Saturday, December 31, 2005

Noncompliance, Anyone?

The house we own in Florida is in The Neighborhood, which (of course) has a community association. This can be a good thing, or a bad thing, but up to now it has not been a problem. The annual dues are low and there is very little Nazi-ism in The Neighborhood.

A few weeks ago they did a neighborhood-wide inspection to make sure everyone was in compliance with the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. We were dinged on one item - and received a Very Important Letter in the mail requiring our "response within 10 days."

Never mind that the letter took 14 days to arrive.

Anyway, this is what the letter said, in part:

The following item(s) were deemed noncompliant and require your immediate attention:
- Mailbox needs repair.

So......what exactly did that mean? The mailboxes in The Neighborhood are required to be built in little concrete/stucco enclosures. After all, regular mailboxes on a post will bring down property values, right? We contacted our tenants (with a cc to the property manager) to have them take a look at the mailbox to see what exactly needs to be repaired.

The tenant replied immediately (c.c. to the property manager) with this:

There doesn't appear to be any problems with the mailbox. The handle is a bit loose, but I can fix that myself. Please advise.

The property manager responded a bit later with:

We can send someone to look at the mailbox next week. There may be a charge for an estimate.

Meanwhile, I had e-mailed The Neighborhood Association and asked for more specifics on the mailbox. This is the reply I received (c.c. to the tenant and the property manager):

I honestly cannot recall the issue with the mailbox. If you like, I could meet you at the house to re-inspect it and discuss bringing it up to code.

After another e-mail letting him know that we are thousands of miles away, we arranged for the tenants, the property manager, and a representative of The Neighborhood Association to re-inspect the mailbox.

Meanwhile, we received this e-mail from someone (?) in The Neighborhood Association (c.c. to the property manager, the tenant, and the inspector) :

Hello everybody, my name is Fran xxxxx, I am assisting Bev xxxxxx, I have reviewed the issues regarding the mailbox at 131 xxxx xxxx Drive. Please keep me informed as to the status of the repairs.

So, now we have the tenant, the property manager, the inspector, two anonymous people, and ourselves all involved in the Mysterious Mailbox Issue.

Finally I received this e-mail from the neighborhood inspector (c.c. to the tenant, the property manager, and the two anonymous people):

I wanted to expound on the condition of the mailbox at 131 xxxx xxxx Drive. The mailbox shows rust around the door hinges. All that should be required to bring the mailbox back into compliance is a little sanding of the hinges, and rinsing of the frame. Appreciate your efforts to bring this issues to closure.

Please let me know of the target complete date for compliance.

So.........we just sent/received 23 e-mails involving six different people and the issue is a rusty hinge?

A bit extreme, don't you think?

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Christmas Story

Once upon a time on a tropical island far away, there was a little boy known as Destructo. He was cute and cuddly and fun, as any toddler would be. He was also full of energy and had no concept of "sit still" or "shhhhh....".

On Christmas Eve, Destructo's family piled into the MomVan and headed to church, as was family tradition. Before going into the church, the family stopped to look at the nativity display on the lawn outside. Destructo was very intrigued with the "cow" and the "horsey" and of course, the baby. After a few minutes, they headed inside and took a seat.

It was all of twelve seconds later when Destructo decided he didn't want to be inside. He wriggled and squirmed and babbled random words until his Daddy took him outside.

Once he was outside, he made a beeline for the "cow", the "horsey", and of course, the baby. He and his Daddy stood on the grass looking at the nearly life-size creatures until the music began inside the church.

When they returned to their seats, Destructo's Mommy was ready with a diaper bag full of juice, snacks, and other distractions. After ten minutes, Destructo had worked his way through all the distractions, and still wasn't able to sit still. Destructo's Mommy reached into the bag and pulled out the Big Guns - the "pa-wo" (pacifier).

Destructo popped his pa-wo into his mouth and sat quietly playing with the Winnie the Pooh clip attached to the pa-wo.

His Mommy and Daddy had just heaved a huge sigh of relief, when Destructo suddenly demanded, "Two pa-wo."

This was a good thing. You see, when Destructo is tired and ready to sleep, he always needs two pacifiers - one for his mouth and the other to rub on his nose. His Mommy quickly reached into the bag to get the second pacifier (which she knew she had grabbed from the MomVan before coming inside).

The pa-wo was nowhere to be found. His Mommy emptied the diaper bag while his Daddy checked his pockets, but there was no sign of the pa-wo or the Winnie the Pooh clip it was attached to.

This was not a good thing. The remaining forty-five minutes did not go well. Mommy, Daddy, and the Blonde Brother took turns supervising Destructo in the Cry Room.

