Be Careful What You watch For.
It started somewhere between boredom and sleep deprivation. My wife(Chesley) and I(David) are just killing another night -and it’s a slow death. Until we flop on this show called “Hogs Gone Wild” its a little over the top, a bit cheesy, but not too bad –its holding our attention.
It’s all amped up, complete with shaky running camera angles. And you get these great dramatic one-liners from the cast about how wild pigs are taking over the world -Ahhhh!
And yes, they’re coming for you too.
Now, amidst all the bologna
there’s this one guy that seems legit. Dr. Andrew something.
I start thinking, I bet there’s a lot better deals than that. I wonder what it would cost?I ask Ches “What if we just moved to Hawaii?” and she looks at me with that ‘whats the punchline’ looks. “I’m serious, we just sell the truck and the sailboat(my former house) and go.”
We aren’t taking it super serious, just playing with the idea.
Have you ever thought about just taking off? Seriously -consider for a moment..anywhere.
The more you associate with the reality that you could, the more you start to feel… whats the word.. unsettled? But it’s fun to treat it like its real from time to time -let’s just go.So we play-on and start looking and finding these sweet little houses for less than what you’d pay in Texas! Whoa, what if this actually starts to make sense?No, no, something must be up.
We do a little, leg work (maybe two local news websites) and find “….was killed in…neighborhood..” or “…and police are still looking for…” and “Another meth lab was discovered…” I thought something was up but not marshal law. So we keep looking out of sheer curiosity now, and find that like all places in the world there are higher and lower crime areas. We just happened to look in a place that Scarface wouldn’t move into. No biggie.
So we find another big neighborhood ridiculously great prices -so now its like a game. We check the same news websites and..nothing. Hmm. we look around online, no crime, nada. This may be promising. Then we check it out on google maps…
*but also no roads (anymore)
*only a few standing houses.
*VOC’s? Volatile Organic Compounds. Eek…Who wants all their minerals in one breath?
*Besides, Ches wants a garden, and I’m not sure of any thing that truly thrives in lava… Habaneros?
We were just kidding anyways -right?
And then the “what if” lingers. You have probably heard scientists reporting on interesting experiments with the subconscious mind, that part of our brain that we don’t get to watch. It kind of works like the wizard in The Wizard of Oz. He stays back out of sight behind a curtain. And when we start asking a question, or pretending to, or genuinely seeking for something, our little wizard starts spinning dials, and turning knobs, and working the levers until what we want = what we have. He doesn’t know we’re pretending. And he doesn’t seem to get jokes.
Using the Impossible to accomplish the droll
Its been two days of off-handed remarks, and real estate searches. We start one-uping each other a little.
“I’m serious” ‘me too’ “I’m going to pack” ‘I’m already packed’ We post ads on Craigslist to sell my big red truck for $5,000 and my sailboat for $5,000. We needed to sell them anyway -so we areplaying that the money will go toward plane tickets and starting a new life in Hawaii. No harm -right? After all we needed to sell them and if pretending gives us an added boost to get things done –so be it.
Now we aren’t bored anymore. We don’t watch as much TV as we used to because we are online looking on Craigslist for jobs, and housing.
This is fun, I’m looking at everything from motorcycles on Maui, to sailboats off the coast of the Big Island. I’m actually calling these people and getting details on this stuff! What am I nuts? Maybe… but its fun! I’m getting to talk to these local cats, and they seem all kinds of cool –after I mastered the time difference 🙂
Get this: After a couple of weeks of playing ‘lets go to Hawaii’, our truck sells… we can buy tickets… –and that sounds ludicrous.
What are we talking about? We negotiated with the buyers and so now we only have 4,000. even if we bought tickets, that leaves us only 2,000 for a car. And where would we stay? It’s time to start getting our feet back on the ground. Maybe I’ll get a job here working sales for a local roofing company. My stomach turns. The idea of staying is now revolting. So I take the rest of the day to mope.
Now, what if…
What if I could sell my boat?
Morgan was a 28.5 OI that was sitting sadly on a trailer at a storage facility, a fact that bothered me immensely. That darling tub of fiberglass and I had known each other for many a year. We had a history, and now I felt somewhat disrespectful.
I had lived in Morgan during college (A whole other story) and sunk her, brought her back up, tailored her, cleaned her out, then started a roofing company and left her sitting in storage. It had been years now that I was trying to sell her, but telling people in the ad that she sank…
You can imagine …would you want a boat that sank? It wasn’t her fault, and she deserved more of a future than being parted out, or worse, bought for her trailer and then Morgan ends up in a landfill -not on my watch.
That being said, it had been years so the thought of selling her seemed a little far fetched. So how can I make this work? (and the wizard spins)
If I had it all –what then?
In need of a mental buzz to keep the game afloat; I look on Craigslist again. Always a good place to pretend. And this time I look as if I had a million dollars in my pocket. So, just for fun I’m going to buy a motorcycle. I see this sweet BMW enduro bike and think, wow. I can totally see myself cruising island back roads, I can feel Ches squeeze me when I lean into a turn -oh yeah, I’m calling.
This really nice guy picks up, I wish I could remember his name, I’d love to give him credit for the impact our conversation had on the rest of this story. He said that the bike was in tip-top shape, but if I was going to only buy one vehicle, I should look at something with a roof. I knew he was right, but I was playing. I’m trying to get the buzz back, I don’t want reality messing it all up. But I concede, he’s right. I ask him how he likes Maui (the island he’s living on) and he says its nice, but if he could pick he’d be on Kauai.
I can’t help but dig into that a little.
He says “The whole island is just way more laid back. The people are nicer, they are mostly agricultural folks -farmers.
It’s less expensive than Maui and has far less tourist traffic.” Now I’m living in Texas, so the thought of one island being better than another was a vague one at best. But I did hear less expensive. I also heard laid back. Farmers? Island-farmers…wonder what that’s like.
