Top 10 Tips for Airbnb Hosts

Does the lure of extra money tempt you to rent out an extra bedroom or your vacation home?  Sounds good but if you decide to profit by sharing your personal space with complete strangers, use these tips from my experience as an Airbnb host to make it a successful experience.

The last three years we have rented out our second home, a cute 1912 cottage in Boise, Idaho when we aren’t using it.  As an Airbnb host, there are definitely great moments when that rent money is deposited into your account or guests rave about your property but temper those delightful moments with the calls at midnight when the renter is drunk and lost their key or when the lovely 2 person renter in reality turns out to be a raucous house party that trashes your home.  With this reality firmly in mind, here are my top 10 tips for Airbnb hosts.

Our adorable Hyde Park Cottage in Boise, Idaho
  1. Do your research before you commit to being an Airbnb host.  Stay at several Airbnb‘s yourself and see what you like/dislike.  Go through the booking process, examine how other hosts present their properties, look at reviews of properties where you stay and properties that are located near your property.
  2. Have an emergency plan.  We have a family member who lives locally and oversees our property for us.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have a friendly family member to assist you, then you will need to hire a property manager.  In addition to handling emergencies, this person/company can check people in and walk guests through your property so they have a great experience.  We also keep a lockbox on property in case of emergencies.  A guest WILL lose a key so, to prevent midnight calls, get a lockbox that goes on a door knob with a code you change after every guest.  Stuff happens.  Be ready.
  3. Cleanliness is key to bookings. Guests will let you know in their reviews if there are housekeeping issues and then you will miss out on future income.  Face it, no one wants to stay in a dirty place.  We deep clean every time we visit and our property manager handles the cleaning after each guest leaves.  Have cleaning supplies handy for guests to use as needed, especially if you have long-term clients staying longer than a few days.  Same goes for toilet paper, paper towel, garbage bags, etc.  Extra is better.  If a guest runs out of toilet paper, you are guaranteed a less than stellar review.
  4. Little touches make a difference.  We provide complimentary bottles of shampoo and body wash, coffee/tea/sweeteners, umbrellas, strong Wi-Fi, board games, cards, a Frisbee and a couple of bikes.  Guests love the bikes at our cottage as we are close to downtown Boise and parks and tend to attract an outdoorsy clientele.  We are kid-friendly with a port-a-crib available as well as kids books/,movies, and games.  After a client leaves, Airbnb will send an email to guests so they can leave a review.  When we check in a guest, we encourage them to complete the reviews.  Great recommendations will get you listings. The more, the better!
  5. Comfy bed, linens and towels are essential.  We learned the hard way that cheap towels don’t last.  Buy everything in white so you can bleach out the crazy stains you will find and spring for nice quality, not WalMart specials, so they last longer with frequent use.  Same with your mattress.  When we rent an Airbnb for vacations, I always read the reviews specifically looking for a great bed that won’t torture our backs.
  6. Tourist information is up-to-date and plentiful.  We gather the latest tourist brochures and magazines from downtown hotels and restaurants when we stay at our cottage and leave the information for our guests so they know awesome places to eat and visit in Boise.
  7. “Above and beyond” perks are appreciated by all.  We have stayed at Airbnbs all over the world and the best perks were: Bluetooth Bose speaker at our Waiheke Island, New Zealand Airbnb so we could listen to our playlists while lounging in the giant beanbag chairs on the patio and fresh soda bread upon arrival at our thatched roof cottage in Galway, Ireland. That’s great service!
  8. Fully loaded kitchen with everything needed to cook.  I know many people go on vacation to eat out at restaurants but I like to explore the local groceries and cook to save $$ that we use on other travel splurges like zip-lining, shopping, and concerts.  Upon arriving late in Portugal, we found out that coffee was not a big deal there so thus no coffeemaker just instant coffee and a hot water pot.  Bummer.  I will be first to admit I am a coffee snob who grinds beans fresh every morning.  We immediately went out and bought a coffee press for the apartment which we left for the next guest. Also, we supply salt and pepper as well as  plastic wrap, Ziploc bags, tin foil and every kitchen utensil, pot and pan that you need to make a meal at our cottage.  Guests love it!
  9. Safety first.  Provide a fire extinguisher just in case. Hopefully no one will  need it.  Of course, you should have working fire detectors and carbon monoxide alarms too.  We don’t provide candles or a grill due to fire safety concerns with our wood cottage.  Be prepared for the worst and provide a first aid kit.  I was injured on the ferry ride to our Airbnb cottage in New Zealand and the host promptly provided a cold pack for my injured hand.
  10. Finally, expect to make money but understand the expenses you will incur.  First, price your property within similar market offerings but not at the low-end.  Airbnb might encourage you to drop your price but we did our research and kept our pricing firm.  Guests may try to do side agreements to sidestep Airbnb but we politely refuse.   You run risks if you don’t have backing of Airbnb in case of damage and there will be damage.  We’ve been lucky with only one issue and the guest paid for the damage quickly so we didn’t even have to get Airbnb involved.  We allow only dogs due to my husband’s allergies to cats, which helps bookings because not very many properties allow dogs.  In our three years as hosts, we have only had people “acting like animals” damage and no true animal damage.  Go figure!  To save on energy costs, we installed a programmable thermostat that we can monitor via an app on our phones to make sure that in between guests, the temperature is appropriate.  You will need to have a landscaper, pest control, HVAC person, handyman and plumber identified and use as required.  The costs do add up–a broken water line here and an ant invasion there will reduce your profit.  Save some of that rent $$ for regular needed maintenance and emergency repairs or you will be sorry.  If you plan to occupy the property like we do on a regular basis, it will be convenient for you to have one closet locked and for your use only for your personal toiletries and extra clothes. We just bought a mini fridge for the basement so we don’t have to keep throwing out condiments after each of our personal visits between guests. Buying ketchup, mayonnaise, and butter every visit can add up and you can’t really leave food stuff for guests to use.

