Maui Voted Best Island

Aloha,
If you’re in the winter doldrums and need a pick-me-up (or a reason to dream), here is a link to some of the most fabulous photos of Maui that I’ve seen. The baby and Mama whale tales? Have never seen this shot captured before…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/maui-best-island_n_4102707.html

image

And then of course, the article is pointing out that Conde Nast Traveler readers have voted Maui the #1 island in the WORLD for twenty years straight! These pictures say it all.

Come see us! Mike (“Captain Turk”) will be happy to take you out on a whale-watching tour on the Scotch Mist out of Lahaina Harbor. I hear he’s quite entertaining…and can regale you with legendary surfing stories, or talk about the time the huge surf took out all the houses on the beach on Oahu’s North Shore and his whole neighborhood had to evacuate (these same houses are being threatened again at this very moment from high surf. Such is the price of beachfront property).

Maui…no kai oi! (Maui is the BEST!)

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to just to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button in the bottom right corner of the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

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Affordable Housing in Maui

Maui Weather Today…More of the same.

Affordable Housing in Maui

Aloha!

People write to ask me about living in Maui, and how to afford it. One of the ways that many locals make it work is to build an Ohana. “Ohana” means family in Hawaiian, but in this case refers to a living space, technically attached to the main house. Like an in-law unit.

When we built our house we added an attached ohana. It’s one-bedroom with a nice sized covered lanai, and it shares one wall with our part of the house, which makes the main house more like a duplex. This is a smart move in Hawaii, as many people can’t afford to buy, so it’s a win-win for everybody.

Until it’s not. We got spoiled with our very first tenant, a woman with a big Labrador. She also loved our cat, Lili, and was in fact a vet tech.  “Auntie Amy” as we called her, was heaven sent: she was quiet, clean, and loved to take care of Lili if we had to leave the island (and even took it upon herself to vacuum the house because Lili has allergies to dust and red dirt). I am not making this up. Auntie Amy was with us for five years. I kinda hoped she’d stay till she was eighty.

But then Auntie Amy got cancer and was down for about a year. Then it came back, and she decided she had to move. That’s when we found out about Crazy Tenants.

Crazy Tenants are people who look good on paper but in fact will make you question your own sanity for renting to them.There was Bernard, the old Japanese carpenter who was from Oahu and wanted a temporary place to live while he built a house on Maui. He signed the lease and the next thing we knew he had covered up all the windows with brown paper grocery bags and the place was emitting a very strange odor, like fish left out for two weeks. Then Mike came around the corner and found Bernard changing the locks. A no-no, and against the lease (how can a landlord get in if there’s a fire or a dead person in there?) He muttered something and Mike realized he was paranoid and possibly schizophrenic. His daughter threatened to sue us because there was a spot in the sidewalk that was raised a quarter of an inch and he might trip on it. Bernard moved out.

Then there was the Maui fireman (Mike was a fireman, so we figured this was a sure bet) who lived in the unit for almost six weeks. Then, when the yearly influx of German cockroaches began (it was a  particularly bad year) he accused us of hiding them from him. Um…so we were like keeping them in a cardboard box and only released them once he’d lived there six weeks? Another one moved out.

Then there was Crazy Katie. She promptly moved a boyfriend in (breaking the lease) and then got a cat without permission. We are animal people…we just told her she’d need a pet addendum to the lease. She refused. She started sending strange emails and quoting landlord/tenant code to us. About the time it appeared she was going to spin out, she moved. We breathed a sigh of relief.

After that came a girl who shall remain nameless because she was so scary. I thought I was going to spin out with that one. And each time we said, “We sure miss Auntie Amy.” And we surely did.

These people all appeared normal and looked great on paper. Appearances are deceiving.

This last go-round, we gave up on Maui people and imported a couple from Alaska. Mike teases that he had to import me from California…so we figured it could work with tenants, too. They are a joy. They are quiet and polite and we are happy. They tell us they are happy too.

Affordable housing in Maui? An ohana really only makes your mortgage more affordable if you aren’t putting up with Crazy Tenants.

