IMR: 1998: February: 13 -- Friday, 7:01 a.m.
Parking Structure, Univ. of Hawai`i, Hawai`i
[ Rush Hour (29k) ]I took a few extra winks this morning, and didn't head into town until 6 a.m. The physics of traffic continues to fascinate me -- a fifteen minute difference in leaving Mililani means a 40 minute difference in arriving on campus.

The early-morning commute isn't exactly old just yet, but I think I can see how some detest it. I think the only reason I don't mind is because I see the drive as a rare, meditative moment of solitude in an otherwise run-amok day. The car practically drives itself while I think about everything and nothing... and enjoy the antics of Mark & Brian.

I swear, I'm getting addicted to them almost as much as Conan O'Brien. I don't know what I'll do when we're living in town again, waking up to leave for school a mere fifteen minutes before my first class.

Actually, the nesting instinct (or some variation) has struck me as of late.

I've written to my property managers to ask if they have any other units that are a bit larger and more family friendly. As long as it's located somewhere between Nu`uanu and Kahala, priced right (under $700/mo.) and has a genuine bedroom (versus a studio with a sliding door in the middle), we'll probably take it. I can't see living in our current apartment when Katie starts walking around.

I've also started scanning the classifieds, looking for the going price of (1) a fair-condition '91 Ford Escort and (2) a fair-condition mid-'80s mid-size "family car." A four-door, definitely... maybe a Mazda or Nissan. An older Chevy or Buick, even.

Not that I hate my Escort. I've gone 407 miles on this tank of gas. And dad was right -- I don't think I could go back to an automatic after zipping about in a five-speed. But with a baby in the family, it suddenly feels very frail and vulnerable. And since it's a two-door, getting the baby seat in the back is a nightmare.

Unfortunately, It doesn't look like I could get much more than $2,000 for it. If I'm lucky, that'd cover a rust-free boat from the '70s.

Of course, there's always discount lots, trade-ins and "approved credit." Eek. I don't know why a dealership scares me less than an average Joe selling a car out of his driveway.

If I stick with Fords -- and there was a day when the idea of owning any Ford made my stomach turn -- there's a four-door '89 Tempo for $1,600, or an '85 Honda Accord for $2,500 (now that's what I call "good resale value"). For about $3,800, I could get an '89 Honda Accord, a 5-speed '89 Toyota Camry or an '88 Dodge Caravan (a van!).

How many other college kids look at their cousin's minivan with envy?

Friday, 4:22 p.m.
University of Hawai`i Press, Manoa Valley, Hawai`i

It's been a challenging couple of days.

Mom, quite deservingly, had stayed out late the few nights to work with the Kaimuki band kids. Katie, meanwhile, entered a überfussy phase, screaming almost non-stop when awake and being only somewhat calmed by being walked 'round the house.

Thus, Jen was having a rough time of it watching her alone all day while I went off to school and work. Even after night fell, we couldn't find even a moment to catch our breath. I think each of us harbored some resentment of the other's "better" lot -- she wanting to go back to her job and I wishing I could be a stay-at-home dad. There were tears and gritted teeth for both of us.

Fortunately we talked things through, and in no small way do I think this patch of stress and anxiety led us to make another a quantum leap forward in the maturity of our relationship.

Despite the upswing in crying time, Katie is doing well. She seems to actually like baths now, and is eating very well. I like to imagine she's up to eight pounds already, but save for a trip to Star Market's produce section, there's no easy way to tell.

Jen, who called earlier today just to say she loved me, said Katie's been quiet most of the afternoon, so perhaps this particular trial is over.

The week had it's high points, including last night's dinner. Jen and I whipped up almost-entirely homemade spaghetti. Even though the meal had to be concocted between Katie's fits, it came out smashingly. (I'm particularly proud of the meatballs, though we made about a pound and a half too many.) Todd, who usually eats like a bird, wolfed down three servings.

We also watched most of the Olympics, getting tense during men's figure skating and gasping at the nasty falls during men's downhill skiing. Seven, maybe eight medal contenders done in by the same, seemingly unremarkable turn. That'll teach 'em to call the Japanese course "too easy."

Right now I'm a bit messed up in the head over Valentine's Day.

Because of what happened last Valentine's Day, Jen and I aren't too hot on the holiday right now... and probably won't be for some time. Jen doesn't even want to hear the phrase "Valentine's Day," the mere mention (on television especially) making her visibly uncomfortable.

On the other hand, with Jen and I spinning in the wide new world of parenting, it's the perfect time to remind ourselves of the love and history between us -- to celebrate how far we've come. Jen's down moments often center around how it's no longer just two; that somehow three makes the original bond weaker. I tell her, and try to show her, that the opposite can be true.

Despite our misgivings, I want to do something. Though it's a bit late to be thinking of a dozen red roses.

Yesterday's 360 class featured a guest lecturer: Dr. Tom Brislin, esteemed journalism professor (Winner of a "Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching" in 1997, his web page declares) and member of the infamous UH Manoa Board of Publications.

Brislin, I'm inclined to note, is responsible for several of my favorite all-time quotes relating to campus media, including:

He spoke about the Japanese language press in Hawai`i and specifically its role in the "Japanese Language School Wars" in the early half of the century. Having already read his prized journal article on the subject, I kept my sanity by stretching my fingers.

Who knows, maybe my notes will come in handy to someone out there someday.

William, quite a scholar of Japanese culture himself, said he would've attended were it not for a schedule conflict. He did give me a question to ask, though, concerning Brislin's use of government-archived translations for his research.

After someone in the class raised suspicions of anti-Semitism on the part of the Japanese publishers featured in Brislin's article, though, I decided to keep my yap shut.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 13 February 1998 · Last Modified: 16 February 1998