We arrived home from vacation to a busted pipe on the second floor. Before we could even unpack, we were forced to deal with water damage.   This was my office before the flood.

This is my office afterwards.

The first call I made was to the insurance company to file a claim.  The second call was to our tried and true plumber.  Our plumber diagnosed the problem as a failed water pressure valve that sent too much pressure through the plumbing system causing a bad pipe to fail.  PSA – the plumber told us:  you should replace your water pressure valve at the same interval you replace your water heater.  

Our plumber replaced the water pressure valve and repaired the leaky pipe.  Unfortunately, all of our pipes were ‘bad’, so to speak, because they were polybutylene.  A quick Google search will educate you on the nightmare that polybutylene pipes are.   A quick search also led me to Plumbing Express as polybutylene pipe removers in our area.  Plumbing Express can completely replace ALL the plumbing in your home in just a few days.

Jasmin, the plumber,  removed all of the nightmare plastic pipes and replaced them with copper in just 2 days.  Of course, you could also choose to have cPVC or PEX piping installed too.  [Here is a handy chart to help you with the decision.]  I don’t know a lot about plumbing but I could tell Jasmin is a professional with a keen attention to detail. I was mesmerized by the blow torch and welding.

copper pipes

As you can imagine, replacing pipes involves a lot of cuts in sheet rock.

That’s where Kenny came in. Kenny fixed the sheet rock so it looked as good as new!  You can’t even tell there were gaping holes in our walls or textured  ceiling. I took advantage of the open ceilings and had recessed LED lighting installed in the kitchen.  Absolutely love it! I’m a bit obsessed with lighting in general and want to install these everywhere!

recessed LED lighting
There were a few minor issues with Plumbing Express, such as a broken bathroom light and lack of clean up in some areas but overall, we are super pleased to have had all plumbing replaced and sheet rock damage repaired within one week!  Next up, flooring!  Goodbye to the upstairs carpet.


We spent five days in Maui at the beginning of summer.   We flew to Maui from the West Coast and planned the connection to try out Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner in business class.   We flew Southwest Airlines into LAX and took the two hour train ride down to San Diego.   Looking back, I think the train is cool and all, but I wouldn’t make a special effort or go out of your way to take it.

We flew Alaska Airlines economy class, exit row, from San Diego to  Maui.  The flight departed at 7:30 am and THIS was a good decision because we had a good night’s sleep the night before and arrived in Maui ready to go at 10:30 am.

We stayed in Lahaina at the Hyatt Regency which is about 45 minutes from the airport.   This was a Points + Cash stay as a Hyatt Diamond member so we used an upgrade for the Lahaina Suite.    The suite is two rooms, living room and bedroom, with two balconies, but only one balcony is big enough for chairs and sitting.  The other balcony is standing room only.   Our suite was in the Nipali building which seems to have been renovated recently, unlike the main building.

Upon arrival and check-in at the hotel, everyone gets a fresh orchid lei, which is a nice touch!

As Hyatt Diamond members we had complimentary access to The Regency Club.  It was fine: not terrible and not fabulous (like the Grand Club in Hong Kong was).  They had nice appetizers in the evenings, but alcoholic drinks were not complimentary ($5 charge for wine).   Breakfast was decent:  fresh fruit, cold cuts, breads, and one hot item (scrambled eggs, oatmeal, etc).

The grounds at the hotel are pretty, they have penguins and parrots in the open air lobby.  The beach is not expansive and while I was there they were doing some sort of renovations and some of it was covered up. The pool area is great with lots of variety and there are plenty of outdoor shower spots to rinse off sand from the beach.

As far as excursions, we went on a snorkeling tour to Molokini with QuickSilver.  I recommend it!

We booked the Road to Hana tour with Valley Isle Excursions.  We enjoyed the tour, our driver Joe did a good job and was pretty funny.  The lunch left a little to be desired. Food portions were pretty limited. The views and sights lived up to the hype and I thought this was the way to go – versus driving ourselves!

Other highlights included:

  • Lahaina Grill
  • Hali’imaile Distilling (pineapple vodka)
  • Deep sea fishing
  • Maui Wine (pineapple wine)

Returned to the mainland on a red eye Delta flight to LAX in first class and really enjoyed the service on that flight:  food was good and attendants were attentive.   We returned home from the West coast via Southwest.

Go! Maui is beautiful!

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