Humidity. Yes, I've admitted here before that I am a complete and total wuss when it comes to weather extremes. And my hometown certainly spoiled me in this regard -- rarely too cold, and rarely too hot. And little to no humidity.
But, oy, the humidity in Hawaii in late summer is a killer. Oh sure, it reminds me of the many wonderful memories I have of visiting my extended family on the East Coast during the summers. Of splashing in Montague, Massachusetts streams in August. Of July on the lake in Whiting, New Jersey. Of chasing after the ice cream truck in Brentwood, Long Island.
But the buzz of those sweet memories wears off quickly, especially when I crash face first into the reality that we don't have any air conditioning to escape to in our house. Yet.
The post-Costco experience. The things I love about my Costco are plentiful: the abundant Asian/Pacific Islander food staples that many of the folks who live here eat regularly; the friendly and professional pharmacy staff (truly hard to find); the amazingly fresh fish, sushi and sashimi; and the fact that it never seems to be crowded in the store or the parking lot -- even on a Saturday.
What I'm still struggling to get used to, though, is that they don't bag or box up any of your purchases for you at the check-out counter. This means that if you buy 25 different items (and that's a conservative estimate for me most visits), you leave with 25 different containers to transfer to your car and then transfer again to your kitchen. This can be tricky when there are small, slippery items and you're traveling with small, slippery children.
The price of milk. It's $5.00 a gallon here, even at Costco. It can be more at the regular grocery store, and you don't even want to know what 7-11 is charging. Liquid gold.
No curbside recycling. Despite the fact that we're living on a small island with extremely limited resources and space, Honolulu is only this month beginning to offer residents (in two test neighborhoods) a pilot curbside recycling program. What this means is that our bottles and cans and papers stack up (and the fucking sugar ants always find the pile) until one of us can make a run to the nearby recycling center and hurl the whole ant-infested mess into the bins.
Fucking sugar ants. Sure, they're about a third of the size of the standard-issue picnic ants I'm used to from the mainland. Hell, I even called them cute for the first couple weeks here. Now? Now they are no longer cute. I curse them, loudly, as I battle their persistent streams through the kitchen and bathroom daily. They dance and frolic on the totally ineffective ant bait stations I set out for them. I loathe them.
Mullets. And rat tails. On kids. 'Nough said.
Fall Break. As the kids these days always say: WTF? Yes, you've heard of Spring Break, that much-needed week off in springtime when the weather's just starting to warm up again and the kids are thrilled to have a quick week off. Here in Hawaii, though, in addition to Spring Break, Winter Break, and Summer vacation, they have what's called "Fall Break" -- a full week plus one day off from school during the first week of October.
Really, folks, we don't need this. We were just beginning to hit our stride on the whole school routine thing. And this? This is really just a bummer. Couldn't we extend summer by another week (school started on August 1st!) and just skip this strange middle part, hmmmm?
We are so many hours behind the rest of you. By the time I have a free moment to pick up the phone and make a phone call to a friend or someone in my family, it's almost always too late in the day to do so. Since Hawaii doesn't participate in daylight savings, this will get slightly better in late October, when the difference between HI and say, NJ or NC will only be five hours and the difference between HI and CA will only be two hours.
But for now I've got to force myself to get on the phone in the mornings, typically my worst time of day, to chat with friends and family. But after I do I'm glad I did, as it soon becomes a highlight of my day.
EDITED TO ADD:
This cartoon strip, sent to me from Hotel Waikiki (thanks!), says it all.