I thanked him and hung up. Kauai… I don’t know much about Kauai. Ches, asks who I was talking to and I ask her “What about Kauai?”
She tells me she doesn’t want to go anywhere that there’s a lot of wild night-life and partying.
“Ches, Kauai isn’t like that. Think about it honey, it’s mainly agricultural, and gets way less tourist traffic than other islands.” (after all doesn’t everybody know that 😉
Since I have millions, and the advice of a close friend that Kauai is the place to be I narrow my search just a tad.
Kauai-Craigslist-Cars&Trucks-By Owner- Enter
Scrolling though page 3..
She’s frantic we she gets in the living room, and I can tell she’s surprised to see me smiling.
Check this out..
1970 VW Bus $3200 obo
All mechanical sound
Oh, my Gosh David that’s It!!
Did you call him?
-I’m Calling him now….
Hi, this is David, I was calling about your van.
Umm, my name is David, I’m calling about your VW?
Could you tell me a little about it?
‘What can I tell you? It’s old, its good.’
Does it have any leaks?
‘Ha, look: if it don’t rain, it don’t leak.’
**I am lovin’ this guy!**
‘you like to come look?’
Well I’m in Texas right now, but we are moving there soon and..
‘look when you get here you come look okay.’
–Now at this point I can’t remember if he hung up, or I thought he was going to so I ended the conversation.–
Whoaaa… wait. If we can get this guy to come down to $2k, and we pick up a little extra cash by selling anything we have right now that we don’t really need, we might actually pull this crazy thing off!
–Moment of Truth–
Do we go for it? or do we just talk?
And this little voice inside tells me it’s time to check ticket prices again…
Oh my… Heavy… If we leave in 48hrs. we can afford the tickets -and the van. We’ll be pretty stinkin’broke when we get there, but we can do it and seewhat happens.
I tell Ches -what and amazing wife- she’s not sure.
Is it too much to ask to have a week or to so that we can tie up any loose ends? “Honey, we can do whatever makes you comfortable.
My only fear is that if we put it off…” She finishes my sentence ‘…we’ll never do it. Yeah, you’re right. But what about a place to… oh the van…!!!’
Its so much fun to see her excited! To be excited!
We buy the tickets. it saves us $400 per person -thats a chink when all you have is 4,000.
We call Heeva that next day:
Hey, it’s David again about the van‘okay’
We are moving there soon but don’t have a lot of money. Would you take 2,000 for the van?
Whats your bottom dollar?
‘man no less 2850 or I just keep’em’
Okay, we can do that… Could you meet us at the airport?
‘Wha? You at the airport. No, it’s kinda far.’
Oh, well we aren’t there now, but we will be day after tomorrow
‘No, sorry. My wife she works.’
—You can imagine the thoughts going through my head right now. Are you kidding? I can’t have come this close to get shut down by such a tiny logistic.
Okay, no, problem we’ll figure it out.
–again, who hung up is a mystery.–
Ches and I are discussing ways to get from the airport to where Heeva and our VW is,
Taxi? Hitchhike? Walk? Heck, ride a Sea Turtle its Hawaii!!!
Then the phone rings, its Heeva, he talked to his wife and they decided they could make it work!
So, that’s it then, we’ve just bought a 40 year old car sight unseen with the description ‘…if it don’t rain it don’t leak.’ We leave in two days, and we have a lot to get done! We need to pack, we need, to tell our families what we are doing -and bye. We still have a couple of guys saying they want to look at the sailboat that Ches keeps telling me about. Our last two days will be fast and furious.
I reluctantly call the first guy back. I admit I’m a little jaded after all the duds in the past. But I did call and make time to meet up. I know these encounters can’t be rushed -but I don’t have a whole lot of time. The guy looks around and kicks the tires on the trailer, looks inside, then says he’ll let me know -and by the way, do I take gold?
I’m all ears…
He says he doesn’t trust world markets or something and like to deal in gold. Sounds good to me. I head home stoked with visions of pirate treasure soon to be mine. Then he emails and offers me like $800. Ha, not a chance. Thank you.
Then guy number two:
Nice, but I don’t think I can right now.
Now I am not looking forward to meeting guy three, I have things to do. But I said I would.
And he pulls up in a sweet little convertible with his wife. His name is Rick and he kinda rolls with that Richard Branson feel.
He looks at Morgan and says “Wow, she’s beautiful.”
Now that’s more like it -respect Morgan.
And Morgan may need a new engine. But I can tell that he’s not done -he likes her. And Morgan has a way of whispering to someone she likes, so I’ll let her speak for herself.
No pressure. If he wants her great, if not, I don’t want it on my karma that I disrespected someone that dealt respectfully with me. I’m just watching.
“I just don’t know David” he says “She’s really nice.” I asked him was picturing her all fixed up. “MMM. Yeah she would clean up real nice.” I know that feeling.
I felt the same thing when I first saw Morgan.
I ‘m really liking this guy. He’s got a lot of class, and he sees Morgan in the future not in the landfill.
“Well bro, take your time and think about it. In fact here…” I pull out the title and paperwork and hand it two Rick.
“We leave day after tomorrow at 9am. If you want the boat, we’ll work out how to get the money to us, if not, drop the title and stuff off at my parents house when its convenient for you.”
I mean, c’mon we got things to go finish and he needed more time to get acquainted. He’s a little weirded out by this, but hey, all the cards are in his hand.
He says he’ll let me know before I leave to Hawaii, we shake hands “no rush.”
Have I mentioned I have a phenomenal wife? We get in the car and head to the house, and instead of being angry or calling me irresponsible(which would have been understandable given the circumstances) she just smiles at me, slides her little hand over and takes mine -how cool.
We are really living in the moment. Carpe the freakin’ Diem!
I go home and have dinner with the fam, and we chit-chat about the wild way things play out sometimes. And as the sun is going down, I’m just in a good mood. Not really sure why, but just feeling content.
Ches and I are outside soaking in the sunset
and my phone rings
& –it’s Rick (the guy looking at Morgan).
He’s a little louder than he was before, and seems to be in a crowd.
“Hey, David, what kinda motor this thing got? And how do you get to it?”
I laugh a little thinking:
…he’s still there?
“Yeah, we’re still here..” he confirms ” I called a few friends and we are all sitting around your boat drinking beer.”
Rick, his wife and all his friends, sitting around Morgan in that storage yard, drinking beer and imagining her back in her glory -too perfect!
I tell him how to access the motor, then laughed a little more.
Rick says “I’ll call you back in a min.”
And when he does its with an offer of $4,000.
After all the low-ballers and dry leads I had endured over the years, I would have given Morgan to him, just to know she was getting a good home. So what can I say?
When he came over to give me the cash, he reminded me that we had told him about the VW we planned on buying in Kauai. When we were talking at the storage, I had told him that if he bought the boat, it came with to nights of camping in our van if they ever made it out there. He wanted to make sure that was still part of the deal 🙂 What a guy. He and his wife are a huge blessing.
It’s All Happening
We packed our things, kissed our families and slept in the airport.
You know sometimes there is that thing inside that says “What do you think you’re doing!? You can’t do that!! How dare you! You are going look like a moron when this thing doesn’t work!” And there are voices on the outside that sound strangely similar.
They used to scare me. They still do sometimes. But the times when I quit believing them, even for a second, it feels like a warm tingle spreads from head to toe.
The air in my chest feels lighter, my head seems to float above my shoulders a bit, and the love I have for everyone around begins to resonate like a huge bell within me. My words are softer, my eyes are clearer, and nothing else matters. I see the brightness within others, I hear their genius, I trust the spirit that guides us as it goes, step, by step, by step. Each one easier than the last.
And this step was breathtaking.
If you hear yourself saying: “Okay Hot-Shot –Now What?”
So I smile inside and answer truthfully:
“Well, …now we wait for Heeva.”
We don’t need to pretend to know how every detail will play out. We just need to trust that it will be wonderful -and it will be.
So here we are at the Lihue International Airport, trusting that God will light our path step by step – life can be so exhilarating!
Imagine packing everything you are going to use to start your life in two backpacks, a Yeti Cooler, and my dear wife’s crafting bag.
Ha, its surreal. And we can all do it! We all have the same capacity to achieve whatever it is that we want.
What’s your story?
Heeva shows up as promised.
He and his wife are an absolute delight. They took us to a local restaurant called No.1 It’s like an asian take out/dine in place. They treated us with love and respect as if we were their own family. Heeva and his wife sat us down and began to explain how things work on Kauai. Incredibly useful,
practical and critical information. Which beaches to avoid, which ones to avoid at night, were the hospital is, the difference between locals spots and… not locals.. spots.
Basically he tells us how to avoid getting the crap beat out of us and robbed –see, told you it was useful. So as we talk they decide to take us to a locals beach. It would be the safest place for us to spend the night. They even drove with us to make sure we found the right beach! Thank you guys.
When we got to the secluded little stretch called Anahola, they made sure that we had everything that we needed, told us were the closest little store was just in case, and gave us all of their contact info.
Heeva says “People know my van, its a small island bro. They’ll see this sticker…” he gestures to the A-Town sticker on the windshield “…and they’ll leave you alone.”
Then Heeva looks at me sternly and says
“If anybody comes up and asks you what you are doing here, you just say ‘Heeva toll me come ova here.’ and they’ll leave you alone.”
Heeva was right. nobody ever bothered us –and I never did find out what that sticker meant.
The Ancient Secret to Certainty
So, how do you know? How do you know you are making the right choice? How do you know that it’s not going to blow up in your face?
I don’t know.
I guess you don’t know. Or maybe you pretend that everything will go fine; or maybe you think of the absolute worst that could possibly happen: state it out loud, then give it a probability. The odds are stacked in your favor that the worst possible thing won’t happen. That leaves you with the less than the worst. And you look at that and say, is that worth how good it could be?
When I woke up smiling and then looked over at her smiling… Hard to describe, my friend.
This is one that I pray to God that everyone gets to experience. Content, with nothing planned. Content in that moment that expands for eternity.
I can still feel it you know? I can stop, and close my eyes, and its right there waiting for me…
We take our time getting up, but it doesn’t take long. Even with all the rush before, the late nights, the travel -we are here.
And that simple fact gets us going at 7:30 in the morning with no alarm, only warm the rising sun. That hadn’t happened in a very long time. And now we were excited about life again.
Day 1 and all is right with the world.
I got Ches to stop for a sec so I could snap this picture. Just too cool. A month ago we were watching Hogs Gone Wild, and now me and my dream girl are living our dream in a VW Bus in Kauai. This moment alone would have been worth it all.
We start branching out little by little and learning the beaches, and basic general navigation, critical stuff like”where’s Wal-Mart?” and as we are kicking back a few brewskies with some new Canadian friends Dennis and Veronic (Veron-EEK) we are approached by this little black and white dog.
And its all over -we love her. Never in my life have I met a dog with so much stinkin’ personality. But I’m trying to be logical (I don’t know why I thought that would fly at this stage in the game, but..) I tell Ches we can’t keep her.
Honey, think about it we live in a van. Where is she going to live? we can’t keep her in the van all day.
Ches says ‘we won’t she’ll just hang out on the beach like regular and then we’ll take her with us when we go places.’
I can usually tell when there’s room to negotiate, and when there’s not.
Besides I can’t help but like the little thing too. We name her Kata, and our friendship begins. Can you see her there in the bottom of the picture? After one night where we went to sleep in the van and she waited patiently outside the door till morning -forget about it.
She slept with us from then on. And you couldn’t wake her up either. She’d put her little paws over her face and moan! Ha, a dog complaining about waking up, now that was a first. She’d even push Chesley and me if we took up too much of “her” space. Too cute.
Kata, in bed
and trying not to be disturbed.
She is a lot like a three-year old.
When sleep y let her sleep and when awake,
be ready for anything!
We wake up to a new little revelation about our puppy…she…has…fleas….
A problem quickly remedied -after all she is our dog now. We find the Wal-mart and then proceed to purchase every bit of Dog gear one would ever need. We make our way home to the beach where Ches bathes Kata in the public shower(we must have been quite a sight).
Incoming Text Blessings!
Right about now Rick (our blessing with the sailboat) sends us a text with this picture:
Rick wanted to make sure that Morgan sat perfectly on the trailer before she was moved. So he hired cranes to lift her gently and re-seat her! What a guy huh? Thank you so much Rick for putting your heart into that girl.
It was just another in a long line of blessings. Here we are having a wonderful day, not expecting anything and then CHING –blessings by text!
Now we had an image of what we had promised him for the first time, so we sent him this:
It’s not hard to imagine that it just feels good to be walking in what you dream of.
Now that thing you once tossed aside as pie-in-the-sky isn’t pretend anymore, now it’s pie-in-your-mouth!
Again and again, we wake up and can’t believe where we are. We are really doing it. We keep asking each other
“Baby, if some one told you two months ago that you are going to move to Kauai, what would you have said?”
We just couldn’t help but be proud of ourselves.
We decide that we are going to try a little local grub for breakfast. When we wake we make our way to the Menehune Store and pick up a little something the locals call Masubi.
This little plastic wrapped nugget was warm, and flying off the shelf when I walked in. I better have two of those I tell the lady with a smile.
“Masubi?” she asks. Yes ma’m, two masubi.
Now it’s not until I get excitedly back to the car that Ches asks me “What’d you get?”
Ha, I laugh ‘I don’t know!’
I toss Ches one of the warm little bricks -Breakfast!
As we unwrapped our breakfast –the smell of warm seaweed fills the van whoa!
This is not the breakfast smell I expected.
We look inside and everything is makes sense: Sticky Rice, Seaweed and -you guessed it- SPAM!
Instant Culture! Oh we are livin’ now!!!
This is the most offensive and somehow addictive concoction that I could imagine to this point.
And I am loving every briney, sticky, sot sauce & SPAM filled morsel -Baby, we live in Kauai!
Now we didn’t have a lot of cash so we needed to be responsible…So I bought a Fishing Spear!!
I know what you’re thinking,
but that thing looked way bigger underwater.
I’m living my castaway dream out on the beach with my little bride,
So our next few meals consist of what we can catch out of the ocean.
Opihi from the rocks,
Black and White Convict Tangs from the reef,
…and just once -an octopus.
Hippies, Hitch-Hikers and Canadians
Living as well as we are, we can’t help but share the love.
We start picking up any hitch hiker we can find, and they aren’t hard to find.
They all have the most unique and fascinating stories.
I highly suggest you consider pray about picking up the next one you see.
After all, it may be me!
These days Kauai seems to be the depot for loads of ex-hippies,
flower children, yogis, and young explorers with not a penny to their name. It’s like the sixties never really ended, it just cruised on over to the islands.
We things are good it’s not hard to believe your dream.
To keep them alive they have to be tested and strengthened.
And, it was about that time.
We start looking around the island more, we are getting familiar now with the lay of the land, and a respectful way to be there. There is this one bridge that is amazing, its right before you get to Anini Beach. Its one of the steepest climbs our little van has taken up to this point. We are cruising along and then out of nowhere…
CRRRRRRRRSSSSRRSSRRSR!!!!!! This crazy grinding noise explodes into the van -its loosing power -we are going up hill and I’m trying everything I know to get us to a safe place. Nothing is working. I can’t turn around and coast down hill -too much traffic. I can’t get on to the shoulder -there is no shoulder. I shift into another gear hoping that something will catch, anything. Nada. All I can do is sit here in this van as gravity slows our roll to a dead stop, and try to keep Ches calm. The traffic piles up behind us, people are honking and waving there hands to tell me to hurry up, and get out of the way. Chesley is anxious -what are we going to do!? And I am sitting behind the wheel of this thing. What the heck am I going to do? …..Blank.
I mean, I could get Ches to find some logs to put behind the wheels, cause my leg is going to start to cramp pretty soon, and the e-brake doesn’t work, and putting it into gear does nothing to stop it now.
Just then, the guy behind me starts inching closer…closer, closer.. I look back at him and he says ‘you want me to try and push you up the hill?’ Ha, yeah! (I mean, why the heck not, can’t be much worse than this.) Go for it! So he rolls on up and with a slight tap, we are movin’ my friend! Ches is not thrilled at this, but things are going well, she’ll get see. So he pushes us up onto this area that looks tailor-made for our little moment of crisis -and provision. We get out and put some logs under the tires of the van and camp out for a bit. Eventually a tow truck shows up and we tow it to -the beach. Ha, yep. Mechanics are closed Sunday, but they tow us to the beach, and will pick us up again the next day, and take us to the shop. Not exactly how I wanted to spend a couple hundred bucks, but hey, we are safe, sun is warm, grass, is green, and van is broke. We’ll figure it out.
