As a cake, it's a matter of tiers

We finally got around to upgrade our entryway & driveway surface so that we can stop digging holes every time we go in or out of the property... Here's what's new.

a year ago

Latest Post 30 years and counting by Victoria Esposito public

Our plan is to tackle the upgrades across all property in sections so that the progress of the changes falls naturally in place and fits with one another once it is all done. I have a particular talent for tackling very complex projects/things and the way I approach a resolution often feels, at first, backward or scattered. But in reality, when all come together it becomes clear why that approach was necessary in the first place.

It is a multi-year approach motivated by financial burden distribution and also by practical reasons of time and effort to make it happen. We're no longer very-very young birds and having someone else doing everything for us is not a strategy that is either motivating or $mart for early retirement. However, there are things that we can't or won't do by ourselves. This article tells the tales of both.

From an aerial shot of the property, I divided the various pieces into sections and allocated a budget for each of them along with some planning (sketches) on what to do exactly, over time. With each section I also estimated when the work would start and purposefully left the end date, open. First because when in Molokai the first thing that you should absorb culturally and as a lifestyle is to slow down! And having an open end date is perfect for developing that type of style.

as you leave the airport, you are reminded of the take it easy philosophy. Embrace it!

I would have preferred to work in parallel on things from the list of the planned upgrades rather than in a sequence; mostly because on some days I have lots of energy according to my building companion 😄 but given the challenges of delivery and handling of materials over the island, storage and moving them across the property without an ATV and several other minor factors, the conclusion was that there's just no other optimal alternative.


Like Eamon & Bec did for their multi-tiers deck we named the various tiers of the property. Well, they did it for their gigantic deck but the logic is the same. Starting from the entrance, which is tier A and ends with H. Yep, it's a big cake and a lot of work to do. We could have bought an already all-prepped place but we don't roll that way, we are makers and when in Rome you build the Colosseum, find the gladiators, and then finally when you are strolling on a hike with a wood stick you enjoy the show. Or something like that, ask Caesar he knows better!

By the time we will be done, years from now, this place will be complex to navigate so with the help of my little frog Margot we start making signs and posting them through the place in accordance with our tiers distribution and amenities.

Tier A

This is what the entrance looked like when the house was built

very sparse but the house had love poured in it big time. Built by two teachers which did a lot of work on their own. We feel connected to these people we never met and sad for one of them to pass away too early!

this is when we bought the place from Sally, the last owner. There's a fence, an electric gate, trees across the driveway, and so on.

Thank you Sally for the upgrades!

We planned three improvements for this tier.

Flower Pods and house number

The HOA regulation requires that the house number can't be bigger than 1x1 foot so we got creative and used a stone that fits the size and Vickie painted the numbers while I anchored it by the structure that has been built using harvested dead branches.

The unit that controls the operations of the gate was poorly put together by whoever did the job back then, we fixed what we could in a compromising way but could not have been compromised was the improvement of that patchwork

The mesh was flimsy, cut pieces of broken water pipes vertically distributed, yah not the type of welcome for a villa that you would encourage to have. So applying the usual recipe, harvest dead wood, clean it, stain it, dig holes, figure out how to make it stay there against the strong winds, and so on. Rinse and repeat.

It might doesn't look like much from the picture but the new configuration is a total departure from that hack job. Electronics have been clean up, wire more securely distributed and we made the gate smart.

The Bench

Considering the amount of work needed and the very low traffic to the house, since we're currently the last at the top (a new home next to us is in process of being built) we figured that for now, we can save ourselves the time and effort for the bench. However, we do need a place where deliveries could be safely placed/stored when we are not at home. Therefore, we build a side gate to be used when don't want to open or keep open the bigger gate (deers!) and placed a delivery box. The gate has a biometric smart lock that has the thumbprint of our favorite delivery man from UPS.

Vickie is building a pathway that from the gate leads to the dining area I am working on, so when we have local guests (Gene you are going to be first!) we can have them walk from the side rather than come all the way done.

I plan to teach computing to kids this fall, an open class taught on the grass, and since those will be random and one-offs people coming through that will also allow for more resilient access while still convenient. I will share more details about building a computing hub in Molokai for new generations in the weeks to come.

Driveway Upgrade

The driveway had become really loose, between the delivery tracks, Vickie going in out as she is one that works for the highway services 😄, and as part of making the investment growing over time, I wanted a more impressive look that sells well and looks great while you enjoy it.

We hired a local company and they were kind, prompt to act, and all-around very pleasing to work with. If you are a local reader and should ever need his reference contact us and we will be happy to share our story. We recommend them. They were actually so kind all of around that at the end of their concrete pouring day Victoria made them fresh apple cupcakes and granita (slushy with our lemons)

We pay them to do the job but be kind to another should never have a price tag.
Concrete with this heat is a challenge! Speed is the key.

This is what looks like before they remove the framing used to build the new surface. A drastic improvement comes with an edge on the right side that will allow the water to slope on one end and protect the plants that we plan to place on the side of the road. I will post an update about what we're working on the right side of the drive way because it is still in progress and deserves its own article for the type of work we're doing to make that part of the entrance more villa like.

Almost done!

I placed the same colored sweeping led lights I have been using in Seattle with the difference that here they work throughout the year because...

well, the sky exists and so does the sun 😎 while in Seattle there's a permanent white coat for most of the year in place of the sky. Our readers from Seattle have heard me saying those words for years and in person, but I can guarantee you that reading them now at distance makes their hair stiff up. I know brothers and sisters, I know but it doesn't make it less true 😇  

no filters applied

We're almost done with this transformation of tiers A and B. Once it is all completed the drive should naturally and thematically blend with the work we have done in tier B. (Roundabout and Pirate spots)

As all projects and predictions, things can always evolve/change as you go, even when you want to stick 100% with the plan. As history teaches us, even the best of the best hit a miss here and there.

Suuuurrreee.... From one of my trips around the world

But with persistence and commitment eventually we will get there, sooner or later and since we're on Molokai, it will purposely, the latter.

We brought Blue Torpedo (Fiat 500) from Seattle and so far the choice has been validated a million times, sure enough, the floor clearance is too low to go in some rural and beautiful parts of the island but eventually, next time that we ship something we may consider to bring his moto sister. Has Victoria reminds me, Torpedo is a boy...

We have a history of driving two wheels on an island (honeymoon story)

As always and when in doubt do what my friend Martin calls out in his upcoming book: HyperSync.

The book is coming this fall, I will post an article about it when it is time

We expose our lives to the web, which ultimately makes us at times (in the light of behind the scenes) subject of criticism, envy, and other unfruitful emotions, however, the other side of the spectrum is so full of love and confirmation that we, just like others have inspired us, motivate so many.

Those ultimately find their tiny balls in their huge scrotum. Those that know how to follow and self-develop or realize that their proverbial jewels aren't as small as they think, they are just shrunk by fears and mental models they grew up with.

Ultimately, they find the courage to build their own story. Life is not about taking and staying quiet. It's about giving and in the modern era, knowledge and love are the building blocks of better generations. So that's our recipe and will to fight the status quo. As often I say once a good recipe has been found for uncommon problems. "Nice. Now, apply, rinse and repeat. Can't go wrong with that!"

Have a bLife Moment, trust me, you won't regret it. 🤙🏽🌴

Mario Esposito

Published a year ago