Inspection Passed, Naysayers Defeated

Whew! It has been quite a week here in Hawaii, as I’ve been in Nuclear Robot Work Mode since arriving. It has been incredibly fun so far, and yet mixed in with all the fun and hard work have been some important life lessons pertaining to both early retirement and home renovation. As we’ve learned over time, such lessons seem to pop up everywhere.

But first I’ve got to tell you about my friends who live in this house (to preserve anonymity in this small town, we’ll call them Johnny and Jane Aloha). You would love these people – among the most Badass, Mustachian, fun people I have ever met. And their personalities have been a key part in the success of this project so far.

First, there’s the way this project began: I got an email from a guy who was a total stranger at the time, inviting me to come live in his house for as long as I see fit, and bring my little family along. John sounded enthusiastic and fun, mentioning both delicious home-cooked food and beer in the invitation. After a few emails, we had already agreed in principle that this would work, but we had better check with our wives.  Mrs. Money Mustache proved her excellence by agreeing to the adventure, and Jane Aloha enthusiastically approved the agreement from her end.

Oh, and there was just one minor complication: J+J were expecting their first baby to be born right in the middle of our renovation project, and some of their extended family will be coming to stay at the same time as the Mustache family.

“Should we reschedule to another time?”, I wondered.

“Of course not! The more the merrier!”, they said, so planning began in earnest.

When I showed up here a couple of months later, I was even more impressed. Here was a couple in their early thirties who are almost constantly upbeat. The girl is a seasoned athlete who is still riding bikes, working, and doing multi-mile swims in the open ocean with a swimming club – one week before she delivers her first baby. The guy has an advanced degree and a great career doing civilian high-tech work in military-related companies. And within moments of meeting, he invited me on a high-speed bike tour of this area of Kailua in the dark, with lots of bumpy shortcuts and  following the Hawaiian tradition of inadequate bike lighting.

Because of this carefree get-er-done attitude, the work project has gone extremely well. We’ve already dealt with the inevitable problems that occur with every project: material shortages due to delivery errors, insurmountable geometry challenges in framing a new floor that is very close to the ground,  incomplete building plans requiring lots of improvisation, a suboptimal selection of power tools and a dying air compressor, and more. And yet, the rate of progress is blazing and as of just an hour ago, we had passed the critical inspection: the plumbing and general framing/layout review. We are now clear to drywall and “close it in”. From here on in, it’s all finish work.

At a joyful milestone, let’s review a few more of the things that Naysayers have proclaimed about this project:

  • You’ll never get a permit for a separate living space in Hawaii!
  • You can’t do a project like that in only two weeks.
  • Are you really going to go live and work with people you’ve just met?
  • Good luck getting a suitcase full of tools onto the plane.
  • You won’t find a plumber in Hawaii who uses PEX. Everyone still uses copper here, and thus the labor and materials will cost you much more.
  • The inspector won’t let you build things any differently than what the approved plan says.
  • Welcome to Hawaii: you can forget anything you thought you knew about construction from the Mainland.
  • This is an expensive island. You can’t do a renovation here for under $50,000
  • The plumbers and electricians are showing up on Monday? Ha! Good luck on that one.. you’ve obviously never heard of “Island Time”.

Of course, all of the naysaying turned out to be unfounded, as it usually is. We not only passed the critical inspection, we did it quickly and while having a lot of fun. Here are a few of the techniques that helped to make it happen.

Johnny Aloha is not shy about blasting people with his Optimism Gun. I was already feeling pretty great when I stepped off the plane, but he kept increasing the energy level by staying calm through the inevitable hiccups, being excited about the work, and generally musing about how great life is in general (We’re in Hawaii, what could possibly not be awesome!?). One night, as we were sweaty and cooling off at the end of a 12-hour construction day, he said, “You know what? I think from now on we should just really BLAZE on this, so we can get it done before your family gets here and you won’t feel like you have to work then”.

I had thought I had already been blazing, but at that moment I got all crazy-eyed, stood up and walked across the room with my sweat-and-sawdust-encrusted arms high in the air, and we did a Double High Five with such intensity that we almost sent ourselves flying in opposite directions across the living room to crash through the old single-layer wood walls.

