Aloha, Dogs and Cats

Aloha!
Thinking of bringing a dog or kitty to Hawaii? Well for starters, be sure to Google all the hoopla surrounding Johnny Depp trying to smuggle his dogs into Australia on his private jet. You don’t want to go THERE!

I myself postponed moving to Hawaii because of my aged kitty. This was back before a 5-day quarantine even existed…it was 120 days. For those of you not familiar, it’s because Hawaii does not have rabies, that all animals must be quarantined. I have heard so many stories of people determined to move to Hawaii who had to have one, two or three pets shut up in quarantine cells on Oahu… people who would fly over from Maui just to visit their pets. And what depressed pets they were, also!

So the good news is, if you are planning to move and have pets, you can get it down to a five – day quarantine if you follow all the policies and procedures.
Here is the website: http://www.hawaiiag.org.
A puppy or kitten will be about 10 months of age by the time all the preparations are completed. Puppies and kittens not able to meet all of the requirements for the five – day – or less program will be quarantined for 120 days.
This site offers FAQs, a dog and cat import form, and a Hawaii Rabies Quarantine Information Brochure,which contains important information about pre-arrival requirements, quarantine stations, procedures, policies, rules, operations and fees.
There are ways to possibly do a direct airport release, but note: due to limitation in interisland service on the weekend, pets arriving on Thursday or Friday may not be transferred to satellite quarantine stations and approved hospitals on neighbor islands till the following Monday.

You can email your questions to: rabiesfree@hawaii.gov

Miss Lili says follow the rules….
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…and have a happy move to Hawaii with your pets!

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

I Wish You Peace

Aloha!

Many of you have written to ask where the blog has been. Thank you!
To answer, this last half of 2015 has been stuffed full of stress, not the least of which was Mike’s mom being diagnosed with stage – four cancer, then passing away.

Because our plates have been so full, I have been trying to uni- task, instead of multi-task. Can you remember back when we all gave something our full attention instead of scattershot one-eye-on-the-ball attention? I do. I remember that feeling in the distant past… and I’m trying to find it again.

I also know (from taking care of my ailing parents and being Executor of their estate) that it really only takes one major incident for life to slide off the plate. The last five years have been like a fire drill for us, in that four parents passed away… and we really need to regroup. Interestingly, this has been the same time period since I started writing this blog.

I really appreciate all the interest you have shown in the blog. Thank you for writing, for asking, for caring. I will get it back up and running when life calms down a little.

Because no matter what, no matter what the movies would have us believe….no matter how beautiful the scenery is on “Hawaii 5-0”, life on Maui and on all the islands, is still REAL LIFE. A friend who lived here for six years, and then moved away, made this comment: “People really have themselves talked into believing that if they could just move to Hawaii life would be PERFECT. No more worries, no more stress, just a kicked – back lifestyle where life is just really good. But that’s not the reality. People still get really sick here, people still die here, people lose their jobs here, people get eaten by sharks here!” (I had to laugh about that last part!)

So wherever you are during this holiday season, I wish you peace. I hope that you can stop for a moment during this busy, busy time and truly appreciate what you have been given…particularly those you hold dear.

May 2016 bring you joy.

Aloha, Jamaica

Family is so Important

Aloha!

If you think you might like to live in Hawaii, consider this: will extended family follow suit? Will they even visit? And then there are the aging parents and grandparents.

I got to California from the Midwest because almost the whole fam-damnly moved there, as my mother would say. (She loved her cliches and malapropisms).

I kind of hoped/assumed the same thing would happen when I moved to Hawaii, but it never did. Heck, I could barely get anyone to visit… not at all what I pictured… but airfare isn’t cheap. (Either direction.)

Also, my father and stepfather both hated Hawaii. “What’s the big deal. I don’t get it!” (Dad).
“It’s hot and humid, full of creepy bugs, you can’t get anything… you can’t go anywhere. And it’s horribly overpriced! What’s the point?” (Stepdad…he was much more verbose.) Over the years, the few times he would come here the trip would end with him saying, “You’re off your nut.”

Then the VOG (volcanic organic gas) set in when a new vent opened in the volcano in 2008, and I started going to stay with my parents every winter because I couldn’t breathe here. Then my parents both got sick and I was HERE and they were THERE, which required me leaving home for almost 2 years to go care for them. I was Trustee of the estate when they died, so then I needed to be there to sell the house, etc. (Much more time-consuming and stressful than anyone realizes who hasn’t done it.)

