IMR: 2000: July: 31 — Monday, 9:48 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

 [ Daniel ]
[ Daniel ]
Oh my god, it's headed right for us!

Well, it was. Hurricane Daniel, making a beeline for Hawaii — practically a straight line — for almost 1,500 miles from where it swirled into existence south of Mexico.

Now Daniel is north of Maui and fizzling out fast, fortunately. It was demoted to a Tropical Storm a couple of days ago, and apart from getting a second wind this morning (and scaring the wits out of local civil defense folks), it's down to 50 m.p.h. winds and by most accounts will mean only bad humidity (and it is bad!) and some rain for most folks.

It spooked folks, to be sure. Schools and government offices were shut down today on Maui, and some summer schools closed early today to batten down the hatches. There were the usual raids on stores for water, batteries and toilet paper. And of course the headlines and airwaves were abuzz with storm updates.

In fact, storm fatigue set in pretty quickly. Daniel showed up on Hawaii's collective and literal radar last Thursday, and there've been seemingly hourly updates ever since. Folks were soon grumbling that it was much ado about nothing.

Those folks have short memories.

Knock on wood or what have you... we haven't had even the remotest shadow of a hurricane whiz by since Iniki in 1992. We are, by anyone's numbers, way overdue for an even mild wallop. For whatever reason, our weather karma has protected us from the fate suffered by many East Coast cities in those same years.

Iniki was a direct hit. The worst storm in decades. Kauai still hasn't recovered. And yet, 48 hours before the eye passed directly over Mount Wai`ale`ale, it was supposed to have missed all the Hawaiian Islands by at least 200 miles.

How can anyone forget those maps? Like our faltering Daniel, Iniki was running eerily parallel to the island chain, but keeping a more than healthy distance. It was a good three times bigger than Daniel, sure, but it was at least three times further away as well. I distinctly remember my neighbors, the TV newsbunnies breathing a sigh of relief...

Then overnight Iniki made what can only be described as a horrible near 90 degree turn, turning due north, turning as if wanting, hungering to make landfall. The rest was, indeed, history.

Giggle all you like about the headlines that change from "Whew, we're safe" to "on second thought, hide" from one afternoon edition to the next, or see the frantic old lady on TV buying six cases of Evian. This time, it was all for naught, a waste of anxiety and energy.

But we're living on borrowed time. I can only hope folks are still as wary when the next swirling cloud shows up on radar.

Hell, Daniel's little sister Emilia is following in his footsteps. And she's kept her strength much further West that our current friend did...

Things at work have been unusually... colorful lately.

A full slate of things were set firmly on my shoulders at this afternoon's staff meeting. With tomorrow bringing us into August I've missed deadlines on two publications (fortunately on the presses as of today), and a hiccup in GTE's big DNS server switcheroo over the weekend has (again) rendered our site invisible and our e-mail unreceivable for up to 36 hours... a problem beyond my control but certainly within my area of responsibility.

I didn't think it went badly, but a couple of folks stopped by my office later to offer comfort. Apparently I was the guy in this week's ceremonial "hot seat," but I hadn't noticed.

In brighter, and more significant, news, I've also finally picked up an intern. A very bright, remarkably polite young man from BYU in La`ie.

With interns scarse in the office, I'll have to share him with the rest of the staff, but he's the first to come in under "Web Development," and thus the first to primarily work under me.

He has at least one school website in his portfolio, but his experience has pretty much been limited to whipping things up in FrontPage. Still, he has an expressed interest in hand-coding ("doing it the hard way"), and while it was weird to sit down and show how someone how to make a hypertext link, he's very committed to absorbing everything and hasn't yet asked how to do something more than once.

I might only see him once a week, depending on his work and upcoming school schedule, but it'll work out.

I can't believe how much of an adjustment it's been to supervise one person after working alone for so long, though. Especially considering that I supervised nearly 60 people at my last job.

"Breaking Up," starring Russell Crowe and Salma Hayek, is on right now. Much to my dismay, Jen is working her way through an extended Russell Crowe Film Festival.

Last week was "Mystery, Alaska." Oddly enough, I think I liked it more than she did.

We've added one more element to our three-times-a-week walking ritual: a stop at "Tower Video." At $1.55 a pop for non-new releases, it's a pretty great way to make up for the movies we've missed in the last two years of parenthood. Other recent rentals include "Cradle Will Rock" (we loved it — Cherry Jones was brilliant) and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (we hated it).

As luck would have it, we might even start getting video rentals for free.

They're hiring. Jen might apply.

A substantial, albeit long anticipated change in my mom's household finances is in the works. And while we've slowly been weaning ourselves off Momfare™ over the last 18 or so months, the simple fact of the matter is that we've continued to rely on her support to make ends meet, to pay the rent, to therein support our otherwise unrealistic ideal lifestyle as a single-income family with a doting stay-at-home parent... and that could change.

It should change.

Mom hasn't said so, of course. In fact after our serious talks and her sense that worries are keeping me up at night, she assures me everything will be fine and she'll work something out. But she shouldn't have to. Even if she did, she might not always be able to.

It's just the next step. A tough one, but one that's overdue. We've just been lucky.

Four years ago I sorted out Jen's mounting debt. Two years ago we married and painstakingly consolidated everything. This year, we're finally dropping into four-digit territory, ahead of schedule. So we'll trim expenses, cut back on the luxuries (bye bye, "Rent"), continue to plug every dollar and cent into a categorized, graphed household budget. And Jen will look for a job.

Jen's always wanted to return to work, after all... to return to the normal world, the realm of adult conversation. We've long wondered when to introduce Katie to other kids (as inherently evil as they may be), be it pre-school or day care, and as it would cost money, it was an easy combo.

It's a little less exciting to thing these changes may come about because they have to, but why not? Why not now?

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 31 July 2000 · Last Modified: 06 September 2000