The next day, all three of us used our Optimism Guns on the plumber and electricians, who arrived in average working moods, but got progressively more enthusiastic through the day. By the end of it, we had a plumber who was unstoppable*, coated in dirt, skipping his own dinner and working past 7PM to get the plumbing work to an inspectable stage before he went home that night. The electricians were also highly motivated**, teaming up to solve problems and rescheduling their other work to come back early this morning to finish the project so their own inspection could be called in. Even the inspector quickly shed his formal shell after arriving in the construction zone, approving everything and making suggestions for improvement with a wink rather than a “DENIED” stamp.

This all sounds like magic to a normal person, but experienced optimists will recognize that we were simply applying principles that have worked on humans forever. By making a personal connection with each person on the work site, taking interest in their work and going out of our way to accommodate their needs, and offering hero-worship-like praise when appropriate, we were able to get the tradesmen and the inspector to feel like they were on our side, rather than just people working for their own employers.

Other tactics that have helped to speed things up or save money:

  • By using a big network of friends, John was able to borrow most of the tools needed for this job without cost. He’s always careful to pay back the lenders generously in other ways.
  • For those areas where your immediate friends are not enough, understanding the local business culture can be key. In Hawaii, personal relationships are more important in business, so the building department is more likely to approve plans from a designer they trust, and the inspector is more likely to approve work from a plumber he trusts. Hiring the right people to get through the unknowns can be a wise investment, if the numbers work out correctly.
  • Despite holding her own full-time job and the baby during this project, Jane has provided full tactical support by handling the household operation, groceries, and even making dinner for all of us so we could work more in the evenings. Crazy dinners. Meals that would be worth coming to Hawaii for just for their own sake.
  • Craigslist provided some major savings on things like windows, shower faucet, tiles, and furnishings for the eventual finished suite.
  • Home Depot and Lowe’s (and most other building material stores) all offer home delivery of any order for about $75. Rather than spending hours loading hundreds of items of items and sheets of drywall onto a rented truck, we just emailed the order to the store and had them forklift it into the jobsite. With a 10% military discount to boot.
  • Keeping an open mind to optimizing your design as you build can save money and time. For example, the unusual wall structure prevented plumbing pipes from coming up in exterior walls. It would have been a major problem for the plumber, and possibly caused a failed inspection. But we created bumped-out sections behind the cabinets to hold the pipes, which will have the side benefit of a larger countertop space. Similar ideas allow you to fit more free and reused materials into your project, and end up with fewer scraps to dispose of at the end.
This may be starting to sound like another home renovation article, but the same ideas will work wherever you’re in search of a difficult and unusual outcome, and naysayers are involved.
The task of financial independence and early retirement itself comes to mind as one of these situations. It is an outrageous goal that brings nothing but Nay from most of the Sayers you’ll encounter. Yet when you’re hanging here with the optimism of the Mustachians all around you, the goal is not only achievable, but inevitable and obvious.
So the question is, what OTHER amazing things could you do, if you were lucky enough to jump straight into a pool of people who believed you could do it?
*David McClay from Mac’s Plumbing is the guy here (www.macsplumbinghawaii.com)
** Electrician: Hawaiian Isle Electric (hawaiianisleelectric.com), and Craig and Daniel were the exceptional electricians who got ‘er done so quickly.

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61 Responses to “Inspection Passed, Naysayers Defeated”

  1. James @ Free in Ten Years December 5, 2012 at 3:04 am #

    Crush them with the Optimism Gun MMM. I’m loving these posts from Hawaii – I can’t wait to be in your situations perusing awesome projects on tropical islands. You are living the dream.

    • Mortgage Mutilator @ Mutilate The Mortgage December 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      James, judging from your posting name you’re obviously trying to reach some goal in 10 years, likely FI. Be sure not to simply focus ALL your energy and thoughts into just that one goal. Life is what passes by while you are busy planning for tomorrow. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of believing that these great adventures can ONLY be done after one retires. I know even MMM has written about this before so think what you’d do after you’re FI and then start it now! :-)

      • James @ Free in Ten Years December 6, 2012 at 2:20 am #

        Thanks MM. I have many other interests and am far from fixated on this goal to the detriment of the rest of my life. If I don’t reach my goal then I’m in an awesome position financially compared to most – that’s the way I’m looking at it. At the moment, I’m finding it really fun being frugal and don’t miss spending lots of money at all.

        Spending money doesn’t equal happiness.

        • Nurse Frugal December 10, 2012 at 9:33 am #

          I agree James! I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had living a frugal lifestyle. Most people don’t understand that a lot of fun can come out of having a great time on a tenth of what most people spend ;)

  2. lurker December 5, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    congrats. well done. how’s the baby?

  3. Lance @ Money Life and More December 5, 2012 at 5:18 am #

    Wow that couple is intense! If anyone had any doubts they’d be successful before it should be obvious they’ll be successful after this. Swimming in the ocean a week before giving birth?! That’s pretty crazy.

    That’s awesome that he inspired you to get it done even faster. It will help you both. I think it is always good to frame things in a way that show the benefits to the person you’re trying to convince and the Aloha’s did that for you as well!

    • Marcia December 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Yeah, the first year I did the local triathlon, one of my teammates was 8 months pregnant and doing it. And the ocean was COLD and she didn’t fit into her wetsuit. She swam in a bikini in 61F water. Luckily only 500 yds.

      I have to say, working out for me is definitely easier in pregnancy, even at the end, than after birth. The baby is portable, everywhere. :)

    • JaneMD December 7, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      You can do almost anything in pregnancy if you keep it up the whole time. Last year someone ran the Chicago marathon (I think)and gave birth later that day. Besides, working out at the end of pregnancy can cause contractions and possibly induce labor. I haunted my gym for the last weeks of my pregnancy working out 2 hours a day . . . I had a whole crowd of people hovering nervously behind me.

  4. MoreKnown December 5, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Thanks for the update, MMM! Any way we could see some photos of the finished product (or some of the legendary Hawaii beaches)?

  5. Justin@TheFrugalPath December 5, 2012 at 6:09 am #

    You can defiantly get people to do more for you with optimism and a good mood. If you keep getting contractors who skip dinner you’ll have this done before you know it and will be able to relax on the beach with a couple of beers.

  6. Ben December 5, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    Great work, MMM! Can’t wait to hear more.

    Did you decide to install surface-mounted or cabinet-mounted receptacles in the kitchen/wet bar area?

  7. rjack December 5, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    I want an Optimism Gun for Christmas!

    Oh wait, I think I already have one from long ago that I forgot about. I’m going to find it, dust it off, and load it with fresh new rounds. Then I’m going to set it on rapid fire and fire away.

    What an inspiring post about what a positive and progressive attitude can do. Thanks MMM!

  8. Offroad December 5, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    Become expert carpenter. Become expert motivational person. Become expert money-frugal person.

    Earn money building homes, working hard, enjoying new friends whereever you find them.

    Got it. The good life. Simple right?

  9. jlcollinsnh December 5, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Man. I’m glad I read this in the morning. That’s enough inspiration to keep me going at a fever pitch the rest of the day!

    Plus, had I read it in the evening it would have kept me up all night….

    Kudos to all!

  10. Michelle December 5, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    Awesome! That is great!

  11. greg December 5, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    This post finds me after having enthusiasm crushed by The Man in a variety of ways in the past few weeks; it is no longer in my own interest to try to improve things (as others have complained to me as well).

    Thanks for reminding me what can happen when people come together to get stuff done! It probably just made my day, and made me that much more inspired to achieve my goals of financial independence!

    • David Wendelken December 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

      It’s ALWAYS in your interest to improve things.

      Your employer may not appreciate your improved skills and knowledge, but your next one will.

      It’s a win-win for you to improve things at work.
      It’s a win-lose choice for your employer and a win for your next one.

  12. SideSteptheRatRace December 5, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    I took the plunge and signed up to do a Triathlon in March! In Hawaii!!

    I have never run more than 5 miles in my life, so this is a big challenge for me. But I shot MYSELF with the optimism gun, so here I go!

    Think maybe I could meet my hero, Mr. MMM while I’m there kicking butt?

  13. Ray December 5, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    This article is at least as inspiring to me as your optimism article. I accepted the idea that optimism makes you more likely to accomplish your goals, but I never considered the effect it could have on others. Also, I never knew coconuts were so hairy.

    • Naomi December 5, 2012 at 9:15 am #

      That’s a coconut??

  14. Sarah S December 5, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    I can’t wait to come stay! Will they give a Mustache discount? :)

  15. nunayo December 5, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    This was the perfect post to wake up to on my Birthday! My dream early retirement looks just like what you are doing no, and you’ve made me believe it can happen!

  16. Joe @ Retire By 40 December 5, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Wow, you guys are awesome. I would never consider doing anything like that with a baby coming. I would get way too stressed out to deal with any additional stuff. My optimism gun still needs a little improvement. Great job!

  17. wubbly@chubblywubbly.com December 5, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Optimism is the way to go.

    Over the years, I have slowly distanced myself away from those that are constantly complaining. Some people I know are already millionaires in their late 30′s and instead of being appreciative, they constantly whine about how they deserve more based on the amount of work they have done. It seems that every conversation I had with them was listening to them complain!

  18. Chris Gammell December 5, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    I think the optimism gun can shoot through the intertubes as well. This post energized me on a sleepy Weds morning. Congrats on the success so far!

  19. Eschewing Debt December 5, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    I love how you said that optimism can transform the attitude of not just yourself, but those around you. I have definitely found that to be true- I use it on my husband quite often when he’s had a bad day at work or when the kids are not behaving quite as well as we would like:)

  20. Lucas December 5, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Great job! Way to take that negativity and burn it to power your Optimism Gun! I can actually credit several nay sayers with a lot of my success as I determined to prove them wrong!

    • nomoreuntdebt December 5, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      I as well. Growing up, there were several adult figures that didn’t believe I could accomplish certain things, and that made me push through and make it happen out of spite for their nay-saying.

      Example: I struggled through AP English all through high school, and was always on the brink of failing. On one particularly lousy paper, my teacher wrote “Do not register for the AP test. You will not pass.” You know who didn’t have to take a single english course in college? This guy.

      • jlcollinsnh December 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

        this is one of life’s most important lessons. There are always naysayers tugging at our coattails.

        They need to just be shaken off and paid no more mind.

      • Lucas December 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

        Hum . . must be something about those highschool teachers. I pretty much had the exact same experience with my english (and math) teachers. I always wondered if they were serious or just using reverse psychology on me though?

  21. Matt December 5, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    I think this could be a case study in management school. While MMM and John Aloha are doing most of the “grunt” work themselves, they are also *managers* for some aspects of the project: the electrical and plumbing, and at least to some degree, the inspection.

    Of course, they could have used bribes to win the favor of the contractors and inspector, but that’s not really MMM fashion. Instead, it appears their approach was good old fashioned interpersonal skills and leadership: they were able to impart the excitement and enthusiasm for the project into the 3rd parties, and also create an environment that was fun and enjoyable.

    If every manager was able to do that (and I think it’s a rare gift), I think we’d all love our jobs.

    Compared to my “military-style” manager, who says nothing when things go right, only complains/yells extensively when things go wrong; *insists* on long working hours (because the environment is such that I don’t want to put in any more time than I have to); and doesn’t care about the details or challenges of my job, just that it gets done perfectly (and immediately). At the end of the day, I get a lot of good quality work done, and get paid well for it—but the pay is the only real satisfaction I get. And I plan to stay only long enough to become FI.

    Once I’m FI, I intend to look for an environment like the one MMM and John Aloha have created: one where the excitement of the work itself is the main motivator, and the overall feel of the environment is positive. I believe that in such a situation, I’ll be *at least* as productive as I am now (probably more in reality)… but immeasurably happier.

    At the end of the day, that’s really my motivation for hopping on the MMM/FIRE train: it’s not that I don’t want to work, I just don’t want my decision on where/when/how I work to be dictated by money (I’ve got a family to take care of). Live well below your means, save & invest, and in relatively short order, you take jobs exactly on *your* terms.

  22. Jamesqf December 5, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    You still didn’t tell us how you got all the tools on the plane.

    • Mr. Money Mustache December 5, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      Well, James, I put the tools into my suitcase along with my flipflops and surf shorts, and checked the suitcase. Since none of the tools contained explosives or other prohibited items, the TSA and airlines had no reason to complain!

      Maybe you were thinking I meant big things like compressors and table saws.. I didn’t bring those along, of course – John just borrowed those from local friends. My tools were just my favorite frequently used things like my toolbelt with all of its little hand tools, the best tape measure in the world, etc. Plus a bunch of PEX fittings and the tools to install them.

      • JJ December 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

        Works in Oz too. Main thing to watch for is batteries for cordless tools. You either have to plug them in to the tool or tape over the terminals and put them in your carry on. If the terminals short the battery gets hot and catches fire. Not good on a plane. The TSA don’t like that. Petrol powered tools, blow torches etc also not good. I did a long distance reno earlier in the year and took about 30lb of tools by air (and brought 50 back :)).

      • Corey December 6, 2012 at 7:51 am #

        I have been looking to buy “the best tape measure in the world” – who makes it? :)

  23. hands2work December 5, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    I am so impressed, but I also knew you could do it. I own an Optimism Gun, but mine is just a small pocket model. It does work wonders on crabby clerks and co-workers though! Mine starts by answering every “How are you today” with the word “Fabulous!” Even when I’m not so fabulous just saying it makes me more so and most grocery/dmv/store clerks visibly straighten and smile when I say it and decide that they are fabulous too!

  24. Gipsy Queen December 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Mmmm…I kind of like naysayers. I keep one at home, to run things by him. And every time he says “won’t work”, I ask why. He points the flaws in my plans, I fix them (or eliminate them completely), and everything runs smoother because of him.

  25. Kathleen, Frugal Portland December 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Can you draw any conclusions about naysayers? Like, is it reasonable to say that the more naysayers there are, the more you’re motivated to prove them wrong? Perhaps density of naysayers is a key element to any challenge.

    • Mr. Money Mustache December 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Hmm.. maybe Naysayers are not so bad after all.. but if you’re working in a team, you still want to stock it with Yaysayers. Then part of your team identity is the fact that you hold a unique optimistic view and you actually look forward to proving them wrong.

      On the other hand, a world of all Yay would be just fine too.

      • Kathleen, Frugal Portland December 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

        I’d love to live in a world full of yay — that sounds amazing! :) I’m with you — you want the yaysayers on your team, but if you throw an idea out, and get a bunch of nays — then maybe you’re onto something!

  26. Captian and Mrs Slow December 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Thanks I certainly could use a blast of your optimism gun, the Wife has been calling me complaining pants of recent, so thusly I shall punch myself in the face and put away those pants!

  27. rubin pham December 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    “We’re in Hawaii, what could possibly not be awesome!?”.
    i have been to this part of hawaii before (kailua beach). i can’t agree with you more.

  28. AussieJulie December 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    being around people like that gives you a nature high. can’t wait to see the end results. It’s even put me on a high now for the day. (walking with a skip in my step) thanks guys.

  29. Skinnyneo December 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Great post MMM! Can’t wait to see the finished project!

  30. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom December 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Jane Aloha sounds like a real warrior. Perhaps it’s that crazy surge of energy woman get just before the baby is born.

  31. Posted On December 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Looks great!!

    But I must say, I would have made the headers above the windows (see pic above) using the 2x4s on edge. That seems like rather a long span to use the 1 1/2″ dimension as the support for the cripple studs above the windows…just my opinion, and I am neither a professional, nor an inspector.

    Keep up the great progress!!

    • Mr. Money Mustache December 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

      Thanks Posted on – that’s not a load-bearing wall, so the studs are only holding the windows in place. Otherwise, you’d definitely be right, we’d need 2×6 or even bigger depending on what it was holding up above.

  32. Financial Black Sheep December 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Boo to Naysayers! Actually someone telling me “No” makes me work harder and find all the ways things CAN be done. Of course faster, and under budget. :D. You rock!

  33. Nick December 6, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    I love this blog. I recently “retired” at age 30. I live in one of the worlds most expensive cities and have been looking to create a resource like this to reach a hand back to every other person I know who is stuck in a prison of their own making – however you’ve already nailed it so perfectly I’m going to have to find another project! Again, excellent resource.

    • Mr. Money Mustache December 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      Thanks Nick! Always nice to hear the competition is being scared off :-)

  34. Matt December 6, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    Ok, that might be the cleanest job site i have ever seen. Funny to see the carpet just cut back cleanly. Yeah still, headers….? I guess it works. Don’t those walls hold up the roof, or am I missing something? How do they frame a outside window wall in new house out there?
    What’s the plan for the ceiling to cover up the vent pipes? Any plans for insulation or at least for sound? Or is that not done out there?
    What’s the 12G wire coiled up for in the back wall, floor heat?
    Pocket doors are the way to go for small bathrooms like this.
    Nice job!

  35. George December 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Wow, that sounds like an awesome family to hang out; They sound like very cool people!

    I could not help but smile when I saw the picture with all the supply lines being PEX and remembering how much you liked them in the past;

    From my understanding PEX started out as being used mainly for sprinkler systems; One day someone must have just looked at that PEX and said damn, why don’t we just use this stuff inside the house as well and ditch the copper; its nice not having to sweat the joints everytime with a propane torch and solder

  36. Matt @ Xpensables December 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    I love the can do mindset and you’re dead on about it being contagious! All too often we get too comfortable in our own pace and sometimes it takes someone motivating to get us to the next level, it sounds like you guys really did that with all your subs. All the hard work will pay off when your family is there!

  37. Fangs December 9, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    So what you’re saying is you and your friends inconvenienced other people so he could get his work done. Electricians rescheduled their other appointments? Having been on the other side of that equation, let me tell you, it sucks. Glad to see his work got done, sad to see it was at other peoples’ expense.

  38. Diane December 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Oh Fangs, I’m sorry about your experience, but you may be taking this too far. In Hawaii, it’s entirely possible that the contractor’s other “appointment” could have been to go surfing. If the swells weren’t quite as expected, or the job experience more fun than anticipated, it may have been an easy no-harm-no-foul decision to cancel the “appointment” with no adverse consequences.

  39. Heath December 12, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    You are an inspiration to nuclear robots everywhere :-)

  40. Daisy @ Everything Finance December 13, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    In some of my research, I’ve found that Craigslist can be incredible for saving money on renos. Even appliances and cabinets etc, that people buy to put in their houses but they don’t fit.

    Anyway, I think that having others believe in you is important, but believing that you can do it is more important.

  41. Ian December 20, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Hey MMM,

    Just wondering how the Crossfit training is going while you are in Hawaii? Are you on a break or did you find an affiliate on the island?

    • Mr. Money Mustache December 20, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

      Thanks for asking, Ian!

      Training and gaining is going well here, as I am privileged to have access to the same gym on a military base that Obama himself uses during his Hawaiian vacations! Supplementing those workouts with some bodyweight things I have set up here at the house. Mrs. MM has gone more formal and is actually visiting Crossfit Kailua regularly, she reports it is a great place.

  42. bunedoggle January 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    “following the Hawaiian tradition of inadequate bike lighting.”

    Had to laugh at this, mostly because a friend of mine went to college in Colorado and while there received a fine from a police officer for not having a bike light. (Batteries had died).

    Here in New England we find that laughable to the extreme. Like getting a ticket for not having an umbrella in the rain.

    My guess is Hawaiians would find it equally laughable.

    • Mr. Money Mustache January 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

      Indeed – from what I have seen, Hawaiians might even find the idea of any sort of traffic enforcement to be laughable.

      Man, the house where I stayed is on a road with a speed limit of 25MPH. Right near an elementary school and fire station. I’m pretty sure I never saw a single person drive by at the speed limit – traffic ranged from SUVs and minivans driven by distracted moms with cellphones at 35MPH, right up to a mufflerless Buell motorbike ripping by doing a full wheelie at 90MPH. Turn signals rarely used, muffler regulations never enforced.. it’s like Mad Max! Fun for libertarians, but not for people like me who think we should all be biking and making as little noise as possible (other than music and singing, which can be as loud as you want :-))… Never saw one person pulled over anywhere on the island during my entire 7 weeks there.

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