In A Nut Shell
The pre-settlement docs have been signed and the money has been wired. Just a few more days until closing and we will officially be landowners (not mortgage owners) for the first time. The bride’s yurt blueprints have been sent to the company along with a deposit to kick off the drafting process. (Check out yurtsofhawaii.com, especially the gallery, to get an idea of what we are lining up.) Meanwhile, Manna Living, our business entity (to more formally handle the sale of the balms, candles, eggs, and other sundries), is now registered in Hawaii and is in the process of being incorporated there too. Getting closer. We are now eyeing the Easter timeframe as a launch window. Earth Day is 22 April. Surely that is an auspicious day to begin a new “back-to-the-earth” lifestyle, no?
Question Of The Week
So…with the momentum building, you might just be thinking, “Golly, what is it like to go through this, now that it is approaching time to pull the trigger?” Well…let me put it this way…. As some of you know, I took up juggling a number of years ago as a form of exercise and as part of a contingency plan for the possibility of being kidnapped by rogue Bulgarian circus clowns. Let me share with you two personal observations about this fine art form: 1) it is not possible to truly appreciate the skill of a juggler or the complexity of some of his tricks until you have taken up the art yourself; 2) when you first engage in jugglery, you quickly learn some odd things…like the reason that practitioners of this activity have such well developed upper leg muscles (you are constantly squatting to pick up something you dropped). Why am I ranting about this Renaissance Fair staple? Like my lessons learned as an apprentice jester, I think it is really hard to understand the challenge of this life altering feat without giving it a go yourself, and you learn a lot of unexpected things.
To boil it down, I’d say that our ongoing ordeal is a bit like juggling a lit torch, a live barracuda, a sharpened machete, an angry battle-axe wielding Warcraft dwarf, and a running chainsaw. Lots of objects in the air; not much room for error. Makes me think of some of the lyrics in the song “One Shot.” (Now, don’t get me wrong or be quick to judge here. I don’t view Slim Shady as a role model, and there is cause for Tipper Gore and the PMRC’s ire regarding the man’s work, but you have to admit that Marshall Mathers occasionally pens some powerful and–sometimes–life appropriate prose, irrespective of his very secular world view.)
And now for something completely different… (A little Python, anyone?)
Many of you have asked after the kids, particularly regarding their perspective on our grand life experiment. How about roping them into some interviews and guest blog writing? Lets kick off this new feature with a brief interview of our 9-year-old lady of wisdom.
What is the best part about our big move?
“I’m looking forward to homeschooling and the nice weather in Hawaii.”
What is the worst thing regarding the move?
“I’m going to miss a lot of people here and family.”
“It is kind of fun. I’m looking forward to moving. I look forward to having dogs and more animals and living a new way (less stressful and might be really fun). No snow. Ocean and beach.”
And now, back to the story…
Though I prefer the term “self employment,” unemployment has a way of sending you searching for cheaper ways of doing things–hobo tricks, if you will. Need to update software or download an educational audio clip, but you rely at home on a slow cell phone hotspot for internet access? No worries. The public library offers free high speed internet and we drop by there at least once a week (just have to be more patient and get over the society-programmed expectation of immediate gratification). Need to submit some paperwork to a company? The cost of snail mail trumps a fax at Kinkos any day and, if you reuse the return envelopes that you receive daily inside junk mail or billing statements (just cross out the pre-printed address), you only need postage (free envelopes!).
Errands, it turns out, can be strategically planned to cut down on gas by doing them in well thought out batches. We never run out for just a single need now and we stage a day of out-of-house tasks like a military campaign, deliberately and carefully striking at locations that are close together. Grocery run and library day are one-and-the-same now because they are located right next to each other…oh, and there is a gas station nearby, so better fill up then too. Alternative trade and service locations are now on our radar; the bride is sporting a $6 haircut from the local beauty school.
We learned that careful attention to coupons and ads can be lucrative for us poor folk. On one day this week, we landed an absolute haul of free organic food along with our standard grocery purchase (bag of baby carrots, box of mac-n-cheese, bag of ginger snaps) and they took twenty dollars off of our bill. (I know…I know…this is not all paleo food, but it was free!) A few promotions at restaurants that were on the way to the grocery store that same day, no purchase required, landed us one order of organic french fries and a fresh cooked lime shrimp entree (free lunch!). The bank always has free joe, so we don’t use the drive-through much anymore, and our gathering of free moving boxes from the local liquor store continues (the staff now call us “The Hawaii Couple”).
“All good things must come to an end.” – Chaucer
Well…I guess that is all for this week. I landed yet another small paid writing gig, so it is time to switch gears and start tackling that project. (They actually gave me a deadline, which is somehow psychologically painful and emotionally stirring in a way that challenges my reputation as a man of peace. You see…I have gloried in my freedom from deadlines since I left my job back on that propitious Chinese New Year day in the month of Janus, the two-faced. Oh well…it is enjoyable and easy money, the deadline is pretty generous, and it makes me appear more witty at kambucha parties by allowing me to say things like, “I’m a freelance writer. Do you want to see my SCOBY?”).
I will leave you with a link to a great Hawaiian coffee company that Forbe’s has declared “the best coffee in America” (they have good sales too) and a quote from Mr. Jefferson on small land owners.
Until next time, fare thee well…