least TRY to live your dream? Could you take classes while continuing to work that will open up doors to that new career? Could you write that novel on your weekends? (See “The Weekend Novelist” by Robert J. Ray).

Years ago I had an idea for a nonfiction book (rule# 1, find a need and fill it). I didn’t know how to write nonfiction. I didn’t know how to do footnotes. But I taught myself. Then everyone said I’d have to get an agent or I wouldn’t be able to sell it. I threw that rule out the window too–wrote a killer proposal and cover letter and that book was sold within the year. (Trust me, these things don’t usually happen overnight.)

The point is, sometimes we have to stop playing by the rules. Sometimes we have to stand on the roof and jump off (hello, Hawaii, here I come!) to get what we really want, even deserve, in life. Sometimes we break an ankle, but we might also learn to fly. So paint that picture. Take those photos. Learn to race a race car.

What are you dreaming of?

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

All Beds Are Full

Aloha!

A flu epidemic has hit Hawaii and a week ago we were told that all the hospital beds on Oahu are full. They are turning away ambulances, which are not allowed to stop.

And now comes the news that the beds are also all full at Maui Memorial Hospital. People are being told to just go see their primary physician instead. Which would be okay…except that Kaiser is on strike. And if people are dehydrated, they’re gonna need an IV.

I’ve got the flu. That’s why you haven’t heard from me. Everyone says this one lingers.

On a recent business call a woman on the East coast said, “You mean they get sick in the islands?!”

See you later!

Aloha, Jamaica