Big news in 2004! We got tired of our small place in Hawaii so after the election decided to move to this slightly larger home in central France. It has one or two extra guest rooms so we hope you’ll come visit soon!
All seriousness aside, we did go to France but only temporarily — we’re still in Hawaii, still desperately trying to keep up with Mother Nature, and still working hard, which means we’re still NOT RETIRED!
Actually, with the exception of the election it’s been a very good year. Our vacation rental business has really grown, we were able to take advantage of the booming real estate market here in Hawaii, we visited France and spent time with some of our dearest friends, and even though we are now both card-carrying members of AARP, we’re (knock on wood) still very healthy.
Since so many came to see us the first year we moved, this year was very light in visitors by comparison. Our dear friends Rob and Jon came to visit from the East Coast, we were honored to host Arica on her big 50th, Tony and Hanne from our Bed & Breakfast International days came with their 12-year-old son Nicholas who charmed us from the first minute, and we’ll never forget Edith, Gladys and Ray, three octogenarians who were too delightful for words. Ray’s guest book entry wins for the best we’ve ever read:
“As a good Presbyterian I should go to heaven when I die, but if I don’t make it, I’ll take the room downstairs!”
In July we made our first trip to France and it was simply amazing. Sharene spent the first half with her three best girlfriends, all celebrating turning 50. Cathy speaks fluent French and Sharene knew 8 words, so between them they did OK! Paris was perfect: great weather, great sights, great architecture, and then there’s the Eiffel Tower—the total WOW FACTOR! The group then spent some time at a farmhouse in Bretagne, the home of some friends of Cathy’s. They became instant friends too, and it only added to the charm of this beautiful country.
Then it was back to Paris, where Sharene said “au revoir” to the girls and met Harrison, who flew in after spending a few days near Seattle with Rick, Maggie and family. Off the two of us went to the Loire Valley with its mega-chateaus, where we have very special memories of a wonderful time spent at a vacation rental farmhouse with our dear friends from Switzerland.
In November we headed to California. We attended the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento with Sharene’s mother Alys, spent a couple of days in the Bay Area seeing as many people as we could pack in, had Thanksgiving with more of Sharene’s family, then brought Alys back to Hawaii with us for an extended holiday visit.
By now you’re probably convinced we really are retired, but that’s just because we left the boring work stuff for last. We now manage about 24 rentals between Maui and the Big Island. We finished fixing up a true “fixer-upper” this past summer and sold it in the fall (we had a great crew so it was a positive experience all the way around). We also still operate our hotel websites and try to keep up with the never-ending changes in Internet commerce. The klein.org home page lists our websites if you want to see what we do. But we try not to let work become all-consuming, so we support our cultural community by seeing local concerts, shows, and art exhibits when we can. (There’s also this little oceanfront property we live on that takes some work now and then.)
We try to keep in touch during the year, but we do like to end it with a holiday note to let all of you know we value your friendship and to thank you for being part of our lives. We love to hear from you too, or better yet, come check out “the room downstairs!”
Mele Kalikimaka and malama pono,
Sharene & Harrison