When the final song had been sung and the Merry Christmases had been said, Destructo's family headed toward the exit. As soon as they stepped outside, Destructo demanded to see the "cow", the "horsey", and of course, the baby.

Destructo's Mommy and Daddy walked him over to the nativity display, where a crowd had gathered - a giggling crowd, which was a bit unusual to see at a nativity set. When the crowd thinned a bit, Mommy and Daddy stepped up to the edge of the display with Destructo.

Daddy pointed to the ox, and Destructo responded with "COW!!!"

Mommy pointed out the donkey, and Destructo shot back "HORSEY!!!"

As Daddy was getting ready to point out the baby Jesus, Destructo interrupted with "PA-WO!!!!!"

Sure enough, wedged crookedly in Baby Jesus' mouth was Destructo's pa-wo, with the Winnie the Pooh clip dangling down the side.

(This is where Destructo's Daddy admits that when he took Destructo back outside before church began, he saw someone he knew and was "sort of" paying attention to what Destructo was doing while he talked with his buddy.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

I Did The Unthinkable

Yeah, I made fudge with cheese in it.

I don't know why I tried, I should have known better. After all, I have been married to the Italian Hubster for nearly nineteen years. I know the Italian Food Rules: (1) Don't try new recipes, and (2) Don't mess with existing recipes. The only exception is if the Italian suggests the new recipe/modification, or if you can make him think it was his idea.

Food is the stuff of legends in his family. I don't know how many times I've heard the story about the time Tara didn't put enough water in the pasta and it all stuck together. Or the time MIL tried to sneak some Prego past FIL - he walked into the house, took one whiff of the air, and said, "You don't expect me to eat that shit, do you?"

Anyway, I may have just created the next Family Food Legend.

You see, a friend from a military spouses group (who shall remain nameless, but we all know who she is) has a recipe for chocolate fudge made with Velveeta. Yeah, I said Velveeta. Not technically cheese, but not your typical fudge ingredient. (Apologies to the Food Whore for using the V-word multiple times.)

One by one, members of our little group were trying the Cheesy Fudge and coming back with rave reviews. It's so creamy..... It's so easy..... It's to die for.....

I have my own tried-and-true fudge recipe that I've used for years and everyone loves it. It's creamy and so, so, so chocolatey. But I needed to know if the Cheesy Fudge would be better.

So I did it. I made both types and never told anyone that the secret ingredient in the "new" fudge was the V-word.

Other than the Diva, who said the Cheesy Fudge was "okay", everyone preferred the tried-and-true recipe.

That was a week ago. Fast forward to today.

The Hubster found a half box of Velveeta in the back of the refrigerator (we're not Velveeta people). He asked why it was there.

When I told him I used it to make the "new" fudge recipe, he went into full-blown Dramatic Italian mode.

After a moment of shock, his first response was, "Why the Hell did you do that? Who puts cheese in fudge? Why would you think fudge would be good with cheese in it???? I can't believe you did that to us!!" (This was followed by gagging and heaving sounds, even though it had been a week since he had eaten the fudge.) The drama continued...."My stomach is in knots!! I'm going to throw up just thinking about it!!" (This is the point where he shoved aside the bowl of soup he had been eating...) I can't believe you did that to me.....blah, blah, blah!!!!"

I'm really going to hear it from FIL.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Huh?

I may have mentioned that the Hubster is in the market for a new surf board.

We have looked all over the island - literally - for The Perfect Board. He knows exactly what he wants and has found it a couple of places, but he just can't bring himself to spend that much money.

So we keep looking.

A couple of weeks ago he learned that the place that makes a majority of the inner core piece for surf boards has gone out of business. This is big news on the island because it means a shortage of boards and increased prices.

So the search has become more intense.

Last night we went to a surf shop near campus, the same one we went to
this day. Last time we were there, he found The Perfect Board....but it was $565. He wasn't ready to spend that much, but now that there was a price increase on the horizon, he said he might consider it.

We walked into the store and he immediately spotted his Perfect Board. He took it out, looked at it from all angles, from a distance, up close, everything.

This is when Ditzy Salesgirl arrived. She looked the part of a beach bum, tan, sun-bleached hair, wearing a flippy white skirt, a tank top that exposed most of her belly, and no shoes.

This is when the Hubster spotted the price tag on the board: $665. They hadn't even put new tags on - just changed the first number in the price from a '5' to a '6'. This is the conversation that followed:

Ditzy Salesgirl: Is there anything I can help you with?

Hubster: I was here not too long ago and this board was $565.

Ditzy: (Trying to explain economics to him...) Yeah, there was a company that made parts for surf boards. They went out of business so we raised the price on all our boards by $100.

Hubster: That's not right - this board was here before the company shut down. It didn't cost you any more.....

Ditzy: It's just what we do.

Hubster: So you raised the price on all your boards?

