Moving to Hawaii – a dream come true

I guess you could say that the last year of my life has been one huge transition – and it hasn’t ended yet. Last year my husband decided that he wanted to retire this year – in Hawaii. When he asked what I thought about it, I said, “In your dreams.”

But he was serious. He’d lived in Hawaii as a child, and it was his dream to retire there. It sounded like a dream to me, too, because it was a place I’d always wanted to visit.

Me being the sensible one, I asked my husband how could we possibly make this happen? We’d have to sell our home in Florida during such a bad market and come out with money to move – not just to another state – but to the other side of the world! He said we could put the house on the market and see what happens. We put our good thoughts into everything and little by little, things slowly fell into place. We sold the house, vehicles, and had two garage sales. Nine months later, our plan was in motion.

Getting to Hawaii wasn’t quite as easy as that, however. We had pets, and each had to be microchipped and tested for the rabies FAVN virus, which took 120 days prior to arriving on the island without them having to be quarantined. Their records had to be impeccable, so finding a veterinarian that knew what she was doing was a big plus. Airfare isn’t cheap for pets, and neither are the airline-approved crates. There are many other factors involved in shipping your pets to Hawaii, but I will go into that on another day.

We kept one car that had to be shipped, so we were left without transportation for a period of time. We needed to pack everything we would need for at least a month, because our household goods wouldn’t arrive for up to 8 weeks.

Luckily for us, we already knew people on the island. Our friends had a spare bedroom and allowed us to stay with them as long as we needed until we found our own place. This was extremely helpful, as hotels in Hawaii are not for the budget-minded or pet lovers.

Everything was set to go. Our dreams were coming true.

hawaiilanding
Landing in Honolulu at sunset

NPR’s 3-Minute Fiction Contest – Rejection #2

Every time NPR has a 3-Minute Fiction contest I do my best to enter.  Before I got lucky and was selected for my story to appear on their website, this was one of my rejections. The story had to begin with “Some people swore that the house was haunted.” And it had to end with “Nothing was ever the same again after that.” – 600 words or less.

The House on the Water
by Susanna Hartigan
©2010

Some people swore that the house was haunted. The houseboat sat barely afloat on the Florida waters for almost seven years, leaving a mystery of several theories about its history. An old man who resembled a pirate got drunk and fell overboard, drowned by his own negligence. A serial killer abandoned it after having used it as a source of a kill site. Drug lords were executed on it when they didn’t meet their quota, their remains used as bait. A man killed his family on it before taking off into the Atlantic never to be seen again. No one really knew the story about the house on the water.

Many of the small town’s residents were quiet, distant ancestors of the Salem witch trials. They knew that hauntings were real-life occurrences, not just some fictional ghost stories. They knew that water was a great conductor of those from the otherworld and since the surrounding land contained a bed of limestone, there was a great possibility that the houseboat was in fact haunted. And they knew that the best option was to allow whatever paranormal that might occupy it to remain at rest. But there was one woman determined to be rid of the demons encircling it.

“It’s the town menace,” scowled Chatty Patty, nicknamed for being the town’s gossip and outspoken nuisance. “I want it gone. The Lord does not want evil spirits filthing up our community.”

Chatty Patty was known for exercising the demons out of everything, including food from the local health food store that happened to be owned by a pagan. People went out of their way in order to avoid the henpecker and her incessant ranting and insistence that Satan lived among the town. Although the town loathed the middle-aged woman’s presence, Patty was someone who would bring assistance to a family in need.

“Just because they are witches doesn’t mean that the Lord Jesus can’t change their ways through my influence,” she was heard saying one day at the library. Patty considered anyone a witch if they celebrated Halloween, including her own church members.

Despite her overbearing influence, Chatty Patty’s effort to get the houseboat removed from the Mosquito Lagoon was unsuccessful. The town’s mayor told her it wasn’t in the budget.  Her frequent trips to the police department went unheeded. “There’s nothing we can do about it. Not our jurisdiction,” she was told.

“We don’t handle boat removal. You’ll have to call a tow company,” the Coast Guard station informed her.

“Fine,” Patty informed the town. “Then I am going to be rid of this evil presence once and for all, even if I have to do it myself.”

For Patty, the disposal of the boat was a simple recipe: a canoe, Holy Bible verses, holy water, and olive oil. She would use the canoe to transport herself to the house on the water, drenching it in holy water upon her arrival. She would read all of the appropriate verses that were intended to strike any remaining form of immorality, as she doused the house on the water in olive oil. Patty told the townspeople of her plan. No one objected. Some were glad it would be the last time they would have to hear Chatty Patty complain about it ever again.

Patty set out to perform her duty the night before Halloween, knowing that it would deter from bringing more demonic influences to her town on such a blasphemous date.

Halloween arrived. The house on the water had disappeared. A canoe took its place. Nothing was ever the same again after that.

Political Differences, Breakups, and Crotches

Normally, I don’t talk politics because it’s just like talking religion. I have friends from all walks of life, and this year’s election has brought out a lot of things I didn’t know about people. I was surprised to hear when two of my friends announced that they were getting divorced over politics. He’s a die-hard Romney fan and she’s somewhat of a women’s rights activist.

“I cannot live with a man that doesn’t believe in my rights, much less be married to him,” she told me. I must admit that I would probably feel the same way in a marriage like theirs.

Earlier this week one of my favorite gay friends announced that he deleted all of his Facebook friends that are Romney supporters.

“If they support Romney, then they don’t support my lifestyle. Therefore they are not my friends,” he wrote.

I don’t blame him. Being the sister of a gay man, I cringe when I see someone posting something negative about homosexuals, because they are hurting a part of me that I dearly love.

I’ve seen dozens of political posts from friends that I’ve ignored. Out of respect, I don’t feel it’s my place to comment on someone else’s page if they have a preference different from my own – just as I wouldn’t want them to litter up my page with their garbage.

And then I had my own experience of being politically abolished. After receiving my ballot and frustrated over propositions concerning women, I posted on my Facebook fan site:

Dear Republicans,
Please stay out of my crotch.

Someone that I’d never heard of before (whose Facebook page was littered with pro-Romney links) – that had neither ever commented nor even “liked” any of my non-political posts (read: all of them except for this one) – stated that I had just lost a fan, and she began bad-mouthing me. Long-time fans came to my defense. I simply blocked her. Anyone that has read my book(s) knows damn well that I’m not going to allow anyone to tell me how I should feel, act, speak, or think (after all, my Facebook page is SusannaSpeaks!!). While I appreciate and respect other people’s opinions, I found it tacky that someone would make an effort to stir up negativity rather than silently remove herself. But it showed her true character.

So I will say it now. I support gay rights. I support women’s rights. If you want to act like a third grader and don’t want to be my “fan” anymore because of how I feel, then so be it. I’m looking for those that celebrate, not hate.