IMR: 1999: May: 11 —  Tuesday, 11:23 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawaii

[ Gate 13 ]It's way too quiet. I can hear Katie's tired, midnight whining, but it's only in my head.

Mom and I put Jen and Katie on a plane this afternoon, causing the population of this breezy end unit with mauka and Ewa views to plunge 66 percent. It felt positively eerie to walk in the door tonight and not see Katie clinging to a chair, turning to smile at me and chirping, "da da!"

I can hear that, now, too.

Jen was excited but definitely dreading the inevitable downside of traveling with a toddler. (I gave her a ten-spot for an in-flight beer.) I was bummed to see the two most beautiful girls in the world leaving my life for three weeks. And mom hungrily devoured every little move her granddaughter made, knowing that when they next met, dear Katie would be a completely different person.

Of course, she was completely oblivious to the minor drama. All she wanted to do was stomp around, babbling and laughing every step of the way.

So thus began Katie's first trip anywhere outside of Honolulu county. As I type this, she and her mom have already breezed through Los Angeles and is on her way to Atlanta. With them landing in Orlando early tomorrow morning Hawaii time, I hope hope hope that Katie spends the majority of the trip asleep.

Yeah. I also hope the airline food tastes great.

[ Messy Desk ]I leave for Hong Kong on Thursday. By design, I'm in the last set of office staff to leave. A third of the office took off on Monday, and another third departed this afternoon, and each time it's been like coordinating a NASA launch.

We've set it up so our remote office will be running in Hong Kong before we shut down completely in Honolulu. It was no simple task to make sure supplies, files and equipment went sent in the right order to make sure everything didn't suddenly grind to a halt for lack of a SCSI cable. And as each coworker left, I had to copy all their files on to Zip disks, start forwarding their e-mail to one of the laptops, and send anything they've forgotten with the next platoon or FedEx carton to head out the door.

These efforts were complicated in part by different sets of electric currents, phone standards, and currencies. Calling different offices which may or may not have an English speaker on hand across four time zones and the International Dateline was no picnic, either.

And, of course, the "last few things" we need — from business card reprints to a $1,000-a-minute promotional video — are overdue but are absolutely, positively going to be ready by the morning I leave. Really.

Suffice it to say, I've had a constant headache for the last few days.

Still, I'm excited. I'm an absolute wreck, but in a good way. Even though I'm going to work my ass off, I can't wait to get on that plane. I have to keep reminding myself that everyone will essentially be sequestered at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and that I'll be lucky to see the sky more than three times while there.

Ah, 'centre.' Then there's 'harbour.' Let's not forget 'organise' and 'centralisation' too. Yep, that British spelling really messes with your head.

One wrinkle. Unlike the Los Angeles meeting last October, this meeting is all suits, all the time. I only have one coat, and since our office dress code is "aloha attire," my collection of dress shirts fell apart. Mom pulled some old shirts from the back of our closet, but they were either too small or starting to shred.

So tonight — after dining with William at "Catch of the Day," the latest sushi bar discovery at Market City — I went to Sears and blew $200 on a bunch of nice shirts that I probably won't use again until the next big meeting. Next March. Here in Hawai`i.

Aw hell, that meeting will probably be "aloha attire."

Well, at least I'll feel a little less the bumpkin now.

Tomorrow I'll probably have to invest in a new pair of dress shoes, too. After wearing the ones I have now every day, including traipsing to campus through the muddy reaches of Manoa, they look like dirty, tattered bedroom loafers.

I can't possibly afford another jacket, so I'm basically going to have to kill myself if I spill anything on the one I have.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 11 May 1999 · Last Modified: 13 May 1999