Ditzy: Yeah. By $100 each.

Hubster: No one is going to buy them at that price.

Ditzy: Yeah. That's probably true. It's okay though. If we sell them all, then we won't have any left. Then what would we sell?


Okaaaayyyyy.......I must have missed that day in Economics 101.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Family Christmas Classic

There is nothing like a long, sarcastic e-mail from my Good Sister-in-Law to remind me how fortunate I am to be far, far away from family for the holidays.

It seems it is time for the Annual Christmas Ornament and Cookie Party, which is an idea so demented it could only spring from the mind of the Sister-in-Law From Hell. The tradition began sometime in the early '90's and has been dying a slow, painful death ever since.

(Just to clarify, Good SIL is the Hubster's sister. SIL From Hell is the person married to the Hubster's brother. There is no common DNA involved.)

I was there the first year, but have managed to opt out every year since. (Thank God for the Marine Corps!!)

We had flown in early on a Saturday afternoon, and Mother-in-Law let me know that SIL From Hell was having an ornament and cookie party that evening. I was invited, but not expected to bring the "one wrapped Christmas ornament and one dozen homemade Christmas cookies" as the invitation stated. I felt bad going because (1) I wasn't bringing anything, and (2) I really didn't enjoy attending SIL From Hell's little functions.

MIL, Good SIL and I arrived a little late, because SIL From Hell never runs on time for anything. There were a few guests already there, and SIL From Hell was making some last minute adjustments to the Christmas decor on her dining room table, which we assumed would be used for a buffet. She had put down a red tablecloth, a punch bowl, and a few Christmas-y decorations. The guests were instructed to place their wrapped ornaments on one end of the table, and take their one-dozen homemade cookies into the kitchen.

About half an hour later, SIL From Hell emerged from the kitchen and shouted, "Let's get this par-tay started!!!'' This was followed by a truly frightening, cackle-y laugh, one that could only come from within a truly demented person. She was carrying teeny, tiny paper plates and cups, plastic spoons, and napkins, all of which she arranged ever so neatly on her table.

She then began a series of trips to/from the kitchen, each leading to stares of disbelief from Good SIL and I, followed by snickers and giggles when SIL From Hell was out of earshot again.

The first trip brought two large bottles of Hi-C Fruit Punch and two trays of ice cubes. After filling her punchbowl and mixing the brew, she returned to the kitchen.

Next trip.....a crockpot full of beans and weenies. Let me repeat that - she brought out beans and weenies.

The third trip was the jaw-dropper. She brought out a HUGE tray of homemade Christmas cookies. By HUGE, I mean approximately fifteen dozen homemade Christmas cookies. Coincidently, there were approximately fifteen guests there, and each had brought one dozen homemade Christmas cookies.

So, we made idle chit-chat with SIL From Hell's dysfunctional friends while we dined on beans and weenies and our own Christmas cookies, then washed it all down with lukewarm Hi-C Fruit Punch.

Finally SIL From Hell announced that it was "time to do the ornaments!!"

She made a huge ordeal of it - parading the stack of wrapped ornaments from her dining room table on to her coffee table, arranging and rearranging them until they were just right, and asking everyone to take a seat in the living room.

When all was right in her little world, she selected one wrapped ornament and carefully unwrapped it.




Then she walked over and hung it on her tree.



This was repeated fourteen more times.

When she finished, she thanked us for coming and whisked us out the door.



And that is one reason I don't miss spending the holidays with family.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

D.A.R.E. (not)

I'm not one to condone drug use, but moody teenagers are much more pleasant to be around after they have had a bit of Vicodin.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Experimental Friday

I spend way too much time experimenting with photo editing programs.

This is the beginning photo, shot through my living room window one day last week:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

This is what I came up with for Experimental Friday.

I really need to get a life.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Goin' North Shore

This weekend is a rare weekend without soccer, so the Hubster and I decided to make a quick trip up to the North Shore. He's in the market for a new surfboard and I'm always up for a photo op, so we headed north.

There are two routes to the North Shore. The first is mostly highway, through the center of the island, quicker but not really remarkable. The other is a two-lane curvy road along the coast, a gorgeous drive (especially at sunset) but about 30 minutes longer. We decided to take the highway up and the coastal drive home.

One of the things we love about Oahu is the variety of landscapes packed into one small island, as we noted on the 45 minute drive from our house to the North Shore. The area we live in is a relatively flat beach community, mostly surrounded by water. From there we drive past lush rainforests and waterfalls, over (actually through) the mountain and into an industrial area of the island. After that, there are the pineapple fields, the huge pine trees, and finally the farmlands (yes, there are cows!) of the North Shore. The Hubster, being the environmental geek that he is, informed me that the different areas are referred to as 'microclimates'.

