Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rubbish and other stuffs

Who says chickens can't fly? Here's Chuck, a good 10 feet up. He flaps with furious abandon to heist himself that high. It's feathered flurry at it's finest.

Yesterday was an unplanned road trip. They had an opening at the dentist in Waimea, so I went to get the pearly whites scraped and polished. Afterward, I stopped for lunch at the Parker Ranch mall, a place called Las Casuelas. Their food is good, but the seating is in a collection of tables shared by all the vendors, like any food court. While the food was cooking, I went to stake out a table, sat and read my book while I waited. I looked up after a few minutes to see the woman who had taken my order waving to me that my meal was ready. Hmmm.... What to do? If I carry my book with me to keep it secure while retrieving my food, the table will be empty and someone might snag it. If I leave my book on the table, someone might snatch the book. Then it hit me. What was I thinking? This is America. Better, this is Hawaii. Nobody is going to steal a book. I left it to save my table, feeling so confident that I took the time to load up on condiments from the salsa. Sure enough, there was the book when I returned, open to the page I'd been reading. Perfect.
Costco is just another half hour from Waimea, so added the extra mileage to my jaunt to pick up some goodies. They sell plump game hens, bigger than traditional Cornish hens but smaller than your garden variety roaster or fryer. I picked up two. So there I am am in the checkout line, jawing with the friendly woman who's doing the requisite Costco thing, whereby she lifts stuff from the basket I was pushing into another basket. She lifts one of the frozen birds looks it over.
"Wow," she says. "These are big for Cornish game hens. You usually see those tiny ones."
"Yeah," I say. These are perfect for the spit."
"Do they taste like chicken?" She asks. I'm a bit flummoxed by her question. The man checking the items through at the register stops. I can see from the corner of my eye he's taken aback too and wondering what I'll say.
"They are chicken," I say. He bursts out laughing.
"They are?" She asks. I always thought they were something else. That's why I've never bought one.
"Yep," he says. "Hens."
"Well I thought they might be some kind of rooster or something," she says. Roosters are chickens too, of course, but I this slide.
"Usually people don't eat roosters. They aren't as good as the hens," I say instead, to which the young checker man nods his approval.
"But people eat tom turkeys," she says. "They always advertise them as 'young tom turkeys,' don't they?"
"I guess they do," I say, holding back on my desire to point out the obvious, that turkeys are not chickens.

We always wait to roast chicken until after Chuck has gone to bed for the evening.

While I was away yesterday, Ron had the fun of schlepping the trash. We take turns, but it's been me lately just because I'm the one who's always on my way somewhere, so he has not had the privilege since they implemented the new, restricted hours at the dumps. Here on Hawaii Island, we cart our rubbish in the trunks of our cars or truck beds or trailers or whatevahs to sites called transfer stations. There, giant bins have been positioned below ramps for our relative convenience. Transfer stations are positioned all around the island so no matter which way you're going, there's one on your way. It's always been reasonably convenient if not the most fun of chores. No more. They've cut the transfer station hours of operation by more than half, changing them several times within the first few weeks just to be sure,nobody could memorize the schedule. Now, they promise the hours are set. They did all this, they say, to save money. Small stations once open seven days a weeks are now down to three. The days alternate between stations, so while Glenwood is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Volcano is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Or something. Maybe that's reversed. Like I said, they've changed it more than once. It's hard to get a bead on a moving target. The hours on the days they are open are shorter, too. Most days, they don't open until 9 a.m., which is after most people arrive to work. They close at 4 p.m., long before people return home. You can go on your lunch break, of course, but that means leaving your garbage in the trunk of your hot car all morning. Not good. Now, twice as many people visit a single location on any given day. This provides not only the fun of dropping off your own trash, but the thrill of waiting in line to do so. When it's finally your turn, the bin is full past the brim with the overage of bags strewn everywhere. It's a huge, stinky mess. We're also seeing more bags of garbage left on the roadside. That always makes a nice impression on visitors to paradise. To prevent people from dropping rubbish off on days when the transfer stations are closed, the county has erected gates and posted guards to turn people away. They're nice gates, a few grand each to install, I'd guess. I'm sure they pay the guards, too. Then there's the extra cleanup required around the dump site. So it's unclear, not just to me but to other patrons of the transfer stations I see shaking their heads and grumbling in disgust, just how this is saving money.

On the bright side, I took a side trip down to Kapoho the other day, just a few minutes to shoot some pictures. Here they are. A hui hou. Aloha!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Life plodding along

Lucy had laser surgery on her cancerous schnoz last week. She's now sporting a pinched, Michael Jackson look, but it's healing nicely and with luck, no more soreness or bleeding. Poor baby girl! She was furious with me for awhile there and still a bit miffed for the antibiotics I squirt down her throat twice a day. Can't say that I blame her. I'd put sunscreen on her nose to protect it for her, but she'll just lick it off. I suppose it's fortunate then that it's so rarely sunny here. When it is, however, the sun is intense. That was our big trauma last week; a kitty nose job.

Our water supply is holding out, despite the lack of rain these past days. It's been dry, yet the vog has stayed away, so it's been a nice stretch. I can sit on the spider infested lanai to write without getting wet or asphyxiating from the toxic air. I've grown accustomed to the company of the arachnids. There's just no defeating them and I appreciate the fact that they are such diligent workers, undeterred in their web building. They do a fine job keeping the beetles and gnats and mosquitos at bay, even if they do insist on decorating the house like Halloween year round. Watching them spin webs is fascinating. Mostly, it's just nice to be able to be outside and breath, with or without the eight-legged gnarlies.

The Vikings are crushing the Cowboys right now. Go Bret!

A hui hou. Aloha!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Brain fart

Sometimes, there's nothing new to write. I do have a new song though, sort of. It's sung to the tune of an old 70s melody. Remember Love Is In The Air? Well here's my version:

Vog is in the air
everywhere I look around,
vog is in the air
spewing right out of the ground,
and I don't know if it's gonna kill me,
feel my esophagus swell,
eyes burning bloodshot and tearing
and you know I'm not keen on the smell......

Today was mostly clear, the gas ebbing and flowing, it's here, it's clear, it's here, it's clear. The cilantro growing in the garden is fried. Beans too, but only the leaves. Basil? Not sure. It seems OK... The trade winds are M.I.A. and it hasn't rained in almost two weeks. Now, you'd think I'd be ecstatic about that and I am, really (cough, hack), but now, in addition to being subjected to Pele's halitosis, we have to conserve water as our tank is down to half full. If it's yellow, let it mellow.... you know the drill. No laundry, short showers. Sigh. Wine. That's the ticket.

A hui hou. Aloha!