What do you do when you don’t fit in a coconut bra?

In case you didn't notice, I’ve had to rename the main title of my articles from Only In The Keys to Only On An Island. Since I’ve made the big move to Honolulu, I’ve had to tweak my mindset and these articles. So far, my beloved editor and publisher have both encouraged me to continue writing for The Reporter and I’m very grateful.

My goal is to keep all of my loyal readers who share the same warped sense of humor entertained... despite my actual zip code. (Well, as long as that zip code is on an island somewhere. I'm no fool. Most people prefer reading reading about bikinis versus wool sweaters.)

So, the latest update on this big move is that I've finally arrived here in Hawaii. However, because this move required packing the container full of our “stuff” and transporting it via train to the west coast where it will be lifted onto a boat to cross the Pacific Ocean, none of our furniture or personal belongings will arrive until the beginning of August. The good news is the home we found isn’t available until August either. The bad news is this means we’re living in a tiny hotel room until then. This interim period is sort of like we’re in an altered state of reality. I fluctuate between feeling like I’m Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy in Oz.

“Toto… I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Until that container makes it to the Emerald City — or Honolulu — we are living out of a suitcase. Well, a LOT of suitcases. Let’s not pretend I’m efficient or a minimalist. And, Jack, my husband is worse. Our biggest goal is to keep a clear path from the beds to the bathroom so we don’t kill ourselves in the middle of the night when our old bladders wake us up. Funny, I used to worry about my daughter’s safety in the middle of the night but she’s got old parents, so she’s had to learn to fend for herself in this room. Now, it’s all about Jack and me making it to the bathroom “in time” – especially when we have to navigate around massive amounts of open suitcases in the dark.

Moving is not for the weak. You either need to spend a LOT of money to move — which we don’t — or plan on working putting in massive physical labor. In other words, for the past month, I could have been mistaken for Fred Flintstone moving rocks at the quarry, without the help of the dinosaurs. My nails looked like I had been digging through rubble. June wasn’t a pretty month for me. Physically or emotionally. I came face to face with a cockroach (okay, a palmetto bug, as we like to specify in the Keys) and it took one look at me and made me a martini. I think it mistook me for its long lost cousin.

All that was fine in Key Largo where I’m loved even if I smell a bit. But Dorothy is in the big city now. It’s an entirely different ballgame here. Our hotel room is in Waikiki and the surrounding stores are a little nicer than Kmart. I just don’t feel comfortable walking into Saks Fifth Avenue wearing my Fred Flintstone staples.

Fortunately, before I left the Keys, I found an unused gift certificate my daughter set aside for Wear With All by Publix. The day before we left, I took her shopping there so the certificate didn’t go to waste. She found some darling outfits, but more importantly, Lynda and Sandy helped ME morph from Fred to Wilma. Honestly, at the time, I wasn’t sure I’d ever wear what they picked out but I thank them everyday I walk outside my hotel room here in our temporary altered reality.

While we’re waiting for our real life to begin, we have become full-blown “tourists” — doing all of the touristy things. Eating, shopping, eating, tanning and more eating. The food here is pricey but so delicious. It’s hard to rival my fish tacos at Sharkey’s in the Keys, but let’s just say I’m well fed.

At least I don't have to worry about bumping into anyone I know here while I’m stuffing my face. However, I forgot how tourists tend to flock to all of the same places and forced into a fellowship of sorts. I shook hands with a darling little boy we met at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. He was a cutie but I had to a find ladies room to wash up after seeing him pick his nose later in the tour. He was still busy, digging for gold, when we bumped into him and his family at the Cheesecake Factory. As friendly as this family was, I felt a little cruel intentionally avoiding the little boy’s boogered handshake the next day at the luau.

Luaus are always fun — especially for my husband. Like a little boy, he loves watching those beautiful girls hula dance and said I really need to learn how to swing my hips like they do. I was surprised he made it past the coconut bras to even see the swaying hips. I was blown away by their perfect little coconut-sized bodies. Unless Lynda magically finds a coconut bra in size 3X, Jack is screwed and I’m shopping for muumuus.

Hey, when in the Emerald City… do as the munchkins do. Right?

Jana Vandelaar has worked as a freelance writer in the Keys with a loving family, fun friends and smelly pups for more than 20 years. Check out her website at for more books available online or ‘Like’ her Facebook page at JanabananaINK for daily smiles about life as she sees and lives it. If you enjoy her articles, Jana has a book titled, “ONLY IN THE KEYS, Snort-Laughing Stories About Life In The Florida Keys.” This is a fun book full of Jana’s most popular articles written for The Reporter since 2008. It’s available at Randy’s Florida Keys Gifts, MM 102.4 or at Hooked On Books, MM 81.9.