Oaky.

Anyway, we spent a long time browsing numerous surf shops, but had no luck finding the board he was looking for. The problem? Apparently 1/2" in width makes a HUGE difference, and the Hubster couldn't find the right size.

Next stop was Pupukea, which I have declared the Most Photogenic Beach on the island. I love taking pictures there, and make a point of stopping every time we are in the area. If you are ever on Oahu, go there - not because it is a 'typical' beach, but because it is not. It is very rocky (sharp, sharp, slice-your-feet-open rocks), and not really suitable for swimming. In the summer the water is completely calm, and very shallow so you can walk out quite far (wear water shoes!!) to explore the tide pools. In the winter it is the complete opposite - huge waves crashing on the rocks make it too dangerous to go out.

I got my pictures and we headed home, taking the slow road along the coast as the sun set. It was one of those days that made us remember how fortunate we are to be living here.

Pupukea, towards Waimea, as the sun is going down:

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Pupukea, towards Sunset Beach.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Yellow Friday

Another oldie.

Destructo used to hate being in the pool at our Florida house, partially because the Blonde One and the Wildcard had a tendency to be wild when they were in there, and partially because Destructo was only a few months old.

So, after we moved out and were staying with the Hubster's family for a few days, I made a trip back up there to prepare the house for the tenants. I took Destructo because, well, I was breastfeeding and didn't have any choice.

I took him in the pool and he loved it. It was calm. It was July and the water was warm. And the waterfall totally fascinated him.

Here's my Mellow Yellow shot of Destructo.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's Official

I'm an idiot.

Today I:

-Fell down the stairs and landed with a splat on the tile floor at 6:45 a.m.


Okay, to be fair, we only have two stairs in our house, but I fell down both of them. And I have the bruised knees to prove it.

-Thought I was brilliant when I found a Flat-Rate envelope in the drawer and decided to use it to send Hawaii leaves to my niece in Michigan for her leaf collection.


For less than $4 I could mail all the leaves I wanted AND I wouldn't have to make a special trip to the store to buy a mailing envelope.

So, when I got to the post office to mail the leaves (along with several other packages), I grabbed a mailing label and filled it out while trying to keep one eye on Destructo. Half my attention was on him and half was on the clerk who totaled up my packages, asked if I needed more stamps, took my credit card, and wished me "Happy Holidays".


When I returned home I realized that the mailing label I filled out was for Express Mail, and I had just paid $13.65 to mail a bunch of leaves to a six year-old.

My brother is going to wonder what the Hell I was thinking.

-Finally, my last brilliant decision of the day was to clean my oven.

We always cook our Thanksgiving turkey in a disposable aluminum pan because the cleanup is so much simpler. This year, the pan had a crack in it and dripped all over the bottom of the oven for five hours, leaving behind a big, crusty mess. Thus, the oven cleaning.

I totally forgot to wipe out the oven before putting it on the "Clean" setting. Within an hour, the kitchen was filled with smoke. Not just 'smoky', I'm talking can't-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face smoke.

I had thought enough to open a window, turn on the vent, and make sure the doors on each end of the kitchen were closed, but that wasn't enough. I made two trips in there to set up a fan and point it out the window - once to take the fan in and a second time to plug it in. The smoke was too thick to do it all in one trip.

My entire house now smells like a burnt-out campfire.


I'm such an idiot.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Don't Try This At Home

Some recipes should come with warnings, especially for the kitchen-impaired.

Like the gravy recipe I tried yesterday. Sounded simple enough, and it received raves from those who reviewed it.

Toss a few vegetables in the roasting pan with the turkey....(I can do that).....when the turkey is finished cooking, place the vegetables along with several cups of the liquid in the blender.....(no problem there).....blend until smooth....(this is where the warning should go).

WARNING: When you turn on the blender, it is possible that the lid will fly off and scalding hot lava/gravy will splatter everywhere, including the right side of your face, neck, and chest.

I really shouldn't be allowed in the kitchen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Friday Imperfection

Blonde One: How far do you think I can walk with my eyes closed?

(....thud....)

Apparently not far, especially when there is a concrete pillar directly in front of you.

Monday, November 21, 2005

And the Oscar Goes To......

The Wildcard has always had a vivid imagination. It was never a problem for him to entertain himself for long periods of time (ie. in church) with random items. Usually those items were things he just happened to pick up off the ground as we were going somewhere.

A paperclip and a pebble could easily become a robot and a bomb, and he would act out multiple battles using his paperclip and his pebble. Each item would have assigned powers, different attacks, and their own special defenses. The possibilities were endless.

Anyway, his problem is that he cannot turn that imagination off when it's bedtime. He used to wind up in our bed several times a week because there were monsters in his room or he had a bad dream. It's gotten much better, but he still has his visions.

