Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Our First Week of Nine

Monday dawned a bit cool so I stayed inside.  There was vacuuming and straightening to do and I managed to get our garbage can front out.  It needed a repair to the wood and Ted arranged to take it to the wood shop.  He also went to the grocery.  We watched Outlander on my IPad since we don't have Starz and Tom and Eileen stopped by again.  They received an Instant Pot as a gift but have no idea how to use it.  I was making ribs so I told them how I would do that and gave her a Cheat Sheet on cooking times.  It was late when we finished dinner and we just settled in to watch TV.

Tuesday dawned cooler and rainy, worse than Monday!  Ted picked up our garbage cabinet front and the wood shop guy did an excellent job.  All they asked for was a donation!  He spent most of the day with Niles.  I picked up Vivian and headed to the hair salon.  She was so happy to have an appointment as soon as I arrived since this is her first time down here.  We made a stop for batteries at Dollar General before I dropped her off.  I was home just a short time before it was time for Mah Jong.  I sure am rusty and have not played much with last year's card so the hands are unfamiliar to me.  But it is all in fun and I should get better!  After dinner, Tom and Eileen asked us to go to a movie but Ted was settled in and didn't want to go back out.

I put our before-Christmas dinner ham bone in the slow cooker overnight.  Then I soaked navy beans in water overnight.  We had plans to attend the Expo on Wednesday in McAllen so I got up early, removed the ham bones and fatty lumps from the crockpot and after cooking the beans in the Instant Pot for 8 minutes, put it all together and set it to warm.  Tom and Eileen picked us up and we were able to get a good parking spot and covered a few aisles before the crowd grew.  We came home with over 10 bags, a dozen pens, magnifiers, pill boxes, glass wipes, mini flashlights, coupons, candy, T-shirts and lots of info on parks here in the valley, info on traveling to other states, scheduled entertainment, and lots of medical information and assistance.  We missed a door prize by one number!  

Tom and Eillen stopped during their walk and he helped Ted put our couch back in the "stoppers" to keep it in place.  It not only had slid out but had jumped in front of them so it took some muscle to lift it back over and into the slots.  It was probably a pot hole that sent the couch up and over the wood blocks!  

We had bean soup and cornbread for dinner followed by the Border Patrol in the neighborhood rounding up illegals.  Nine were apprehended.  Depending on their point of origin, they may be deported ... or given a court date two years out and roam freely until then.  However, there are few that return for that court date.  But no crisis here!  

I opted for the ladies breakfast Thursday morning.  When I tried to order the kiddie breakfast plate I was told I had to be under 12.  I told her I was 11.  She had no sense of humor!  My understanding has been that it is age discrimination to deny you access to something on the menu based on your age. I didn't want to make a fuss so I ordered a plain omelet which is what she brought.  And charged me $9, 50 cents more than a Hombre Omelette that had 3 vegetables, a meat, potatoes and toast!  When I questioned my bill the owner said it isn't on the menu ala carte because no one asks for it so he didn't have a price but knocked off $1.  I told him that maybe people don't ask for it because it isn't on the menu!   I should have ordered two orders of eggs all cooked together. 

Tom and Eileen came over to play Mexican Train Thursday night and twice we heard the helicopters go up.  I love people in DC and NY telling the world we have no crisis on our southern border.  Last night's TV had a report on $22.5 million of cocaine confiscated in this area as the perpetrators rammed a gate, drove into the river and then swam the rest of the way back to Mexico!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Hawaiian Photo Shoot Published Photo

This is the photo Becky chose to publish of Sam.  I had to laugh because he kept referring to that shirt as his "weed" shirt!

Home for the Weekend

We stayed up most of Thursday but did take a two hour nap in the afternoon.  We unpacked and got things put away.  Thanks to laundries at the condo and Aulani there was little laundry to do. I didn't get quite finished so I was back at it Friday.  We went to bed and got up at reasonable times.  

I stacked my clothes on the twin bed in preparation for loading the trailer.  The hard part is knowing it can be hot and cold over the time we are gone so choosing what to take is a crap shoot.  Ted picked up our mail and I attended to all of that while doing everyday chores.  Just to make me feel better I ran Rhoomba in the whole house.  At least the floors are clean!  I would get to dusting the furniture later.

