My trip to Maui lasted five months, and it was just what I needed. I had recently ended a 12-year relationship and had met someone new. However, it was October, I was living in Seattle, and the notorious cloudy winter was beginning to set in. Needing a break from Seattle, from cloudy skies and from intimate relationships, I sold my house, explained to my new boyfriend that I needed a break, some time for myself, and I bought a one-way ticket to Maui.
Upon arrival, I stayed for a couple of weeks in a lovely ocean-side resort in Lahaina town. It was amazing — I immediately felt the pace of my life slow down. I browsed the shops during the day, chatted with the shop owners here and there and enjoyed the energy of the tourists on vacation. The gentle breezes off the Pacific greeted me every morning as I sipped my coffee and ate pineapple on the balcony.
As it became clear that I wanted to settle in to Maui for a longer stay, I began to look for more permanent accommodations. I searched the various little towns that dotted the island, trying to find a space I could connect with. Eventually I found a quaint little ohana for rent at the back of one of the larger vacation homes. It was a one-bedroom house much older than the primary property. It was definitely in need of some TLC, with roof and siding issues, but it would do for my temporary home. The kitchen had outdated linoleum and there was a lot of old carpeting throughout. I would’ve definitely preferred engineered hardwood flooring, but I liked the landlord, and he agreed to flexible month-to-month terms, so I paid the deposit and first month’s rent.
Before I moved out of my hotel and into the ohana, I decided to give the inside of the house a once-over. The landlord had it professionally cleaned, but I just wanted to make sure it was up to my expectations. The thing I was most concerned about was “unwanted guests” — pests such as bugs, mice and the like. Hawaii’s warm climate is definitely lovely, but this means all manner of creatures — not just humans — find it quite lovely as well.
I bought some home-use bug bombs, set them off in the ohana, and left for the evening to go back to my hotel for my last night in Lahaina. I figured the mist would drive out any “critters” trying to hang out and mooch free rent by being secret roommates! I was looking forward to peace and quiet, and as I said, wanted a break from intimate relationships of ANY kind!
Unfortunately, the scene I encountered at the ohana the next day was like something from a horror movie. HUGE dead bug carcasses were strewn EVERYWHERE around the house. Fortunately, my landlord had been there before me and had left a note saying he would have the place professionally cleaned AGAIN, and promised to remove all traces of the carnage. Shaken, I left to spend the day on the ocean.
But later that day I arrived back to a spotless and rather pleasant ohana. It couldn’t be any cleaner now, and it was bug-free. I was delighted! I moved my stuff inside and started to settle in. I grilled some mahi mahi on the little patio, had dinner then kicked back with a Kona coffee. Hmm, maybe this would work after all!
But as I settled into bed that evening, there was a new development. A distinct scuttling sound between the walls.
The next day, I called the landlord again. He promised to resolve this issue as well. He said it would come down to a 3-step process.
1. Remove all food sources.
2. Close off entryways.
3. Capture existing mice.
The first of the three steps was already solved. The former tenants of the ohana had been — how shall we put it? Not-so-neat! The landlord informed me they routinely left food out and had a huge garbage container in the kitchen they didn’t take out very often. I would make neither of these mistakes.
There were some noticeable holes where the exterior walls met the roof of the house. The landlord promised to patch them all.
And third, bait stations would be placed around the house to coax existing and future mice.
In the end, I only heard the scuttling one more night, and never again for the rest of my stay at the cute little cottage on Maui. I definitely received the peace, quiet and solitude I had been seeking!
I am back in Seattle now, and very much in love with the man I temporarily abandoned that winter. Happily, he loves Maui too, and we will definitely be back there soon — and in search of critter-free accommodations!
Blog written by Drew James.