IMR: 2000: June: 30 — Friday, 10:03 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

This is what I discovered on the desk tonight after Katie went to bed:

[ Ring! ]

Isn't that cute? I'm going to leave it there in the hopes that the next time someone calls, Jen tries to answer it.

Katie is being especially adorable lately. I think it's part of the Master Plan. On one hand, two-year-olds are the crankiest, nastiest, messiest most demanding creatures on earth. But right before your brain explodes, they go and do something so sweet it melts your heart.

Things she insists on doing "all by self": pouring a cup of juice, brushing her teeth, climbing into her high chair, climbing into her car chair, climbing just about anything, and most recently, taking off her clothes.

For some reason, though, she insists that shirts are removed by pulling them down and over her legs, which very rarely works, the end result being her prone on the floor contorted and immobilized and very mad.

Whenever someone sits at the computer, she demands to see pictures of Nana and Papa (Jen's parents) and, occassionally, even me. But, everything in the world is female, so even when I walk in the door replete with five o'clock shadow, she cries, "There she is!"

She loves to sing, or even just hum, her absolute favorite tune in the world being a newsreel-esque fanfare used in television commercials for Cutter Ford. She also likes, as evidenced above, to play "teffone."

She's regularly saying "thank you," a fact that makes Jen especially proud. I've never seen my mom happier than the first time she heard, "Thank you, gramma!"

Now and then, though, she's so proud of herself for saying "thank you," she forgets the name of the person she's thanking. More than ones she's turned to Jen and said, "Thank you, da... Thank you, gr... Thank you... Oh! Oh! Thank you, mama!"

And it must run in the family. Just the other night I snuck up and kissed Jen on the neck and she purred, "Mmmm, hey, Katie..."

Baby on the brain. There's no known cure.

Last but not least, we took Katie in for her first dental appointment this past weekend. One Dr. Neal J. Timon, the only dentist in the Yellow Pages who specialized in children.

I kid you not, the first thing he said when he got a look at Katie's mouth was, "Mommy and daddy better start saving up now for braces."

(Both Jen and I come from bad-teeth families, although I had the benefit of braces as a kid myself.)

It was a initial checkup and cleaning — pointy scraper, spinning round rubber brush, floss and all. Katie did not like the ordeal at all, crying "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" (her unique distress call, whether for fear or pain) the whole time. But she didn't struggle or bite, either, a fact appreciated by Dr. Timon. She seemed resigned to the situation, but wanted to ensure her objections were noted.

She had three very small cavities, most likely the result of her teeth being pressed together so closely, and one split/double tooth. After it was over, Dr. Timon gave Katie a toothbrush and a "Blue's Clues" sticker, and recommended fillings.

The estimate is for about $100, after insurance, perhaps more as there'll be mild local anesthetic involved. Not vital dental work, but not just cosmetic, either. We're going to go through with it, despite my joking complaints that this set of teeth isn't going to be around for long anyway.

So we've got an appointment in a couple of weeks. Hopefully long enough for Katie to forget what Dr. Timon's office building looks like.

Today we shut down the office for an extended lunch to bid farewell to Rikard, the last intern who survived our March meeting to leave us.

We went over to Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower Marketplace, where we were joined by Tony, Jason, Colleen and Ruben — three other internship survivors. The talk revolved mostly around graduation, GRE and GMAT scores, travel, and big plans for the future.

Of course there were the traditional Vietnam War metaphors, with the staff expressing jealousy over the former interns' bright futures after leaving our office.

The one intern we have left, Doris, only started two weeks ago. We've all been shaking the business student trees around town for a while, but not a single decent nut has fallen. The rebounding local economy has turned out to be somewhat of a curse, as now college kids have no problem finding more profitable ways to spend the summer.

As we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways, I suddenly realized that excluding the big boss, I was now the third most senior staffer (in tenure, not rank). To think when I started, I thought all my coworkers had been there forever, and would be there forever.

Turns out it just feels that way.

I like my job and hope I can keep it at least until I graduate, but I'm back in a funk, wondering if my office is getting what it deserves out of me, and whether I'm a good match. I got a raise some months ago, but on the other hand, I'm still technically an hourly hire. Everyone else is salaried, and has a great IRA package to boot.

I know. I'm doing web design and graphic design and editing and publishing, stuff that's in my blood, and I'm raising a family in Hawaii. It's hard to complain, especially with many of my friends (notably Wayne and Martha) finding themselves suddenly unemployed.

But Jen's got a chronic case of rock fever, and I keep seeing job listings on the Mainland, and I wonder if Hawaii's famed "quality of life" is worth giving up a 50 percent salary increase and a 30 percent drop in the cost of living.

We might have a melting pot of cultures, perfect weather and great beaches, but we've also got mediocre schools, overpriced cereal and Jeremy Harris.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 30 June 2000 · Last Modified: 07 July 2000