Thursday, September 08, 2011

...Two Weeks Later Part 3: Getting Settled In

On Tuesday August 30, we awoke in our Waikiki hotel renewed by the knowledge that we had secured an apartment and that we could move in as soon as we had furniture.  All of our utilities would be covered in our monthly rent except for internet so I set about to getting us connected as soon as possible.  After getting our appointment set for Wednesday between 8 AM and noon (got to love those reasonable installation windows!) we left the hotel to start getting furniture and other household items.

Our first stop was the mattress store that we had visited the afternoon before.  We were able to ensure delivery by Wednesday afternoon.  So with those two tasks completed, we set about to stocking our kitchen.  We made a trip to the very busy but affordable Wal-mart to buy essential kitchen ware, bathroom items and a couple of fans.  Because of the mild climate, most places in Hawaii don't have air conditioning and if they do, it is in the form of a window unit or two.  Central air in homes seems to be a mostly unnecessary expense.  From spending a little time in our apartment the day before, we did find that it was a bit stuffy, even with the windows open so fans were definitely in order to circulate the natural airflow.

After getting our new purchases to the apartment, we rushed back to the hotel to enjoy the free weekly happy hour drinks in the lobby.  The happy hour was literally sixty minutes keeping in the spirit of the continental breakfast they offered in the morning, but the drinks were very good so I wasn't complaining.  We were originally planning to check out on Thursday September 1 (hoping that
would have found an apartment within a week of our arrival) but since we were going to be able to stay in our new place a day early, we made arrangements to check out accordingly.  The hotel served us well for our first week on Oahu but we were ready to be cooking meals in a real kitchen and having a lot more space.

That afternoon/evening, we got our things packed up and then headed for a visit to the beach one last time while we were still within walking distance.  We made it to the beach just in time to enjoy the sunset. 

Diamondhead at Dusk

Sunset at Waikiki

We celebrated our move with overpriced Mai Tais at a hotel bar.  They were good but they really gouge the heck out of tourists in Waikiki!  As we were heading back to the hotel, we stopped in at a little Japanese restaurant for a sake and a sushi snack.  Tempura avocado is pretty tasty!  After that it was off to bed for us since we had to be up and out of the hotel early so that I was at our apartment by 8 AM to wait for the cable guy.

As planned, we woke up very early on Wednesday August 31 to check out of the hotel and get the rental car packed up.  We easily made it to the apartment before 8 AM and began the waiting game.  We only had a little while to wait before the cable guy showed up to install our internet.  By 9:30, we were ready to go and I had the router up and running as well.  With our mattress delivery not scheduled until 2 PM, we decided to check out some furniture stores for a couch, chairs and computer desk.  I am always amazed by the ludicrous prices for furniture.  Even on the Mainland I think that there is a real disconnect between what you pay and what you get when it comes to furniture, but then again I am a function over form kind of guy.  New furniture was really not in our budget so we did some searching on Craigslist to try to locate a few items.

We didn't want to limit ourselves to Craigslist so we followed up on a recommendation that our realtor friend Sandy gave us about a place that sells discount furniture that was previously in hotels on the island.  We visited it and found a few pieces that we liked right away and others that we thought might be worth getting.  We weren't ready to commit to some of the things right away but we did opt to purchase a TV and large mirror for very reasonable prices and we were able to move them in our rental car.

With some comparison furniture shopping finished, we headed home to await the arrival of our mattress.  Again we had a window (only two hours this time) but they arrived just after 2 PM and were in and out in a matter of minutes.  We spent the rest of the evening making some dinner, getting our new apartment organized and Roxi also continued her class preparations.

On the morning of Thursday September 1, Roxi continued her class preparations while I continued trying to find furniture options on Craigslist.  After a few hours, we decided to make a trip to the western side of the island to visit a Target store in Kapolei where we still had a valid gift card from our wedding nearly four years ago.  It was a long drive even though it was only about twenty miles away.  Traffic on the freeway was terrible and it really made us glad that we had such great advice about where not to look for an apartment.  It wasn't even rush hour and we crept along slowly for miles.  Since then, I've heard that there is a plan in the works to build a commuter train from Kapolei to the airport and downtown Honolulu but it is years away at best.  It's a shame really because it is evident that there is a real need for a reduction in the cars traveling in both directions on a daily basis.

