View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A little of everything

Jeri's sister and brother-in-law, Judie and Tom, have been visiting since the 9th of October and we have had a great time.  Mostly because Tom is hopelessly addicted to Golf as am I and we have played three times a week no matter what the weather is like.  Which is always great here.  Although we did play the Makalai course one day in the clouds and we had to wait on several holes for the clouds to blow by so we could get a bearing on where to hit the ball.  Was like playing in a fog.  But we were able to fight through the adversity and continue on like the dedicated golfers we are.

One of the things Judie wanted to do over here was the Zip line at Hawi(pronounced Ha ve).  Tom and I agreed to go with her(Jeri had already done it) so she made the reservations and then last Thursday we took off in the yellow car and headed up the north coast of the Island.  We first stopped at the Macadamia nut factory for all the samples they put out and a chance to see the production line working.  We purchased a couple of items to snack on in the car.  Had lunch at a little deli cafe in Hawi.   Great pastrami sandwiches. 
Our group consisted of 10 people, two from North Dakota, two from New York, one from L.A., two from the San Francisco bay area, two from Santa Paula and one local yokel, Me and two guides, who were excellent.  One was native Hawaiian and the other was a transplant from Portland, Oregon.  Had a great time with everyone.

The Zip line course took over 8 months to construct and several of the lines required the use of a helicopter to get the lines over the canyon. 

The course consisted of eight Zip lines and one suspension bridge.  The lines ranged in distance from 800 ft. to over 1800 ft with drops in elevation of 60 ft to over 100 ft.  The course is on land that belongs to one of the heirs of the Campbell soup family and the tour group leases the use. 

I went along as chauffeur, tour guide, chief photographer and cheap entertainment. 

Tom, trying to fly with no hands but can't quite turn loose.


I believe this is a Russian troop carrier.  Purchased from someone in Arkansas
North East Big Island coast line
Afterwards we went to the Pololu Valley view area and took in all the beauty that God had made.  It is amazing to see such lush growth come out of lava rock. 
Black sand beach, Pololu Valley

Several of us commented that we were not sure if we had ever seen this many warning signs for anything. 
Tom, Jeralyn and Judie, at Jeri's 72nd birthday
Mike, Jeri and Judy at Bubba Gump Shrimp company

Today was Jeri's birthday and she decided that she wanted shrimp so we went to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for her birthday dinner. 


Judie and I had the Shrimper's Heaven, consisting of coconut shrimp, chilly shrimp, fried shrimp and tempura shrimp with double cooked fries.  Jeri had the Mama Blue's southern charmed fried shrimp and Tom had the shrimp scampi on a bed of linguine.  We had a table on the deck over looking the ocean with just a gentle breeze.  Perfect evening topped off with the waiting crew singing happy birthday and providing a birthday chocolate sundae with a  candle on it.  We all ate wayyyyy to much, but it was sooooooo good.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's happening with the Query's??

It has been exactly a month since I last posted and a few of you have questioned whether we have dropped off into the ocean or what.  Fact is since returning to the Island paradise we have been busy busy busy.   The first week was spent shopping to restock the kitchen and house with supplies and cleaning the lanai and yard from four months of neglect.  We had a yard service that took care of most everything but it was due for mowing when we returned.  The lanai took me a day and a half to wash and scrub down getting all the volcanic dust and bird droppings off.  

My first project goal on returning was to have a solar water heater installed, so I spent a couple of afternoons visiting different dealers and researching on the Internet.  There are basically two types: a passive system which has no cycling pump and has it's own insulated storage tank, and an active system which uses the house water heater for storage and has a cycling pump that comes on when the water temperature reaches a certain level in the solar panels. I elected to go with the passive system, less electric use and it freed up storage space where the old tank set.   There are state and federal tax incentives that recoup about 65% of the cost and the electricity savings pay back the rest in 2 years or less.  We are anxiously waiting to see what our first full months electric bill will be, although it may not show us our full savings since we have Jeri's sister and brother-in-law, Judie and Tom, visiting with us for almost a month.  What we have noticed is there has not been any lack of hot water for showers for four people, and that has got to be saving us a ton of money.  We have also been running the dish washer more since they've been here,  and the washing machine which all takes hot water, so while we won't be able to compare apples to apples, we will still be able to compare bills to months when it was just the two of us here.  

You may ask why solar heating is so attractive here.  The yearly use estimate on the old water heater was 4692 kw hours per year.  It was a 10 year old unit and the annual estimate at 8 cents per kWh was $375, a joke in this state.  Here, where the cost is 45 cents or more per kWh, and the annual cost jumps to an eye popping $2,111 per year.  Took me about a nano second to make that decision. 
With Tom and Judie arriving about three weeks after our return, we started looking at the guest bedroom double bed that came with the house that had very little use by the former owners.  Our bed was a queen but we(well, I) wanted a king with a memory foam mattress.  I looked on Craig's list and there were a LOT of mattress' for sale but I decided that was probably not the direction we wanted to go.  But I did put the double bed on there thinking we would give it a try.  Besides, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Sold it the very next day, could have sold it four or five times.  Go figure!

