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Re: Hi, I'm Nords. *(All together now: *"Hi, Nords
Old 02-20-2004, 05:14 AM   #1
 
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords. *(All together now: *"Hi, Nords

Quote:
so I retired the minute that I was eligible (June 2002). I haven't had a haircut since then.
I know what you mean here. I was in the Navy from 71-75 and I did not get a haircut until 1977!

I was an Electronics Tech (training devices for Navy Pilots) Flight trainers etc.

I have not been in an office for 2 1/2 years now. "They" say if you leave work for 18 months - "you'll never go back".
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Re:  Living Hawaiian style
Old 02-20-2004, 06:01 PM   #2
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Re:  Living Hawaiian style

Well, Ronin, I've definitely gotten into the North Shore surf-- into my nose, my ears, my shorts, and finally into those old coral heads around the shorebreak. I'm going to be quite happy piddling around at White Plains before I try another North Shore winter. Maybe a shorter board, too. I should go out every day but I barely make it twice a week. ("But waddya DO all day?!?") My daughter is about to start tae kwan do and if it's easier on the joints than judo, then I'll start it too... anything to improve my balance and speed up my turns.

GDER, you'd fit right in here. The "Paradise Tax" is about 25% but much of that is food, healthcare, and housing-- the first two not an issue for military retirees. Military is the third-largest industry (after tourism & civil servants) so our bases won't close. The islands now grow more than 50% of our vegetables & fruits so we're not as dependent on shipping, and if you eat local food (instead of box cereal and Mainland beef) then it's even cheaper. Crippler, I mean Tripler Hospital has mostly sent us retirees out to civilian doctors so I'm much less worried about my health.

Real estate is ludicrous. The typical family home is 3 BR/1600 sq ft shoehorned onto a 4500 sq ft lot (1/10th acre). Prices range from $250K-$650K. Low interest rates have spurred an affordable housing boom but it still chews up a chunk of budget. We bought a decaying fixer-upper on 1/3 acre and it's doubled in price in three years.

But other costs are less. We don't have a heating system and our house doesn't even have insulation or multi-pane windows. In fact, we only close the upstairs windows a couple times a year when the nights get down below 65 (brrrr!!). We use tradewinds & ceiling fans instead of air conditioning; 90% of the morning lows are 70-75 degrees and the afternoon highs are 80-85. I put radiant insulation in the attic rafters to keep the heat OUT. I probably waste a lot of irrigation water on fruit trees but we're moving to drought-tolerant plants & mulch. Electricity is all oil-fired plants so it's about 13 cents/KW, but our monthly electrical bill is below $70 and water/sewer is about the same. We have the nation's highest per-capita use of solar water heating and in the next five or ten years I'm going to buy a couple KW of photovoltaic roof panels. With rainbarrels and "dry" plants we'll get the water bill down to $50.

Gas runs about $1.90-$2/gal (depends how far away you are from the harbor) but I drive less than 3000 miles/year. The hybrid cars are a big hit here since almost all trips are under 40 miles. (When I was working I rode my bicycle more than the car and only put about 1000 mi/yr on the car.) So my car & fuel costs are less than most Mainland areas, and I don't have to worry about winter weather or road salt.

Last year's clothing expenses were under $50. I shop at Goodwill and rotate through about a dozen pairs of shorts & t-shirts. Footwear is rubber slippers, which I wear out to the tune of about $2/year. I've owned one (and only one) sweatshirt since the 1980s and I wear it maybe twice a year. When we pack for a Vegas vacation it's a struggle to find our pants & socks. I don't travel to the Mainland between Nov & Feb.

State taxes are low-- 4% sales and max of 8.75% personal (most pay 5%) and the military pension is tax-free. Our property taxes are ~3.5 mils, only about $1600/year. Schools are ranked much lower than the Mainland because of the multicultural population (over 200 languages) but I think Mainland schools are starting to see the same challenges. Both subjects get lots of negative national press but it's much better than the 1980s. Hawaii is regularly in the top three on weather, healthy lifestyles, and longevity. And did I mention that there's no winter here?

You can hop out anytime you want (it's very easy now with all the logistics flights going between Iraq and the Mainland). We mainly travel to Pacific diving sites, Disneyland, or Vegas but of course my wife's parents live here. A realtor friend used to employ about 30 of his retired Navy friends, and they made a ton of money during the last housing boom, but eventually they gave up the $$ to emigrate to the Mainland to be near their grandkids. Conventional wisdom is that Hawaii has lots of entry-level jobs but few careers, so we'll have to see how my daughter does with that challenge. She's learning that ER is about lifestyle, not net worth.

Culture is all over the map and racism still occasionally rears its ugly head, but now that everyone is a minority it's much less of an issue. Culture's best side effect is that the food is a perpetual feast and entertainment is endless. Politics is no worse than Pennsylvania ever was, and last year the Republicans actually overthrew the governor's five-decade Democratic stranglehold.

I've lived in Great Britain, Spain, the Azores, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Guam, Korea, Monterey (CA), New London (CT), upstate NY, Denver, Orlando, Annapolis, Pittsburgh, Charleston (SC), Norfolk, San Diego, & Bremerton (WA). I've visited Alaska by submarine and I've vacationed through just about every other state in the union & Canadian provinces-- but Hawaii has really grabbed our hearts. I don't get rock fever (must be the sub background), so I can't imagine a more congenial place for the next five or six decades!
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords. *(All together now: *"Hi, Nords
Old 02-21-2004, 04:13 AM   #3
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords. *(All together now: *"Hi, Nords

Good post. I often thought - how do people retire in "high cost of living areas". Do it the way the locals do to adapt is the answer?

If we moved 35 miles from the 'swamp' into the French Quarter, I'm sure our expenses would double or triple(until we began to learn) and even then the budget item % would change.

? ER in New York City, Alaska, Del Mar, Bahamas, and even parts of Europe? - I suspect if that's your chosen spot, then you will find a way to make it work.
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords. *(All together now: *"Hi, Nords
Old 07-12-2004, 03:26 PM   #4
 
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords. *(All together now: *"Hi, Nords

Well, I think that's swell!

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OK, I'm back.  8-10 at Barbers Point!!
Old 07-13-2004, 07:07 AM   #5
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OK, I'm back.  8-10 at Barbers Point!!

Just finished four days of setup/execution for the kid's dressage shows. I think this is the hardest I've worked since I left the workplace. It was a wonderfully productive weekend but we parents are exhausted and way behind on personal time.

Thanks, Ronin, we've been using Pat Caldwell at http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/Products...SRF.html#part2 . "A southeast swell is expected to arrive early Tuesday that will boost surf up to as high as 8 feet, thus warranting a high surf advisory for the south facing shores. The surf will tail off slowly Wednesday and Thursday before a strong south swell kicks in Thursday night with 10 foot surf expected on Friday. A reinforcing south swell arriving Saturday will maintain the advisory through the rest of the weekend."

This is the biggest of the year (and maybe last year too.) Looks like I'll get a chance to try out all three boards on one day... wish we had a few rip currents at Barbers, the paddle out should be quite a workout.

If anyone else has any questions about "But waddya DO all day?!?" or on the advantages of having unscheduled time, our kid finishes a three-week school break this morning. I'm not going to tease with the surf forecast , but the moaning & teeth-gnashing should be epic.
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords. *(All together now: *"Hi, Nords
Old 07-13-2004, 01:42 PM   #6
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords. *(All together now: *"Hi, Nords

So is the kid in the Public School System like you were, or in a private system?
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Public school, year-round schedule.
Old 07-13-2004, 06:06 PM   #7
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Public school, year-round schedule.

The schools here are still trying to synch up their schedules to a statewide system, but one of the more popular ones is six weeks on with three off (and a couple extra around Christmas). This just happens to be a tough surfing week to be back in school, but we'll probably get out together this weekend.

I don't know how Hawaii schools compare to the Mainland except for standardized tests, which usually put the state in the bottom 10. I can vouch that our local school & curriculum is much better than Franklin Regional High in Murrysville, PA in the 1970s, but I'm sure FR had their hands full with a couple discipline problems back then... We haven't had any trouble with our neighborhoods but the parental involvement around here is pretty strong. Without the parents I don't think it matters how good the school is. The year-round schedule is a godsend for retention and family vacations during off-peak seasons. (Most of Oahu's families spend October at Disneyland.)

Hawaii's schools are centralized & state-run so theoretically each school gets its fair share of the funding. The teachers are actually govt employees and the principles have their own union. "No Child Left Behind" is starting to put a big spotlight on the laggards, but it's also bringing more money to their classrooms. As always, the parents make the biggest difference-- whether it's public or private. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/ar.../ln/ln20a.html

Boy, funding private school would be a real budet-buster. We've joked about taking groundskeeper/handyman jobs at La Pietra (at the base of Diamond Head) for the free tuition (and easy access to great surf). But our progeny has informed us that the social die is cast and we will no longer be changing schools or neighborhoods until after graduation. I fear the teenage years have arrived...
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords.  (All together now:  "Hi, Nords
Old 07-17-2004, 12:28 PM   #8
 
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords.  (All together now:  "Hi, Nords

Surfed the south side of Maui yesterday. Clean head high waves. Then the wind came up (which is often a problem in this area).

It should be an excellent weekend for southerly surf (too bad it's the weekend, because the crowds will be out). This summer hasn't been very good for waves , and everyone is desperate.
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Barbers Point has been awesome.
Old 07-18-2004, 02:51 PM   #9
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Barbers Point has been awesome.

Friday was actually 8-12, Ronin, so more is heading your way (if it's not there already!). It's the biggest I've seen Barbers in two years, and if you believe some of the locals then it's the biggest in this decade or last.

I've enjoyed a week of overhead curls, long rides, steep drops, no-paddle takeoffs, and no crowds.

I've also had my sinuses power-flushed, capacity-tested my lungs (in six feet of water, no less), and learned more about navigating foam than I really wanted to know.

Can't wait for next week!
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords.  (All together now:  "Hi, Nords
Old 07-19-2004, 12:59 PM   #10
 
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Re: Hi, I'm Nords.  (All together now:  "Hi, Nords

wow 8-12, we didn't get anything close to that! Too much bockage from Lanai and Kahoolawe. Yesterday we had clean waist-shoulder surf. Got the sinuses flushed, but no steep drops, over-head curls, or 30 second hold-downs. Barbers sounds like a nice place. We'll have to check it out next time we're over on Oahu.
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