IMR: 1998: June: 22 -- Monday, 10:20 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawaii
Yesterday was my first Father's Day.

Nothing extraordinary happened, but it was still an extraordinary day.

With dad (my dad) tied up with U.S.S. Missouri festivities, Jen and I celebrated my day at mom's. We relaxed, did our laundry at leisure, picked up lunch at Jack in the Box, played with Katie and watched Aykroyd and Hanks ham it up in "Dragnet" on USA.

I mentioned offhand that I wanted to see the new "CompUSA" store, and Jen mentioned offhand that she wanted to see "99 Ranch Market" -- an ethnic grocery store in Mapunapuna. So, feeling spontaneous, mom proposed we check out both.

(Whoa. Syncronicity. CNN just reported that "CompUSA" is buying out "Computer City." And I just mentioned the other day that we needed the competition. Oh well.)

So we left Todd, Eathan and a handful of scruffy-haired youth playing a marathon game of "Magic: The Gathering" and headed into town.

It was the "CompUSA" grand opening weekend, and the place was packed. There were also a number of babies and toddlers there, likely the hapless victims of last minute Father's Day shopping. We grabbed a shopping cart, but ended up abandoning it in the middle of the store when it was clear the place wasn't laid out to facilitate their use.

To be honest, I was rather underwhelmed. It was no different than any other warehouse computer retailer. Selling point or not, we weren't approached by a single sales associate the whole time we were there, even though mom -- armed with notepad and paper -- looked very much like an eager-to-buy customer. Even more upsetting was that the famous "Apple Store-Within-a-Store" was, at this store at least, just a pushed-to-the-side shelf.

We saw all there was to see inside of twenty minutes and headed out the door. Despite the crowd, mom observed that we hadn't seen anyone actually buy anything. Lots of luck, folks.

Mom had to help me find "99 Ranch Market," which seemed to be tucked away in the armpit of Salt Lake. It was a huge structure, but only half of it -- the grocery -- was finished. The rest, a vast food court, was very under construction.

I guess they're going after the Chinatown market, with the added advantage of ample parking. They sold live fish, goat legs and just about any other unusual variety of creature regularly eaten by us weird Asians. Jen discovered a good laugh near the produce aisle, where a case of Sam Choy's homestyle marinade was highlighted by a hand-made sign promoting "Sam Choice."

The market was home to the only in-store branch of mom's bank, which seemed at home across the future sushi-slinging site of Hanaki Express. With the big banks occupying the big grocery stores, it seemed fitting that cozy, warm-hearted Hawai`i National Bank called an ethnic market home.

Our curiosities properly satisfied, we headed home. Katie got yet another toy from mom, this time a set of stuffed blocks that crinkled and jingled. While she busied herself carefully tasting each corner, Jen and I took turns reading the book that came with them, "How to Raise a Smarter Baby."

The book, which seemed to feel four months was an ideal time to introduce quantum physics and intermediate Latin, only gave us a complex. We quickly hid it behind a bunch of magazines on mom's bookshelf.

To cap off our day, mom suggested we eat a nice dinner at Sizzler's.

We got down there ahead of the crowd, and hungrily ordered ribs, scallops and scampi along with their all-you-can-eat Father's Day salad bar buffet (featuring, among other things, crab legs).

As soon as the food arrived, Katie started screaming. We ended up shoveling everything into styrofoam boxes and returning home.

Mom was profusely apologetic that my Father's Day ended with a tantrum, but truly, I was more sorry than anything that she had paid for a buffet we didn't use. In fact, I saw a perverse humor in the whole thing, and even with Katie howling directly in my ear, I was enjoying myself.

This, after all, was what being a dad meant.

Since it seemed a repeat performance of her fit at grandma's birthday dinner last month, I suggested that like mom, Katie simply has an instinctive dislike of special occassions. It's cool, though. Indeed, mom's famous for celebrating 'un-days' -- giving Christmas presents in mid-November, or giving out chocolate hearts the week before Valentine's Day.

Sometime later this month will be un-Father's Day. And that'll be a perfect day to give my dad a good Father's Day hug.

In an effort to end the whining about the picnic that never was, the Ka Leo Classic crew assembled for a slightly-better organized gathering at Donica's apartment.

Martha, Wai Kee, Jason, Kevin, Barron and even Santa Barbara's quirkiest inmate Del made appearances. Not present were Mio, Keith, Jenny and Wayne. (One of these days, we'll get everyone, one of these days...)

We chowed down on steak, chicken kabobs, corn on the cob and wieners. Jason and Barron handled the grill like pros, leaving me manning the chip dip. The grinds were topped off with strawberry and hot-fudge sundaes.

Jen, Donica and Wai Kee took a dip in the pool for some girl talk, leaving me and the guys some privacy to hypothesize over what the girls were discussing, and for the guys to discuss sports (while I listened).

Katie was unusually well behaved, napping most of the afternoon. She charmed them all, of course, although I'm sure none were too inclined to race out and make a baby of their own. Our lives are definitely moving along different tracks, Del at one point observing that he and I were the only ones still in school and without real jobs.

It was nice to see them all again, Del in particular, who we hadn't seen since January before Katie was even born.

I ribbed on him a little on his demonstrated taste in women upon returning last week, but ultimately wished him well. Much as I love married life, I also recognize that single life should definitely be enjoyed to its limits, no matter how conventional, or how insane.

We reminisced, of course, over the old old days, when tuition was $700, Albert whatzisface was UH president and Kim (now at KHON) was Ka Leo editor. Del, who had been hanging out with the new new Ka Leo, confirmed for us many of the head-scratching peculiarities suspected in the post-us regime.

We also discussed politics, nearly everyone unanimous on supporting Maui mayor Linda Lingle's bid for governor. Even I'm uncomfortable voting for a Republican, but frankly, Ben "The Education Governor" Cayetano has screwed Hawai`i kids (and UH students in particular) too many times to go unanswered.

Besides, he's a little goofy. A Disney theme park in Diamond Head? His wife, frankly, should be the one running. His state's economy festers in the toilet, and her business continues to make millions.

Martha, however, won't back Linda. Not because she's a Republican, though. "I can't vote for anyone who looks like Tootsie!"

(Now that she mentions it...)

Del's got about a month in town, so plans are in the works for another get-together, perhaps this time at Martha's swanky pad. I can't wait. Even though I'm working full time, it's nice that I have the odd chance to get out and act like it's summer.

Mom needed a ride home last Friday, so we used the unscheduled visit to take in our weekly movie a couple of days early.

We braved the opening night crowd and saw "X Files: Fight the Future." Despite the subtle-as-a-train-wreck ending, I enjoyed it immensely. It was good enough to get me to finally start the InMedia Review corner of my website.

When we got home, Katie was crying, writhing in mom's arms. As soon as Jen took her, though, she stopped and soon afterward fell asleep. Mom pouted.

Indeed, I think Katie's starting to exhibit more deliberate preferences in company. Specifically, I think she's definitely figured out which one of us is her mom, and there are now times when no one else will do.

With Jen's continued insistence that Katie's daddy's girl, we now have the distinct pleasure of being jealous of each other.

Katie has also developed the capacity for being bored. It took as a while to figure out that sometimes, fussing didn't mean 'stop' but in fact 'been there, done that.' Now, if you're not shaking the rattle fast enough, or not giving her a decent view over your shoulder, she'll let you know, usually with a shrill squeal that only tense parents and certain dogs can hear.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 22 June 1998 · Last Modified: 23 June 1998