Hopefully these tips will help you if you decide to become an Airbnb host.  Overall, it’s been a good experience for us and a great assistance financially to help us pay for our second home to spend time near our family.  Good luck and happy hosting!

















Toddler Time in Seattle

The joy of my life visited this weekend and we totally rocked it!  Mia, my 2-year old granddaughter, was in awe of all that Seattle had to offer an active toddler. From traversing rope ladders to waterfront walks to water stomping, I savored every moment we had together exploring downtown Seattle from our base in lower Queen Anne.

Our backyard is the Seattle Center.  Lucky us!  Thom and I enjoy it every day when we walk the dogs but it was delightful for visiting Mia.  Between the Space Needle, International Fountain, Children’s Museum, Artists at Play playground, EMP, Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, the Armory filled with yummy restaurants and a  wading pool tucked away by Key Arena, the Seattle Center holds a treasure trove of experiences for kids of ALL ages.

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Mia and her Momma enjoying the International Fountain at the Seattle Center


To start the holiday weekend, we strolled downtown and stopped by Westlake Park where they have done an outstanding job adding play equipment, a reading library, and games that everyone from a two-year old to a “seasoned” adult can enjoy.  Mia the Magnificent would highly recommend the geodome climbing experience and the bean bag toss.  Lunch time at Blue Water Taco Grill was delicious with fish tacos, burritos and lots of chips and guacamole to share.  Next up, I had to return some books so the children’s area at the Seattle Library was just the ticket with a friendly librarian offering crayons and encouraging us to take home free books.  Perfect for visiting toddlers!  They must get lots of donations because they had books to spare.  A large puzzle area kept Mia engrossed and provided needed rest time for the adults after our walk.

