IMR: 1997: December: 17 -- Wednesday, 10:21 p.m.
Our Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i
It's way too hard to get out of a warm bed in the winter.

Unable to resist a good morning cuddle, I decided to skip work at AIB today, calling in and telling them I'll be in tomorrow instead. With Jen's days off now on Tuesday and Wednesday, I'll probably be pulling the same switch for the rest of the break.

I probably annoyed my boss, since another of her student helpers also decided to take today off, but... feh. Time alone with Jen is too precious, with barely 45 days (45 days!) left before our family grows by 50 percent.

So, Jen and I deliciously dozed straight til 11 a.m., then whizzed by Subway for "breakfast."

The original plan was to go to work at UH Press, then to Porteus Hall to help Michelle (a fellow Ka Leo survivor) with Keever's welfare website, then to Hamilton Library for the 6 p.m. Hawaiian study group.

Of course, that'd mean I'd be on campus well after dark. And Jen'd be sitting at home...

Forget that. I ended up skipping work at UH Press to go to the earlier 1 p.m. study group instead, leaving only the brief tussle with HTML before zipping home.

The study group kicked off with a birthday cake for one of my classmates. She turned 20. I had one of those "god I'm old" moments, which -- even at 23 -- are coming with increasing frequency these days.

[ Study ]Then our teacher stopped by, having recently tortured his other 201 section with the same final that awaits us on Friday. He pointed out all the things that our unknown peers choked on... undoubtedly a great help.

I always felt the worst thing to feel before a final is confidence. So in that sense, I'm worried. The study group consisted mostly of a few others and I helping the rest of the group understand sentence structures we already had down pat. I didn't even know how much I knew until I had to explain it to someone else. Several times.

The only things I didn't understand had everyone stumped. If only this class was graded on a curve.

I'll have to seriously study tomorrow night, just to make sure, but I'm pretty optimistic. Low B optimistic, at least. Hell, if it wasn't for my attendance, I probably would have had a chance at an A.

`A`ole pilikia. This has been the most educational semester of Hawaiian yet. I'm happy to leave knowing as much as I do.

After a final review of all the new sentence structures (na analua hou), I headed to Porteus. I was late. Fortunately, so was Michelle.

Now, months ago, Keever had enlisted Michelle to do the website for the assorted welfare articles written for her Journalism 315 classes. Last week, Keever's students converted their articles (or tried to) for the site. Michelle, I'm sure, expected to whip everything together this week.

But, working three jobs and missing a couple of meetings, Michelle was a tad behind. In fact, the whole reason she called me was because Keever left a particularly angry message on her machine.

"I don't appreciate being wafted around," she said. (Wafted?)

Except for the recent snip at Ancog, I've never seen Keever so worked up. Michelle was properly shaken. The time to get cracking was clearly upon her.

There were still a few problems, however. Michelle had forgotten most of the HTML training she'd gotten in a class last semester. And half the stories on disk came with hand-corrected hardcopies -- meaning the copy would have to be edited. Oh yeah, and Michelle was leaving for Boston tomorrow.

I set her up as best I can, showing her how to FTP files to the server (!) and speeding through a quick review of HTML (we're talking <H1> and <H2> here). Then I cleaned up the existing site so at least it didn't describe an Oct. 16 symposium as "coming soon" or have a gray background.

Michelle, meanwhile, decided to print out all the stories on disk so she could them to Boston and "get a feel" of the corrections she'd have to make when she came back.

Makes sense. I guess.

Let me tell you. It is so hard to resist the urge to take over the whole project. The kind of stuff Keever's looking for calls for nothing more complex than a few tables (with shaded cells, of course). As one who does HTML morning, noon and night -- much to Jen's chagrin, I'm sure -- I kept thinking, "Geez, it would take me two hours to finish the whole thing."

But that's probably why Keever asked Michelle in the first place. As William put it, "If you did everything for her, it would take away the whole pedagological aspect."

Or something.

Yesterday could've started off better.

During the winter break, Tuesdays will be our only shared days off (pending work truancy, that is). We figured yesterday would have included lots of lounging around, a walk on the beach, and lots of lounging around.

