Tuesday, October 11, 2011
One weekend in February on the way to Kona, my husband and I came upon a spontaneous decision..."Let's convert our BIG house into a vacation rental" in time for the Merrie Monarch Festival to follow in March, 2011. We talked it over and decided that we would not do a bed and breakfast but rather just a rental for vacations, meetings, gatherings, and retreats. "WooooHoooo!!" we can do it we exclaimed. And so our trip to Kona became a shopping trip. At Costco, we loaded the truck with pillows, sheet sets, and numerous other things. Then the hard work began. Suddenly, everything in the house looked so old, so dirty, so worn. Paint the house...inside and out. A huge task since a complete paint job had not taken place since 1986. A huge task since the house is three stories tall with cathedral ceilings in the living room. A huge task my husband and I knew better than to tackle. Okay...get a painter. Know a parent in Mountain View who has a painting business AND he is Portuguese so we knew that he would do a neat job!! OMG...the metal roofing suddenly got so rusted!! When did that transformation happen? This is another job we were not going to do so we got a nonJapanese roofer who chose a Japanese name for his business. Great! We've had work done by him and we knew that his crew would do a great job!! Okay!! My husband suggested that we replace the floor covering. "Nah," I pooh-poohed. "No need!" That is until I went up to the house and REALLY looked at the flooring. The aging linoleum flooring was cracked and curling around the edges. The carpet, though still thick and luxurious, was faded and stained. "Okay, okay," I finally conceded, "we need to change the flooring." We drove to Kona to a Big Box Store with lowe prices only to find that the salespeople weren't really into helping us nor were they willing to sell their stuff to a couple of scruffy looking people in shorts, t-shirts, and rubber slippers. We were devastated since we had such good service from them the last time we had work done. Okay...back to Hilo and to another Big Box Store. We picked out the flooring. When it was time to schedule the flooring, the store said they had assigned expediters. Don't believe them. My husband became the expediter, calling back and forth between the installers to schedule the carpet and vinyl flooring. And wouldn't you know it...the installers scuffed the newly painted walls to the tune of $200 to repair. We called the Big Box Store which supposedly has TRAINed employees and to this day have not resolved the problem. This is only a six week wait. So much for this store!! Now our newly painted walls look so bare!! The pictures I had barely fit the quota. We are not going back to the local framers who charged us hundreds of dollars to frame a signed poster...don't care if it was Pegge Hopper or Jane Chao or Phan Nguyen Barker. So I went online and found a poster website what was willing to frame the images for such a low price. I was looking for images with coconut trees and as things happen...I found an image of a coconut grove from my hometown of Lahaina from 1910. I knew that that image was waiting for me!! I can see my beloved West Maui Mountains...I can be home without leaving Volcano. Scrounging around, I found images in the most unlikely places...Kilauea Kreations - I found native bird pictures and postcards which I framed using Wallymart frames. I went to a local gallery and found photos of more native birds...hurray...back to Wallymart for more frames. In my quest for signs to remind people to remove their shoes, more bizarre places to find things. Don't go to the places on Kamehameha Avenue which charge $32 for a tile sign. Walmart had little tiles for $13. KTA supermarket had big tiles for $13. But Dolly's Handcrafts near the Hilo Farmers' market had a slew of different shoe signs including ones made with carved bamboo. Well, I am surprised. I learned that one should shop around to find the thing that is really needed. So eight months and tens of thousands of dollars later, our Maluhia Guest House is ready for guests. We learned a ton of stuff and in a weird sort of way, we enjoyed the process. We hope that this facility will be a place that brings joys to others. I am certain when our bills are paid, it will bring joy to us too.