We saved the Children’s Museum at the Seattle Center for first thing Saturday morning.  Thank goodness we had a big breakfast because we were running our asses off after Mia from one cool area to the next as she played fireman, bus driver, sailor and grocery shopper with gleeful abandon.  Ah to be young!  There were “humongous”, as Mia would describe it, blocks to put together, which Thom couldn’t resist, and a train table where Mia and I had an intense building experience to lay out the tracks for our cars.

Sunday morning we braved the cruise ship crowds as they disembarked along the sidewalk on our waterfront walk past Sculpture Park and then waded through Pike Place Market.  Using the stroller to plow our way through the tourists (yes, I am a jaded “townie” who wants them all to get the #&@! out of my way), we sampled fresh pears, jerky, jams, etc. as we walked and admired the fresh flower bouquets.  Gorgeous but they weigh a ton and you have to haul them home on foot so, alas, no flowers for me.  After a brief stop for Hannah and Mike to get a growler of Rachel’s Ginger Beer for Moscow mules later at home-parents sometimes need a stiff adult beverage-we grabbed a cookie as big as a platter at one of the bakeries across from the market to snack on and made our way to the Monorail.  Always fun, the Monorail is a quick ride from downtown, dropping us off at the Seattle Center.  Again, packed with tourists, but I was nice and not TOO pushy getting on and getting a good seat to show Mia the urban scenery on the ride home.

Later, after much-needed naps (and perhaps a nip or two of wine by the weary adults, okay me), we were back at the Seattle Center again to check out the new humongous playground by the EMP.  With an area for big kids but also one designated for 2-5 year olds equipped with climbing ropes and a slide, Mia kept us busy making sure she wasn’t plunging to the turf and then racing over to try out the super cool swings and musical pipes to bang on.

After wearing us out on the playground, we decided to stroll down to South Lake Union and stomp away the afternoon on the water pad.  What a joyful experience that was with water jets spraying us as we ran through them.  Soaked and tired, we somehow climbed the Mercer hill home to spend a quiet evening watching Cars and having just a few pillow fights.  Sadly, we kissed our Mia good-bye today.  Thom cried just a little bit and is already asleep on the couch.  I’m not too far behind him.  Being a GiGi and NaiNai is hard work!

GiGi and Mia watching Cars after their pillow fight.  What a great weekend!

Me-Host with the Least

I realized this weekend that I am most definitely NOT the perfect host.  Actually, far from it.  As our hosts in LA anticipated and provided everything we could want and more, it became clear to me that, as I judged myself by comparison, I have been the host with the least in the past.  So here is my public apology to all our past guests.  Positive intent but bad execution.  I’m a sort of “take care of yourself” person.  I don’t expect anyone to take care of me, being fiercely independent and all.  When we have guests visit us, I have always told them to make themselves at home and just assume they will.  Who am I to hover when I’ve told them that what I have is theirs?

The Endeavor-an awesome sight and story to experience in person at California Science Center in LA


This self-revelation came when we visited Thom’s brother Jimmy and his wife, Shari, to attend a Bruce Springsteen concert at LA Sports Arena.  Worried about that pesky LA traffic, I suggested we take public transportation vs. driving, even though we didn’t expect the concert to be over until very late.  WHAT WAS I THINKING??  Finally, after much conversation and  hearing Shari’s concerns about the walking involved and train service limitations, I accepted that we should drive and, boy, was I glad that we did.  Not only do I need to be a better host but I need to be a better guest too.  First lesson-listen to your hosts!  With Bruce playing his heart out for nearly 4 hours, we were able to quickly exit and jump in the car to hit the highway and get home by midnight.  Arriving earlier in the day we got to check out the space shuttle Endeavor prior to the concert.  So fun!  Thom declared it a perfect day-experiencing the space shuttle simulator and dancing to Bruce and the E Street Band.  I may not be a good hostess but I do good at birthday presents for my hubby!

Four crazy kids at a rock conert


But back to being spoiled rotten.  Not wanting to put anyone out, I think I was rude in denying Jimmy and Shari the right to take care of us at the level they wanted to.  I don’t really eat breakfast so no need to cook, right?  But here came a lovely fruit plate and breakfast wrap our first morning.  Instead of being nice and eating it, I declined and that was probably rude.  Shari is from Hong Kong and embodies the Chinese culture that we saw when we lived there.  Food is important and when family comes together, sharing a meal is significant.  Shame on me!  Lesson learned.

I’m the one, who in the past for work events, did not order enough food when in charge of picking the menu because I didn’t want to waste food and liked to save money.  I learned quickly from my boss in China that he expected that to never happen and I had better forget the budget and order the damn food and lots of it.  To the point that I knew to also order takeaway boxes so everyone at the meeting could take home leftovers.  Okay.  Good reminder for family gatherings as well.

As we drove to dinner Friday night in LA traffic, I was thinking to myself, aren’t there restaurants closer to home?  But no, on we went until we reached an adorably charming town where an old lemon factory had been converted into shops and restaurants and I bought some handmade jewelry from a friendly artist.  We ended up eating outside under the stars and, with Jimmy ordering LOTS of delicious food, we had a night to remember.  Had I been in charge, we would have schlepped to the closest place and probably gone home hungry.

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Dinner under the stars with an old fashioned to sip and awesome family time.


Today, we had barely gotten back from a huge dim sum feast today after our foot massages (heaven!) when Jimmy was pre-ordering pizzas for dinner and concerned that he get everyone their favorite toppings.  This morning when the power was out at the house, he was up early to run to Starbucks because he knew we loved our caffeine fix.  By the time he got back with venti Americanos for all, the power was already back on but, just in case it wasn’t, his guests were prepared to start the day right.  Jimmy and Shari ARE the perfect hosts.  Me, not so much. The first step is admitting it.

The Total ND Irish Football Experience, Drunken Leprechaun Pirate and all!

The leprechaun pirate with the ND eye patch and scraggly goatee woke up from his drunken stupor just after the first quarter at the Irish vs. USC game.  You got to give it to the grungy dude-can’t be easy being passed out and staying upright on a bleacher seat but somehow he made it happen.  At first concerned for his wellbeing, I quickly flipped into ninja defensive mode to protect myself after he started dancing and flinging his arms with great abandon and hit me in the face as he yelled and loudly coached the players from our end zone seats.  “Bring your father?” the smart ass but very nice guy next to us asked.  HELL NO!  Thus began the total ND Irish Football Experience thanks to my great sis, Beck, who scored us tickets to the Game of the Century.

Irish Smart Car
Irish Smart Car

I got the dread pirate Looney Tunes as my seat neighbor but Beck got the adorably nice guys sitting next to her–on a trip to all the NFL stadiums with their fathers.  They had decided to also take In a college game on their male-bonding trip before going to the Colts/Pats game tomorrow in Indy.  After Beck explained why bodies were being lifted all over the stadium when ND scored–prone body push ups, one for each point on the scoreboard–the traveling sons decided Beck looked tiny enough to lift so they could enjoy a true college football moment.  NO THANK YOU KIND SIRS!  We directed them to a small child they could pump over their heads and off we ran to get a hot chocolate to drink and warm up in the bathroom that had the heaters going at full blast.  At 30 degrees on the field, no amount of layering, Spanx under the jeans, puffy coat and earmuffs could keep us warm, though our ugly Uggs kept our tootsies quite toasty.  Mock the Uggs but they get the job done.

Blue skies and cold temps!
Blue skies and cold temps!

I did learn more about football from the fans surrounding us.  After ND called for a timeout when USC was getting ready to kick a field goal, then immediately called another one and then ANOTHER ONE, I was coached that ND was “icing” the kicker and trying to psych him out.  After the third timeout, the poor USC player finally got to kick his field goal and, sure enough, he was flustered and missed!  The icing worked-who knew about such football psychology???  Brains over brawn to win-I like it.