By Saturday we were sleeping normal hours, had finished up our chores and did not do much of anything until time for church.  The Texans were playing terrible in the playoff game so it was easy to turn off the TV and head out.  After Mass we headed to our Mexican restaurant to eat with Terry and Carol.  

It took no time for my week to fill up.  Irene texted and asked me to go shopping with her Monday and I agreed.  I bought three spools of red and gold ribbon for her to make me three big bows I needed to replace in my Christmas decorations.  She already has them done!  Then we went to the Outlet Mall where I hit Chico's sales racks and also bought a birthday gift for my sister-in-law Carol.  We were gone a long time.

Tuesday I went to the cardiologist who gave me an A+!  She made a follow up appointment for June for an ultrasound on my left leg.  She agreed that collapsing the vein isn't necessay at this time.  I was scheduled to get a haircut but just as I pulled into the drive to drop Ted off and go, I received a call asking to move it to 10 on Wednesday.  This constant switching is getting old!  

Wednesday my hair appointment was cancelled again!  I called Becky in the valley and scheduled a haircut for Tuesday.  I will be looking elsewhere when I get back home. 

Thursday was our neighborhood lunch gathering followed later by dinner and cards at the country club for Carol's birthday.  We played 4 of our 6 rounds, had dinner, then finished the last 2 hands.  I came in second!  My dimes are in good shape.

Friday morning Ted pulled the trailer to the campground so it could be inspected for our extended warranty.  That went quickly with no problems but Ted couldn't turn the TV on and asked me to bring batteries for the remote which didn't help.  When the bedroom remote worked fine it was apparent it is a bad remote.  Hopefully a phone call will have a replacement on its way.  

We finished loading the trailer Saturday, went to Mass, grabbed a bite and then went to play cards.  I came in first!  $13 plus lots of dimes was added to my purse.

At 7:45 Sunday morning we pulled out of the campground with me following Ted in my car.  With only two potty stops, we pulled in to Retama Village at 2:30.  Our truck driver neighbor Niles prefers to just park the trailer in 3 minutes versus talking Ted in for 30 minutes!  In no time we were set up despite stopping frequently for "welcome back" greetings and short visits.  

Tom and Eileen came by about 5:30 and we eventually went to Cracker Barrel for dinner.  It was after 10 when we got home.  It was so good to spend time with our BFFs from our Florida days.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Last Day in the Sun

We talked of leaving the Resort and heading to the Dole Pineapple Plantation and the North Shore but the kids wanted to stay and swim.  So Ted went to save our chairs and everyone else got their things together.  We had to vacate the room by 11 am and the pool by 6 pm.  This necessitated two sets of luggage for the bag room ... what we had packed for the airlines and what we needed to dress for dinner and the flight home.  

We called for a bellman to take the packed bags to storage, put our food items in the Ice Room and posted on the net what was there and when we left with our remaining items, the food had been taken.  As an example of food prices in Hawaii, the 88 cent yogurt we buy here is almost $4 there.  A lunch of burgers, fries and Coke for 5 ran $140.  People love getting a crack at food that would otherwise be thrown away.  

Everyone but me spent the day going down the rock slides.  I chose to just get in the water when I got hot.  

A Mickey Shave Ice

Stitch came to the pool.  He was the only character I saw but then I really wasn't looking.

Around 3:30 we called it a day.  We rescued our bags and headed to the lounge to shower and dress for the trip home.  Ted went to get the car, Bill called for and met up with the bags and I bought an Aulani bathrobe.  We had to put our last minute things in the bags to be checked and it was 5:15.  We wanted to leave for the airport  by 6:00 so we were running short of time for dinner.  We talked the kids into just taking us to the airport where we would grab a bite and they could have the evening to have a relaxing  dinner and explore a little bit more.  So that's what we did,  

Our flight home was uneventful, no food, but drink service twice!  The cold weather and rain were not a real welcome home greeting!

Forgot Pearl Harbor and Punchbowl

Not sure how I forgot our main reason for spending a night and day in Honolulu!  I use the photos as reminders and I just passed over them.

This is the tree of life sculpture that appears on the Arizona Memorial and I had never noticed!  They have changed the area quite a bit since we last were there.  The deck to disembark onto the Memorial will not be repaired until March so we were only able to circle it on a boat.

The fellows loved looking at the war mapping of the South Pacific.  We closed the park down.