Like last night.

He stalled and stalled at bedtime, and I knew he was waiting for me to tell him to go sleep in my bed. (I had just changed the bedding, and there's nothing like sleeping on freshly washed and bleached sheets.....) Finally he headed off to bed, in his own room.

Five minutes later he was back.

Wildcard: MOM! I just saw a big giant ant crawl across my wall!!

Me: There's no ant on your wall. Go back to bed.

Wildcard: But there was! I saw it! It was huge and it crawled right next to my head. Can I sleep in your bed?

Me: (Thinking of sweaty 10 y/o on my clean sheets...) No. Go back to your own bed.

Wildcard: But I cannot sleep in an ant infested room.

Me: Your room isn't ant infested. Go back to bed.

Wildcard: (near tears) Would you be able to sleep in a room that was overrun with crawly bugs???

Me: Show me. If there's no ant, you sleep in your bed.

We headed off to his room where he used a teeny, tiny flashlight to examine the walls for ants. (Note: One wall is half covered with a mural that I let him paint - monsters everywhere. That doesn't seem to bother him a bit.) We don't find any ants.

Wildcard: It was there. I know it was!! I can't sleep in these conditions!!

Me: I'll tell you what.....go get a fly swatter. When you see the ant, smack it and bring it to me. THEN I will let you sleep in my bed.

He rushes off to get the fly swatter, grabs his teeny, tiny flashlight and takes up position in the center of his bed.

I return to whatever I was doing.

Three minutes later I hear a "Swack!!!" followed by the pitter-patter of 10 y/o feet in the hallway.

Wildcard: (Waving a dead ant in my face.) SEE!!?!?!?? I TOLD you!! They're everywhere, I tell you!!

Crap. So much for freshly washed sheets.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Subtlety is (Not) His Strong Point

Today we were in the video store, the Wildcard and I, when his former soccer coach walked in.

With his daughter.

His daughter who is in the Wildcard's class at school.

His daughter, the CuteBlondeGirl.

So, the Wildcard spotted CuteBlondeGirl and immediately turned his back on her.

Wildcard: (whispering) Mom, that's my soccer coach and CuteBlondeGirl.

Me: (whispering back) I know. Why don't you say, "Hi"?

Him: I can't do THAT!!

He continues to hide from her, while her dad (the former soccer coach) and I exchange that "He's just being shy...." glance.

So the FormerSoccerCoach and the CuteBlondeGirl move to the back of the video store, while the Wildcard and I wait in line to check out. The Wildcard is desperately trying to avoid CuteBlondeGirl and asks if he can wait outside.

I tell him he can, and without thinking he rushes out the exit with a movie still in his hand.

Smooth move.

The alarms go off, he rushes back to me, hands me the movie, and hurries out the door before CuteBlondeGirl notices him.

I watch him out the window as he paces back and forth in the courtyard, hoping to not be noticed by CuteBlondeGirl. The guy in front of me has two overdue movies, but swears he has returned them. The video clerk takes her time searching the displays for the movies, then finally finds them.

Meanwhile, FormerSoccerCoach and CuteBlondeGirl leave the video store. The Wildcard pretends not to notice, and even decides that pretending to examine the contents of the trash can is better than saying "Hi" to CuteBlondeGirl.

FormerSoccerCoach and CuteBondeGirl approach him, and FormerSoccerCoach says "Hi" to the Wildcard. The Wildcard diverts his attention from the trash long enough to acknowledge FormerSoccerCoach, but not CuteBlondeGirl.

As I watch out the window, CuteBlondeGirl is standing, hands on her hips, admonishing the Wildcard for ignoring her in the video store. She makes a few dramatic gestures to the video store and the sky above, then is done.

She walks away just as I leave the store.

I ask the Wildcard what just happened, and his reply is, "I don't know what you are talking about."

End of discussion
.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy Birthday, Marines!

In honor of the Marine Corps 230th birthday, last night we attended the Marine Corps Ball. It is an annual event and ours was held in a hotel ballroom in Waikiki, with hundreds of Marines, spouses, dates, and other guests attending.

So......with all those people, what are the odds that the first person you see at The Ball will be wearing the exact same dress as you?



Yeah, totally identical.

What's really eerie is that she and I always joke that we're living parallel lives. Our Hubsters have similar backgrounds, work in the same field, and are of equal rank. She and I also have similar backgrounds, and we live on the same block in identical houses. We even drive identical MomVans. And last night we stepped out of our separate MomVans at the same time, wearing the same dress. Our Hubsters, of course, were dressed alike as well.

Anyway.

The Ball was nice, yet slightly odd by Marine Corps standards.

