Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Aloha to Spring Break

The girls wanted to hit a nice beach for spring break, so we opted to visit Hawaii a couple weeks ago for some fun in the sun and surf. Which translates to them getting a burn and me slathering on the industrial strength 500 spf every day to keep the sunspots at bay.

We flew out of Houston Saturday morning, so we made the drive there on Friday after school. The traffic was nuts, but slowing down gave us the chance to realize this big rig was transporting BEES! I don't even want to think about how it would go down if that guy got into a wreck.

Our historic accommodations on Waikiki Beach in Oahu for the first two nights was in a prime spot to enjoy the tourist trade. Lots of cute shops, restaurants and a lovely stretch of beach. 

We dined at Duke's on the beach, which had a very filling salad bar. And by salad, I mean a whole lotta mayo based dishes and so it wasn't particularly light. But it was still good. Below is a statue along the beach of Duke and his surfboard, but he's best known for being an Olympic gold medalist in swimming.

One morning we trekked a couple miles to Leonard's for some malasadas. It was brought to the islands by the Portuguese, which sounds fancy and exotic. But it's really just a big lump of fried dough, often with a filling like coconut or chocolate, and then rolled in sugar. Fattening, for sure. 

One of my favorite things to do in new places is book a tours by locals. You just can't go wrong when you get a local guy or gal to give you some history about the place you're visiting. Our guide in Honolulu was great. He drove us up into the hills on a nausea inducing road full of switchbacks, but the view from the top was well worth it.

The hibiscus growing along the wide of the road were beautiful. We had the opportunity to visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and it was a touching tribute to those servicemen who lost their lives in the Japanese raid.

We had an interesting lunch at Pier 38, where I dined on Loco Moco at Nico's. This consists of grilled beef patties on a bed of rice, covered with brown gravy and onions, then topped with two eggs cooked however you want. The sides were an Asian style noodle salad as well as macaroni potato salad. It was carbalicious!

In the afternoon we visited the local military cemetery that's located in the Punchbowl, an old volcanic crater. 

In the late afternoon, we had a cyclo ride around the area adjacent to our hotel and ended up with a good view to Diamond Head.

Book 'em, Dano! Fans of the original Hawaii Five-O series will recognize the facade below from the opening credits. 

By the time we returned to our hotel, the Honolulu Festival's parade had kicked off. No matter where you go, you're gonna stumble across fellow Texans. And sure enough, the band from Littlefield was marching in the parade. God bless Texas.

After a visit to the local Avanti Hawaiian shirt shop - Elvis made famous with his wardrobe in "Blue Hawaii" - where I got a nice silk for the husband and one to use as a swimsuit cover up for myself, we enjoyed a great fireworks display from our balcony.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

All Clear

The pool company guys came out on Wednesday to get the pool back into shape. One new pump and plumbing upgrade later, plus a tile patch, and we're back in the swim of things. Now we just need to cut down that nearest tree hanging over the pretty blue water to help with the hassle of keeping it clean. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Prayers for London

I was so sad to read about the maniacal driver that purposely hit folks on Westminster Bridge today in London, crashing into Parliament Square and stabbing a police officer. Such senseless violence. 

That bridge holds special memories for us, and not just because we walked across it every time I took visitors into the city for some sightseeing. It's iconic, and so of course that's why it was a target. The grad student had her senior year high school portraits made on that bridge. Sigh. A sad day, indeed, for this wonderfully historic area we once called home.

A Work in Progress

We were gone eight days for spring break and returned to see quite a bit of progress with the remodel house. I'm loving all of the light in the kitchen and custom banquette area now that we opened up that space by removing the wall. 

The remodel, AKA our own personal money pit, is really taking shape. I'm not looking forward to throwing more cash at it, but I am looking forward to moving in and enjoying it this summer. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Cement Pond

When we did our walk-thru with the purchase of the remodel house back in January, the owner mentioned that he was pretty sure the pool pump has a small leak. Just to be on the safe side, and not wanting to burn up the motor if the water level got too low, we erred on the side of caution and turned it all off. The recirculator, Polaris, everything.

Thanks to all of the great oak trees shading the pool area, a mixed blessing to be certain, we've now got a big mess with the spring leaf drop in full swing.

Reps from two different pool companies came out to give the pool and equipment a look-see this morning. One guy said the pool plaster is an upgraded finish that's still good to go. The other company said it feels "soft" (whatever that means) and needs to be replastered. There's no denying the tile and coping have to be addressed. Plus any leaky pump issues. 

And thus we'll have to pour some more hard earned cash into our own little real estate money pit since this has become one big domino fall. If you do x, then you have to do y. And if y is upgraded, then we also need to address z. It's gonna look great once the remodel is complete if we can reno A-Z without having to sell our plasma down at the local blood bank to pay for our real estate dream home. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Learner is Loose

That's right, folks. The sophomore is now armed and dangerous with her learner's permit. But not really a threat to others on the road. She's actually a really careful driver with good judgment. Still, I prefer to sit in the backseat and let the husband be her co-pilot for these little local errands she takes us on in her sister's car. That's the sacrificial vehicle since the grad student already banged it up the past couple years. She can take her driving test on August 9, so I imagine we'll be there bright and early that day to see if we can get her fully licensed and ready to drive herself to school solo for the start of junior year that following week.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tumbling towards spring break

This is it, the week the sophomore tries out for varsity cheerleader at her new school. Lord have mercy, there are over 20 girls wanting a spot. It will undoubtedly be an exciting conclusion to the end of the first grading period on her new Texas campus before we kick off spring break. So Hawaii will either be an exciting location to celebrate. Or a sweet little diversion to help keep her mind off disappointing results. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Kicking off the collection

Thanks to all of the cute little antique shops in a nearby hill country town, I've got a good start on a collection of depression era glass to give the open shelving in the new built-in banquette of punch of color. And there's the pillow that started it all. The red is the current saltillo tile in the home. No more playing up that, for sure. I love the rest of the pillow... the greige, blue, green, gold and creamy white. That's the palette for every room in the house, with the exception of the sophomore's bedroom. As of right now, she's wanting grey and blush with copper accents.