Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
We slept late and woke up with absolutely nothing planned. But one look out the window at the clear blue sky and we knew we had to hit the beach.
A special day deserved a special beach or at least one other than Magic Island, which would undoubtedly be teeming with shiny happy people so we headed out to Waimanalo Beach Park. We stopped at Safeway for some modest picnic supplies, then headed up and over the Pali.
We got there a little before 10 a.m., which on Hawaiian Time was still pretty early, and there were only two dozen or so people there. We nabbed a choice spot under some ironwood trees and breathed in the salty air.
There were Portuguese man-of-war warning signs out, but a quick check with the lifeguard revealed no reported sightings or stings. Katie wasted no time wriggling out of her clothes and dashing down to the water.
Of course, the water at Waimanalo Beach differs from the water at Magic Island in two big ways. One, it's much cleaner. Two, it's much rougher. Katie was half thrilled, half intimidated by the water.
She only had to get bowled over a couple of times before getting her fill of the ocean.
We retreated back to our shady spot, and had an early lunch. Ham and cheese pita bread sandwiches, only, but like any meal eaten at the beach, it was tasty and good.
After resting a bit, Jen took Katie back into the water again. I shuffled around on the beach, poking at the handful of blue, pea-sized baby jellyfish that had washed ashore.
Katie started shivering, so we pulled her out, and went back to our blanket to relax. There we spent the rest of the morning, watching the waves crash and watching the beach get more and more crowded.
As we sat, Katie grabbed her shovel and pail, and spent the next hour filling the pail with sand, dumping it, and filling it again. Jen dutifully picked the pine cones and leaves out of every scoop, and every so often Katie dispatched me to the nearby shower to get some water to throw into the mix.
When the sun reached its apex and it started getting hot, we packed it up and headed home.
Of course we took the long way, past Sea Life Park and through Hawaii Kai. Katie was just starting to nod off as we rolled into our building's parking lot, and no sooner did we stumble into our apartment did all three of us pass out for a long, long mid-day nap.
I so love naps.
We woke up rested but still a little sandy and sticky. Still smelling of sunscreen and salt water, I got a sudden craving for shave ice. And I didn't need to twist Jen's arm to get her and Katie back out the door to get some.
We drove down to Waiola Store, behind Stadium Park and the McCully Library. On this hot, sunny day, the line was long and the store had both windows open to dispense chilled goodness. Jen got a large orange and li hing mui with mochi and ice cream, and I went for a simple regular strawberry. We sat, tapped our feet on the sticky, sugar-coated sidewalk and watched the crowd, and sucked down our treats.
"What a great day," Jen sighed as we drove home again.
Taking advantage of a small sugar buzz, I decided to have a go at cleaning the ever-growing oil stain in my parking space before going upstairs. I swept and scrubbed and washed and scrubbed and scrubbed until that ugly black slick was transformed into... a very clean ugly black slick.
"I'll be back," I wheezed, and limped home.
We cooked a simple dinner and settled down for a quiet evening of TV and coloring books. But the crackles and pops outside reminded us that the Fourth of July also means fireworks. Although already exhausted and content, we decided to head out one more time.
And we decided to walk to Ala Moana.
The traffic for the annual fireworks show is as famous as the show itself. Even from our building we could see the river of red brake lights, sprinkled with blue lights, flowing down Keeaumoku to Ala Moana Center, where undoubtedly parking had run out four or so hours earlier.
We walked at a brisk pace and made it down there in 20 minutes, and by the time we made our way to the big stage set up on the Ewa parking deck, we were talking big about making the walk a regular occurrence. "We could do that every day," I said. "Yeah," Jen replied. "We'd be in shape in no time!"
Hey, we can dream.
The Makaha Sons were on stage. We staked out a small patch of concrete and sat down, but Katie was up in and instant, unable to resist the urge to rock out to the music. She bounced and spun and clapped and hummed, much to the enjoyment of a small crowd of senior citizens behind us. Even after she got tired and plopped down on the ground again, she couldn't stop bopping.
At least until the fireworks actually started.
She saw exactly three aerials explode before concluding that they were very, very bad. She leapt into Jen's lap and buried her face in Jen's shirt and clutched tight.
Jen and I kept oohing and aahing, clapping and cooing, "Wow, pretty! Beautiful!" But she wasn't impressed. (I have this sinking feeling she'll never like fireworks much, actually, stemming from early early childhood trauma.) She just kept whimpering, "All done! All done! Please!"
Soon, the patriotic music peaked, the sky erupted in reds, whites, and blues, and the show was over (much to Katie's relief). It was pretty good. I don't think it was as big or as long as it has been in recent years, but we made up for its shorcomings with simple proximity. And all I needed to see, really, were the palm trees and happy faces.
We flowed out with the crowd (resisting the urge to start mooing), and walked back up the hill to our apartment. We collapsed on the bed, for good this time, convinced that we couldn't have packed anything else into our wonderful day together.
Tuesday might have been a holiday, but this Friday feels just as good as any. You know you've had a rough week when you call it a "rough week" and you're only talking about the last three days.
The Big Boss is back in town after his latest whirlwind trip, this one to Geneva and elsewhere in Europe. Believe it or not, his return was not what made things tough. (I actually have more anxiety when he's out of town, because I feel like a freak when I try to do actual work.) But he's has been busy catching up on stuff, checking in with everyone, and lining up new projects, putting a few more scoops of rice on our plates.
Two of our major publications, which I have the honor of editing, are 99 percent done and about to head off to the printers. Meanwhile, we've been eyeing some big IT upgrades for our office and our two monstrous servers, leaving me to write out some proposals and cost estimates, in addition to trying to figure out exactly what is up with our new network support vendor.
In other news, the location for our Mid-term Meeting in November has finally been decided. It'll be in Singapore, instead of Brunei Darussalam as previously planned, which is just fine with me. Singapore sounds more interesting, and a little more stable. Planning for the Mid-term is well underway, and I've found myself in the unexpected position of being one of a dwindling number of people who've done it before.
And finally, while the next big meeting should be next April in Tokyo, there's a chance our office might get involved in a big e-commerce conference coming to Honolulu in January. I'm told it's similar in scale to our own IGM, like the one we organized this past March, but fortunately in this case we'd only be on board as support.
Interesting times ahead. I better start eating more fiber.