In addition to dinner and dancing, The Ball is big on ceremony. There is a brief(?) history of the Marine Corps, presented as a pageant of uniforms throughout the years. There are also guest speakers and a cake-cutting ceremony where the oldest Marine presents a piece of cake to the youngest Marine. The formality of the Ball varies with location, and thankfully nothing in Hawaii is very formal.

Last night, our guests of honor were several foreign diplomats, local political figures (including a borderline insane former mayor), and Gomer Pyle.

Fortunately, none spoke, sang, or otherwise entertained the crowd.

Then there was the cake-cutting ceremony.

Unfortunately, during the cake-cutting, it was discovered that the styrofoam cake was just that. Styrofoam. Someone had forgotten to replace one section of the styrofoam with actual cake.

But the band played on, so all was well.


Dinner was very good, although a bit rushed. The wine flowed, as did the conversation with our table-mates. It was actually one of the most enjoyable Balls we've ever attended.

But we were still home by 10 p.m.

Semper Fi.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Vacation After-Action Report

Lessons Learned:

- Never snicker when the rude, obnoxious man in line in front of you isn't allowed to upgrade his seat. He WILL end up in the seat next to you, overlapping into your seat and he WILL be both a snorer and a leaner.

- Toddlers are better travelers than most adults.

- Ten days is not enough time to visit family, yet it is too long to be away from home.

- When making detailed lists for the Hubster and the kids, make sure to include things like "Clean the Kitchen", "Beef Jerky is NOT a Meal", and "The Diva Has a Curfew".

- Twelve (unused) diapers equals one pound.

Mahalo To:

- The man in Honolulu who took my suitcase through Ag Inspection for me.

- The ticket agent in Detroit who said, "Close enough" when my suitcase was over the weight limit.

- The man in Dallas who saw me with a toddler, stroller, carseat, backpack, and camera bag....and grabbed the carseat from me, told the gate agent that I was with him (allowing me to cut in line), then carried Destructo's carseat onto the plane for me.

- The waitress at Brew's who made sure my large Coke was always full. (I must have had the Give-Me-Caffeine-NOW!! look on my face.)

Oooops - Sorry!! to:

- My sister for dropping her dinner on the sidewalk.

- The guy in seat 38C who spent 7.5 hours having wet pacifiers dropped on his arm.

And Finally, Just to Clarify:

The toddler WAS saying "beach", not "bitch".

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'm On My Way.....Well, Almost

A couple of weeks ago I got a sudden urge to go home and visit my family.

Usually when I get the bug to go home, I either (1) Check the price of tickets home, then change my mind once I realize I can probably buy three rooms of furniture for what it would cost to go home; or (2) Remember how much I hate to travel and recall every bad layover I've ever had, then ask the Hubster to make me a Margarita.

This time was different. I found an incredible deal on tickets (plural, because Destructo would be my travelling partner), so price wasn't really an issue. The Hubster promptly brought me my What-The-Hell Am-I-Thinking Margarita. It must have been super-strong, because instead of changing my mind, I entered my credit card info and bought my tickets.

This is where it gets pathetic.

My head began to spin with irrational thoughts.

We have to take halftime snacks to the Wildcard's game - what if the Hubster forgets?

Destructo doesn't have (real) shoes....or socks. It's c-o-l-d in Michigan and he's a rubbah slippah kid.

What if they don't close the kitchen door when they leave in the morning and StupidDog gets on my furniture?

I'm going to miss Oktoberfest!!

Of course, the Hubster had irrational thoughts of his own.


Who will help the Diva with her Trig homework?

Will you bring fudge back for me?

I decided that the little stuff will all work itself out.

The plan was to do a ten-day whirlwind trip - four days with the Hubster's family in Florida, five days with my family in Michigan, and a little more than a day of travel time. It would be quick, it would be manageable, and I would be home in time for Parent-Teacher Conferences and the Marine Corps Ball.

Wilma put a little kink in our plans. We were supposed to head to south Florida on Friday, but the airport is still closed, and (from what we've read in the news) the Hubster's family is most likely without electricity, telephone service, and water. Since that's not my idea of a vacation, we reversed our itinerary and will be going to Michigan first....I will be home in a couple of days!!

The trip itself will be no fun - it's about seventeen hours from our door to my Mom and Dad's door. Combine that with a six-hour time difference, and I expect to have an ornery toddler on my hands. I'm not too concerned about that. I used to travel home from Japan (without the Hubster) with three small children, and that was a thirty-six hour trip and a twelve hour time difference. If I can do that, I can do anything.

While I am home I plan to make up for missing Oktoberfest in Hawaii. We will be making a trip up
here, and more specifically here (of course) and here. Depending on which family members are along, we may go here or here. This is nearby, and we may detour that way too. Other than that, it'll be all about hangin' out and chillin' with family, and if time allows, meeting up with a few old friends.

