On Saturday, February 2nd, I called the number for Costco Travel. The extremely helpful woman who answered the phone spent the next 80 minutes helping design exactly the right vacation package for our May adventure. Yes, that’s right: 80 minutes!

I had a pretty good idea where and when I wanted to go: Rick wanted to spend his 60th birthday in May under a palm tree in the islands. I’d checked his work schedule, and knew I could make his dream come true, but I couldn’t quite navigate online to do it all by myself—he’s the tech wizard, and this was to be a surprise!

The gal at Costco Travel listened to me explain exactly what I was looking for: Lahaina, May 7 to 21, a centrally-located, fully-equipped condo, no high-rises, naturally with palm trees and pool, plus a rental car and our round-trip flight from Portland.

She directed me to over a dozen different accommodations sites, which I scrutinized on my computer screen while she told me about the benefits and price of each. Some were way too big, with exorbitant “resort fees.” Some were too far from the action, more towards the beaches of Kaanapali than in Lahaina.

At last I made a decision, and instructed her to book it. My condo choice didn’t have five stars, heck, it didn’t even have actual maid service, but it had a washer and dryer and it was only two measly (and quiet!) blocks from the multi-leveled Wharf Center, where there were many restaurants, shopping opportunities, and even a movie theater.

Our one-bedroom condo advertised a “garden view,” which was stretching it a bit—there was one measly row of shrubs between the windows and the nearly-vacant parking lot—but it was an unassuming, two-story, 135-room dream come true for our getaway. The pool, surrounded by palms, turned out to be rarely used by anyone but us, and was just 195 short steps away, even if you counted every single footfall.

The day we landed in Kahului, we loaded up on breakfast foods and 14 days worth of beverages at Costco, of course, then discovered there were no luggage carts to help us carry it all inside. Good thing I’d been lifting weights the past four months!

Aloha! Stay tuned!