IMR: 1998: May: 29 -- Friday, 3:31 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
Nothing puts a better spin on an afternoon like a free lunch.

Wanda, my supervisor at the press, is one of the few million Americans swept up in the latest McDonald's "Beanie Babies" craze.

I listened to her tales of just how far some of her friends were going to collect the things. Eating McFood three times a day. Driving to restaurants on the other side of the island for a tiny, floppy kid's toy that would never make it into the hands of any kid.

Wanda was no less intent on assembling a full set. She had called a dozen locations to find out what was in stock, and discovered the McDonald's right up the street had one (a penguin) she didn't have yet. She darted off and bought a few, but was left with two Happy Meals she didn't want.

Fortunately, it's against the Starving Student Code of Conduct to not claim free food. Still stuffed from a salty steak dinner I cooked last night, the pint-sized meal deals were just the right size for Jen and I.

And there'll probably be more free lunches to come, as Wanda said the Manoa manager expected the doggie and a few other prized breeds to go on sale next week.

I'm sure these Beanie thingies are cute (I have yet to see one actually taken out of the plastic bag). And now they've netted me a bit of grub. But I still can't help but scowl at the mere mention of them. They're the sole reason why the lines at any given McDonald's restaurant are twice as long and three times as slow.

(I know we shouldn't be McDining so much, but with an hour between my getting off work and Jen going on, and with our limited lunch budget, it's often unavoidable.)

Just the other day at the Kahala store, I grumbled under my breath as a local bunny and her very embarassed-looking boyfriend snapped up a load of the damn things. I felt for the poor McEmployee as she held up the line, first carefully plotting how many of each Beanie Baby to get (and remain under the quota), and then inspecting each critter for missing eyes and crooked seams.

She whipped out a twenty and got a few pennies as change.

If I ever spend twenty bucks at a McDonald's, I expect to be able to feed a whole soccer team. Instead, the couple retreated to a nearby table with a pile of bagged Beanies and some french fries.

And there we were, only able to afford more of those disgusting McRib sandwiches. I mean, sure the combo's just $2.99, but any more of those things and I'm going to turn into one myself.

Katie's been napping for about half an hour now, after sucking down three ounces of mom juice. I expect her to stir any minute. When she wakes, I think we're going to stroll around Ala Moana for a while. Anything to keep her from staring at the ceiling fan all day. And she seemed to like watching the people shuffle by when we went down there earlier this week.

I'm slowly getting the hang of this. I'm even keeping her happy on half the volume of milk she was drinking a week ago (food's the easy fix for nervous parents).

Even so, as of Monday, Jen and I are switching off again.

It was bound to happen. I kept whining about how little work I was getting done, and fretting about our nearly depleted milk supply. Jen kept whining about how she missed Katie throughout the day, and hated being away from her. And yesterday, I had a lousy morning, and was cranky during our always-rushed lunch.

Frustrated, Jen went into work and asked if she could get the remainder of her unpaid leave (since, at my urging, she had gone back earlier than she needed). Surprisingly, they said yes.

So I'll be working 40 hours a week at my campus jobs, pushing our household income -- at least briefly -- higher than it's ever been. Meanwhile, Jen can rejoice in spending another six weeks with Katie, further ensuring she gets The Best Stuff on Earth at least through the recommended six-month minimum. Dare I say, a win-win situation.

I won't deny part of me is a little relieved. And thus, a little guilty. I won't deny I feel a little disappointed in myself.

Essentially, I wasn't handling dadhood as well as I'd hoped. Afternoons were a breeze, but when the screaming would start, my head would start to spin. All of a sudden, at the end of the night, I was the one hanging my head, and Jen -- once terrified of being left alone with our daughter -- was patting me on the back, assuring me that I'm a good father, telling me that all I need is a little more confidence.

By the end of this six-week extension, Katie will be ready for rice cereal and other mushy foods. She'll probably have cut her first tooth (please please please). She'll be able to sit up, and be able to play with her toys without bonking herself in the head with them. Maybe when she's a little more durable, I won't be quite as nervous taking care of her.

I don't doubt she loves me. I just want to be sure she'll survive me.

William, bless his soul, is treating us to breakfast tomorrow morning. And after Jen heads off to work, I'm hooking up with mom to go to the New Baby Expo at the Blaisdell Center.

I imagine they'll have solar-powered strollers and baby aerobics videos and fat-free applesauce, all of which I wouldn't mind seeing. But the one thing that convinced me to go was the drawing for a year's supply of diapers. That kind of prize is the Powerball of parenthood.

Afterward, we'll probably stop by the hospital to visit grandma.

Yes, again. Same as before. But since she didn't hold out so long, she's definitely in better shape this time. She'll probably be discharged over the weekend... but that driver's license renewal will probably have to wait.

Friday, 11:33 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

We just got through watching "Playing God," which Jen brought home from work the other day. David Duchovney of the "X Files," Angelina Jolie of "Hackers," and a bunch of other people whose names I've already forgotten.

It was about as bad as I expected it to be, but in a surprisingly good way. I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in the theater, but on the other hand, it was kind of fun. It could have easily been a FOX made-for-TV movie.

I don't think Duchovney can play anyone but Mulder, but that's fine with me. If anything, now I'm even more impatient for the "X Files" movie to come out.

Oh, and before I forget: "Godzilla."


I really really tried to like it, but it simply didn't do it for me. Especially after over a year of promotional hype. It was about as satisfying as that awful sequel to Jurassic Park, but longer and with better effects. (Okay, much better effects.)

First of all, could the product placement have been any more blatant? When it actually interferes with the flow of the plot, you know things have gone too far. The guy goes out of his way to snap a dozen pictures with a disposable Kodak camera, and then... absolutely nothing comes of it.

Secondly, all those other New York landmarks get trashed, and the Statue of Liberty is left unscathed?

And finally, my biggest gripe, in what twisted universe would any man let a doublecrossing tart like that back into his life? Twice, even? She was broadcast, for chrissakes -- a shade smarter than a fashion model. And boy, could she not act.

Not that anyone did much acting. Jean Reno's talent was wasted. And Matthew Broderick, poor guy, will never be anyone but Ferris.

Speaking of films, I'm actually eager to see "The Truman Show." Jim Carey's not my favorite actor, but I know there's more to him than a rubber face, and frankly, the premise is intriguing.

I mean, who hasn't suspected they were in the middle of a grand, fictional production assembled merely for the entertainment of an unseen other? I certainly have. For me the most compelling evidence is deja vu.

I mean, how do we know deja vu is merely a crossed brain wire? Maybe that guy looks familar because the producer re-used an extra earlier than he should have. Maybe that street gives you a weird feeling because it was the same set you first rode your bike on.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 29 May 1998 · Last Modified: 4 June 1998