IMR: 1999: January: 22 — Friday, 11:01 p.m.
University of Hawai`i–Manoa, Hawai`i

Things at work have been keeping me busy.

The chances of our bringing the 2000 International General Meeting to Hawai`i are insanely great, so much so that we got a private tour of the Hawai`i Convention Center today. It was less thorough than the "Open House" tour in October, but on the other hand we got to see the behind-the-scenes stuff, from frighteningly long service halls to hidden simultaneous translation booths.

But while we're busy dreaming big for next year's IGM, things are starting to seriously roll for this year's meeting. All of a sudden, May doesn't seem all that far away, and I'm already getting butterflies when I think about traveling to Hong Kong.

And if that isn't enough, word came down this week that the Mid-term Meeting in September will probably be in Rotorua. It's a resort on the North Island of New Zealand. Not that I knew that before looking it up on the web, of course. Heck, until I heard the news and looked at a map, I wasn't even sure where New Zealand was.

That means in the span of one year -- my first year -- I'll have been on three business trips, two out of the country. I can hardly believe it.

Apart from meeting planning (and the accompanying website development), the major project of the last few days has been downgrading several Windows NT workstations to Windows 98.

Though NT is generally more stable and specially designed for a network environment, I guess there's just something about the things we do with our computers that somehow throws a wrench into the works. Not a single NT machine starts up without at least two or three failed services or corrupted profiles.

And though I've heard nothing but jeers about Windows 98, we've had essentially no problems with it. It's no MacOS, but it does what it needs to do... with a slight smattering of character, even.

Some of the staff was nervous about the change, which required me to shuffle CPUs and format drives left and right, but eventually they were sold on the idea. Not because they would escape NT's complexities, however. They gave me the green light because they realized that under Windows 98, they could play with a little thing called "Desktop Themes."

It was the discovery of the month for my coworkers. Imagine, downloading stuff free from the web that can change all the pictures and sounds on your computer and make it fun! They turned up themes for "The Simpsons," "Blazing Saddles," "Austin Powers," and "Pulp Fiction," all of which quickly found their way onto office hard drives. And that was just the "TV & Movies" category.

I don't know how many times today I heard, "Check out the big brain on Brad!"

Jen wants so desperately for Katie to start walking, it's adorable.

A couple of days ago I got a breathless call from her while at work.

"She took a step!"

"Whoa!" I said.

"She crawled up to the couch and pulled herself to her feet, and next thing I know she was just standing there without holding on to anything," she said. "Then she kind of leaned a little, and took a little step backwards before falling down."

I regretfully informed her that it probably didn't count. It was backwards, after all, and besides, I think "first step" implies the tot remains standing after moving a foot.

Both of us were slow to pick it up ourselves as toddlers, so we know Katie could easily be pushing two before she's stomping around. And we're certainly not pushing her into doing anything she's not interested in doing. (Trust me, she absolutely has us wrapped around her little finger.)

I guess it's just frustrating because she seems so close, and so confident doing everything else but.

She easily cruises along anything taller than a foot, shuffling back and forth along the coffee table, along her otherwise unused crib, or along Jen and I when we're desperately trying to get one more minute of sleep. She regularly pulls herself up and then lets go, clearly getting a thrill from standing on her own (before our squeals and cheers make her nervous and she plops back down). And last week, she noticed the stairs at mom's house for the first time, and just like that started climbing them.

But she's simply not inclined to walk. If she has to get from point A to point B, she just gets back down and crawls over. She crawls pretty darn fast, so I guess she figures, hey, why bother with balance?

The in-laws land tomorrow. They'll be here for a week, but as far as I know, there are only two firm items on their itinerary. First, meet Katie. Second, tour the U.S.S. Missouri, which opens to regular tours for the first time on the second-to-the-last day of their trip.

I would have thought facing such a visit would keep me biting my nails, but so far Jen is more nervous than I am. I think I only barely understand why.

No doubt the fear of embarrassment plays a part. That's what she says. But there's definitely something else on her mind. And, to a lesser extent, on mine too.

The last time Jen's parents saw her, she was two months pregnant and flying from one end of the country to the other to get back together with her ex-boyfriend. She was unsure and unemployed; he was coming to terms with the fact that the preceding three months of furtive glances would be the closest he'd ever get to single life.

In the eighteen or so months that have passed since, to say "a lot has happened" would be an understatement of hysterical proportions.

I think Jen feels pressured to prove how things in her life ultimately turned out right. All this time she's only been filing weekly reports by phone, and given the dramatic transformation we've experienced, we're practically begging for skepticism.

We say we're happy, we are happy, but now we're going to have to show it.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 22 January 1999 · Last Modified: 26 January 1999