That’s Just the Way it is, Baby

Aloha!
Wow, readers really responded to “The Five Stages of Maui.” So I will share some friend’s comments about their recent move to Maui:

“We just can’t find the simple stuff… Hangers, for instance.” (I agree, what’s up with those black flocked hangers at Walmart?)

“Bookshelves. Who would’ve thought it would be so hard to find bookshelves?”

“Don’t like that we have to keep everything in the refrigerator. Otherwise, it molds. I don’t like cold bread!”

We wandered around saying, “Where are your mattresses?”

“Can’t believe there is no Mac store here!” (And no, the Macnet store is NOT a Mac store.)

“Where we came from (New York City) there was a stigma about cockroaches. But the other evening we were standing outside and saw a bush completely covered from top to bottom with cockroaches…” (The other evening I poured a glass of tomato juice, and in the time it took me to get from the kitchen into the living room, there was a cockroach floating in it. And it’s disgusting, because they disintegrate in liquid…so it isn’t like you have but a second to fish them out!)

There is always another cockroach...

There is always another cockroach…

“Went to Safeway for asparagus. No asparagus! Yet it was asparagus season… I guess you learn to substitute.” (Yes, sometimes daily.)

“You have to go to, like, seven different places to find anything here.” (It never ceases to amaze me. Recently I needed an “eggcrate” for our mattress. Went to Walmart, had gone to Kmart. Something told me to go back to Kmart the very next morning…and there was an egg crate. Had someone returned it overnight? The point is, you will run around a lot. If something is good, it gets snapped up off the shelves immediately. On that note, if you didn’t bring Christmas decorations with you, be sure to buy them the second you see them or they will be gone. The same with a Christmas tree!)

“The ant problem.” (They are always here, no matter what… But we have been blessed with an abundance of them after our termite tenting. Turns out, the ants love to eat the dead termite carcasses. The ants are all over my kitchen countertops, and I just can’t keep up with them. Also, they circle the cat food bowl constantly. I created my own ant moat, because they will not cross water:

Cat bowl inside another bowl with water in it....a homemade ant moat.

Cat bowl inside another bowl with water in it….a homemade ant moat.

Our friends say that Macy’s sells a fancy commercial version of this, but ours works fine. I also make sure to run the cat bowls through dishwasher twice a week.)

Jamaica here…

One thing is for sure, if you are moving from somewhere where you’ve had a lot to choose from (and great quality), you are in for shock. Our Macy’s, for instance, is the size of a postage stamp compared to New York City, or Chicago. But compared to the old Macy’s (previously Liberty House), this one is a palace!

And, the old-timers think the newcomers are crazy, because they REALLY had nothing! Anyone have anything to add?

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

Positive Outlook?

Aloha!
Tourism is still the driving factor in Maui County’s economy, according to economists at First Hawaiian Bank’s 39th annual Maui Business Outlook Forum. But if you’re thinking of moving to Maui and finding a job, or starting a business, read on.

At its lowest point in the recent deep recession in 2010, the county lost nearly 9,000 jobs. About 5,000 of those jobs have returned, mostly in tourism and other service-related fields, and the unemployment rate is still well above the 3% rate before the recession. In my personal experience, I was working a part-time job on Maui when I was laid off. I found out firsthand that these jobs numbers are not totally accurate: I would never show up as a statistic, because I could not collect unemployment as a part-time employee. So it was as if my job never existed. And I could not collect unemployment, even though I’d been paying into it for years!

In it’s third-quarter “Outlook for the Economy” published last month, the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism projected state unemployment rates to be 4.8% in 2013 and 4.5% in 2014.

As for construction, activity has been on a slow but steady climb since 2011 and has made about a 25% recovery after plummeting to its low point in 2010. However, the economists noted, the opportunities are coming from infastructure and commercial construction, and less from residential and timeshares. So if you’re a guy planning to swing a hammer, be aware of that.

The retail sector also is expected to grow. The Maui Mall will add a T.J. Maxx store, scheduled to open in summer 2015.(Yay.) And the Queen Kaahumanu Center is planning to add new “name brand” shops. (That will be nice, especially after we lost both JCPenney and the Gap. Because of that, I tend to shop for basics on the mainland.)

As far as real estate, based on January – through – July numbers this year, sales for both single – family and condo units were well on their way to numbers not seen since their peak in 2007: 1,000 single family units and 1,300 condos sold. “The market is getting back to where it was,” said the President of Realtors Association of Maui, P. Denise LaCosta.”When inventory is low like this, it means prices will rise, and inventory will continue to shrink.” Maui’s real estate inventory has declined 11-14% over the last 12 months.

Make of these numbers what you will…A number of readers wrote to tell me they were planning to move to Maui. If you are one of those people, please write and tell me if you found jobs. Shauna?

Other than that, we have drought conditions here on Maui, because it’s been hot, hot,hot with NO rain. I got my haircut today and was talking with my hairstylist, who lives in Haiku. She said that Haiku (rainy, eastern-Maui, jungle) used to only get in the high 70s, and it has consistently been 85 to 87 this past week. She said she is “over summer” and “so tired of being hot!” I concur. As I wrote in a past blog post, statistics now show that Maui is 10° hotter than it was 10 years ago…

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica