Posts Tagged With: housing

So far…

Okay, so my last few posts have been RIDICULOUSLY wordy. Sorry. As I said in my last post, at this point we have been in this hotel room for 54 days…Now, I’m sure you are wondering “What?! you’re in HI! Go kayaking, swimming, mountain climbing…!” But see, here’s the thing. All of that costs $$$. We are NOT on vacation, and until we get reimbursed for the PCS, every expense piles up. Every 10 days, another $1100 goes on our CC for the room. When you can’t bake, you spend a lot on microwave food. Blech. Or restaurants. Or pizza. (The only place that delivers to the island is Dominoes, FYI) All of these are pretty pricey options. Since our hotel room has a kitchenette, you only actually get HALF of your per diem– so for us, that’s $60 a day for food. It sounds like a lot, and on the mainland it would be. But here? Not so much. A trip to Teddys Bigger Burger (think 5 Guys) for 2 of us (2 fountain drinks, 2 burgers, 2 fries) = $26.95 Chili’s (mango tea, strawberry lemonade (no alcohol!), 2 Mexi-bowl salads and some guac = $43.51 (I have a stack of reciepts here that I’m looking at). So if we get $60 a day to eat– just by going to Chili’s and a burger joint- we’ve already gone over budget into the land of un-reimbursed spending. My advice? If you are on Ford Island? Head over to the Mini-NEX (I know – I warned against that earlier but this is the exception!) over across from the Air field and museum. Inside is a Subway. Go to Subway. It’s healthy, it’s (comparatively) cheaper and healthier as options go.  And it will keep you within budget. This will become important.

Now- as to activity time. Part of this is me. I feel guilty leaving my poor dogs in the hotel room for extended periods of time. I also dislike the idea of driving to a beach, looking for parking, cooking in the sun, and then riding all the way back to the lodge soggy or sandy or burnt. Ugh.. I’m actually just waiting until we are in our house. The reason for this? We signed the lease for a cute little house 9 houses up from the beach!! Yup! We are going to be living within walking distance to a beach! Which means: no parking issues, no staying any longer than you feel like it, no sitting in traffic coming and going… I can simply grab my towel, sunscreen, waterbottle and book and walk down the street. Best of all?? (Because, yeah, it gets better!!!) ‘Our’ beach is dog-friendly!! Say whaaaat?! YES. You read right. We scored a beach bungalow with a dog-friendly beach. THIS is why we have been in the hotel so long. We decided it was worth the wait.

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Originally, we had looked at a townhouse in the same area. Well, we went to actually LOOK at it (the day we were going to sign the lease!) and it wasn’t sitting well with me. The house was great, and spacious by Hawaiian standards–but it was in a cul de sac that felt REALLY crowded to me (multiple car households?), and the fenced in yard (reason we chose the place!) was 110% burrs. Yeah. The same burrs that chased us out of the hotel dog-park.  It was unusable. So, on a whim, we went back to the leasing office and I asked the agent “Okay, it looks great,buuuuut…. do you by ANY chance at all have one of the single houses available for us to see?”  (When you have dogs- shared walls are less than ideal. If we took the townhouse, we were going to share a wall, but thought the yard made it worthwhile. Upon sight, we decided it wasn’t.) He just so happened to know of a house coming up… The lady was in her driveway (she was moving out that day!). He gave us the keys to a similar property (same floorplan, but attached unit) so we could ‘see’ the inside. We loved the layout… SO we scouted out the location that was going to be available: close to dog park, close to beach, close to office… Went back to the office and signed for that house. Only catch? It was going to need renovating… and wouldnt’ be available until June…  We decided it was worth the wait. So here we sit. Still inthe hotel. But we move into the Beach Bungalow on Saturday!!! Only catch– household goods, although already on island (here since April) can’tbe delivered until June 20. FFS…  So we will be camping in our house for 2 weeks. Near the beach. I think we’ll struggle through it somehow… 😉

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Potential New Digs…

House hunting can be tough. House hunting in an area or place you’ve never been is even tougher. House hunting when you have no place to go back to (you’re fresh off a plane with nowhere to be…!) is quite possibly the most intimidating thing ever… And most exciting.  Since we found out we were going, I’ve been looking at rentals (Privately owned, complexes, base housing…) and found a few things. People love dogs– except to rent to. (Fact: HI is dog friendly, but has very few rental properties that are!) Proximity to base is relative, due to positively insane island traffic– especially near the bases.  So, you re-assess your standard priorities list. For us, it goes in this order: Safe location, dog friendly, comfortably sized, and proximity to base (since he’s the only one with a job to get to, so far!).  Obviously, there are things that are non-negotiable; for us, safety and dog-friendly are those things.

At this point we feel like we’ve narrowed it down to one strong contender. Their 6 minute youtube commercial was a bit hokey (okay, a LOT), but talking to friends on the island- we’re hearing consistently good things about this joint! We’ve spoken to the rental office, and so far every person we’ve spoken to has been very helpful and answered all of our questions. Good signs. For us, the goal was to get the most ‘bang for our buck’ (or BAH). If we go for base housing, we’re close to his work– BUT– we lose our entire BAH to a place that is smaller and no longer covers utilities (previously, this was the dangling carrot for .mil folk). If you (we) go off base, the options open up the further you get from base. However, the rents are still high, utilities are insane, and the thought of the morning commute— well, it makes it obvious why folks live on base.

Us? Well, like I said– we’re eyeballing this place. The Waterfront at Pu’uloa is in a beautiful location (ironically- it used to be military housing!), sizes seem good, pet friendly, and yes, the commute will likely suck. However, if you start each day on the beach and end each day on the beach– can you really complain about where you live? That commute in the middle? Yeah. It’s on a tropical island. We are still living a bucket list… 😉 Stressful as the search may be, and the actual logistics of moving– we are still on track for that ‘happily ever after’ and that’s good enough for me.

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