Vague is the New Black

The Road to Hawaii, or how we sold (almost) everything, quit our jobs and moved to Oahu, as told by one family who is experiencing the journey.

Vague is the new black

Before we moved to Hawaii, we’d heard a lot about “island time”, the slowing down of life, of savoring each moment instead of running helter-skelter, like we normally did on the mainland.  After all, don’t we all move a little slower when we’re on vacation?

However, I never expected the vagueness that has often accompanied “island time” as we try to put our lives back together.  It seems no one knows the whole story, and that’s frustrating when you have a background of “go-go-go, get it done, let’s do the next thing.”

Case in point, getting a Hawaiian license plate for the car.

I hate to be the one to say “Back in Michigan…” because, we’re not in Michigan, but –

Back in Michigan, you went to the Secretary of State, presented your registration, proof of insurance and cash or check  (and now debit!), and ba da boom, ba da bing, you got a new tab or plate.

In Hawaii (and we did all of these steps, believe me):

  1. You need to have a safety inspection, from the brake and exhaust systems to the steering and suspension systems.  Apparently, the state doesn’t like clunkers.  Bad for the tourist industry.  We…
  2. Stopped at an inspection station, which did not have time to do it.  So we…
  3. Went to another station a block away. They told us they had the time but couldn’t do the inspection as our insurance form was made out for Michigan.  We won’t discuss that I’d already checked with my insurance company and had been told the policy was good.  I guess “policy” and “state it was issued for” are separate items.
  4. The next day (because I had to wait due to the 6 hour time change) I called Michigan to have the policy updated to Hawaii.  But..
  5. My carrier doesn’t cover Hawaii.  So instead,
  6. I searched online for rates, most of which were twenty or more dollars a month more for less coverage.  Then…
  7. Based on my search and the wonder of technology, not to mention Big Brother, within 10 minutes, State Farm called and offered a better policy at a lower price, which meant we had to physically go to the next nearest State Farm office (sadly, the one a mile away did not jump on that lead)
  8. The State Farm rep, Jane, after lots of questions and a half hour of typing, issued us a temporary proof of insurance (P.O.I.)  Success!  We were in business!  Except…
  9. Inspection station #2 does not take temporary proofs of insurance.  (Thanks for the heads up, Jane) Like there’s a gigantic forgery business going on.  We’d have to wait 7-10 days for our permanent P.O.I.
  10. While at the station, I called Jane, who was on the phone.  I explained the situation to whomever answered the phone (cue background conversation of inspector – “We’ve been having some problems with State Farm.”)
  11. Other State Farm person didn’t know what to do (Really?) but, after some non-to-gentle prodding on my part, suggested we go to LEX BRODIE (and does that sound like a cowboy or what?), a local tire store, because she’d heard they “might” be able to help.
  12. We go to LEX BRODIE, and finally, finally, talk to Barney, (who looks like he stopped here on his way home from Vietnam and decided to stay) who explained the “Chinese fire drill” to us. <insert our gasps at his politically incorrect remark on an island where Asians outnumber whites>  Barney would love to take our temporary P.O.I. and perform a $14.75 inspection.  Except..
  13. He didn’t have any openings that day (Saturday), but…
  14. He did have an opening Monday, Labor Day,(Someone please explain the concept of Labor Day) so we made an appointment.
  15. Which we kept.  Barney inspected and approved and gave us a blue sheet of paper proving we had wheels, a/c, an engine and whatever else the State of Hawaii wanted proven.
  16. Tuesday, we trundle to the nearest City Hall Satellite Station (DMV) and hand over our P.O.I., blue paper, proof the car made it over on the boat (Really?) and <gulp> $317.00.  Yes, you read that right.  Of course, with my Michigan hat on (where I paid $96 IN AUGUST, so we could make our Road to Hawaii trip legally, like I’ll ever see that money again), I hadn’t brought that much cash.  Yes, they only take checks or cash.  Fortunately,
  17. There was a credit union very close, so while I completed the paperwork, giving away rights to any future children (ha! I win on that one), Luke withdrew more cash, and we paid the Barber of Seville, nice lady.  Then…
  18. We trundled back to Barney, gave him the official Hawaiian (temporary) registration and new plates.  He promptly put on the plates and the all important $317.00 safety inspection sticker.

I’m sure I’ve missed a step or two.  If anyone along the way would have said “Hey, you know, you should do this, this and this,” our odyssey would have been over in a day instead of a week.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find Barney until the end.

Life, on an island, has its own time.

Cheryl Sterling currently resides in Waikele (the rich(er) neighborhood of the official city of Waihapu, where crack is made).  You can find her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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