Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
It's weird. I'm no less wound up and exhausted when I stumble through the door after a grueling day at work. I'd faint if I tried to pick up a piece of paper. But when we head out the door and start down the street, a whole different kind of energy kicks in.
It's something I haven't felt since I was an avid (if not somewhat unskilled) mountain biker. Since I did the 100 mile Century Ride with Nate. Since I was even moderately fit and active.
We've already lengthened our route to three miles, cutting through Ala Moana Center to Ala Moana Boulevard, then around and up Piikoi. And tonight, at Jen's prodding, we even jogged part of the way. A very, very short part of the way, but still.
I'm really surprised. We haven't event been at it a month, sure, but for us, this is pretty darn committed. I mean, Jen will be happy to tell you about the mountain bike rusting out on our balcony, bought brand new and never ridden once...
But we've got our fancy stroller (now outfitted with dorky, blinky strobe light thingies), some discount "athletic wear" from Sports Authority, and we're actually using it!
So I'm getting exercise. And fresh air. And seeing the city.
We get a bird's eye view of the billion-dollar refit of the H-1 freeway as we cross over the bridge. We catch the "cat man" feeding the fifty or so cats who live in the huge empty lot across from Tower Records. We see the fireworks launched Friday nights at the Hilton. And Katie takes it all in too, happily along for the ride.
I really hope we're still this gung ho come Christmas. Early sunsets and rain and all.
Once upon a time I would never miss it. But I think the last time we made it was three years ago, and Jen was pregnant with Katie and in the waning weeks of morning sickness, and the only thing I remember is hearing her throw up in the McKinley cafeteria bathroom.
Things went much better this time.
Katie got a couple of big picture books and "Miss Nelson is Missing" (apparently one of Jen's childhood faves). Jen picked up "Tess of the D'ubervilles," and I grabbed "Primary Colors." I wasn't really interested in reading it, but man, it looked brand new and cost only $1.
Nothing like being surrounded by books beautiful, musty, brown, crinkly books to remind you how much you used to read. And how, today, you haven't picked up a real book for years.
(Well, I did plow through William Gibson's "Idoru" in two nights in May.)
We'd planned to go back a second time, to downright pack our bookshelf with the classics (and we could've, too, with only five bucks), but never did.
We'll be ready next year, though... and I might even bring a twenty.
For a moment, we regretted heading out to Magic Island. The park turned out to be a twisted, gridlocked mess. A fair of some sort and a surf meet together closed the road through the park and clogged up the whole area.
But the fates smiled upon me and opened up a choice spot in the first row just as I turned in. Perfect. Of course, in the two minutes it took us to get everything unloaded, half a dozen frustrated drivers, who'd probably been circling all morning, asked if we were leaving.
Katie leapt on the boogie board as soon as it hit the water. And this time, she got gutsy. It wasn't long before she carefully but resolutely pulled herself up to her hands and knees.
And then she got up into a kneel, even bringing her hands up for a few seconds to clap.
And then as Jen and I both wondered aloud whether she was crazy enough to try she stood up. Only after wobbling a little did she ask, almost as an afterthought, "You holding it?"
Some girls that were swimming nearby oohed and ahhed, asking how old she was and nodding appreciatively when we told them.
"She's on her way to being a surfer girl," I gasped, both thrilled and terrified at the thought. And Jen's awed, open-mouthed expression belied similar hopes-slash-fears.
Eventually she tired of the shaky view, and climbed down and back into the water. Soon enough she was back on shore, playing in the sand. When she tired of that, we loaded everything up and started to head home.
But we took a brief detour to see what the big fair was about first.
The huge grassy field fronting Ala Moana Boulevard was jam packed with families and kids. There were big inflatable rides, food booths, and live bands. A miniature train pulled tots around the perimiter, while the grown-ups waited in line to test drive little electric cars.
But I couldn't figure out what was going on.
Was it election related? Jeremy Harris was there, but so were lots of other candidates from different parties, running for different posts. Was it religious? There were lots of Christian church groups, but there were a couple of Buddhist camps as well. With all the tents and banners and signs and balloons, not one explained exactly why everyone was there.
With a shrug, I turned to leave. Only then did I realize, however, that Jen had pulled Katie out of the stroller and was carrying her toward the "Tot-Tanic" a huge, two-story inflatable slide designed to look like the Titanic in the midst of sinking.
"Um," I said, taking off after them. But by the time I caught up to her, Katie had already been plopped onto the big plastic boat and had disappeared up the chute.
Several kids poured in after her.
"Um," I said, helplessly. "Shouldn't she be, like, six or something before going on this thing?"
"Was this not a good idea?" Jen asked.
The lack of movement in the growing line of kids seemed to give an answer.
I crawled and wobbled onto the "Tot-Tanic" and stuck my head up the narrow, kid-sized tunnel. Katie had stopped halfway up, and was now more concerned with the crowd behind her than the light at the top.
Just as I was beginning to wonder if heroic measures would be needed to extract her, the ride attendant at the top of the ladder called to Katie and somehow managed to motivate her into climbing the rest of the way up. And as soon as she got to the top, she didn't hesitate at all before hurling herself down the slide.
The ride set both an alititude and speed record for her, but she didn't seem shaken at all. At least not as shaken as I was. And indeed, as we walked away, she started chanting, "Again! Again!"
Some other day, my little daredevil.
We have now cooked practically every dish listed in the brochure and advertised in the infomercial for RonCo's "Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ" machine, most recently beef shish-kabobs. I'm still embarassed by how much I enjoy playing with the thing. But even if the novelty wears off soon, I think grandma is confident we've gotten our money's worth out of it.
Jen, Katie and I got to hang out with "Tutu Sue" last weekend at her Kaka`ako studio, while I helped her install some extra RAM in her PowerBook. I reminisced about my happy days as a Mac evangelist, Jen confessed secret dreams that Katie might one day model (over my dead body!), and we all traded tips and tricks on our shared eBay obsession.
(We finally got the Teletubbies out of the house, and now Jen's dumping some DVDs we never watch.)
I may, through a remarkable web of contacts, end up contributing a bit toward Mufi Hanneman's mayoral campaign. More out of a shared disdain for the incumbent than for any fondness for this particular candidate, though. Heck, I just might sign up to support Lilian Hong's mayoral bid too, to further my "Just Not Jeremy" political theme.
I plan to take Jen to see "Rent" on her birthday. Even though we have no idea what it's about, it's won over enough of my friends to take the $70-a-ticket gamble. Of course, it means Todd and Heidi will be babysitting, which is uncharted territory for us...
I heard from Judy tonight, and while we caught up on life and general gossip, I learned that I'd missed Kim, whose visit I'd been anticipating, but apparently she came and has already gone. Grr. But during our walk, my mood was boosted when we ran into Panther at Ala Moana. He gave us the scoops on an upcoming concert, razzed me for not writing, and marveled at how much Katie had grown.