Now I just have to figure out what the Hell I'm going to pack.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Soccer Wrapup (Sigh....)

This week is the last of the soccer season for the Blonde One and the Wildcard.

Both have played back-to-back seasons, so a big part of our lives has revolved around soccer for the past six months. Between the two of them, we've been shuttling back and forth to 4-5 practices per week, plus two games on Saturday. Usually they schedule the younger kids' games early, before it gets hot, and the older kids in the afternoon. For us, that meant one game in the morning and the other in the afternoon, pretty much eating up our entire day.

For the past six months I have been tripping over cleats and shin guards, and washing water bottles every night. On laundry day I have a dozen soccer socks to match and figure out which child they belong to. The MomVan has multiple soccer balls rolling randomly across the floor every time I turn a corner.

As hectic as it gets, I am really, really going to miss soccer season.

The Hubster hasn't figured it out yet - he just thinks I'm being nice - but I offer to take the boys to every game, every week.

Why?

I've discovered my Happy Place, and it is the soccer field.

I get to sit for two solid hours and do nothing. I don't have anyone asking me for anything, I don't have to chase after a busy toddler, and there are no petty arguments to settle. It's just me, my soda, and the gorgeous Hawaiian landscape.

Don't get me wrong. I love watching the boys play, and I love having one-on-one conversations with them as we drive to/from the games. But the bottom line is that it's all about ME.

And if you were at the Mililani soccer field this weekend and saw a lunatic mom sitting under an umbrella in the cold, pouring rain with 35+ m.p.h. gusts blowing all around, sipping her Coke and smiling.....well, that was me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Question of the Day

Hypothetical question:

Imagine that you are at the gym, in the middle of your workout on an elliptical machine. A guy hops onto the treadmill directly in front of you. The wire from his i-Pod headphones is somehow tangled in the back of his shorts and three-quarters of his left butt cheek is hanging out for all to see.

Do you say anything?

What if you assume that once he starts running, the wire will work itself loose and things will fix themselves. But it doesn't happen that way. Instead, you're treated to a pasty-white butt cheek flopping up and down, up and down, up and down.....

Do you say anything at that point?




Would your answer be different if it's someone you know casually?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Conspicuous Friday

Just a goofy one this week.

My intent was to get a picture of the camera-shy Blonde One, but the Wildcard had to send himself flying across the room and into the picture. The Blonde One still managed to hide behind a pillow.

Here's my
conspicuous Wildcard.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's a Fine Line, Really

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Benjamin Franklin


If I pick the salad spinner up from the floor and put it back into the cupboard seventeen times in one day, thinking maybe it will stay in the cupboard this time, does that make me insane?

Or am I insane because I have to spend my day picking salad spinners off the floor?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Holy Language Barrier, Batman!!!

This morning was my morning to be the parent helper in the Wildcard's CCD class. (CCD is the Catholic version of Sunday School.) I wasn't sure exactly why they needed a helper, as there are only 9 students, and the teacher already has an assistant. On the first day of class, the teacher said that each parent is required to spend one day in the classroom, but she usually wouldn't have anything for the parent to do.

Anyway, I headed off with the Wildcard to do my duty.

The teacher decided that I would sit in the hallway and the children would come out one by one and recite any of the prayers they had memorized during the week. I was to sign their prayer book next to the prayers they had memorized. Simple enough.

The children took turns sitting down with me and reciting a prayer or two, often stumbling and needing a little prompt, but I signed off on any attempts. They are 10 y/o kids, after all.

Then Child #6 came out, a little girl with blonde pigtails who had wowed the class with a Photoshopped homework assignment earlier in the day.

She sat down, straightened her dress, and informed me that she would be reciting three of the more difficult prayers. She handed me her book so I could follow along.

She recited them flawlessly. She didn't stammer, she didn't need prompts, and she pronounced all the words correctly.

What happened next made my head spin.

She looked at me with her big, blue eyes and said, "Now I would like to recite them in Latin, if you don't mind."

And she did.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Shhhhhhh.......

I was reading Da Momma's blog detailing the birth of their new baby girl, and suddenly had a flashback to the day Destructo was born.

More specifically, the pre-op procedures.

Destructo was born via a scheduled c-section, so the Hubster and I were at the hospital before dawn, going on very little sleep. The nurse filled out all the appropriate paperwork, IV's were inserted, blood was drawn, and all of the necessary personnel notified.

This is when the nurse prepped the Hubster for the O.R.

He had to scrub with the funky soap. He was given a hospital gown, and a paper cap to cover the little bit of hair that a Marine is allowed to have.

Then the nurse looked at his feet...because he also needed the paper shoe coverings before he could be allowed into the O.R.