Making the ultimate sacrifice so that ND could win the “game of the century” as it was being called, we left the game before the fourth quarter started with ND behind by 7 points.  WHAT??? Yep, Becky was cold and said that last time she left a game early, ND came roaring back to win.  And they did just that tonight!  In the 15 minutes after we left, ND scored 17 points and won 41-31.  Thank the Lord we left because I’m sure the drunken pirate would have been overcome with joy and jumped into my arms to lay a big cold wet one on me to celebrate and I was having none of that action thank you very much.  The Irish can thank us with season tickets or extra blessings-either work for me.

Dressed for the cold weather and ready for spring already
Dressed for the cold weather and ready for spring already

Prior to the exciting game, we had to have the whole Irish experience so we walked the campus, enjoyed the ND marching Irish playing tunes on the steps of a classic college building, walked the grotto, went into the rotunda to see the Horn Section play beautifully and check out the tailgating action.  Those Irish alumni really know how to party in a parking lot.  There were a surprising number of USC fans walking around so I had to interview one guy with his son who were looking to score a blanket to keep warm.  After we told them where the book store was, I asked how they were feeling about Coach Steve S. being fired.  “FANTASTIC!” the guy enthusiastically replied.  He then informed me that they were going to sue the recruiting firm that pushed through his hiring and didn’t do their due diligence to find out he had “issues”.  Oh well, don’t we all and hopefully he’ll work out his demons.  In the meantime, Go Irish!

ND Marching Band entertaining the crowd
ND Marching Band entertaining the crowd
The Irish Grotto-where everyone lights a candle to ensure an Irish victory.
The Irish Grotto-where everyone lights a candle to ensure an Irish victory.

Family Vacations ROCK!

Ocean fun!
Ocean fun!
The view from Hawaii
The view from Hawaii

Thom is feeding Mia a native apple banana on the patio while James and Hannah are drinking pina coladas and, tired from all that pool time, taking a break out of the sun to watch Scrubs, a longtime fav that never gets old despite repeated viewings.  Everyone is enjoying our final day of family vacation just hanging out.  Damn.  Time needs to stand still for just a while.  What will we do when we can’t see our family especially Baby Mia every day????  Yes, family vacations do indeed ROCK but need to be more like two weeks or a whole summer instead of a puny week.  We barely just got into our vacation rhythm–breakfast/beach/nap and repeat.  How will I ever work a whole day again??  Of course, I do realize no work means no vacation so off I will go on Tuesday when we return but only under protest.  Serious protest.

Grandpa & Mia discussing life
Grandpa & Mia discussing life

With two grown kids, a granddaughter now and everyone with busy, busy schedules working and going to school, we haven’t gone on a family vacation since Florida four years ago when Mike was newly dating Hannah and Mia wasn’t even a possibility thought about yet.  Since then, Thom and I have lived in Seattle/NYC/Seattle/China/Seattle, James has graduated from college and is set to go to law school in the fall, and Hannah graduated from college, married Mike and had Mia-she’s been a busy girl!  Mia just began walking last week and had us all running so hard we needed those multiple naps a day more than she did.  Yikes!

With the dishwasher and laundry running non-stop to keep up, we ran to the beach, the pool, and cooked all that food we got at Costco after we landed on the Big Island.  Somehow we were able to drink up all the booze we bought but the leftover food will hopefully be of benefit to the cleaning crew tomorrow when we leave.  I hate to waste but goodness we bought a lot!

We found our home away from home on VRBO, which we also use to rent out our cottage in Boise.  We have always had great luck, using VRBO places from Florida to Barcelona with great results.  Our 3 br/3ba condo here was no different with lots of room for everyone, a view to die for from all windows but especially our master balcony and a pool that was perfect for baby Mia.  The beach was just a short walk down the road where the surfers rode the waves and the snorkeling was the best on the island.  Paradise found indeed!

