Category Archives: Moving

Living room’s unpacked. I think.


Dish Network (or whatever they call themselves) was installed today, by a nice young man from Kailua who sports the usual surfer’s tan and pale hair. He was prompt and efficient, set everything up (including the new TV set), explained everything, and took off.

Most of the art is up in the living room and the furniture’s in place, so that’s one room I can cross off the list. The dining room’s pretty minimal but also essentially done. More work to do in the rest of the house, but the feeling of progress is wonderful. Look, Ma, I’m nesting!

One unsettling development today was the discovery that my current power bill is over $200. This was followed by the discovery that the most recent payment was not received, and I think I know what the problem is. The power is in The Respondent’s name, but I’m trying to pay it through a bank account that is mine alone. I don’t understand why the power company (which glories in the name of HELCO) should give a damn who pays an account as long as it gets paid, but they’re not the only ones. So I’ll spend time on the phone on Monday getting this all straightened out, and keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t demand a new deposit. I mean, hell, I’ve been paying this bill since ’09. But sufficient unto the day are the annoyances thereof. I’m off to play with my new TV.

Be careful what you wish for…

And the moral of this story is: don’t threaten either the genie or Madame Pele, because Unpacking 1either or both is likely to give you precisely what you asked for. This is only a small sample of what the place looked like a week ago. I’ve been battling packing boxes and bubble wrap all week.

Speaking of which, a friend recommends spreading sheets of bubble wrap across the stone floor and running my office chair over it. I am seriously contemplating doing this, except that this nagging little voice tells me that somebody at the other end of FreeUnpacking 3cycle probably could use the unpopped product.

I’m down to three unopened boxes, the big packages of artwork, and the Marta Randall Collection of Out-of-Print Books by Marta Randall. Anybody want to buy some books? Unpacking 2

My container arrived today!

Container!Isn’t it just about the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? It will be even lovelier when it’s empty, and I’ll wave goodbye to it on Monday.

My books! My bookcases! My artwork! My music! My comfortable furniture! My dining table! My clothes! My cat tree! My beautiful Pfaff and my quilting fabrics and thread and rotary cutter and cutting mat and ribbons and quilt pattern books! My towels! My sheets! My STUFF!

I feel as though I’ve been camping out for the past two and a half weeks, even though I have a comfortable bed and a good computer desk and some wooden chairs on loan from my sister, but I am so excited about My Stuff that I think I’ll need some help sleeping tonight — especially since the unloading crew is showing up at seven tomorrow morning!

Heavens. I think I’ve use up my month’s allotment of exclamation marks in a single post.

Wisdom from my Lebanese ancestors.

Beware of old bottles

My grandmother, my mother’s mother, after whom I was named, was a short, strong woman of girth and gravitas, who I remember as a black-clad refuge from all the ills in the world. She was born in mid-crossing between Marseilles (which had no interest in refugee Lebanese) and the Lebanese colony in the Yucatan, Mexico, and like most people of Middle Eastern descent her preferred method of answering a question was with a story.The stories were as old as the Phoenician culture itself — they are the font of the Thousand and One Nights — and communicated everything stories are meant to communicate: culture, morality, expectations, ethics, right behavior, the whole thing. When Abuelita answered a simple question with a long tale, it was best to listen. The moral came at the end, but the moral also came along the way, and the moral was also that it was always best to sit quietly and listen when wisdom was being handed down.

Here is one of Abuelita’s stories, gently brought forward into the 21st century, with particular application to me, today.

The Genie in the Bottle

A genie found himself confined in a bottle. Whether he deserved to be there or not is irrelevant; he was in that bottle and there he would stay until someone let him out.

For the first hundred years the genie was full of fury, and promised that whoever let him out would be rewarded with endless wealth, while the genie himself would visit retribution against whoever had locked in him the bottle. Nobody came.

For the second hundred years, the genie became contrite and examined his life, determined to root out the flaws in his character and be a better being henceforward. He promised that whoever let him out would have three wishes and that the genie would make sure that those wishes brought only good and happiness. Nobody came.

For the third hundred years, the genie tried to accept his fate. He no longer blustered or threatened; he no longer examined his life or made promises about the future. He sat quietly in his porcelain cage, in something approaching a lotus position, and came very close (for a genie) to achieving enlightenment. He realized that he could not affect the past, the future, or the present, and he accepted that when he was released, he would grant his liberator three wishes, setting no conditions on those wishes as he wished no conditions to be set upon himself. Nobody came.

The fourth hundred years, the genie lost all patience. Threats and endless wealth had not worked to release him; contrition, self-knowledge and altruism had not released him; satori and open-handedness had not brought salvation. In his wrath, he vowed that when he was released from the bottle, he would visit such fury upon the world, including his deliverer, as would shatter every bottle between and beyond the heavens and hell itself.

And, finally, someone came.