The view of Diamond Head from Punchbowl.

We did this after checking in to the Embassy Suites but before the morning we walked Waikiki Beach.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Second Last Full Day

I finally fell back to sleep at 4:30 and got up at 7:00.  Kara was up but everyone else was still sleeping.  She had answered a Disney Vacation Owner inquiry asking for teen models while here this week.  It was a Michigan teacher and her scheduled model backed out.  She dabbles in photography and wanted to try out a new camera.  The four of them met up and did a photo shoot and the two families hit it off.  

Their young daughter and Morgan spent the day together swimming and the mother gave us all their food that was left.  They had vacated their room to leave that night so I sort of became the clearing house for people and things.  They bid us goodbye late in the afternoon only for us to find the lady's purse under our chair.  Kara headed to the room where their bags were stored and shortly after the lady came running back.  We finally got it all straightened out!

We spent the entire day at the snorkel reef, pools and lazy river.  It was windy and a bit cool for me in the morning so I kept my Mickey Mouse cover up, bought on our Disney cruise, on for awhile.  As the wind died down and the sun rose higher it became terrific swimming weather.  Ted and I had lots of laughs trying to get into and out of the innertubes on the lazy river.  He especially liked the slide and had a great time with the kids.  

Snorkeling in the reef

We were getting ready to go back to our rooms and a whistle blew.  Someone had "dropped a Baby Ruth" as Ted described it, in the big pool.  They immediately shut down the pool and it was being cleaned as we left the area.  I am sure that happens frequently with so many little ones.  

Ted and I didn't want any dinner, the kids were going on a menehune hunt and having a pizza and Kara and Bill went to dinner.  We threw our last load of clothes in the washer while Ted watched the Sugar Bowl, thrilled with the Texas win!

A few more resort shots.

Off to Oahu

We were up early, did the last minute packing, stripped the beds and started a load of towels as requested and headed to the airport.  Bill dropped everyone and the bags off while he returned the car.  We were sitting next to the gate that said 8 but it had machinery of a security check so Ted asked where we were supposed to line up.  The gate attendant asked if we would like to pre-board and showed us where to stand.  It has to be Ted's gray hair, what he has of it, that got us a jump on everyone else on the plane!  That's my story and I am sticking to it!

It is a short 47 minute flight and we landed, got a minivan for the 6 of us and headed to the Embassy Suites on Waikiki.  We were given guava juice and a box of cookies while we were checking in.  We emptied our glasses!

Our room was actually a suite with small kitchen bar, LR, BR and bath.  The kids had the same but we had a king bed and they had two queens.

Once settled we went to the happy hour where you could have anything you wanted from the bar and some light snacks.   I had just a Coke because I could feel a migraine coming on and hoped the caffeine would help.  Music was playing and my head was getting worse so I went back to the room, took a pill and went right to bed.  

I was fine in the morning and we all had a complimentary breakfast buffet.  An Asian lady helped Morgan negotiate chopsticks because she wanted to learn.  She took some home to practice.

Then we took a walk along Waikiki Beach from our hotel to the Moana Surfrider, the grey lady of Waikiki.  Ted and I have stayed there as well as the Royal Hawaiian (pink hotel) in the past.  We walked on the concrete path when we could and the sand when it ran out.  Diamond Head is always visible from any spot on the beach.

To return, we went in front of the hotels, and walked through the Royal Hawaiian Center.  The inside and outside are all one.

We found another Christmas tree!

Morgan wanted to stop at a particular store so we checked out after having had the bill corrected.  Paying $40 a day to park is highway robbery but charging us twice was a bit much.  There was no problem getting it fixed.

We had a devil of a time finding the store because it was in a strip mall where there were several buildings and addresses were hard to ascertain.  We had to wait for it to open at 11:00 but Morgan found what she wanted and used her money from Aunt Marilyn to pay for it.

Finally we were headed to the last stop of our two weeks in Hawaii, Disney's Aulani Resort.  It looks like a cross between Kidani and Polynesian Resorts at Disney in Orlando. 


They stored all our belongings while we waited for our room and gave us leis, welcome buttons, wristbands, fruited water and a place to change into bathing suits.  After a bit of lunch at the Ulu Cafe, Ted and I opted to sit in the shade on lounge chairs at the adult pool so the four of them could ride the lazy river while we attended the various phones, purses, shoes, cameras, etc.  Just as they decided to change, we received the text our room was ready.  