Then van, well lets just say its going to spend about as much time in the shop as it does out of the shop, but we love it all the same. This time, we are picked up by a lady named Mary, a real doll that helped us out more than she probably knows. As she is taking us up around Princeville, she asks if we have a church yet. She tells us about the church that she goes to and that its the same one as Bethany Hamilton (Soul Surfer). I’m thinking, wow we are in Kauai. She tells us where the church is and encourages us to be there. We agree and hop out. We are walking around this shopping center that is selling all kinds of stuff to the wealthy tourists that stay at nearby condos. Ches is asking me how we are going to fix this. we have no idea whats wrong with the van, and if its the transmission we are looking at a grand -then what? how are we going to live? I’m trying to tell her to relax, that there is always a way. We’ll find a way to invest the money we have and make it grow. And inside i’m thinking “oh, crap. Now what? Great idea dave, buy a car without checking it out at all.. that’s really smart.”
I don’t like that voice. So I am trying to squish its little head like a bug, when I decide to grab a super green smoothy.
You know, a little brain juice -or coping mechanism, its one of those for sure.
And while at the juice bar a meet a guy named Gary Klos. Turns out he is there as a gift from one of his clients! They were so grateful for his services that they set him up with two weeks in Kauai at their Princeville condo! That’s a pretty sweet tip. I ask him what exactly he does and he tells me about his website Tradercoachgary.com He teaches people how to day trade. Now that’s cool. I told him a little of our situation, we don’t have a lot of cash, but would he be willing to train us if we give it to him. The guy is awesome. He won’t take the money we have. He says that this wouldn’t be the time for us to learn. You can’t go in with your last chips, lay it on red and leave having made a responsible decision -win or lose- you lose. Interesting. That has to be the first time a service provider has said no to providing me a service when he could have just taken the money, and blamed the loss on me. I like him even more.
As we talk he asks where we are staying, and at this point we have purchased a tent because our van was in the shop. He invites us to come stay at his condo while he’s there! He says,” you know if you guys want to come over and do laundry or something -bathe- whatever.” For the first time I thought… when did I bathe last? I guess the ocean doesn’t count. And this isn’t exactly a deserted island. I bet I stink. Gary said that he had plans the following day, and that we were more than welcome to join him. He was checking out Waimea Canyon in the morning, and he could even swing by and pick us up! Thank you, that sounds like a blast, lets do it.
He didn’t have to do any of this. But he did. There is something strange that happens when you just start walking in faith that things are going to work out. When Gary came along we needed to see the Lord’s favor, He knew that. And I pray that our friendship blessed Gary half as much as he blessed us. Bright and early we roll out together.
This is funny: We get in his car and he has all the windows up and the AC blasting. It feels great. Then almost as soon as we got in and shut the doors, his hand shoots over to the controls on his door -all the windows drop. It doesn’t take me too long to figure out why! Man we must reeek. Sorry Gary…
As the daylight begins to release its grasp on the skies, we make our way back to our campsite. And being the guy he is, Gary invites us again to head over to his place. We tell him that we’ve made a promise to Dennis and veronEEk, that we would meet them that nigh. Gary tell us to bring them too! Here is a guy I want to be more like. We agree, and that night with a couple of friends in tow, we hang out with a mentor at a condo either one of which we could not have afforded, discuss everything from cartoons to politics (strangely similar) and wash probably 5 loads of laundry between us. And I must briefly add, I take the most amazing shower that I had had in years. Wow. Thank you Gary Klos! May the heavens smile brightly upon you wherever you go.
We wake up in the morning, in this perfect stranger/perfect friends condo, I am again dazzled at the provision of the Lord. Here we are thinking things are crashing, when it was only God’s way of helping us make a friend, and to smell a little better too.
By the way, you know I had to ask Gary later, “Okay so the day we went to the canyon, I noticed that you rolled up with the AC blasting…Did we just stink?”
Gary looked at me and smiled “You saw the windows drop didn’t you?”
Ha! That’s fantastic. He’ll even hang out with stinky folk.
We hung out for the last week he was on Kauai. We did a lot that we would not have done if he hadn’t been there to motivate us.
Sometimes, you just shouldn’t read the signs.
They’ll scare you.
So here is one of the most responsible guys I know
jumping off a cliff…
I seem to remember my dad
asking me a question
a long time ago
to prepare me for this day.
That was a stage of many lessons for Ches and I.
We learned that an older car is very cool to look at.
Then we learned that its not always the most reliable to drive.
We also learn that it is much more difficult to sleep in a compact rental car.
Then we learn that Wal-Mart has some killer deals on tents.
We learn that living on the beach is very nice.
And we learn that a hot shower is very, very nice.
We learn that the Lord provides extravagantly for His children.
We learn that we can’t really anticipate how he’ll do it.
Then we learn that stranger does not mean danger.
And Church means chicken.
Yep, that’s what I said.
Remember Mary? The nice lady that went to Bethany Hamilton’s church and invited us? Well we did go. And went to just let go of all the pressure to figure things out. We went to return to Christ burdens that we could not hold anymore. We came to surrender to peace. At this point, she’s addicted. Chesley is doing lines any chance she can get. We stop in town she’s doing lines, we’re driving in the car -lines. The girl can’t get enough. Line after line of Craigslist. I have never seen somebody so immersed on research. She’s telling me about families that are on there asking for help, houses, and apartments she’s found, and job opportunities. We are out of cash and trying to keep our heads up -way up.
As that service reaches into our hearts with God’s word, and we worship the Lord for who he is, peace falls over us about our finances. Its always the same, we walk away we get stressed out, we come back and peace fills our hearts and minds, you think we’d learn. But, we don’t. And He knows it. And He still loves us, and He still leads us home. Imagine how good it feels to KNOW you are being looked after, that you are not alone, that you are being guided, protected, cherished, and refreshed in Love! Phew.. that’s good. And we are basking in this revelation of peace, when a gentleman approaches us.