A hui hou (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica

Mahalos

Aloha All,

In Hawaii people speak pidgin (well, at least the ones who grew up here) and it’s a kind of shorthand English, a mashup of languages constructed during the reign of sugar plantation days when workers were brought from Japan and the Phillipines and no one could communicate with each other.

So most people know that “Mahalo” means thank you. But “Mahalos” is pidgin, it’s like the shaka sign of thank yous. It shows you’re local and you know what you’re talking about, i.e. “Mahalos, man.” I know this because Mike grew up here and it is truly like living with a foreigner to have a girl from the midwest and a haole boy from Hawaii living in the same house. This man would eat fish three times a day. I’m a good cook, and it will never matter how great my French cooking skills become, that man is gonna want fish, preferably on the grill…or raw.

I remember the first time he came home with a big ahi tuna he’d caught it off the boat. He threw it , still flopping, down on the patio and I watched him carve that thing up so fast I thought I hope I never get on the wrong side of him, because he has some serious knife skills. I was to find out he has some serious survival skills, period. Like he could have been the original “Survivor” but without the ego or attitude.

As far as the pidgin, when Mike was in the fire department, the firemen used to tease him that as a haole boy he was more Hawaiian than they were. That was the highest compliment they could give.

I got to watch the pidgin in action when we built our house. Mike would send me down to Kahului for a plumbing part (I was the “Runner”–that was my official title and I took it very seriously!) or a pile of wood or whatever.Now you’ve gotta realize I’m Swedish-Irish with blondish hair and blue-green eyes. And I would gamely go into the plumbing supply store and try to get waited on. And I waited. And I waited. And I would be routinely ignored by the guys in there and come home without the part, no matter how politely I asked.

Mike would be quite aggravated that I hadn’t accomplished this simple mission. So we would jump in the truck together, drive back down the hill and go to the same place. He would speak pidgin. And in two minutes he’d have his plumbing part. Like magic.

Anybody out there had a similar experience? Because my friend in Kula looks pretty much like me, except she was a model so she’s much taller and stunning (okay, maybe she doesn’t look like me) and she had all the same problems when they were building their house. No pidgin, no part.

I write this to say “Mahalos” to all of you who have written to tell me how much you’re enjoying the blog. That rocks, to know that the time I put in is worth it. I hope to bring a little bit of Hawaii to you all as often as I can. But on that note, it might be a short while before I can blog again. Those of you who follow the blog know that I was gone from Maui for five months last year because my stepdad was dying of cancer and I went to California to care for him. Well, now my mom just had major surgery so I’m back on a plane to CA tomorrow to care for her. Once I know Mom is good, I’ll be back at this, I promise.

So Mahalos and Aloha for now. See you real soon! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the right.

Jamaica

Is Hawaii Worth It?

Aloha,

In the brand new issue of “Honolulu Magazine” that just hit newstands here, the cover asks this question: Is Hawaii Worth it?

It then cleverly lists the pros and cons:

Sunshine……………………………..$5.00 gallon milk

3rd Safest City in the U.S………Solid Gold Electric Bill

Mangoes from Neighbors……….Living w/ your parents till age 35

Surf’s Up!…………………………….You just can’t get there from here (anywhere!)

Then: “I Stay Broke” (local pidgin for I’m always broke!)

And: Median Single-Family Home Price: $597,000. ($625,00 Honolulu). Cost in Witchita? $155,200. In St. Louis: $126,800.

From Editor A. Kam Napier’s Page in Honolulu Magazine, Titled “Paying the Paradise Tax:

“Unlike the residents of 49 other states, who can only dream of living in Hawaii, we actually know what it’s like to live here. While there’s much to be grateful for, we know that Hawaii is not always a bed of roses, or even a lei of plumeria. Mainly, this is because we have what a friend of mine calls America’s “most expensive ordinary life.” According to MetroTrends, an online publication from the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, Urban Institute, Honolulu lost more residents between 2004 and 2010 through out-migration to other U.S. cities than it gained from in-migration. (Top three places to which Honoluluans fled: Los Angeles, San Diego and—shocking, I know—Las Vegas.) We also earned a D grade from MetroTrends for economic security, mainly for housing unaffordability.”

 So what do you think? Is Hawaii really worth it? Would it be worth it to you?

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscibe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica