I know. I’ve been remiss in posting over the past week but, it’s been a rather interesting said week to be sure. And as always, you can bet there was adventure, mayhem, stress, and bullshit. Wanna hear the story? Of course you do. Go grab some popcorn and enjoy the tale.
So, last week I was watching the goings on in the Keys following the devastation from Hurricane Irma. It was bad, very bad. The lower and middle Keys got the worst of it, but Key West surprisingly did ok. A lot of flooding, downed trees, some roof damage, but overall, they came out in half decent shape. As of this posting the cleanup is moving along at a rapid pace, the residents are back, and they are slowly getting the basics like power and water up and running again. They still have a long haul but they are making progress.
On the other hand, the boating community took one helluva hit. The mooring fields, both the city and the one off Fleming looked more like Pearl Harbor than a live aboard community. Many a vessel was lost, sunk, or ran aground. It’s going to be a long time cleaning up the mess and who knows how this will affect live aboards down the road.
While perusing all the damage and carnage last week, I came to the conclusion which I did not desire to conclude too. Mainly, any dreams of getting a boat and moving back to Key West pretty much blew away with the remnants of the storm. If one was to purchase a boat in Florida now one would have to be extra cautious determining if said boat had been sunk or otherwise damaged. Then there is the issue of marinas and mooring fields. Already in short supply, many marinas may decide to ban live aboards altogether. Mooring fields will be long while getting back to operational status. It pretty much finally dawned on me, Key West is no longer an option for a place to live, at least for awhile.
This fact hit me pretty hard. I kept hoping maybe, in spite of the storm, there would be a chance of going back but the more I watched the damage, the more the realization was it was not going to happen. Coupled with the depression I was already going through being stuck in Pa., things were looking bleak. I had to do something soon. The cold weather is setting in there, leaves are changing, and I made it abundantly clear to anyone who could hear me with or without their hearing aids, I was not about to spend fall or winter in Pa. Not happening.
So last weekend I determined It was time to do something.
I’m not a gambler. But I’ll wager you already knew it. Nonetheless it was time to take some chances if I had any hope of escaping. The relative who fell in July was nearly fully recovered, able to function without my help, so the time was ripe to get moving.
I started by going back to the classifieds in Hawaii to find a place to live. Not an easy task from 5000 miles away when so many are already on the island and looking for the same thing. But, I had to try. I started answering every ad which fit into my budget. Rooms, apartments, cottages, yurts, anything. I was not having much luck with email so, armed with my very own 808 area code number, I began texting and got results. Not always good ones, but results nonetheless. Most simply said, call when I arrive on the islands. Since I had not scheduled a flight yet, it pretty much killed the option. But I kept going.
Finally, last weekend I got an actual, possible, positive answer. A nice room came up in Lahaina on the northwest side of Maui. It was a bit pricey but still within budget. A quick run on the maps showed it to be close to the bus stops, shopping, and the downtown tourist area. But the person answering the text was a bit odd. He answered in Hawaiian slang and in all caps.
NICE ROOM BRO
It should have been a warning to move on but he was encouraging in letting me know info and the room was still available. So, with little else to go on, and being bored anyways, I decided to take a chance. I booked a flight out to Maui on Thursday the 21st. I mean, what the hell. I had to get out of there. I was sick all the time, horribly depressed, and figgered at least I would be back out on the islands and my chances of finding a place should this one fall through were improved. I had sufficient funds for such a venture and found a half decent flight through my trusty Orbitz account.
My itinerary was a bit convoluted. I would take the bus to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, spend the night at Pittsburgh airport, and fly out to Maui the next day by way of Denver and San Francisco. I would arrive around 4:00, catch the Maui bus to Lahaina and hopefully meet with the prospective landlord in the evening. I texted him my travel plans. He replied:
NICE ROOM BRO.
Fuck it. I decided to go anyways. I broke the news to the family, with the expected tears, and prepared to get the hell out of Pa. Everything was ready and when I got up Wednesday I was all set to begin packing my little bag of possibles when I glanced at my email. United Airlines had cancelled my flights. No reason given, just canceled. I was wondering, given the poor reputation United already had, if they had just decided to commit out right theft. Take payments for flights, cancel said flights, no refunds. What? Sue us? Good luck.
I pondered the possibility of finding my way to United headquarters and committing a few felonies of my own but then remembered I had a: purchased flight insurance for just such a possibility, and 2: I had booked with Orbitz. Perhaps they could help.
Two hours later, with the help of a very nice lady who spoke very poor English in a high pitched voice, Orbitz was able to rebook my flights. As a bonus, they moved me to another airport closer so I didn’t have to spend the night in Pittsburgh. I did lose out on the bus fare, but the new flight did not cost me any more money. I was back on schedule again.
However, and you know there is always a however. The new flight meant getting up at 2:30am, and driving to the airport with 2 grouchy 80 plus year olds. It was a lot of fun.
So, on Thursday, we got up at the appointed hour, and drove across the fog covered hills full of deer waiting to jump out in front of us to said airport. The rest of the day was one of the longest I can remember. A brief 1 hour flight into Dulles. 2 hour layover than a very long 6 hours across the country to San Francisco, with a screaming brat in the seat in front of me. Another 2 hour layover then another 5 ½ hour flight over the Pacific to Maui. This time with 3 screaming brats in the seats in front of me.
For you fucking parents out there who insist on taking family vacations with these 2 and 3 year old screaming little poop machines, all you are doing is making the flights miserable for the rest of us. And keep in mind, said brats ain’t gonna remember a damn thing about the vacation. Leave the little fuckers in a kennel or stay home.
Anyways, it was a long ass day, crossing 5000 miles of country and ocean, across 6 timezones, but when we finally started to come in to land in Maui, it all felt good again. Until I checked my messages on my phone. Nice Room Bro had rented out the room, despite knowing I was on the way, and had the balls to offer me another room for $100 more. Since the original was already at the top end of my budget, I said no, blocked his phone number, and began to scramble for alternatives.
To be honest, I was expecting something like this to happen. It still stung but I had been looking at other ads. I found another room for rent in Kihei, in an ideal spot close to shopping and for significant less money. I contacted the landlady and actually talked to her on the phone. She sounded nice and seemed interested in me coming over to see the place. I casually mentioned I was homeless with no place to stay and she even offered me the room for the night, pending approval by her husband, who was of course, not home. I said ok, but as I was riding the bus over to Kihei it began to sound more and more like not a good idea to stay there, so I texted her back, said I would see her in the morning, and booked a hotel room down near where I used to live. It was a bit pricey but I was exhausted and in bad need of a long hot shower, a fish sandwich at the Moose, and a good night’s sleep, which I got.
The next morning I checked out, all refreshed and contacted the prospective landlady to meet up. Guess what she said? Go ahead, guess. The room is rented out. Thanks for nothing. Back to square one.
Now I’m getting discouraged and pissed. I hit the ads again, thinking one more shot and if nothing happens, I’m going to fly down to the Big Island and look around. Between ad searching and flights to said island I came across another room. This one in a small house in Paia on the north shore. Rent was within budget so I texted the landlady. She was surprisingly cordial and invited me over to come see the place, which I did. It was rustic but no worse than living on a boat, in a nice location, about 2 blocks to the center of the village. A bank, the bus stop, and even 2 bars which show football were all within walking distance. We had a long talk, her being an old hippy like myself we seemed to get along ok. Finally she said she had others to interview and needed to seek approval from her son who also lived there. I figgered another lost chance. But on my way out of town she called back, said if I could come up with prorated rent for the rest of the month and October, I had the room. I agreed.
I treated myself to another night in the hotel, a bit more than I had planned to spend but what the hell, a little splurge now and then never hurt. Got another nice long hot shower, a very tasty burger at the Moose, and by the time you read all this, I should be in my new place on Maui, I hope.
So, unless something unusual happens…again, it would appear I am back in Maui and with more affordable digs, and in much more better financial condition. Ive only been back on the island for a few days but already feel a lot better than before. I’m still horrendously out of shape, which I found out when walking up the small hill to the new digs, but at least I am out of Pa. Key West just ain’t in the cards for now and it’s ok. I’m pretty sure I can deal with living in Hawaii for awhile. I’m looking forward to starting over. Rent will be cheaper, I know my way around, so keeping within budget is realistic. As always, no matter how nice a place may be, I will always be looking for another, just in case.
I just hope the next time I move, it’s not quite as stressful nor adventurous as this one was. But, it makes for a good story.
Aloha once again, from Maui.