“I haven’t seen you two here before, i’m Mike.” Chesley and I introduce ourselves, and Mike asks “Are you from around here?” An he gets to hear the whole story from Texas to church in Kauai. Then he asks a tougher question “So what are you doing here on the island?” And Ches and I look at each other, and now we can smile when we say not sure. Mike says ” Well, your from Texas right? Then you know Barbecue.” I’m thinking, yeah, that’s weird I started really getting into barbecue techniques just before we left Texas. So I tell him the little experience that I do have. And here’s where the Lord does it again! Mike says “I own the Chicken in a Barrel restaurants.” OH! yeah, I’ve seen those. “Well..” Mike says “we recently opened up a new store in Hanalei and we could use some help.”
And so we learn that Church means Chicken –in a Barrel that is.
If your ever decide to roll out to Kauai.
They serve the best smoked chicken you have ever tasted.
Now Chesley is a rare jewel in this world. She’s has more compassion for people than I have ever witnessed. She has a wisdom that wells up from deep within. And the gentleness to offer it in love. And as for determination; when she sets her mind to something -stand out of her way.
One day that stands out right now, was at the restaurant. We are in the middle of the day, and there’s just not much traffic. That means that food doesn’t get sold, tips don’t get made, and the business itself loses money each hour that it stays open. It happens, and this was just one of those days -I had simply accepted that sometimes this happens. I’m a little embarrassed by my lack of initiative after watching the example of my wife.
She starts hassling the managers (that also know these days just happen) and won’t let up until a solution can be found. At length Andrew, our manager and trainer, jokes “Hey, there’s a chicken suit in the back if you want to put it on. You can go out and direct people in!”
Oh the chicken suit. Imagine for a second the temperature in Hawaii. Now add to that the humidity of intermittent rains. The put your already sweating body into a rubber mask rubber feet, and a thick yellow fur… now dance.
Andrew said that the never used it because nobody would actually do it. Even if they tried it took little more than stepping out side to change their minds. “You’d freakin’ pass out.” he says.
Remember what I told you about Ches?
Once she commits –brother stand back.
So off she goes for over five hours in the blazing sun!!!
You go Girl!!
She is a powerfully focused individual, that is blessed with an unending stream of creativity, and dedication.
And it is her creativity that takes us into the next blessings, lessons the Lord had in store. And her dedication that at first embarrassed me for my laziness, then inspired me instead to follow her example.
Its still hard to write that.
I feel like I should be her leader, and the example she is proud of.
But you know what? The truth is: She blew my mind! -I’m proud of you babe 🙂
Okay so to give you a quick picture, we are living in a tent on the beach. We are working at Chicken in Barrel, we are getting of at midnight-ish, driving to the beach, taking cold showers in the dark with headlamps, and then waking up and repeating the the whole cycle. We are making $8 an hour and no matter how you slice it, between repairing the VW, and renting a car, its soon gone.
It doesn’t help that we are smoking, trying to quit, but still smoking. And it’s a costly Hawaiian habit. At the time and cigarettes ran $8-$11 per pack and we went through about one a day. We were literally burning through our savings. And after a taste how different people lived on the island, we also begin to think about something that is a little more home-like than our little van.
We keep looking but everything is crazy expensive. One ad even rented out a “place to put your tent” on their back porch for $500 per month!
Eee-I, Eee-I Oh
Ches finds this ad about a farm on Craigslist…
If we work for two 6hr days per week doing farm work, then we get a tent to stay in with water…and electricity…
and there is a community shower -with warm water.
I don’t know why at first I didn’t like the idea. Maybe just an introvert thing. But I set my heart against the farm thing early on.
So I just tell Ches “I’m not sure. I don’t like the idea of not being in control of who my neighbors are or what circle of people I have to spend a good part of my life.” Yeah, that was good. It made sense. I feel like I’ve got a solid footing in my position. Farming is probably not something we are going to do. Besides, I’m already trashed from working long hours at the restaurant.
But my little chicken dancer is not discouraged, she is taking her time. All she says is “How is that any different from staying on the beach?” And she’s right. She has a great point. Now what… I don’t even know why I don’t want to. Maybe just being lazy, maybe shy about meeting new people, who knows. So a couple of days passes, and I bring it up again “You’re right honey, its all part of the adventure; and if we don’t like it we can just leave.”
A few phone calls later and we have an appointment:
We know his name is Shree, and we have some directions on how to get there(turn by the fruit stand, and take the dirt road abck until it won’t go anymore. And as fate would have it we pick up our Hitchhiking Canadians ‘Akay’ to give them a ride to Hanalei. But we ask them if we can go to this interview first. They’re gracious and of course say ‘Akay’
Ha, check it out!
This was so much fun! Sometimes it felt like that scene in Dumb and Dumber when they pick up that whole family and pack’em in their van.
Ches loves these girls. They are French Canadian and always say in a little high pitched voice ‘akay!’ when you said anything to them. So funny every last one of them ‘akay!’
They had such sweet little voices, almost like a little squeaky toy, but in a good way. We become friends with them and they check in with us and tell us what they have been exploring since our last visit. You see the same folks over and over, so they all become super familiar. If you see a hitch hiker that you don’t recognize its a surprise.
Chesley had made the arrangements. And I was quasi-willing to give it a shot. I’m still not sure why I don’t want to do it, I’ve never done it before, so I have no reference point. And before we left Texas I was thinking about aquaponics. So what was my deal? I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter. One thing I could not deny was what an amazingly good sport she has been for my ideas. And how much faith she extended in me over and over. I owed it to her to at least try the farm out.
The directions were vague: Take the left by the fruit stand, then turn right and follow it to the end. I honestly didn’t mind vague, maybe I wouldn’t find it. I hope I’m just tired, because even I think I’m a jerk right now. We are laughing and singing, and enjoying our Jack Johnson CD, but just below I’m holding back my trepidation. I can tell that it isn’t my spirit telling me to steer clear. It’s another little winy voice. But, like I said, maybe I’m just tired.
