IMR: 2001: January: 06 — Saturday, 11:06 p.m. HST
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

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Nate's mom Sandy and Meep at Dixie Grill.
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Katie overloads on french fries and corn on the cob.
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The great Cinerama Theater becomes an auto parts store.
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Katie plays herself silly at my office.
Up late, alone, webbing around, making musubi with old rice, watching Everclear and Eminem on newly-available MTV2 (god bless Oceanic, getting something right for a change).

Katie, thankfully, doesn't put up a fight when it's time to go to bed. Albeit usually to our bed.

(Yes, for those of you keeping track: a year later, and the battle continues. I'm okay with it... as long as it doesn't turn out to be the Seven Year War.)

But, she does require that Jen be there until she falls asleep, which isn't unusual with toddlers. The problem is, Jen is to comfy beds as filling is to Twinkies, and nine times out of ten, Jen passes out too.

With Katie's bedtime ranging from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., that's a lot of "quiet time" for me. I miss the company, but it's nice sometimes to be able to totally geek out without feeling guilty.

I was up until 2 a.m. twice this past week trying to get my Palm III to sync with my Sony Vaio via their infra-red ports, which now works. Tonight, I played with Photoshop a bit, and started reading the book on CGI programming for the web I got with the Borders gift card Jaimee gave me for Christmas.

It's been a week of departures. Jaimee left today, returning to the love-starved arms of Nate back in Oregon. And Wayne left for the West Coast on Thursday... attending a big convention in Las Vegas this weekend before officially starting his new job in L.A.

Wayne had his sendoff at Hooter's earlier this week. While we didn't do anything quite as colorful for Meep, she did let us join her and Sandy — Nate's mom — Thursday night at Dixie Grill for an extended family shindig of sorts.

We went with their signature Trash Can Buffett, a heap of southern grub served in buckets and on a trash can lid. And it's amazing we ate anything at all, with everything we found to talk about.

The big news of the evening was that Sandy was leaving her post at the Oceanic Institute to take a directorship at the Hawaii Nature Center. She'd just made it official the day before, actually, so she was still giddy and nervous. We toasted her success, and each other.

We talked about UH, Hawaii in general, places in the world we might rather be... London, Toronto, Portland, New Zealand, Hong Kong. Of course we talked about Katie, and there was a fair amount of cat talk as well (Jaimee ultimately deciding to visit Sandy's apartment later that night to visit her feline companions).

The evening ended, too early, it seemed, and we headed our separate ways. I mentioned that Jen, Katie and I would try to visit Meep and Nate in Oregon sometime this year, but if not... here's hoping they both can make it back to Hawaii next winter.

The old Columbia Inn on Kapi`olani Boulevard closed yesterday. A favorite eatery among local residents, celebrities, and newshounds (as it's next door to the HNA building), and a place I used to love visiting as a kid. (Their thick, crisp, salty fries were tops!)

And while I was still moping about it, I was hit with another downer. While on my way to drop off our rent check, I happened to pass by the old Cinerama Theater on South King Street. They'd already taken down the historic marquee, and as I sat at the light, I watched as a crane lifted its replacement into place: a Checker Auto Parts store sign.

True, the Cinerama closed last November (prompting a nice remembrance from old friend Mitchell), but seeing its replacement take root brought back all those misty memories...

Places come and go. Perhaps what I consider to be bland nowheres today will become historic hangouts by the time Katie grows up. But I can't help feeling as if some of the best parts of Hawaii — the parts with personality, soul — are dying faster than they're being born.

Tomorrow's Jen's last day at Liberty House, ending maybe two months of employment.

I was just getting used to the new routine — dropoffs, pickups, weekly schedules — but as of Monday things will be back to the way they were for more than two years: Jen and Katie at home, 24/7.

As much as Jen prefers it that way, she's honest enough to admit she'll miss working somewhat. She was beginning to get to know her coworkers, and was very happy to deal with other adults for a change. The 33 percent employee discount didn't hurt, either.

I'll definitely miss my Katie days... weekends where Jen had to work, leaving Katie and I to make our own fun together, father and daughter. Sure we'd just putter at home a lot of the time (or at my empty office, like today), but we'd also go to the park, to the mall, to visit folks.

Well. It's just temporary. Katie's on the waiting list for two KCAA campuses. And the earliest we'll get an opening is late summer, meaning at least six more months of the old life.

Maybe by then Jen (and a fair number of my friends) will have worn me down, and convinced me that having a stay-at-home parent is once again the way to go. But I like what little Katie's already gotten from school... and single-income families are rare for a reason in this town.

Yeah, I know... I'd feel differently if I was the stay-at-home parent.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 2 January 2001 · Last Modified: 11 January 2001