So we then spent an afternoon looking at beds and found a nice memory foam mattress that we both liked.  While I was on Craig's list before, I discovered a guy in Hilo that made wood bed frames that were not elaborate and at a reasonable price so I ordered one of those.  I knew the Camaro was going to be arriving in Hilo any day so I asked if they could have it ready in a couple of days.  That was on a Wednesday.  Thursday Matson Shipping Lines calls and says the car is here, got three days to pick it up before storage fees start kicking in, and oh, by the way, we are closed Saturday and Sunday. I call the frame maker and he said he would try and have it done by Friday afternoon so we would not have to make a second trip. Thursday was an all day affair with the solar heater guy and his crew installing the new system.  And I mean all day, like until 7 that evening which is dark here.

Ah, yes, no more gravel roads.   sigh   
We left home mid-morning Friday to pick up the Camaro figuring two plus hours driving to Hilo, finding the right terminal, and then eating lunch since the afternoon hours for picking up vehicles is 1:30 to 4.  Good thing I allowed plenty of time because somewhere I missed a turn and ended up in the Hilo suburbs somewhere.  The Volvo doesn't have GPS and my Ipad map program refused to show me my location for some reason.  Being a former navigator I knew the harbor was on the edge of the ocean (duh), the ocean was east of us, I could see it, so we kept heading in that direction.  Unfortunately, the county of Hawaii has little concept of laying out streets and roads in an orderly fashion.  Streets will head out in directions but won't connect to other main streets.  Once we finally made it to a main thruway we were fine, but getting there was like going through a maze.  

 After lunch, a late lunch, we went to Matson and picked up the car, which took all of 15 minutes, if that.  Car was as clean as I had left it in Seattle, not a scratch on it, could not tell that it had been on a boat for 14 days.  I will highly recommend Matson to anyone contemplating shipping a car.  Their check-in and check-out procedures are quick and to the point, no hassles, very efficient, very nice people to work with.  

Unfortunately the bed frame wasn't ready until 5:30, so that meant we would be driving two cars home in the dark, which is difficult for Jeri.  But being the trooper that she is, she made it but was exhausted by the time we arrived back home.  

I spent the next two days priming and painting the bed frame, Sunday they came and picked up the double bed, Monday we moved the queen bed into the guest bedroom, assembled the king bed frame and Tuesday they delivered the king mattress.  And yes it is very comfy.   Then went out and bought a workbench and another set of storage shelves and assembled all of that.  

By then I was getting behind on bill paying and book work and spent two or three days getting caught up on that.  In between I managed to get in about two rounds of golf a week.  Hey, lighten up.  There are priorities you know.  Besides, every day here is a gorgeous day for golf and I start having withdrawals if I don't play every few days.   

I am sure you are all curious about the church situation here.  Well, I am happy to report that it is improving, we are two weeks into a four week discovery/membership class with the pastor and 5 other people and that is going well.  We are meeting new people every week, even had lunch with two other couples two Sunday's ago and that went well.  As soon as the membership class is over we will start looking into a care group and get plugged into that.  In the mean time we are encouraged and are thankful for all that have been praying about that situation.  

Jeri heard about a volunteer program to be an after school  homework helper to  kids at the Ulu Wini Community Center.  The church had made an announcement seeking people to volunteer an afternoon or so each week to help kids with their homework.  She called the director to make an appointment to check it out and have him answer any questions.  So she pulls into the parking lot in the Camero and is immediately swamped by 15 kids who are going ballistic over the "Bumble bee".  To say she was an instant hit is an understatement.  One girl said she had 11 cents and  asked if she could have a ride.  Jeri said yes but refused the 11 cents.  Three days later, Tom was getting into the passenger seat and noticed 11cents in the door tray.  We both got a laugh out of that.  

For all you bug lovers, we spotted a new one the other day and have no idea what it is.  It has six legs, wings, and is at least six inches long.  If any one can identify this creature we would be grateful.  Unfortunately we can't find him now and that makes us just a tad uncomfortable. 

All in all, we are thankful for all the blessings that God has given us, we are in good health, feel good, staying active and trying to get involved.  Looking forward to family and friends that will be visiting over the next few months, and the return of my sister and brother-in-law to their house in January.  Miss their company and the time we spend together.  We will continue to pray for all of you and welcome your prayers for us.  

Mahalo and Aloha.