Our first time down that dirt road was rough. I turn by the fruit stand, and I make my right turn. the road is pretty smooth so i start humming through the gears. Soon I’m doing probably 30-35 and the road turns into something the Mars Rover couldn’t survive. Pot holes and gouges and bumps that I’m not seeing until BAM! I thought our little Bus was going to shake to pieces. I slow the van way down, barely first gear. But man was it pretty -a tree tunnel that arched its branches across the deep red clay road. Just pretty. As I slow, the cloud of red dust catches up with our van, and swirls through the open windows and tucks itself into every nook and cranny. I ignore the grit in my teeth and focus on the shadows rolling along the windshield as we pass below the green canopy. I have to admit it is pretty. And seems quiet, and private –this could be nice. It will be interesting to see where this little red line leads. We continue to follow until there is nowhere left to go. This is the end. The path opens wide, and there are three steel gates: two closed, and one standing wide open. I guess this is it. We leave the van and our friends “It should be around 15 minutes, if it takes any longer, we’ll come back and let you know.”
We make our way beyond the gate. Where a large banana patch to the left is the first thing that catches your eyes. Its lush, green and dense. The narrow red road leads your eyes down further into the farm where a modest green farmhouse with white trim stands happily among the fresh young fields of life. There in front of the farmhouse are three chairs, and among the tender rows a kind looking Indian man walks toward us with a smile. He beckons us in, and as he makes his way closer I feel a little better -peaceful. We walk along the red clay path and meet him halfway down. Hello, I’m Shree. He greets us warmly and pronounces Chesley’s name correctly on the first try… Big brownie points from Ches. “Is it Chess-ley?” Yes, it is. Well done Mr. Shree.
He leads us over to the chairs that we saw outside his happy house. There under the shade of an Ironwood tree he says, “This is my office.” My mood starts to lift, I think I’m going to like this guy. He tells us all about the Farm, and spoke with great humility about himself, while esteeming the other workers on the farm as higher than himself. We learn that he is a pharmacist, that he bought this farm to fulfill the dream of his wife, and is learning as he goes. He asks us straightforwardly “Do you smoke pot?” We tell him no. He follows up by saying “I don’t mind if you do, just do not do it on the property. This is a no drugs, no drama farm, the other farms have both. If you are looking for that, you won’t find it here.” He won’t have to worry about us. I can tell Ches is excited, she’s smiling from ear to ear. And I am unexpectedly at peace. I’m liking the idea more, and more.In the background I can hear the hypnotic rhythm of the ocean waves crashing against the shore. We talk for half an hour, it is mesmerizing. At length I remember that we left our friends in the van this whole time! “umm.. I’m sorry, I totally forgot we left our friends in the van.” Shree instantly changed his focus to making sure they were taken care of. He told them about the beach that I had been listening to, and that they were welcome to walk the path to see it. “It’s where they filmed Gilligan’s Island..”
What? Gilligan? How cool is that? He sent them on their way, and of course they said ‘Akay!’ Shree then settles back into his chair and
tells us that “There is only one real rule here: Respect. You will receive respect from me, and I will expect it from you.” We agree. These sound like great rules, and it seems like we lucked into the only farm I’d heard of that says no to drugs. Way to go Shree. He asks us if we have seen where we will be living, we have not. Would you like to see? “Yes please.” With the energy of a twenty year old he springs from his chair and leads us down the garden path. Along the way he
Day 1 on the farm: Working Interview
So, today is the day. We get there early to ensure that we make a good impression. They split Ches and I up. Ches leaves to work with a girl named Joy, and I am sent to work with Reggie. Here we go… So I look around the farm and all the guys are hauling wheelbarrows full of dirt. Now, if you look at my pictures you can tell that at that stage in life I wasn’t exactly lean, fit and ready for action. But, I figure hey, I can do this. As I follow Reggie down the green mile toward the wheel barrows he asks “So, do you have any experience farming?” I do not. He says “Oh, well then why don’t you…” he looks over and sees a stack of cardboard boxes “…pull the tape off those boxes.” What -that’s it? Pull the tape off these boxes? Oh, yes I can handle this. And as I stand there…in one place…pulling tape off of boxes… I start to see these guys busting their humps to get wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of compost spread. This is not good. I am blowing it. The sun is only just starting to rise, I have been working for ten minutes -and I may cost us this opportunity.
One of the guys introduces himself as Jack. And Jack has some advice: “If you want to get on with this farm, you have to bust your butt. People need to see you making stuff happen.” I don’t know much about farming, but I know a little about group dynamics. If one guy (especially a new guy) is getting the cake job, while everyone else is killing themselves… All respect disappears for that guy. It doesn’t matter whether or not a superior told him to do so. Now what? I am faced with the necessity to ask my new supervisor to put me on something more challenging. What if he takes offense? Or believes that I am undermining his decisions already? Not good. But He’s one guy. And if I keep yanking tape off boxes, I may as well pack it up now, because I just tattooed ‘weak link’ on my forehead. “Hey Reggie, I feel like crap for doing such light duty while everyone else is busting their rear.” He chuckles a little to himself “You want to do something harder?” And all i can do is nod “Yeah, you bet.” He smiles, and gestures for me to follow him. …I’m gonna die.
“You want something hard, here you can spread the compost on these new rows.” Reggie says.
-Now that didnt’ really mean anything to me. New row, old row. No matter -Here I am send me. The thing about new rows is the freshly tilled earth. It’s super fine dust that you sink in with each step. And the wheel barrow is full of compost 80lbs or so, and the wheels are sinking into the valleys between the rows, the front of the wheelbarrow, that little metal lip before the wheel, well that little beauty plows the fine dust into a drift that you have to drag with you down the row. Your feet get no traction so each step takes three. You stand in front of this field and know how many hundred trips it will take you to complete it. And that with each round trip you will have less energy to continue. …and I forgot to bring water. Four hours…I’m gonna die.