Two weeks after my mom died, I was in line at the post office and the girl behind the counter said, “Well, hold onto your hat. My parents died two years ago and things still aren’t settled. You’re in for a long haul.” I remember thinking, “Well, you don’t know how efficient I can be,” and boy-howdy did I look back on that and laugh at myself. I thought because I wanted to get done in California and get home to Maui that my “drive” would magically make everything go smoothly. Not even close!

Since my parents were healthy and quite active when I moved to Maui, I saw none of it coming.

On the other hand, if you are one of those who would gladly live at least 3,000 miles away from your dysfunctional family, Hawaii might be just the place….

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

Aloha, Jamaica

That Feeling of “Well – Being”

Aloha!

Are you someone who feels that Hawaii would have to be the ultimate place to live? The perfect weather, the year-round outdoor activities, the pristine beach a short ride away?

Are you one of those people who wonder why anybody bothers to live in Hawaii, what with the cost of living–gas, groceries, housing, utilities? I know my dad was one of them. He would just shake his head and say, “I don’t get it.”

Now come the results of the Gallup – Healthways “Well – Being Index” report, released early this year. Hawaii is one of the top 10 states for well-being for the seventh straight year. Number one? Alaska. (And I, like my dad, would say “I don’t get it.” Perhaps you Alaskans can set me straight.)

The only other state besides Hawaii to finish in the top 10 every year since Gallup and Healthways began their studies in 2008, is Colorado.

What did it take to reach the top? 176,000 residents of 50 states were polled in 2014, according to a press release. They were asked to assess their lives in these five categories:

1) Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.
2) Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life.
3) Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
4) Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community.
5) Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.

As I say each time one of these polls is released, you just can’t beat megadoses of vitamin D from the sun….and Hawaii lead in two categories – physical and financial. South Dakota was the only other state to lead in two categories – social and community.

The three states with the lowest well – being level in 2014 were: West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana. (And this was before Indiana’s recent landmark legislation that had lawmakers from other states threatening to boycott the state.)

Five of the bottom 10 – West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Ohio and Kentucky – have finished there every year since the poll has been conducted.

I will say upfront that I grew up in Indiana and you could almost see the vapor trail behind me, I was in such a hurry to leave those winters behind. There’s a price paid for leaving your home state and becoming a vagabond though–I’ve lived in four states–and that price is never truly feeling at home. My sister has never left Indiana, and in fact teaches at the same Junior High that we attended, and the payoff is that she is still in touch with many of the people we went to school with….while I have forgotten many of their names. She feels at home, because she is at home.

Any thoughts on this poll? When we saw our tax accountant this year, she told us that she is only out in the sun about twice a year here. She simply works that much. Bet she has her financial life together, though.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

You Can Check Out Any Time You Like

Aloha!

Remember the line from the Eagle’s song “Hotel California” that says, “You can check out anytime you like… But you can never leave”?

Seems like someone could’ve written the same about Maui. There are tourists who come here, fall in love with Maui and Hawaii, and really don’t want to go home. I was one of them.

This can have a flipside. I’ve talked to many people who move here and then can’t leave, even if they want to. They’ve quit their jobs. They’ve paid a lot of money to shut down their lives on the mainland, ship their cars, all their paperwork, and all their worldly possessions, and here they are. Stuck. Can’t afford to do it in reverse.

One man had a business here where he placed banks of computers in hotel lobbies, including the hotel where I worked. When we chatted he said, “(Expletive) Maui. I moved here with my wife, found out we can’t stand it, and now we’re stuck here.” And his business was quickly obsolete – the hotels installed Wi-Fi for guest’s laptops and iPads instead.

This is why I encourage anyone to give Maui a trial–run before pulling up stakes, selling their homes and businesses, and paying shipping fees to get their lives here. A recent blog post had a letter from a reader on Kauai who moved there five years ago. She gave a wonderful overview, but also said, “Would I do it again, knowing what I know? I don’t know. ”

Recently a friend who came to Maui twenty years ago said, “When I moved here, everyone told me, ‘Maui is healing place.’ Well, they neglected to mention that you’re supposed to get healed…and then leave!”

Could be why so many people stay only two years. They’ve gotten what Maui could offer them, from the sun, the ocean, a major change… and they’re done. Yes, my friend is one of those who feels stuck….bought a home and is self-employed. Now what? (“We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.”)

Realize, too, that each Hawaiian island is different. Each has its own culture; on Oahu it can be a bit easier to assimilate because the military is there, and they are used to outsiders. There are that many more tourists, that many more more people. It’s different on Maui where people who grew up here often have a very negative view of people who move here and “spoil” their island. Caucasians are suspect, because in their history it was the Caucasians who stole their islands from the monarchy. The same person who posted the long comment recently beginning with “You seem to have left a lot out” also said, “Once you submerge yourself into the culture, ‘Welcome to Hawaii…now leave,’ has quite a bit of meaning and truth to it.”

There are those who come here, love it, and would never dream of leaving. And then there are the others, whose dreams go up in (cane) smoke. Food for thought, in case you’re considering checking into The Hotel Maui. (“Last thing I remember, I was running for the door… I had to find the passage back to the place I was before.”)

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Interisland Airfare Question Answered

Aloha!

A reader wrote to ask about the cost of travel between the islands. I try to post the letters that have the broadest audience…

Message: Greetings!

I have been thinking of moving to Maui (Makawao, specifically) and renting a house owned by a friend of my family with my sister. I am hoping to take classes through the University of Hawaii; however, I noticed that the University of Hawaii: Maui College doesn’t really offer the classes/majors I am interested in. So my question is this: is there some sort of pass I could pay for to use for regular commuting between islands, or would I have to buy tickets separately? P.S. – Your blog has been EXTREMELY helpful in giving me a new perspective of what it is like to live in Maui, thank you so much!

Aloha,
Thank you for writing.
Unfortunately, nothing like that exists any more. In the old days (15 years ago, when I moved here) you could buy a coupon book, and the interisland fare was only $25.00. It was very helpful to residents who wanted to go visit family or even to just go shopping for things they needed on Oahu. Christmas shopping, even.

Not any more. We had an airline war. Mesa Airlines (operating as go! Airlines) put Aloha Airlines out of business. Now THEY they are out of business… which means Hawaiian Airlines basically has a monopoly, so we don’t expect to see prices drop anytime soon.

There was also a ferry that ran interisland, “The Superferry”, and most residents were very excited about it, because they could ferry their cars over and not have to rent a car. But that got torpedoed by environmental groups who felt that it harmed the whales (and probably the rental car companies…)
So we are back to paying around $87.00 and up for a one-way ticket to Oahu. Times that by two or four or five in the family, and it becomes very prohibitive.

I would not suggest trying to attend school on one island and live on the other if your budget is tight.

I wish you the very best as you plan your future. Thank you for writing, and for reading along.

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

Where the Wild Things Are

Aloha!

Friends here have a rental house on acreage. Their tenant, new to Hawaii, keeps calling them to complain: the doors stick (humidity), the roof leaks (it rains all the time there), there’s a rat in the laundry room. My friend says, “Get a trap. When it’s dead, I prefer to pick it up by the tail with tongs. You can fling it down the hill or put it in the trash, your call. Just be prepared that the tail might come off.”
The tenant says, “Ewwww!” and my friend’s husband says, “Perhaps we are not the landlords for you.” But what he’s really thinking is, “Perhaps Hawaii is not for you…”

Last week our cat, Lili, was circling a bag on the kitchen floor. I picked it up and underneath was the biggest centipede I’ve ever seen. I was thankful she didn’t get stung. The next night, Lili was staring at the floor where I was going back-and-forth clearing the table, and I almost stepped on the second centipede. Mike said, “I told you they always travel in pairs!” We keep a pair of kitchen tongs handy to catch them, then flush them down the toilet.

Last summer there was a terrible mice invasion in Kula and Kihei. Our friends with acreage caught over 3,000 mice. They gave up on traps and the husband cleverly designed a barrel with water in it and a tight-rope system above, where the mice fell in and drowned. He should probably patent it. And now the mice are starting in again!

People don’t realize how wild it is here. When they move to Hawaii they are picturing sandy beaches and mai-tais. So they think the first run-in is a fluke. After that, they believe they can somehow be exempt from swarming termites, centipedes, rats, mice and ants. By the way, the ants have set up housekeeping in the cracks in our wood floors where the termites broke through:

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And Mike catches rats in his shop with regularity.

Another friend clicks her tongue and sends her two dogs on a “hunt” for centipedes through the house every evening. She was stung this past winter and her foot swelled with poison that no amount of antibiotics touched for weeks.

Sure enough, the tenant above who said, “Ewww,” about the rat, is now talking about moving back to the mainland.

It takes a certain kind of person to live where the wild things are…

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

Aloha, Jamaica