It is a beyond wonderful early evening here in Hilo, my new hometown...there are a few lazy clouds drifting along in the sky, the birds are singing merrily, there is a faint breeze coming in through the open sliders to the lanai...and the septic tank man will be here in just a few minutes to pump out all the...well...whatever it is that gets pumped out of septic tanks. LOL I am eagerly anticipating this, not because of what I am anticipating will be an overload of ripeness on my olfactory senses, but because it is another step in my, (well, our) quest and experiences as homeowners. First up, here is your little Hawaiian, (Big Island) factoid/trivia for the day. Statistics say that 75% of people on the Big Island have cesspools and the rest of us have septic systems. City sewage? Nah...forget about it. I remember cesspools well, (no pun intended) as we had one for a little while in our home in Newton...until we paid to be connected to city sewage. (I distictly remember when I was young, I always had a fear in the backyard that I would be shagging baseballs and while channeling my inner Fred Lynn, I would fall into and disappear for an eternity into the great maw that I believed the cesspool possessed. Well, since then, I have always lived in places with connections to a sewar system...until now. So, besides learning exactly how a septic system works, I learned that the previous occupant had not emptied out the septic system since they had moved in...2001. To find out why this is a little worrisome, please take a moment to watch this film...don't worry...it's a very pleasant cartoon:
Anyway, given this lapse in maintenance, I thought it a good idea to have someone come over and take care of the situation, before we are presented with a surprise. As it is with most things around here, the septic dude, (as I will call him) answered a phone call on a Sunday, on what is obviously his cell phone, and was so eager to make me happy that he offered to come out at that very hour to pump us out. When I asked him the guidelines for when a tank should be pumped, and is there any way to just see if there was a way to measure the fullness of the tank, he told me that if I wanted to , I could take of the cap in the front yard, and take a stick or pole and put it down...I immediately stopped him and made an appointment for today. He was very accommodating.
So, tomorrow will be my birthday. I do not bring this up to solicit either pressies or Facebook wishes. I bring this up because I have been fortunate to live through some interesting times in my 45 years, and it got me to thinking that I have been alive to see many great events, people and developments. Just as a for instance, I was present when this invention came to prominence:
Yes, the ATM machine. While it has been around since before I was born, the modern one came about in 1972. I got my first debit card in the 80's, and like many other, I have asked myself, (knowing the answer) "what did we do before the ATM machine?" We made sure we had enough cash for the weekend, that's what we did...we cashed our paychecks or withdrew what we though we needed...and if we ran out? Tough noogies!!
I was alive when this next item was developed and before too long became so common, that to not have one was akin to not having indoor plumbing:
Yes...the laptop computer... (and home computer as well). I did not have one in 1985 when I was in college, and what did we do? We typed our papers and wrote letters. Email...what was that? We knew how to use a thesaurus and actually had dictionaries made out of paper. Oh, those were the days.
What else? Well, I do not remember this one, but I was here on this marble:
Man traveled to the moon...and I was in high school in science class watching the first space shuttle take off to give my generation their own heroes for space exploration. Sadly I also remember where I was when Challenger exploded...in college, coming back from classes for the day. We did not leave the TV for a day...it was devastating.
I have seen natural disasters, and unnatural disasters. (The 1986 World Series comes to mind for the later...oh to be a Red Sox fan is a hard road to hoe sometimes). I have seen the inauguration of our first African-american president...and fully expect to be here in four years when we elect our first female president. (I'm talking to you Hillary) Great leaders in civil rights and human rights have risen and in some cases have been cut down long before it was their time to leave us. I have worn a mullet, a Members Only jacket, 501 Jeans, Crocs, aloha shirts and some other things I would rather forget.
I was alive for Woodstock, the US Festival and LiveAid...I saw Dreamgirls before it went to Broadway...WITH Jennifer Holiday...I have seen Bruce Springsteen a number of times, and regretfully bought a ticket to see this:
For those who were not alive, no explanation will do...for those who saw it, no explanation is necessary. THE worst...
I have been privileged and blessed to make a living at what I love to do, and to make wonderful connections and friendships with people from all around the world. I was given the great gift of the family I was born into. I grew up with a wonderful brother and two parents who never expected any more of me then to do my best and to be good to others. I have lost one of those parents many years before I should have, and am blessed to still have the love, wisdom and counsel available to me from the other. And lastly, I have been amazingly fortunate to have in my life the one person who understands and loves me unconditionally and returns all the love I send her way back to me tenfold.
I could really list hundreds of things that have happened in my lifetime, but I really do not have the space nor the time to list all of them...sufficed to say, I am grateful to whomever or whatever it is that puts us here in the first place and that I have been here for such interesting times.
So what is today's "Thing I Love About Living in Hawai'i"? It is this:
Yes, it is poi. On the ship, one of the questions we ask of people is if they have ever tried poi. Most everyone who has ever been to Hawai'i has, and I would say conservatively 95% say they hate it. Fair enough. But it is a well loved thing here in the islands, and having lau lau without it is a crime...and of course, for me, a nice juicy pulehu steak is not complete without some of this starchy goodness. I'm not sure if you have ever seen poi being pounded, but I'll leave you with this:
Have a wonderful day everyone...a hui hou!!