The moral of this story is: If my f***ing container with all my f***king stuff doesn’t f***ing show up next Friday, as promised, I am going to have a personal discussion with Madame Pele, just two angry old broads face to face, and then we’ll see!

A satisfactory day

All in all, quite a satisfactory day. Woke betimes, broke my fast, and put in a solid 4+ hours of office work online, ending with a long telephone conversation with my supervising attorney, during which many things were discussed and many actions advanced.

Then lunch, then a bit of sister-time, then I used my current favorite present-to-myself:

Power drill

I have been faunching after one of these for years, but was always put off by “now, now, little girl, you don’t need a light-weight power drill, you can use my 85-pound model.” The hell I could, So I bought myself one and this afternoon, I installed a closet rod all by myself! Not the loveliest installation known to god or man, but by damn it holds the clothes off the floor in a very satisfactory way. Next week, I’ll put in another one on the other side of the closet. Also, finally got a street number sign up: bought the number decals and with some help from Peg and Burny, I am now legally identified as per HOVE regulations.

And a couple of hours on the lanai, swinging in the Sky Chair reading. For dinner, cheese and spinach ravioli in a marinara sauce, and a nice glass of wine.

Am I good? Oh yes, damn good.

home, home on the moon

The flight in was a long five and a half hours from Oakland to Kailua Kona, made a little faster by watching The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Judi Dench and Maggie Smith — what’s not to like?) Predictably, I loved it. Retired old pharts headed off to exotic locations made me wish, almost, that I was headed for India rather than to a mountainside in exotic Hawaii. My sister soon changed that. Lobster for dinner! Num!

Island time has apparently affected my car and my stuff, though. The car was supposed to be available yesterday, then today, and is now promised for tomorrow. So instead of driving back up to Kailua-Kona to get the car and collect the insurance cards, I spent the day putting furniture together and organizing stuff. You know how you can tell that at some point a guy has been in residence? Five junk drawers – now organized down to one. We’ll see how long I can resist the urge to fill drawers with junk myself.

My stuff, originally scheduled to arrive on the 25th, is probably showing up the first weekend in March, instead. Luckily, over the past three years I have managed to accumulate what I need to survive here, and my sister has loaned me a t.v. so that I can veg out.

The weather pattern seems typical for this time of year and this part of the island. Beautiful, sunny mornings filled with birdsong, windy at mid-day and clouding up, and now grey with occasional small rains. It smells like water and rocks, and I love it.

I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t report that now that the rush of planning, packing, and leaving is over, this relative inactivity doesn’t feel a bit daunting. I miss my pets. But I’m looking forward to starting work on Monday.

The stuff I’ll miss, part 1



I’ve been pretty happy in Petaluma these past 23 years and there will definitely be things I will miss about it after I move. Luckily, moving to the Big Island is not like banishment and I will always be able to come back, and see some of the sights that brought me special pleasure.

One is Ganesha, to the right. Every holiday season, he sports shiny-bright holiday bulbs from arms, hands, and trunk. They go very well with the delicately raised foot, about to take the first step of a dance. The decorations usually stay up for a couple of months, so I’m pretty sure these will come down soon.


This is not so much a favorite sight as it is a sadly missed opportunity to make some fun. I pass the Moose lodge at least twice a day, and each time I am filled with the urge to arrive some moonless midnight and hang another rectangular sign just below the one that says MOOSE.

Mine would say SQUIRREL.

Boxes in the streetOn Tuesday, the container guys showed up with this 20 foot, rust-red container on a big truck, and proceeded to make off with my stuff. It had taken me a number of months to pack it all (by myself and with help from my amazing daughter-in-law) so it was kinda awesome to see them carefully fit it all into the container in a little under three hours.

Inside the container





Almost done

During our last walk-through, I realized that I had forgotten to tell them about the heavy butcher-block dining table, but the head packer said it wouldn’t be a problem, and it wasn’t — they laid it on its side and slid it into the container, and it went in like buttah.

When I expressed my admiration, the packer grinned and said, “I like Tetris.” It shows.



Empty livingroomOnce they were gone, the living room looked empty, but in a big-breath, arms-wide, freeing kinda way. I have enough furniture and housewares to see me through until I go, and that’s all I really need.


That afternoon, my friend Marion followed me to the Port of Oakland, where they are working on the roadway and sent us to a detour that took us entirely around the port before we found the Matson dock. The port’s fascinating: those huge cranes that manage to look both pre-historic and futuristic, and containers piled on containers, and immense trucks growling down the asphalt. I left my little silver Fit to Matson and we drove home, having successfully evaded rush-hour traffic. That’s true friendship: driving for two hours in return for a mediocre Chinese lunch and an opportunity to talk books non-stop through the meal and on the way home. No doubt about it: I’m gonna miss having my circle of friends close by, even though I expect to make other ones on the Big Island.