IMR: 1998: May: 04 -- Monday, 11:33 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
Still glowing from our afternoon on the beach on Friday, Jen and I found the weekend that followed to be even more smile-worthy.

Saturday began with a free car wash at Kaimuki High School, held to raise funds for the school's Project Graduation effort. Washes -- wet or "dry" -- were free because the money was to come instead from a long list sponsors... provided they washed 100 cars.

So even though I'd just washed and waxed the Maxima a week ago, mom urged me to bring it down and get it cleaned again.

Turns out they had both wet and dry car washes available, the latter achieved with some fancy "waterless" compound in a bottle that -- locally, at least -- is marketed with fanaticism that rivals that of any miracle product sold on TV.

I looked over the pale blue bottles and decided the chemicals probably would not get along too well with my car's old fashioned wax job, so while mom's beleagured Buick got the miracle treatment I drove around to the front of the school to get an old fashioned soapy-water bath.

The dry washes were clearly more popular, the hose-and-bucket crew consisting of only five or six kids and another handful of spectators. They did a pretty good job, considering a good portion of the calories burned went toward drenching those who were clearly not dressed to get wet.

A pamphlet boasted that so far, 80 students have signed up for the alcohol- and drug-free post-graduation festivities, out of an estimated 500. Ah well. It's the thought that counts.

After they were done, and after mom had shown Katie off to her fellow band boosters, we drove into Waikiki.

Afraid of getting lost, mom had to follow me to the Prince Kuhio Outrigger, where Todd's prom (or rather, his girlfriend's prom) was to be held later that night. She left her car for his post-limousine use, and hopped into mine.

We headed to Ala Moana, where we dined on ramen at the under-renovation food court and shopped for grandma's birthday present (which has since been held for Mother's Day instead). After mom picked up some gourmet coffee at Gloria Jean's, we decided to hang out at our apartment for a bit. There we sighed and cooed at Katie for an hour or so, before it was time to leave for Pearl City.

It turned out mom had benefit tickets for five take-out lu`au dinner plates from some church I'd never heard of. She insisted the Hawaiian food first-rate (as well it should be at $15 each), and that the annual fundraiser was famous. And boy was it.

Cars were backed up for four blocks, a thoroughly incompetent off-duty cop attempting to keep order. It seemed to take five minutes to fill a single order, and it took us 40 minutes to get our food.

A pity we wouldn't be able to eat it until tomorrow.

Because it also turned out that uncle Al -- mom's brother -- had scheduled a birthday dinner for grandma at Aloha Joe's Bar & Grill in Hale`iwa that evening. So the laulau and lomi salmon would have to spend a night in the fridge while we went to a special celebration that even grandma herself wasn't too keen on attending.

We arrived in Mililani as Todd was getting dressed, modeling his tuxedo and worrying about flowers. He stopped to chat a bit with Katie, and then he was off.

By the time we all loaded up into my car to head north, Katie was getting a little grumpy. It was a busy day and she wasn't given her regular daily naps. Jen and I had also misplaced her pacifier, leaving her with little comfort. We would learn the hard way that naps are vital to babies expected to attend any major evening outing.

Aloha Joe's -- formerly the Chart House Restaurant -- was nice, with surf memorabilia all over the walls and a good view of the harbor and the famous Hale`iwa bridge. The service was very enthusiastic, if not a little unfamiliar with the menu, which was apparently still somewhat new.

Most everyone ordered seafood, but mom and I went with the ribs and Jen ordered the filet mignon. It was while we were waiting for the food that Katie's patience ran out. Big time.

She started fussing. Then she started crying. Eventually, she was practically screaming. Jen, mom and I took turns walking and bouncing her, but with little effect. Hungry? Teething? Sleepy? Whatever it was, we couldn't find the cure. When dinner came, we had to continue our in-shift setup, one of us walking Katie outside while the other two scarfed down their food.

Between bites, I was able to talk with cousin Jennifer for a while, taking notes on various elements of child development that I'd been curious about. The biggest warning she had was one I'd heard already -- about the sudden turn for the deadly a baby's diapers take when the wearer begins eating solid foods.

And at one point during the meal, uncle Al somehow leapt from one end of the room to the other in a single bound, grabbing little Trevor in mid-step, a split second before he would have taken a tumble down some stairs. I sure don't look forward to the day Katie becomes ambulatory.