At the last minute, I insisted on my own checked luggage and then ended up not wearing hardly any of what I packed.  Next time, a carry on is all I need with shorts, bathing suit, flip flops.  It never got cold and there was no nightlife on the Big Island so quiet nights at home needed very few wardrobe changes.  Live and learn and always pack light.  Really no need for the six pair of shoes I brought.

Siblings together again
Siblings together again and enjoying ziplining over waterfalls

Tonight is our last night together and we are hoping for an awesome sunset.  While there are always rain clouds over the middle hills of the island, the sun is usually shining by us on the beach side.  Unfortunately, a few of us got a little too much sun despite repeated sunscreen applications.  The weather woman talked about being burnt in just 10 minutes in this sun which is frightening.  As a skin cancer survivor, I use SPF70 and move to the shade whenever possible.  With Mia being a “ginger”, her momma put her in l/s swim shirts, large hats and sprayed liberally with sunscreen at every opportunity.

Pool time..Mia is fearless in the water
Pool time..Mia is fearless in the water

Though no one wanted to play euchre with me (Midwest card game I grew up on) or Scrabble with me, we may try to do another round of Cards Against Humanity again, though I usually need to look up in the urban dictionary some of the more crazy terms that everyone but me seems to know.  WTF!  Yes, I know that one.  It’s weird playing this with my kids but they get a kick out of Mom’s responses so it’s a fun time.

Now, it’s on to Italy (Cinque Terri) in late September and planning for another family vacation back here in Hawaii next year.  After all, Mia needs to run in the Keikei Run every year now and try to beat her record.  She was so adorable trying to walk the 100 yard course with her mom and dad assisting as needed.  They are putting her on a path of healthy habits.  With her dad’s love of all things baseball and Mom’s expertise in swimming, tennis & soccer, I see sports in Mia’s future.  I can’t wait!  So, ALOHA for now as the sun sets on our family vacation.  Mahalo to all and to all a good night!

Mia's first Keikei 100 yard run in Kona
Mia’s first Keikei 100 yard run in Kona

Waterfalls, wild pigs and zipping through the air with the greatest of ease!

Hannah, James and I after ziplining by this gorgeous waterfall
Hannah, James and I after ziplining by this gorgeous waterfall

The day ended well but boy did it start out rough.  So bad, in fact, that we wondered if God really wanted us to zipline today at all with the obstacles we faced.  I never give up, not now and not ever, and so when the cars stopped ahead of us and then started turning around on the two lane highway as we approached the Hilo side of the island for our big adventure, we groaned and followed the guy driving away who told us that there was an accident and the road would be closed for hours.  Damn.

As we beat a hasty retreat north back through Waimea where we had just come from, Hannah got on with spotty cell coverage and, never giving up, talked persistently and politely with our tour group manager several times before they magically found a spot for us in a later outing, which we had to madly drive another two hours on the only other road to get to them.  This road being one lane in spots with dead wild pigs lying by the side of the road-okay, only one dead pig but it was BIG!  Bleak volcanic fields on either side of the lane, that poor pig didn’t make it out alive but we did, dodging wild drivers in our lane who obviously were new to driving and, with one minute to spare, the rest of our group already on the course, we signed away our lives on the liability release forms that none of us had time to read and, after a bumpy gut-wrenching trip over rutted dirt roads through fields of purple sweet potatoes and apple bananas, , we   lined up and got ready to practice.

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James zipped with style and finesse

Our kind guides, Corey and Phillip, instructed us in the proper way to hurl our bodies down through the forest without killing ourselves.  Check.  Ready.  Set. Go.  Since this was an “Eco Adventure”, our knowledgeable guides pointed out the local crops of ginger, pineapple, sweet potatoes, taro, and apple bananas, which we thankfully got to eat right off the trees since we didn’t have time to stop for lunch.  Who knew that pineapples grew up on little cute bushes???

