Saturday, August 20, 2011

reasons NOT to leave Pittsburgh

It sounds funny. We're leaving this beautiful, historic city. But we will miss it. Here's some of our favorite things...

The Steelers
We're going to miss all of the games, pep rallies, the electricity when we win Super Bowls... Luckily, there's Steelers bars in Hawaii, including the big island. You can check out all of them: Steelers bars. That photo was taken 11-21-10 when we beat the Raiders 35-3. Best. Seats. Ever.

The history, views, landmarks
It's just breath-taking. We have a great downtown. But there's no night life down there. That all winds up on the South Side. It's fun to go to bars down there, but it's even funner on the rare occasion that we actually have a sitter and vehicle/designated driver to enjoy it. So we won't miss it too bad, since we already do now. The zoo and museums are awesome. I still have to check out what's in Hawaii. The history of Pittsburgh is something all it's own. We have a history museum filled with pictures and recordings from the last 250+ years. Hawaii only became a state in 1959 (tomorrow is it's birthday!). There's some history there too, but I don't know how much is recorded in museums. Pittsburghers love our history. George Washington slept here. But we don't have tiki totems here.

We get like 30" of rain a year supposedly. I think it's a lot higher than that. And did they factor in snow? Seriously? Hilo supposedly gets like 130" of rain a year. But it's like 65-85 degrees year round. It gets anywhere from like 100 to -20 here. And I can say goodbye to events like Snowpocalypse. I think Hawaii gets snow, but nothing like the crippling 3 feet in like 12 hours. Sure, that only happens once every 10 years, but I'm leaving it behind. But I'm leaving behind the endless clouds and haze for a night sky full of stars. And Hawaii has telescopes. We have one, and it's always cloudy...

There's like $2 buses in Hawaii, but don't run so much. Buses here are $3.25 one way. And now-a-days, don't run so much. Port Authority sucks. Ok so that's not really a reason to leave, but it does factor in somewhere.

For the most part, the scariest things around here are the occasional bear, deer in mating season (when you're driving), and well, wolf and brown recluse spiders. Hawaii has sharks, but not more than the average beach. And ginormous orb spiders. And something called a cane spider. Dear God, it's a wolf spider on steroids. I can deal with an orb spider, it's just a WAAAY bigger version of a garden spider. Non-agressive, makes a pretty web. Stays outside. I don't know the deal with this cane spider. Frankly, I'm terrified just looking at pictures and never stayed long enough to read an article. Stay outside, don't come near me, we'll be ok. Hawaii has no snakes. My husband loves that. But mention spider to me or one of the twins, and we're in the other room before you finish the sentence. Centipedes too. I heard chickens LOVE to eat them. So I'll probably have a pet chicken out there. And apparently there's cockroaches everywhere. As long as it has less than 8 legs, I'm ok. We're clean people, so we probably won't have to worry too much about those.

So Pittsburgh doesn't have them, obviously. And no earthquakes either. But Hawaii has Vog, volcanic emissions in the air. Pittsburgh is forever overcast and hazy. I think I could deal. Then sun will probably burn my eyes like I just crawled out of a cave after being in there all my life. But there's a nifty little invention called sunglasses. Something that just never took off in Pittsburgh.

I've heard if you have anything real serious, go to Oahu. The medical care in Hilo kinda sucks from what I've heard. There's a major hospital competition here. Tons of them, everywhere. That will be hard to get used to.

Nobody wears floral print here unless they just visited Hawaii or are over 60. Pittsburghers like our blacks and grays and drab fashion. We like basic, comfy, goes with anything. Just add accessories.
We also have these cool 3 rivers that fork right downtown. Our city was built where a fort was. If there was a zombie attack, Pittsburgh would have a 1 up in geography. Plus we spawned George Romero AND Tom Savini. But the islands are kinda cut off from the world. So 1 up too for Hawaii in case of a zombie apocalypse. I'm going to miss zombie walks and conventions. I don't know how many horror fans are out in Hawaii. I think it's a lot of sun worshipers. But we'll have the internet, so I'll be able to stay in touch.

So that wraps it up, I think. Pittsburgh is awesome. We'll be back to visit. But we're going to the beach a whole lot first. And you don't really want to snorkel here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


So I'm already used to having to budget things. My husband and I don't make a lot now, and we're supporting toddler twins. Luckily, they share toys, and since one is bigger than the other, I can technically do the hand-me-downs with clothes. I have to work part-time since the cost of childcare is outrageous, especially for 2. We make about 2k a month. Not a lot. Rent around here for a 2 bedroom can run you $600-1000. Not bad nationally. We've seen some nice places around Hilo for less. My husband is really close to getting this better job now working with the Marcellus Shale boom. He can't move any further up where he is now considering he's senior supervisor. Money's decent, it's a good job, but drilling pays double that. And gets us to Hawaii sooner!

So our pre-plan is, as follows:
- get a car so hubby can get back and forth to work while on the road
- get an apartment. our rental is in such bad shape, I don't think it will last another winter.
- pay off our debts
- the kids finish preschool, and we might move to WV for a year. The family wants to spend time with the kids and don't really want to go to Hawaii to see them.

Then our plan to get there is:
- get to L.A. via one-way rental car. My husband hates to fly, and we want to see the country. But we kinda want to go all over, which will take too long. Enterprise runs about $170 a day for a one-way. I'm considering a train at this point.
- L.A. to Honolulu via ?? I think I was looking at Carnival Cruises. $4500 for a 12 day. I don't think you can just get off and stay there though. The flight is $1,300 for 4 of us and only 5.5 hours. Another $100 at the skybar to get my husband comatose. Cheap and quick, my favorite.
- Honolulu for a week. Shopping, sightseeing, the works.
- Island hop for another week. I'm dying to see Kauai. I might sink my anchor and never leave.
- Then the big island, checking out Hilo, Kona and the volcanos. Making sure we like it. Finding a place, (used) car, all new (to us, probably mostly used) stuff, etc. I'm not afraid of second-hand, the idea of Goodwill in Hilo makes me smile.
Budget: $30,000.

Once my husband has this new job, we should have that saved in 2 years. So we're waiting for the call any day now.


Welcome to my blog! I'm Pami, 30, living in Pittsburgh with my husband and our twin boys. The boys turn 3 in less than a month. We have always wanted to live somewhere else. Pittsburgh is great! Don't get me wrong. I love it here. I've lived here most of my life. My husband's been here for a few years. His family is in WV. I don't have much family left here anymore. We've been teeter-tottering between where to live for a while now. Do we stay here where there's jobs? Do we move there where there's family? That's been the last 4 years.

So why Hilo? I've always been Hawaii obsessed all my life. I've never been there, but something about it feels like home. I believe it started on craigslist. I started looking at jobs out there. Then apartments. Then I came to realize that it's not much more than living here. Then we found a job for my husband when we get out there. Then I found out I'm in love with the science program at the University of Hawaii Hilo. So it's blown up from there. Now we're saving up, paying off our debts, selling off our stuff... We figured it's about $1800 to ship our stuff there. Or we could just buy all new. Our stuff is crappy anyways. We plan to start fresh.

This blog will be our notes, ideas, budgets, etc. We hope it helps anybody planning on living in Hawaii. We also hope to keep this going once we're there so anyone could track our progress and see if we catch the dream.
If you have any hints, questions, anything, please comment!