Jen soon finished her steak and raced out to relieve mom, who came in to eat her now cold ribs. The plan was to attempt a feeding in the car. But within minutes, Jen was back at the table with a screaming Katie, urgently passing her to me and running to the bathroom.

Mom decided it was time to go home.

When Jen came back, she sorrowfully informed me that her sumptuous dinner -- featuring "the best damn steak ever" -- was no longer with her. The stress of an inconsolable daughter had twisted her stomach into knots. My stomach was getting there too.

The drive home was pure torture. Katie was going hoarse with all the screaming, with Jen in the back seat biting her nails and on the verge of tears herself. Meanwhile, streetlights were few and far between and impatient drivers were zooming up and passing us as rudely as possible. If I was any more tense, I would have ripped the steering wheel out.

I had a flashback to a similar tantrum in March. If it was teething, I decided, I should at least be thankful the big pushes only come every month or so.

Katie stopped crying as we reached Mililani, but out of sheer exhaustion rather than feeling any better about the universe. She passed out in the crib, and after we determined she was passed out good, we quickly dropped her in the car seat, hugged mom, and raced home.

She woke again for one last feeding, but seemed to have no recollection of the evening's ordeal. She smiled, cooed, and -- thanks to exhaustion -- quickly fell asleep for the night.

Sunday began with an unusual but wonderful visit from dad, Gayle, and the Masakis, friends of the family. They came bearing many gifts, including some from the Hataes, also friends of the family. (Theirs is a family of many friends.)

Bread, cake, ramen, stir-fry dinner mix (I love the stuff), diapers, and a great set of colorful, rattling toys. Jen loved them, and has already determined that Katie very much likes the toy with the big mirror on the back. Like mother, like daughter...

We just sat and talked and looked at pictures for an hour. It's always nice to "entertain" family in our place. It makes us feel even more established.

After they left, we headed off to the Food and New Product Show at the Neil Blaisdell Center. I was attracted to the event mostly because it was family-friendly and free, and because usually every booth raffles off some prize or another.

Unfortunately, while admission was free, parking was $3, which was about $3 over our leisure budget. I paid the nice lady in dimes from the ashtray. We had to park on the third floor of the elevator-less structure and struggled to get both Katie and stroller down in one piece. And the place was packed wall-to-wall with people.

Navigating a stroller through the crowd was difficult, so Jen and I stuck to the less congested, less popular (usually for a reason) aisles. We stopped at a few booths, filled out a few sweepstakes entries, and bought a couple of suspiciously wrinkly hot dogs. There was some interesting stuff -- Oceanic's cable modem service, shave ice machines, clever bug-catchers -- but there were more than a few hucksters. Obscure insurance companies and dental plans, off-brand blenders... There was even a booth for that "waterless" car wash stuff.

As we were getting ready to leave, we ran into Donica and Jason.

We commiserated (as usual) on the sorry state of our former place of employment, traded the latest gossip on old friends (and enemies), and started plotting a social event of some variety for later this month. Before we parted, Donica buttered me up (as she always does) for future employment at the Star-Bulletin.

Finally we headed up to Mililani again.

We went shopping, with mom buying us diapers, a couple of new pacifiers, and a toaster -- the one vital appliance we were missing. (Previously, Pop Tarts were prepared in the oven.)

We had the Hawaiian plates for dinner. Quite good. Pork laulau, sour poi, poke and opihi, lomilomi salmon, chicken long rice, haupia (ick) and pineapple.

We did three loads of laundry.

And we went to see "Lost in Space."

It wasn't bad, although Jen and I were quickly reduced to spotting blatant allusions to other films. "Event Horizon," "The Empire Strikes Back," "Blade Runner," "Starship Troopers," "Earth Star Voyager" (anyone even remember this one?), "Star Trek II," "Star Trek Generations," "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," "Gremlins," even "Top Gun."

Gary Oldman, as Jen says, was wasted in this film. Matt LeBlanc -- that guy from "Friends" can't act -- but I guess that wasn't why they chose him for the part. And Lacey Chabert's voice? Nails on a chalkboard.

But the special effects, if not first first rate (why was that monkey thing in the film at all?), were pretty damn ambitious. And the story was decent (especially compared to other recent TV silver-screen retreads). The ending may disappoint, but I don't think moreso than the average "Lost in Space" episode.

Sequel, anyone?

Some random notes to finish up this tediously long entry, in list form because it's 2 a.m. and Jen just woke up and she's not too happy I'm still typing away.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 4 May 1998 · Last Modified: 6 May 1998