Kara had requested the Ewa Tower, floors 7-9, because she knew we could watch the luau show from any of our 3 balconies.  We were on the 9th floor and it was perfect.  They had two queens and a bath, we had a king and a bath and Morgan slept on the foldout chair in the LR.  There is a dining area, kitchen, washer and dryer and a half bath too. 

We didn't want to spend a lot of time going out for dinner so I started some laundry while Ted and Kara went to a nearby grocery.  Sushi, orange chicken, pasta and meatballs, etc. were brought home and we finished up just as the luau entertainment started.

We all went to bed about 9:00 and I was awakened at midnight by the fireworks.  I watched most of them but then could not get back to sleep.  We will be so screwed up when we get home!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Day Nine

We spent Friday visiting the Captain Cook monument from quite a distance.  You can kayak a good long way in fairly open water or hike an unrelenting arduous trail to see it up close and personal.  We looked at it from the edge of the bay.  It is the small white obelisk in the middle of the photo.  We also watched the pot smoking locals trying to catch some fish for dinner.

The bay where we stood. 

There were remnants of a sacrificial temple on the grounds.

Morgan found a tidal pool to cool her heels in.

Saturday was back to the Waikola for Dolphin Quest for the kids.  We took some time to walk around some more.  We passed the wedding chapel and approached the grand staircase we had just walked down but from the other side.

The kids and I posed with the Dolphins!

A beautiful sculpture on the grounds.

Then it was time to swim with the Dolphins.  

Afterwards we met up with the others for lunch.

We all headed for home to start packing and getting ready for church.  After church we cleared out the leftovers for "what's for dinner."  I took a bag of groceries to a neighbor, emptied the remaining containers, left condiments and other unopened things for the next tenant, washed the beach towels, started the dishwasher while packing our suitcases.  Pat, Kelly and Cassie left for the airport, they flew to Phoenix that night and Larry and Kristin were leaving Sunday night about the same time.  They have to vacate by 11 am so spent the day in a king sized cabana at the Waikolia Hilton until dinner, then off to the airport for their flight home.  We have 3 nights on Oahu before we leave.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Manta Ray

II promised to share stills of the very short video Pat made of the manta ray that swam so close to them.  He did what they call a belly roll.  Swimming by then turning over exposing their underside.  Like whale flukes, their bellies have distinct markings that allow tracking and naming of the Rays.  If you submit a clear belly shot that has not been identified, you get to name it!  I already had a goat named after me by my brother Dan!  

Here is a better shot of the line they held on to keep their face in the water.

Day Eight

Ted and I started visiting the Big Island back in the early '90s after our first cruise visit in 1985 for our 20th wedding anniversary.  He is a Hilton Honors member and during his work years had Platinum status that gave us great benefits.   We could stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Turtle Bay Hilton at Oahu's North Shore or the Hilton Waikoloa north of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.  We tried a Marriott condo on Maui once and the Marriott Waikoloa another time using points.  But we always returned to the Hilton Waikoloa.  

A hotel room (much less 4) just wouldn't be cost effective at any hotel so we found the condos we are in now.  I would never hesitate to recommend these 3/3 beautiful residences for a larger group.  But we wanted the newbies to experience the Hilton Waikoloa Resort.  Bill, Larry, Sam, Morgan and Cassie had never been there.

The kids were in awe when we entered the main lobby.  There were 8 trees decorated in the colors and flowers of the 8 major islands.  The size of the trees showed their position in the line up.  These were the only Christmas decorations we had seen anywhere but church.

We ran into a gorgeous peach colored cockatoo and were allowed to have him sit on our arm.

We had learned there were day passes, available a week in advance if room allowed.  Then we learned we could rent cabanas and confirm our plans at any time.  So we rented four cabanas which gave us 8 chaise lounges in four cabanas, cold bottled water, a USB port, Popsicles, a safe and a pool boy named Conner!  We felt pretty special!

We went swimming, used the slide, swam and snorkled in the lagoon with turtles.  Morgan was so happy to see so many turtles up close and personal.

We headed to Buddah Point to watch the sunset before heading home.

It was an exhilarating day but exhausting.  Dinner was pizza, sandwiches and leftovers followed by turning in right after.