Instead, we're roused from bed by a phone call from Jen's student loan company. It seemed she'd missed a few payments.

I'll say now that I should've handled it better. My tendency to scold -- inherited lock, stock and barrel from my father -- tends to come at exactly the wrong moments. (My mother, who I have also scolded on occassion, wholeheartedly agrees.) In short, Jen and I had a bit of a row.

I opened the desk drawer where she stuffs all her bills, and pulled out no fewer than a dozen -- many unopened. Between the oldest and latest of any given agency's bills, several late fees and angry messages had accumulated.

I was upset that she'd let it get so bad. That a $40 bill, by the third notice, had grown to $140. And it wasn't the first time I'd unearthed a stash of "final notices."

I told her that I was frustrated because I might have been able to help all this time, especially when the bills were smaller. I was asking her questions, trying to figure out what we could do.

But by that point, Jen was very upset. She didn't want me to help. She said she wanted to "go away and work everything out" herself, to not drag me down with her. Not a great suggestion to make less than a month after our wedding.

Most upsetting at all, she also began to talk about putting our child up for adoption.

I don't think she really felt it was still a possibility; she only seems to bring it up in moments of sheer terror or helplessness. To me, it was never an option. And I remembered wrenching conversations during the summer, when we ruled it out. When we decided that if she brought the baby to term -- and at the time it was an "if" -- we'd commit to raising it.

Nevertheless, the fact that she was thinking about it again slapped me straight. She was scared. This was no time to fight.

We cried together for a while, and then I called my dad. He knew something was up. He cancelled his plans and took us to lunch at the Yum Yum Tree in Ward Centre.

Actually, just getting out of the apartment helped. In bright sunlight, looking out at the harbor and the clear blue sky, it was harder to think it was the end of the world.

Not surprisingly, dad was in full lecture mode... but this time I didn't mind. The first thing he said certainly rang true: "You will find the one thing in a marriage that will bring you the most problems is money."

He had us do an inventory of our debts, most of them on credit cards that we'd actually cut up a while ago. Then he talked us through that most promising of procedures known as "debt consolidation."

I'd actually been thinking about it for a while -- paying off all my assorted bills and only paying one company every month instead. But dad explained it well, and worked out why Jen and I would have to do it jointly. He then pointed us toward the city and county credit union, where I still have an account.

Dad said we at least had my car as collateral, since I was the legal owner and it was paid for. (Never mind that he paid for it.)

Of course, while I've been keeping up with my bills, I hadn't been keeping any of the stubs or other papers that showed my balance. So it'll be another month before we can have all the papers that we'd need to apply. Just as well, because of course dad offered to call ahead and set the wheels in motion.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll pay the bills that Jen's next paycheck won't cover.

It all seems so survivable now. Thankfully. The moments when it doesn't are very, very hard to take.

We capped off the evening up at mom's, taking advantage of the free laundry facilities. I cooked up a batch of disgracefully bland steaks, and we all suffered through "grandma's shows": "Walker Texas Ranger" and "Kung Fu."

Turns out my brother's not doing too well in school. Worse, he's not doing well in band. UH decided to rescind half of his tuition waiver, leaving my mom to pay $450 during the already tight Christmas season.

Thing is, mom had issued Todd an ultimatum. She said if he didn't pass all his classes this semester (since he hadn't for the previous three), she wasn't going to pay for him to go to school anymore.

Now, she has said similar things before -- trying to lay down the law after he'd wrecked, lost, broke or failed something or other -- but rarely followed through. A self-proclaimed "softy," despite excessive amounts of my aforementioned scolding. Todd, I guess, is counting on the same leniency.

But I get the feeling this time it's going to stick.

Mom, a long-time booster for the Kaimuki High School Band, said she's going with the kids this Christmas to the Copper Bowl in California. I'm glad... she definitely deserves to get away. She'd cancelled a pleasure trip to Europe this summer, but cancelled soon after Jen's pregnancy was announced. While she denies it, I'm sure it was not a coincidence.

She said before she leaves, she's going to tell Todd he's going to have to get a job.

I'm not going to want to be in that house...


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 17 December 1997 · Last Modified: 19 December 1997