IMR: 1998: February: 26 -- Thursday, 11:06 p.m.
Mom's Place, Mililani, Hawai`i
So we're moving.

I didn't neccessarily want to move, especially after William helped us thoroughly clean and disinfect our current residence on Sunday, but the apartment we looked at on Tuesday was too good to pass up.

[ Looking West (Tantalus) ]It's hard to pick exactly what the best selling point was. Between 100 square feet more space, reserved covered parking, secured entry, carpeting, a genuine bathtub, a high floor with a view in a quiet neighborhood... any of those amenity alone could've done it for us.

Practically speaking, space was our first concern. In fact, now I'm only worried that the apartment will seem a little sparse given the limited furniture we managed to cram into the Waikiki apartment.

Otherwise, though, the parking is my favorite part. Jen, meanwhile, was most excited about the new, gray, wall-to-wall carpeting, the tub was a close second.

[ Looking North ]It means $100 more a month in rent, which in turn means I won't be off "momfare" for a while. But I'm sure it's worth it. After hearing the birds chirping from the Ke`eaumoku Street complex, I couldn't bear the thought of Katie waking up to the sound of the 6 a.m. Route 6 bus revving its engine ten yards away.

It's no beach house, surely. We'll be living smack dab in the middle of the sprawling hills of Makiki, the highrise-packed 'hood with the highest population density in the state. The view from the building is as much of other buildings as it is of sky and mountains.

[ Looking East ]Still, we nabbed a corner unit. With the extra set of windows, the apartment is generally brighter and we can see a good stretch of the cityscape. To the east, Tantalus. Looking mauka, Nehoa Street and Makiki Heights. To the west, the ewa ridge of Manoa Valley.

We're also practically on top of some Korean church that recently doubled the size of its chapel, meaning we're probably in for some bell ringing and heartfelt crooning. Not a problem. It beats homeless people screaming at eachother any day.

I signed the lease and picked up the keys today, and the fun starts tomorrow with Sears coming to uninstall, move, and re-install our air conditioner. On Saturday -- after Jen, Katie and I attend grandma Ozawa's birthday luncheon -- it's off to a get our moving truck to drag over all the big stuff. First the bed, dressers and tables from Waikiki, then the crib and other stuff from Mililani.

Sunday we move everything else -- boxes, dishes, clothes -- and that night will be our first in our new apartment and our first as solo parents.

When I stopped by the place today to switch off the circuit breakers, I took a moment and just sat in the corner. I looked at the bare walls, the empty, open refrigerator. I imagined the crib in the corner, the closets filled with sheets and toys, a framed 8-by-10 of the three of us hanging above the TV...

It was a... I don't know, breathtaking moment. Half like vertigo, half like digging my heels into the ground. I felt almost but not quite like those meticulously groomed, sufficiently ethnic guys you see in Century 21 commercials looking with wonder out their car window at their pretty new suburban home.

I couldn't believe I was me. A dad, husband, student, renter, making a new beginning, thinking about the future. What the hell? A year ago today I was an aloof, cynical, reluctant student dreaming about a $40,000-a-year webmaster job, looking to quit school, looking for a way out of a relationship I was sure was beyond repair, completely unable and unwilling to think any further than the weekend.

My toughest decision then was which CDs to buy. Now I'm comparison shopping for diapers and a four-door station wagon.

I've grown up a lot in the last twelve months. Not that I had much of a choice. But I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.

Really. I know to an independent observer, there's nothing to envy about becoming a father two months after a civil wedding ceremony and two years before having any hope of finishing a college degree. Dad, after all, has consistently maintained that I'd have a much better life had I only done this or that right.

But... I was talking with one of my coworkers, a gentle woman in her late 30s, and she was talking about how she and her husband plan to have kids "when they're ready." I thought to myself, is anyone ever really ready? Is any time ever the "right time."

I think about how much bigger and yet less intimidating the world has become to me since last summer. I look over the top of my computer and see my darling Katie napping in the arms of her sleeping grandmother, and I'm convinced there could have been no better time for her to come into my life.

The editor of Midweek, Don Chapman, gave a pretty good talk in Borg's class yesterday, but nothing I hadn't heard before. He acknowledged that as far as editorial content goes, his paper shies from crime reporting and aims for "good news" -- successful businesspeople, new education programs, etc.

The best part was when Chapman said his weekly mailer's circulation was higher than that of the local dailies.

Gen, esteemed editor of The New Ka Leo, quickly raised her hand and asked, "Do you think your high readership is a reflection of your emphasis on positive things?"

She was perhaps looking for validation of her apparent journalistic philosophy, one that puts Marriott's new lunch menu on the front page but fails to mention the UH professor arrested last week for buying child pornography (even downloading hundreds of nasty pictures to his campus office computer), or the First Amendment award recently given to the student handbook editor for her fight with the Board of Publications to defend free speech on campus.

Chapman clarified that the numbers are high in part because Midweek is free and mailed to thousands of homes that don't neccessarily want to receive it.

Today in Chapin's class, we went downtown and toured the cramped offices of Honolulu Weekly. It was exactly what I expected -- a garage atmosphere, a mishmash of old computer equipment, a staff that would look right at home at a Oasis concert... and/or Lilith Fair.

In other news, Greg -- flabbergasted that we'd pick Pachabel's overrated Canon in D as Katie's sleepytime anthem -- upped and mailed us two alternative selections: a handful of Mozart symphonies and an album by the Austin-based Asylum Street Spankers.

We already had the Mozart pieces, having in fact brought over our entire Mozart collection especially for Katie's sake. But the Spankers were something else. A contagious, down-to-earth electron-free sound. For the traditionalist Jen, there was "Startin' to Hate Country":

Well I turned on my T.V. set
To see if it was as cheesy as I forget
Maybe country videos my soul to save
But them new wave Nashvilles on the juke
Turned my gut fixin' to puke
I bet Hank Williams is spinnin' in his grave

I, meanwhile, enjoyed "Trade Winds" for the local tie:

When the trade winds, come blowing home
I'll be coming home back to Waikiki
Since we were in school I've been your haole fool
Charmed by your painted smile and your geisha style

All my buddies on the Arizona
Say that I'm a fool to go
But just the same this Christmas I'll change your name
And I'll say I told you so

When the trade winds, come blowing home
I'll be coming home back to Waikiki
I'll hold my nisei on Saturday
Our love has just begun beneath the Rising Sun

Oh, by the way... Lyrics copyright 1996 Watermelon Records of Austin, Texas.


Mom just muttered, "Hard to believe you've had her a month already."

That's right. She was born Jan. 26, today is Feb. 26.

She'll be asking for the car keys any day now.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 26 February 1998 · Last Modified: 5 March 1998