IMR: 1997: November: 24 -- Monday, 7:43 a.m.
Sakamaki Hall, Univ. of Hawai`i-Manoa, Hawai`i

I really didn't want to leave Jen this morning.

She was coughing, her throat making noises that made me cringe. She seems fine when she goes to bed, but first thing in the morning she's running to the bathroom to spit out whatever monsters coagulated during the night.

It's hopefully just a light flu, but even so I felt torn. I clenched my fists as I headed out the door, every bone in my body wanting to stay and hold her and bring her water.

It's just that I've missed so many Hawaiian classes already. After five absences, each subsequent absence means a drop by nearly a full grade. While I wrote my kumu a letter explaining my situation, and thankfully won some leniency, I still think I'm missing too much.

At times like these, I wonder if I'm just living in denial. That my plan to juggle classes, work, husband-isms and parenthood is laughable fantasy.

What will I do if the baby is sick? Or if both Jen and the baby are ill?

I know I won't be "torn." I know I'd miss a final if my family needed me. Heck, I'd miss a midterm if my baby started smiling that morning.

But if school -- after climbing its way back up my "life priorities" list -- is going to get slammed back down into the cellar, is it right for me to even register? To spend my family's money on tuition?

Some of my conscience was soothed the other day, when Sharon: Journalism Goddess talked me out of my reservation for a seat in Specialized Reporting (JOUR 475). Her argument was that I could take it later, as I have at least two years left ahead of me. Another desperate student, by contrast, could graduate in May if they had the course.

For me, it meant I wasn't standing in the way of someone else who's clearly more dedicated to getting a degree than I've been for the last five years. I had my chance, and wasted it.

I could very well lose out on college for the next 18 years... if not the rest of my life. A year ago, I wouldn't have cared. A year ago, I was convinced my life would work out whether or not I got a degree. A year ago, I continued to joke that the worst thing about college was the classes.

Only now, when I could conceivably earn a 4.0, I realize I was an idiot.

3:39 p.m.
University of Hawai`i Press, Manoa, Hawai`i

Jen's back home, hopefully sleeping.

Coughing and wheezing, on her day off no less, she still made tracks. Humbling, since I know I'm as productive as melted Jell-O when I come down with so much as a sniffle.

She made it to Straub, where Dr. Boyens -- seeing her without an appointment -- diagnosed her with bronchitis. She then went home, only to leave an hour later for an optometrist appointment. All she has to show for her whirlwind adventure is an antibiotic prescription and a new set of contacts.

Tonight, lamaze class.

I'm really glad she got new contacts. She didn't even tell me when she stopped wearing her old pair, which she said hurt her eyes.

Thankfully, it wasn't too hard to notice she was nearly blind. She'd started watching TV by sitting less than two feet in front of it and squinted at books and the computer screen.

I cracked down and made her schedule an eye exam when, while we were eating at a restaurant last week, I briefly thought she was giving the entire restaurant staff the evil eye.

"I'm just trying to read the menu," she said.

I thought she was really, really mad.

William just called. We finally arranged for a 24-hour extension from Hawai`i Hochi, giving us until Wednesday to finish the third issue of the 'Venue.

Every time we get to this stage, where the last bits of copy are trickling in and the final photos are being taken, I always think, "This time, there's no way we're going to make it."

But we do, if not barely.

Our first issue found us working straight through 'til 5 a.m. to finish the layout, racing to drop it off at the Hochi between classes. Our second issue was a tad better -- we clocked out at about 2 a.m.

At this rate, I can dream we'll finish this issue by 11 p.m.

Honestly, it's only the last stage that really gives me ulcers. Sure I worry right up 'til then that we won't have any articles (or decent ones, anyway), photos or ads, but most of the time -- miraculously -- people come through in the end.

It's the layout that kills me. After articles are edited and photos are scanned, everything is funneled to my overworked PowerBook to be plugged into PageMaker 6.5. And since we have no way of knowing how much space an article will take until we place it on a page, the subsequent squeezing or stretching can get quite messy.

There are times when I wonder if I'm not contributing enough to the operation -- to me, ad sales are about as fun as root canals -- but I'm convinced karma balances out in the end. For the 'Venue, every inch of layout is my responsibility... as is reformatting the whole issue for the web.

I used to take my duties as an ego boost, but I'm not as boastful now. Over the years I've learned that having certain vital skills invested in just one person could lead to trouble.

Fortunately, I haven't yet cracked or been thrown in jail, but even so, some goofs are particularly painful. William and Micheal trust me when I put the page numbers on the cover, but after 5,000 copies are printed we discover two are switched. Then there was the first issue, in which page numbers (and several hyphens) were altogether absent.

It's not so much that I think I do too much for this venture (though that evaluation may change when the other responsibilities in my life take centerstage). It's just tough knowing that while blame can be shared for missteps in all other areas, some mistakes are all mine.

Now Micheal has checked in. "Cat," he said. "For the front cover, we have a cat."

He's taken all the photos he can, somehow netting some obscure mugs on the last possible day he had to shoot them. William, meanwhile, will spend tonight editing. Tuesday night, the third 'Venue "Evening of Hell."

That reminds me. I've got to finish that welfare story.

Lamaze class begins in just over an hour. I guess I should pack up and head home.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 24 November 1997 · Last Modified: 4 December 1997