Waterfalls everywhere-thankfully didn't rain the day we zipped
Waterfalls everywhere-thankfully didn’t rain the day we zipped

The rest of our group hailed from the great State of Texas which became very apparent when the guides were discussing how locals liked to capture the wild pigs, more prevalent than people on the Big Island, and somehow gun control came up.  Our Texas clan proceeded to excitedly share with the Hawaiian guides how easy it was to get “same day” guns in Texas at their local WalMart with very little background checks.  No kidding.  So happy that Thom didn’t come with us (bad back and all) because he would have never been able to hold his tongue and would have proceeded to throw the guy down the line for his remarks, which most would consider a tad insensitive (and just wrong on so many levels) given the innocent people recently killed in Charleston.  Looking at my caring kids who were visibly biting their lips to hold back the opinions on gun control they longed to share, we took our turns and off we went to fly over the gorgeously green forests and valleys filled with waterfalls and rivers.  Needless to say, we didn’t mingle with our Texas group much.  Thank goodness.

Each of the seven lines got progressively longer until the final BIG one, almost 2/3 of a mile, where we went soaring by a huge waterfall too quickly for me to take it all in.  What a fantastic way to experience the beautiful back country of Hawaii that most people never get to see.  We are truly blessed.  Aloha!


Enjoying Family Time on The Big Island

Best thing hands down about the Big Island… not the beaches or the palm trees.  Nope, though they are nice and all.   The very best most wonderful thing about the Big Island is my family being together again.  How often do I get to spend a week in paradise with my grown kids who lead very busy lives???  Well, this is a first in the last few years as they pursued their college degrees–both are now college grads, Hallelujah!!!–and Hannah got married to Mike and gave us the magnificent Mia.  How time flies by!  With Thom and I moving between Seattle, NYC, Shanghai and back to Seattle and the kids’  busy schedules, we have only connected at the holidays, which are hectic and action-packed.

Thom and Mia exploring the great outdoors
Thom and Mia exploring the great outdoors

This week the biggest decisions are:  pool or beach?  Pina Colada or Wine?  Yep, that’s pretty much it.  I had Facebooked that there was no one more in need of a vacation than me.  My daughter countered that she was much more deserving than me, because not only did she work all day but then started Mom duty at night capped off with baby Mia doing her business while taking her bath.  Okay, she wins.  Hands down.

Getting to Hawaii from Boise and Seattle was no mean feat but after James graduated Sunday from Seattle University, we all took off on Monday, starting with Mia running us around the airport with her newly found walking skills.  She was a joy on the flight, taking two naps and playing with all the other babies on the flight.  After quaffing free Mai Tai’s (adults only)–thanks Alaska for the free booze–we found our new home for the next week in Kona, otherwise known as the sunny side of the Big Island.  With water views from every window of the condo and everyone with their own bed/bath, we were ready  to start relaxing.  A workaholic, A Type for sure, I haven’t disconnected from work on a vacation in years.  This week I unpinned my work email tile from my start screen and ignored the need to check in.  They’ll manage without me and maybe even appreciate all I do even more with me not doing it.  Maybe.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying trying very hard NOT to think about work and concentrate on my lovely family and pool time, which Mia enjoys very much.  Glad to see she is taking to the water and will probably be a great swimmer like her Mom.

Pool time..Mia is fearless in the water
Pool time..Mia is fearless in the water

So far we have walked to the snorkeling beach from our place a few times and had a close encounter with sea turtles, which I like from afar but really, really don’t like touching me in the surf.  Icky!!  They are large and have snapping, sharp teeth which I don’t want to encounter personally.  I swear they were attracted to my sassy red toes–note to self, next time go for beige vs. red for the pedi if going to be in an ocean with animals who can chew.  Thom said I screamed loud enough to be a tsnumai warning signal, which is probably a useful skill here on an island where those things happen.  I think being called a “siren” is a good thing.  Right?

Tomorrow we are off to a new beach in Waimea and later this week we will be zip lining down mountains and across waterfalls.  That should be a good tale to tell!  Aloha!