After completing our shopping at Target, we rushed (as quickly as possible with the traffic) back to the HPU campus in downtown Honolulu to pick-up Roxi's desktop computer that we had shipped from Memphis about two weeks before.  We made it in time to pick it up before the office closed for the day.  It was nice having it again not just for making Roxi's work easier, but it has such a large monitor, we routinely use it as a TV to watch shows on Hulu.  Thanks to some Craigslist work, I had located a used printer/scanner/copier for sale that we picked up on the way home.  Craigslist is such an asset in a place like Hawaii; so many people move the the islands for a short time and for various reasons return to the Mainland.  It doesn't really make much sense to ship things either way unless someone else is paying the bill (i.e. company relocation package) so there are constantly nearly new items for sale on Craigslist.

After another long day of work, we decided to hit the beach for a walk.  We made it to Ala Moana Beach (just west of Waikiki and less crowded) just after sunset. We took a leisurely stroll along the beach watching the last of the surfers paddle in for the day.  Even though we don't live by the beach, we are a very short drive even in afternoon traffic so this will be a nice option for an afternoon activity.

Roxi had work meetings on campus on the morning of Friday September 2 so I stayed at home and did laundry and other domestic activities.  I should have squeezed in some blogging but instead I caught up on several episodes of Master Chef and Hell's Kitchen.  Roxi can attest to my man crush on Gordon Ramsey and his slew of reality TV shows about cooking.

Friday afternoon, we continued our search for furniture, revisiting some stores and reconsidering some items that we thought we might need. Ever since we sold most of our things in Memphis, I am really hesitant to repurchase a lot of items.  I love this stripped down lifestyle and I want to keep it this way for as long as possible.  We survived for seven months in the Netherlands with hardly any real possessions; we can certainly do the same here as long as we always remember what a pain it is to get rid of stuff when it's time to move.

We didn't really come to any decisions about furniture other than that we weren't about to spend over $1000 on a couch.  After another long day of searching for furniture, we decided to return to Ala Moana Beach for what was left of the afternoon to relax.  With the sun going down, it was a bit too cold to swim so we sat with our feet in the surf for at least an hour and half just relaxing and discussing our move so far.  It was a really nice time even though we barely got in the water.  After returning to our apartment and doing a bit more research about furniture options, we called it an early night determined to complete our search on Saturday.

On Saturday September 3, we decided it was time to cross furniture off of our list once and for all.  We returned to the Inter Island Hotel Furniture store and selected a great computer desk and office chair combo, a coffee table and two oversized chairs.  We may get a couch in the future, but at that point, we were happy to have a couple of comfortable places to sit.  The only snag left was delivery.  The store had great prices for the gently used items and a very reasonable delivery rate since we lived relatively close, but they told us the earliest we could expect our furniture was September 14!  That was too long to be sitting on beach chairs so Roxi pleaded our case and the salesman was able to arrange delivery for later that afternoon.  We were so excited that this would be done!

After leaving the store, we searched Craigslist for any moving sales and found one that looked good in Kaneohe.  On our way up the Pali Highway, we stopped at the Pali Lookout to the get some pictures of the Nu'uanu Valley.  It was very crowded, windy and cold up there so we didn't stay long but it was a breathtaking view to say the least.

Nu'uanu Valley and Kaneohe Bay as seen from the Pali Lookout.

After our brief stop at the Pali Lookout, we continued down to the town of Kaneohe to visit a moving sale.  We didn't get a lot of items but we were in need of some coffee mugs, wine glasses and a few other sundries.  Although our furniture wasn't scheduled to be delivered for another couple of hours, I didn't want to dilly-dally; so far all of our appointments and deliveries had been early in the specified time windows.  Sure enough, as we drove back to our apartment, I received a call from the movers asking us if we were home and ready for delivery.  We were about ten minutes away as were they, so we rushed to beat them there.  Thankfully we arrived a couple of minutes before they did.  As with all other deliveries so far, they worked very quickly and in a matter of minutes our apartment was furnished!

Roxi spent most of the rest of the afternoon working on her class preparation while I tried to straighten up around the apartment now that we were essentially set up.  I did a little more searching on Craigslist for a TV stand to complete our furnishings and made arrangements to pick one up on Sunday morning.  I have been amazed at how much we have been able to accomplish in such a short time, but I suppose making as many moves as we have made over the years has made us very adaptable!

No comments: