All Bus Up

“If it works, and it’s in Puna, it’s worth something,” Tom says to me. I laugh, but I don’t believe it. “It’s all bus up!” I say.


Tom is here disconnecting the old stove that came with this house, and installing a longer propane line and an electricity box for the new one we bought, which is being delivered this afternoon.

The windows are open as they always are, and we can just hear a bulldozer rattle and clank down the road.


Last year I was pioneer woman breaking new ground, moving to Hawaii, living off-grid, baking dozens and dozens of cookies in an all bus up stove. This year I’m getting a new stove.

All bus up is my favorite Pidgin phrase. When we bought the house, we tried to make their lawn mower and string trimmer part of the deal. The seller said, “Sure, you can have the mower, but the string trimmer is all bus up.”

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I love how it sounds, how it makes me smile when I hear it again. Lawn-mowers, string trimmers – all bus up! Store-bought eggs, all bus up! This ancient, rusted stove is not literally all bus up, but it’s pretty far gone. There is just no way it’s worth anything. I would feel guilty even giving it away on Craigslist.


The Bearded One and Tom almost can’t get the stove out because of the window ledge.

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It must have been here for at least 20 years, since the house was built. And now, it’s in the middle of the kitchen floor. Rusted sides, one lone non-sooty functional burner, a long-stopped clock (6:30), and a choking brown dust layer on the floor beneath the oven.

Bulldozer treads bang in the distance, metal plates on solid rock. There is no soil here. Not 8/10 of a mile from the ocean. This 500-year-old lava is virtually brand new. Pahoehoe (puh-hoy-hoy) lava flows pile up, and composting takes eons. I’ve watched the bulldozer work. A brown man in a bright blue shirt drives the bulldozer back and forth, over and over and down and around the bus up lava rock, grooming it to build, breaking it down into workable size chunks for altering the rough landscape into a big pool table.

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This is not how our place was done, by a long shot.

I set to work cleaning the floor and wall and anything else that needs it as I wait for the promised phone call from the Home Depot delivery man saying, “We’ll be there in half an hour.” The Bearded One doubts it’ll all work out as promised. It rarely does here.

Finally the phone rings. It’s them! What? The man who was supposed to convert the gas jet to propane didn’t get the message?

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He will do the conversion on Monday? They deliver to the other side of the island on Tuesdays. Wednesdays they don’t deliver. She apologizes, but the plan is all bus up and we won’t get our new stove until Thursday, five days away.

“No stove for five days!” I say to Tom a few minutes later. I hang my head. “What I would give to have the old one back.”

He smiles. “It’s already hooked up. I just used your new connections. You can have it back now.”

I laugh, deeply relieved. It’s still working. Kind of like the whole world. Even if it’s all bus up.

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33 responses to “All Bus Up

  1. Look at you now, pioneer lady! Slingin’ Pidgin like a native. I only know a smidge of Pidgin, so I’ll have to incorporate ‘all bus up’ into my vernacular and impress my Hawaiian friends. Good luck with your yet-to-arrive new stove!

  2. ‘All bus up’ is fabulous – it needs to become world used to replace the more common unacceptable-in-polite-company phrases. You are becoming acclimated – you didn’t melt down over the five day delay and your Tom is a wise man! No-one believes delivery times any more if they are wise. I once bought a new fridge as the old one had unceremoniously died. I paid for it and was then told it would be ten days before delivery as stock came from head office [miles away]. This despite there being said appliance on the floor which was ‘for demonstration purposes only and obviously not allowed to be sold. Ten days later I got the phone call to say appliance had arrived. When would I like it delivered? Today or tomorrow I said happily. Apparently deliveries were already booked solid for – ten days! I melted down beautifully and the upshot was the manager and two of his minions arrived after the store closed that evening to personally deliver said item 🙂 That store has been deleted from my shopping list ever more!

    • What a story, Pauline! And I’d love to know more about “melting down beautifully” for my own future use. Tears? 🙂 We go to Home Depot every week, and I bear it no ill will. Yet. Really. Pleasepleaseplease let the new stove get here on Thursday! I agree about the usefulness of “all bus up” — not vulgar or profane, and saying it somehow makes things feel less tragic and horrible…and broken. 🙂 Aloha and big hugs xo

  3. Whew – there’ll be cookies this week. Stove top ones. All bus up.

  4. Ahh the fickle finger of life…. Murphy’s Law etc etc. Clever man your Tom, obviously understands the fickle finger of life 🙂
    Hoping your new one is soon ensconced in your kitchen, fingers (not fickle) crossed.

  5. I using a toaster oven, and thinking of you two.
    Hugs to both.

  6. I love how “All bus up” cooker came to your rescue Ms Christi…never underestimate the power of “All bus up” ;). Pretty soon you will be living in the lap of luxury (well…you will have a new stove 😉 ) that will bring you a little closer to normalcy. It must have been quite an adventure to hightail it out of Olalla and be hurled into the great beyond of off grid living in Hawaii. It’s around about then that you realise that some creature comforts are NOT negotiable ;). Huge hugs and sunny waftings from Serendipity Farm 🙂

    • Aloha Fran! Hot water and communication (phone, internet) are my default creature comforts; we have those now, although the plumbing still needs work and the catchment tank is almost empty! We’re getting a water delivery tonight, 1500 gallons, $140. It hasn’t rained in a few weeks and everybody here is on catchment. The water trucks fill up at the water stations on the highway (free) — it must be well water — and delivery it to your tank, but it can get pricey. Water is so precious. And we get a lot of rain, but not when the sun is shining (and giving us free electricity!) Maybe we’ll get a second catchment tank. Hugs back to you in your summer heat. We’re sunny and breezy and a lovely 23 degrees C. (73F) My kind of winter. 🙂 xxoo

      • Living in the tropics suits you Christi 🙂 It’s 27C here today and we consider that hot. Just planted out cucamelons (mexican sour cucumbers), basil, bergamot (for the bees) and potted up 10 artichokes and a spare cucamelon for a friend. Life is good. Aloha and Ahoy! 😉

      • It’s the BREEZE that makes the warm wonderful. Good gardening, girl. You’re inspiring me. I can actually plant BEANS here now! (in a pot)

      • At least SOMEONE now understands how hard it is to grow in rocks! 😉

  7. Howzit Sista! Haouli Maka Hikihou! It must be hard to garden without soil. You rock! I also need the lesson on how to melt down beautifully Mahalo!

    • Howzit! Happy New Year to you, too. I’m going to use pots for veggies and lettuce. I’m thinking about it all right now, but will act soon. 🙂 And YOU rock!…I see you just had an earthquake in Dallas! Did you melt down? Beautifully? Love you! xo

      • I’m working on learning to melt down beautifully! I want to be the cool cat wearing shades and not react or get scared of any of these things! Good luck with your potted veggies. Love you too Christi!

  8. Love that phrase Christi. Appropriate for so many things. I hope your new stove is installed ASAP for you xox

  9. There’s a lovely simplicity in this post, Christi. I just love it. So . . . “all bus up” . . . is that short for “all busted up”? I presume. Peace, John

    • Aloha, John! I so glad you like the post.:) Yes, it means all busted up. Here is a definition of Pidgin I found on-line: “Pidgin is a beautiful, expressive language. It was originally created so that the immigrants, the Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and Filipinos as well as the Hawaiians and the Americans could do business. What evolved is a true language. Almost all people who live here weave some pidgin into their daily conversation, education and upbringing notwithstanding.”

      Last month I checked this book out of the library. Wonderful. 🙂
      Hugs from Hawaii, Christi

  10. I know you must be sorry to see the old replaced with the new but it happens a lot these days (especially after 20 years). It will all be ok once you start cooking again. Right? Who knows what more changes will come before this new year is over. Enjoy it each and every day. Eddie

  11. Mahalo, Eddie, for your kind comment. Since Saturday I’ve used the oven for meatloaf and potatoes, muffins and cookies! And I do feel better! Cooking is helping me make this my home. 🙂 I am grateful to this ‘ol bus up stove, but I am sooo glad to be getting a new, clean one with all burners working. Cheers to the changes ahead AND to the glorious stove of the moment. Aloha, Christi xo

  12. Christine Widman

    Here we’ve had an “all bus up” couple of days. Wall heater, leaking window frame, and some termites that need to be all bus up. Ugh.
    Fortunately – with the help of our great contractor and our great “Pest” guy – it’s “pau”.

    • :):):) “Pau” is another wonderful Pidgin word — finished, closed, over, complete, enough. The Market is from 5pm ’til Pau. 🙂 Glad you got everything fixed, and that things are once again serene at the Azure Gate. Hugs and aloha xo

  13. Had to laugh, Christi! Get the old stove out, then have to hook it up again . . . life, eh? But at least it wasn’t altogether gone. And you have muffins . . . I can’t imagine temps in the 20s this time of year; Hawai’e or Tassie . . . It’s been down to -30C here and colder with the wind, so a nice warm breeze would be lovely, except then we’d have melting and then icy sidewalks and then . . . I think I’ll stay in and live vicariously for a bit.

    I loved that ‘all bus up’, too. Perfect (as is Pau)! Great post and happy gardening. good thing you have pots, isn’t it? Oh, Happy New Year to you and the excellent B.O. with his delicious drawings. ~ Linne

    • Mahalo, Linne! I’ve wondered about you as the deep freeze has descended. I’m having a hard time believing it’s January here; we picked a bunch of oranges and limes from the backyard yesterday! And, O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!, the new stove arrived and is in and I baked cookies in her yesterday. I was blown away that the broiler is in the bottom. I’ve only had electric stoves all my life and the broiler is in the top of the oven. Learn something every day. Hugs and Happy New Year to you and your mum and auntie, Christi xo

      • And we, quite uncharacteristically, are having above freezing or very near to it temps for another week or so . . .Today I was out in just a Tshirt and a long sleeved T over it (and jeans and boots, of course!) and was quite warm! Oranges, limes AND cookies! Mmmmmmm

        Broiler in the bottom, you say? Bring back my trusty wood cookstove . . .

        Thank you and hugs back. The best of new years to you and the B.O. too.
        ~ Linne

  14. Hello Christi, did you know all bus up can also occur when you’ve had a bit too much wine, beer or da kine? (You do know da kine, right?)

    • Hi Scott, and welcome. I didn’t know all bus up could refer to inebriation, but it makes sense, and I’ve seen and heard da kine, but the definitions are elusive to me. I’m afraid to use it. Any tips? Mahalo for reading and commenting. 🙂

  15. Hello Christi, da kine…wow, that is not an easy one to describe. Out of curiousity I checked wikipedia and sure enough, there was a pretty thorough and accurate description. They only left out one context, which happened to be the one I referred to above – pakalolo (you do know pakalolo, right?)

  16. Yes, indeed. And I’ll read that Wikipedia definition. Aloha.

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