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Social Isolation on Kauai

Author: Steve Hashi


I never thought that one of my blogging subjects of choice would be our living space during a pandemic. But here we are, with that very subject being the guiding thought of most everyone on the planet. It feels surreal to even reference something that is affecting everyone on earth, negatively and at the same time. I sympathize with the vast majority of people out there that are trying to adapt to the much more uncomfortable, and in many cases tragic, terms that the virus has thrust upon them. Our hearts go out to the many that have lost loved one and are questioning the very future of meals, medical care and what it means to “make a living” in this unusual new landscape!

In my attempt with trying to keep things positive one of the first things that comes to mind is the incredible leadership and care that our mayor, Derek Kawakami, has shown since the beginning of this pandemic. His early policies of social isolation, curfews, quarantines on incoming flight passengers as well as business shutdowns has been a major factor in our current 0 count on new Coronavirus cases. That along with his family home videos highlighting cooking tips, games and even TikTok dance videos has shown that along with being an effective mayor/leader he is one of the people. He is a local boy at heart. Big shout out to Mayor Kawakami. This could have all been a huge disaster without you.

One very “close to our hearts” story that I would like to take the time to pass on is how we met Derek, at a local Rotary Club fundraiser. Jan and I happened to be the center stage artists at the event and the Mayor immediately took notice of one of Jan’s paintings. Long story short, that painting is now hanging in the mayor's office!

Today just so happens to be Jan’s birthday. In normal times we would be deciding which restaurant to be celebrating at, but given our new current reality,curbside dining, we have opted for Costco lobster tails (butter and lemon) with couscous and a fresh fully loaded salad, at home. Not a bad alternative. A steady flow of facebook and instagram birthday well wishes are already coming into her feed this morning. A bit of a gauge on what an awesome person she is, and what a lucky guy I am. Honestly, social isolation with Jan feels a bit like holiday.

We started isolation on March 9th. Jan has been working out of our home, in Lawai. I happened to have had a desktop, that I had built and used years ago, which I was able to install. It fit perfectly. The only downside is that, with our chairs back to back, if I have any news feed with Donald Trump's voice,she leaves to take a break. Perhaps a common reaction these days. Okay, no politics.

So aside from our new desk/work setup, we have our beloved barn and art studio. This is where the creative stuff happens. Right-brain activation required. One of the earlier visions that Jan verbalized to me was the desire to have a “real” art studio. At that time the barn was just that, an old rundown barn. Previously the barn had been a home to horses and goats, who had left evidence of their history in about 6 inches of ground cover. An original sign, that still hangs there, says “Manure Happens”.

Needless to say, all of that “ground cover” has since been removed. I framed in a new floor for the studio and made all window openings screen only. I must say that the resulting ambiance of the place is quite cool and relaxed and facilitates a really “chill” environment. It all worked out better than we had anticipated ! We are not Feng Shui experts but the free flow of air, energy and creative ideas resulting from this space are undeniable!

OK, the last, but not least, of our favorite hang out areas, is our lanai deck. About 4 years ago, when Jan and I decided to move in together, we decided to make a priority list of improvements that we wanted to see around the house. We both ranked hanging out outdoors as high on the list. Mainly due to the incredible greenery and open view we have. Originally, the back patio area, although large enough to have a barbecue, table and a couple lounge chairs, was not very inviting.

The concrete looked like it was done in 3 different pours. It was a bit uneven and badly mildewed. So, it made perfect sense to build a deck over the existing concrete. Creating a nice clean, flat surface. I later built several free standing framed bamboo partitions that add privacy where needed while still allowing a very “open” feeling. Jan came up with the idea of Tiki Torches for mood lighting and also to discourage the mosquitos at dusk. With a glass of wine in hand, torches flickering and great conversations of the days events we have brought many days to a joyful end on our deck.

The date is May 6th, 2020. Who knows what the future will bring regarding the pandemic. The current talk is of ending social isolation measure in much of the country. Hopefully we flow cleanly into a safe recovery. Many feel this is premature. Jan and I choose to work gratitude into as many areas of our lives as possible. We are certainly grateful for this space we live in and how it accommodates so many of the interests that make up our lives, and feeling, once again, So Lucky We Live Kauai.


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