IMR: Prologue: July 6, 1997 -- 1:04 p.m.
Sears Hair Salon, Ala Moana Shopping Center, Hawai`i
Another week has passed. I can't believe it.

I finally have a chance to check in, sitting in the ground-level merchant hall in Ala Moana that stands between Sears and Woolworth. Travel agents staple tickets, kids wobble past, overpriced ice cream is served.

At the moment, Jen is getting a long-overdue haircut. Part of the reason is a pending interview with Kelly Temporary Services tomorrow, but after some thought we're both of the opinion the deal there isn't worth it. I'm encouraging her to go to the interview anyway, for the experience, but given our circumstance we can't settle for anything less than full time.

We just spent a spare hour before her appointment charging through the mall, collecting another stack of job applications from various stores. Hopefully we'll spend tonight filling them out and putting together Jen's resumÄ. If all goes well, she'll be back here at Ala Moana by Wednesday, handing them all in.

I know Jen wants something higher than retail; we both know she's good enough for a white-collar, clerical job in some small downtown office. But right now her work experience speaks best for retail. Her skills, though broad, aren't as technical nor as honed as most professional outfits will demand. The cushy job as a dentist's clerk will have to wait.

We picked up applications for William Sonoma, Warner Brothers, Rand McNally. Meanwhile, she's waiting to hear from Borders, and still hoping against hope that something will open up at Tower Records.

She had called her old boss, but he said they haven't any jobs open right now. He said he'd hire her if he could, I guess recognizing that -- out of the bunch of freaks that generally man the counters at their Keeaumoku store -- Jen was the best damn employee they had.

But for now, we can only wait for someone there to go postal, get arrested or run off with the circus.

We had a great 4th of July weekend. Even though it started with Jen and I realizing we'd forgotten my mother's birthday on Tuesday.

We drove up to Mililani and took her to Arby's at Pearlridge for lunch. It was exhilarating, liberating for us to be able to talk openly with my mother about the pregnancy. She shared anecdotes of her own experiences, worries and cravings. She had her atypical points, though -- she said she never broke 100 pounds, even when nine months pregnant.

As calmly as if we were planning a picnic, we decided the wedding would be Hawaiian in style (versus Christian or Buddhist) and held on August 16, the first Saturday following Jen's birthday on the 13th. Luckily, also a three-day weekend.

Then, as naturally as a stroll in the park, we wandered over to Sears to look at potential wedding dresses (likely a white mu`umu`u), maternity wear and baby clothes and other accessories.

Maternity wear is interesting. Apart from unusually high waists, most clothes look fairly normal. Some items have big, round elastic "tummy pockets," though. I was also intrigued by maternity pantyhose and other underwear.

Baby clothes were a little scarier. Clothes are made in increments of three months -- 0-to-3, 3-to-6, and so on. Though the prices don't seem astronomical on the surface, when you're dealing with a wardrobe that's obsolete in 90 days, it adds up quick.

We also looked at baby car seats and dressing tables. The price range for both varied widely. Some car seats were only $60, but looked like they were worth half that. Others were $160, and looked like they could protect an egg yolk on a moon shot. Meanwhile, there were no cheap dressing tables.

It was humbling to realize how little I knew about shopping around for stuff like this. All I know is I want a car seat that can double as a carrier. They're a good thing, right?

We took mom to see Men in Black, which -- as expected -- she enjoyed. We drove her home and had our hugs, Jen and I hoping we'd given mom a good birthday even though ultimately she'd paid for everything.

We drove back into town, and napped until well past sunset. Right before it was almost too late, we raced out and headed to Ala Moana to see the island's biggest fireworks show.

It was a nightmare getting into the place -- several times I took a wrong turn to avoid a line of cars, only to end up on my way out -- but not two minutes before the show was to start a parking guard waved me into the employee lot in the basement where there were a handful of stalls left. We then climbed several flights of stairs to the roof, where we watched the show from atop a van-sized air-conditioning vent.

It was awesome, as expected, choreographed to everything from the Superman theme to Mariah Carey. The finale set off car alarms all around us.

It took 90 minutes to get home, 70 of those minutes spent sitting in one place in a swarm of cars clogging the entirety of the basement parking lot.

We ordered a pizza, and I marveled at the fact that anyone would be delivering pizzas on the 4th of July. We then watched "Jerry McGuire," which -- despite the link to the past I only recognize in retrospect -- wasn't half bad.

Our Saturday started at two in the afternoon. We literally worked to stay in bed as long as humanly possible. When we finally rose, we ate reheated pizza for breakfast, then headed out to Haleiwa and the North Shore for a long-overdue beach outing.

It was a perfect day. It felt, in a way, as pleasant and invigorating as our regular trips to Hapuna Beach back in Hilo.

As Jen watched the waves crash, she said to me, "I don't feel pregnant right now... I just feel happy."

The trip also gave me an opportunity to start a photo chronicle of Jen's pregnancy. I threw a roll of film in the $25 camera perpetually left on the floor of my car and snapped a few pictures of her for the Two Month segment. A couple of her covered with dripping syrup outside Matsumoto's Shave Ice and another few of her looking absolutely beautiful under a bright blue sky at Waimea Bay.

As always, we didn't know when to quit, and that night -- last night -- we watched "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," returned it with "Jerry McGuire," only to rent "The Late Shift" and watch it well into late night. I should brag that I also cooked dinner all by my lonesome -- breaded boneless chicken and rice with green beans.

The first half of today I've already covered. The second half was quiet enough.

We picked up William at the airport (Jen finally got to hear a song off the new Hapa album in the car -- "E Hele Ana E"), then the three of us relaxed at our apartment.

William and I started to cook dinner, though I had to finish after William got sucked into a half-hour phone call with Judy. Chili macaroni with rice and corn. I served it to Jen, who promptly vomited it back up.

She spent the next hour apologizing, insisting that it wasn't my cooking and asking that I not take it personally. I didn't.

Hell, I know I'm a lousy cook, but at least her "morning sickness" gives her an easy way out of saying so.

Actually, she was a little proud of puking. It was the first time she'd run to the bathroom and bent over the bowl and actually... ejected anything. Twice before, this weekend, she came this close -- once after trying to do the dishes and coming across some rancid tuna helper, and again after seeing Spam footage on CNN -- only to be disappointed.

Her quote of the day has to be, "Puking is my favorite thing to talk about now, have you noticed?"

Before I close, I should also note for the record that I took my mother's advice and bought Jen a huge box of 72 freezer popsicles... and to date I've eaten twice as many as she has. I'm an addict.

We also realized the other night that we're caffeine addicts, suffering simultaneous withdrawal headaches. We're slowly bringing our dosages down, but occasionally we break down and race off for a liter of Coke anyway.


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© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: ozawa@hawaii.edu · Created: 6 April 1998 · Last Modified: 6 April 1998