IMR: 1998: June: 23 -- Tuesday, 3:56 p.m.
UH Press, Manoa, Hawaii
It's a slow afternoon at work. I'm waiting for more abstracts to come down from the new journals manager, and I've only got three books (presently without promotional copy or inventory numbers) in the queue.

I really like my job at the press. Considerably less frustrating than working at AIB. I spent half my morning today trying to find the long-distance country code for Malta, which -- like many of the odd countries the Academy's members live in -- is curiously omitted from the list in the phone book.

Although just last week I declined an invitation to apply for a position at the Star-Bulletin (I'm no more qualified now than I was the last time), I've been thinking about applying for a full time APT position that has opened here at the press.

The plan is that my web work would still make up the bulk of my duties, but I'd also be doing some moderate clerical work for another department. I imagine they'd rather make that accomodation than lose me when the fall semester starts, which is a growing possibility.

Simply put, it's looking more and more like it'll have to be classes or work, but part time just won't cut it.

I go from saying it's a ridiculous idea to wondering how badly I'd take it if I applied and didn't get the job.

As the summer drains away, I'm starting to get panicky. I feel like the firm course I thought I was on a few months ago is starting to turn a little wobbly. With Jen returning to work in mid-July and classes starting a month later, things are going to turn very different very quickly. While I've always been confident that we'd work something out, I guess I'm beginning to fear that the 'something' we come up with will be ultimately untenable.

Taking the job, of course, would put an enormous dent in my already mangled academic plan.

While an APT position provides for a substantial discount on tuition, the tradeoff is only having time to take one or two classes a semester. I'm not too far off from Year Eight as a college student, and credits start expiring at ten. If I'm not out by 2002, I'm probably never getting out.

School is important. Once an alien thought, but now practically a daily mantra. I mean, I'm very, very proud of the personal ideals and renewed motivation to succeed I've developed since learning I was going to be a father last year. Never before have things been so clear -- where I should be and why.

But even though I recognize what's best, it's hard to reconcile it with what's possible.

Even with thousands of dollars of our debt consolidated (with mom's amazing, unbelievable help), there are still more bills on the loose, haunting us. We're finally stabilized, actually, a good feeling... but it bugs me that every dollar we earn is already spoken for come payday.

Then summer comes, and I start earning full-time pay for my semi-technical, non-journalism, no-degree-required work. It's the closest we've come to being financially comfortable (we actually bought $100 in groceries last week on our own dime!), so we go so far as to have Jen's leave extended another month so I can keep raking in the dough.

Now I just don't look forward to going back to squeezing hours between classes, and otherwise living primarily off Jen's regrettably smaller wages.

Then there's Katie.

The way things are "planned out" right now, we're going to have to resort to some kind of child care at least one day a week in order to cover the times my classes and Jen's hours at Tower overlap. Heaven knows what we'd do if they change them on us any time during the semester.

And though I chide Jen for her "naieve idealism" in wanting Katie to have a parent around 24 hours a day, deep down inside I feel the same way. It's actually something we both feel extremely passionate about, and it's been the focus of the only truly big fights we've had this year.

So I can't help but be enticed by a world where I'm working at a job I like, taking classes decidedly on the side and without apology, while Jen escapes the nightmare of retail to cuddle, sing to and play with our daughter every minute of the day. All the while, I just might graduate, we just might crawl slowly out of debt, and we just might have the happiest child on earth.


If I dig a little deeper, I know part of what's feeding all this is stubborn insecurity, lingering doubts about my parenting ability.

Though I loved every minute I spent alone with Katie during Jen's initial return to work, I can still remember how stupid and helpless I felt when she'd descend into fits of inconsolable screaming. And after the way she seemed to crave only her mother the other night, I figure Katie would be happiest with mom at home, instead of back behind a register with silly old dad left to entertain her.

Jen and I talked last night about this, and perhaps she was correct in observing that Katie laughs most when I'm around. True or not, it's flattering (hell, it gives me a delicious warm glow inside).

But I still couldn't help thinking... I might be able to provide the most exciting play and get the biggest smiles, but when it comes to feeling calm, safe and secure, nobody does it better than mommy.

Almost 5 p.m. Gotta run. I'm off to pick up William, Jen and Katie and head down to the Blaisdell Arena for a dinner with Uncle Ben.

It's a fundraising event for the governor, such-and-such a plate for generally good food. Dad called this morning and said he had a few extra seats, and it's against my religion to turn down free eats, so...

Interesting development given what I said about Cayetano only yesterday.

Ah well. Fair comment, no? As long as we can behave ourselves while we're actually in the lion's den, everything will be fine.

Tuesday, 9:22 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

We're back. Katie's on her way to sleep, and Jen and I are hoping to sneak in "L.A. Confidential" later tonight.

The fundraiser was entertaining enough. The acoustics in the exhibition hall are terrible, so even though they had the volume turned all the way up, I wager anyone more than ten feet from the stage couldn't understand a thing that was said.

On the menu was standard buffet fare -- teri beef, fried noodles, macaroni salad, shrimp tempura, crispy won ton and the like. There were taiko drummers, traditional Filipino dancing, live bands, and speeches by assorted celebrities and bigwigs (including former governor George Ariyoshi).

It wasn't long before dad was on stage, chatting up the crowd. I didn't hear a word he said, but he was still fun to watch. It might be politics, but he does it well.

The whole gala was too loud for Katie, so we hung out outside to eat. It looked like a few hundred others had the same idea.

Though we only stayed half an hour at most, William and I had fun played "Spot the Politician." Jim Manke, head of UH public relations, Jon Yoshimura, city councilman, Bob Fishman, former Honolulu managing director and now president of Hawaiian Airlines...

I also bumped into Susan, a net-friend from the golden age of alt.culture.hawaii. Though we only chat online, she's provided some of the more helpful tips and funnier reflections on parenthood. She's got two adorable, energetic kids, and yet I swear she looks younger every time I see her.

We also ran into Gayle, grandma, and -- against all odds -- dad, who promptly handed Jen and William "Ben '98" buttons.

We made plans to celebrate his Father's Day on Saturday. I guess I better go shopping soon.

Saturday, come to think of it, will be a busy day indeed. Jen, Katie and I will be making a long-overdue appearance at a Cyber `Ohana picnic at Kapi`olani Park, and then perhaps squeeze in some nibbles at the Taste of Honolulu food festival (an intriguing even that I've yet to make).


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 23 June 1998 · Last Modified: 27 June 1998