I am regretting all the workouts that I should have done and didn’t I feel so unprepared for this kind of work that its laughable. I can’t help but think there’s little more than a chuckle that I’m going to be able to give these guys. But, I’m going to try. I take my Wheelbarrow to the compost and grab the shovel. I try and shut down my brain and just do it. Start. Go!
It takes me twice as long to fill the thing up, as the guy next to me. And what’s worse, once it’s full I grab ahold of the old oak handles and lift… Oh no. I don’t think I am going to be able to walk with this thing. TRY! I hold tight and begin to walk to the rows along the packed path, and as soon as I hit the soft tilled clay, the brakes clamp down. There is no way I am going to be able to move this even a foot further… The sun is higher now and I can feel the sweat starting just to roll down my back. Think quick: one shovel at a time, I’ll just start at the near end and empty the thing. The lighter it gets the easier to push it and I’ll get down the row. I go back and grab a shovel, and begin to spread it one shovel full at a time. It’s slowly starting to work, and I figure next time I just won’t fill it as full so I can make it through the rows. At length my wheel barrow is empty and I hustle back to the dark hill of compost to reload. As I’m shoveling my compost in to my Wheelbarrow, one of the other guys comes over and says “Hey man, try it like this.” They lay the wheelbarrow sideways along the slope of the hill and scrape the compost in sideways. It fills much faster, and with less effort. “Hey thank you!” This is good someone helping is a good sign that they want me to succeed. The only problem is he filled all the way again.. how am I going to manage this? I feel like a total wus right now, but I just can’t do it. Then another guys sees me struggling “You need a hand?” What am I supposed to say to that? Yes? Yes please stop your work so you can do mine, and then tell me what a big help I am. “You got any advice?” I smile. He does”try this David, turn around and grab the handles. Hold it so the wheelbarrow is behind you and you can pull it. Should be easier.”
I spin around and just as I lift it off the ground I almost loose it. But I feel like I just asked this guys advice, how rude if I say ‘naw that’s not easier’ I have been farming for less than an hour, and already distracted three otherwise productive team members. So keep trying. I get it to move a little, and a little more, and it feels so awkward! I can’t see what I’m trying to keep balanced, I don’t have enough experience and muscle memory to know intuitively whats going on back there, but I have to keep going! I make it all the way to the edge of the row -and loose the whole thing. I dragged the wheel over a pipe right near the front of the row, I dumped it smooth out all over the ground -perfect. I salvage as much as I can of the compost and move it out and along the rows with all the speed and technique of a blind mole. This is just not going to work! I keep moving. I get a few decent wheel barrow loads down with out too much incident. I just keep having to stop to catch my breath -I gotta quit smoking. The sun is beating my back and neck, my mouth is dry and full of grit. Its all I can do to keep moving, little by little. I am ashamed of how poorly I have honored my health. I feel like I imagine an 85 year old man would feel if you told him to trek wheelbarrows full of compost. I can’t catch my breath, my heart is racing, I may pass out right here.
For the first time I look back down at my watch…20minutes to go! I am going to get some water. And it finally hits me: Chesley hasn’t had anything to drink either! I head up to the harvest tent to get some water in an old water bottle. And ask where is Chesley. The guy I talk to tells me around where to find her, and I stumble in that direction with a mud covered old water bottle. I feel so light headed, I may fall… No, David keep going. A little more, You made it.
You’re done….you didn’t die.
To tired to be proud, I just want to go. And I round the corner and hear laughter. Its the sweet laughter of my wife… And there she is, sitting by a water mister laughing with her new friend, and more in love than ever with the idea of farming. I catch her eye and she pops from the ground as if spring-loaded. “Hey baby! What are youdoing?” Its all I can do to tell her it’s time to go by pointing at my watch. She looks confused. She lifts her pretty wrist and looks at her watch “No babe, we still have another hour to go.” …..No, it can’t be. I shake my head an look at my own digital tyrant. She says “Yeah look babe, we started at nine, and we get off at one.” I shake my head more, but it is becoming more clear she’s right. …I am going to die.
I turned around and made my way back to the yoke. The last hour I didn’t even look at my evil watch. It had already deceived me once, and never made me feel any better for looking. I knew that in the end Chesley would come and grab me. She would let me know that we were done. I set my ambition on keeping my focus on the next row, the next load, and the next shovel. One step, two step -repeat. I am convinced that last hour is still going on somewhere. There is an alternate dimension where it never ends. I know, because I was once trapped inside. I do not know how I escaped, so I cannot teach you the secret. But if for some reason in heaven above or the earth below, you happen to get trapped in that never ending hour, remember: Set your ambition on the next row, the next load, the next shovel. One step, two step -repeat.
And then at some point
-while in my trance- up walks Jeff Hendrickson. He’s the kind of guy that you just love.
You’ve got no real choice in the matter,
it justhappens that way.
He says to me “Dave, c’mon bro, its the cruzin’ hour. Smoke?”
-Yes I will.
and maybe I won’t quit smoking after all.
You know I prayed a lot that day.
Maybe not whole sentences, but I was definitely calling out for help.
And God knew just how far I could go. It ended up being a lot further than I could have ever imagined.
There is only one main road that goes almost around the island, but not quite. It’s like a big horse shoe. So, one day Ches and I are debating the lyrics to Hotel California, and I see this biker and ask him “Hey bro, you know Hotel California?” He does. “cool, help us out does it say ‘warm smell of fajitas, rising up through the air?”
He’s a fun guy, we talk for a little bit and he tells us about his motorcycle club, and I quote: “If we’re not going that way..” he point left “..we’re going that way.” points right. That’s awesome. I love it, what else could you possibly expect? I’m thrilled to be here.