She had the shoe coverings in her hand, then put them back and pulled out two more paper caps and handed them to him with instructions to use them as coverings for his size 13 shoes.

In our sleepless, giddy state, we laughed hysterically that he had to wear hats on his feet because they didn't make shoe covers large enough to cover them. If I hadn't had a catheter, I probably would have pee'd my pants.

And then we swore we would never tell anyone.

Shhhhhhh.....



Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Birthday?

Today was the Blonde One's fifteenth birthday.

It really wasn't much of a birthday for him. He had his braces tightened yesterday, and then there were the PSAT's , after school band practice, and soccer practice. He (wisely) decided to wait until the weekend to celebrate.

It didn't surprise me that he wanted to wait - he's our low-key, low-drama child. (It may have something to do with the fact that he was the middle child for nine years.) The Diva and the Wildcard would have insisted on having their birthday ON their birthday, no matter what.

I asked him what his ideal birthday would be, and he said, "You would let me skip school to surf all day, then we would throw some burgers on the grill. I'd have to stay home and play video games for a while, but then I would go play soccer until dark. Then I would go home, have a huge milkshake, and go to bed."

I asked him about birthday presents and he said, "Oh, yeah, whatever. I haven't even thought about that yet."

He is the quiet one, and has inherited my dislike of being in front of the camera. This is probably one of the last pictures I have of him where he wasn't covering his face or ducking behind something.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Now the only pictures I can get of him are on the soccer field or at the beach. Even then he has an uncanny way of removing himself from the picture.

He's # 10.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

A post-surfing picture.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

That's pretty much as good as it gets with him.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Friday Five

One of the places I've always wanted to visit on this island is
Punchbowl, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Last time we lived here I was in grad school and passed Punchbowl nearly every day as I took my shortcut to campus. I always wished I had the time to stop, but it never happened.

On Saturday, the Diva took her SAT's at a test center very near there. After dropping her and her Diva Friends at the test center, I took care of my errands and discovered I still had two hours until it was time to pick them up again. My camera was in the MomVan as I finally headed off to Punchbowl.


The cemetery is located in a crater above downtown Honolulu, but you would never know it. As you drive up around the crater to the entrance, there are amazing views of town, Diamond Head, and the ocean beyond. Once you enter the cemetery, it is completely peaceful and serene with the only sound being the wind blowing through the trees.

I wandered through the cemetery, taking time to look at the memorials and markers, snapping a few pictures along the way. The grounds were meticulously maintained, and many grave sites were covered in flowers, notes, and other personal mementos. I came across this one, and remembered my Japanese friends explaining to me how it is important to leave offerings, often food, to their ancestors.

So, with a little editing, I decided to use it as my PhotoFriday pic of the week. The five-fruit offering is common in certain Asian cultures. I don't know the significance of the pound cake or bottled water, I would assume it is just something the family enjoyed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Leftovers For Two, Please?

What's more annoying than finally finding time for a lunch date with the Hubster, and then arriving at the restaurant of choice only to discover that it doesn't open for another hour?

I'll tell you.

1. Returning to the restaurant more than an hour later and discovering that it STILL isn't open.

2. When it finally does open, nearly 30 minutes past the posted time, the bathrooms are out of toilet paper.

3. Being served a meal that had obviously been cooked long ago and reheated.

4. And to top it all off, nearly being hit by a skateboarder's snot-rocket as you walk back to the car.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Eavesdropping

Today, in Lowes. Completely overdressed Lady with the up-turned nose and down-turned mouth talking with her dutiful husband and the Lowes clerk:

Lady: (Sweetly...) You don't have it in the metallic grey? I really think the grey would be best.

Clerk: No, but we do have a shipment coming in this week.

Lady: Could you hold one for me, please?

Clerk: We're not allowed to do that. However, you can go online and order one and click the box to have it delivered to the store. It will be here in a couple of days and then we can hold it for you.

Husband: But then we won't be able to look at it and examine it before we buy it....

Lady: (Totally ignoring Husband...) Do they have more colors online? Would we perhaps have a better selection?

Clerk: I'm not sure about this item, but I can check for you.

Lady: Could you do that, please?

Husband: (As Clerk walks away...) It might be better to just buy this one....

Lady: (Turning off the sweetneses...) Would you just shut the Hell up? I can handle this.

Husband: I don't want to buy something without first looking at it....

Lady: I told you...I'll take care of this. Do you think I'm stupid or something?

Clerk: I checked the catalog and these are the colors we have...(lists colors)

Lady: (Back in sweet mode....) Maybe metallic grey or sterling silver....

Husband: Do you have the silver....

Lady: Definitely the metallic grey. We'll special order it and wait for it to come in.

Clerk: There's a fee for special orders. If you order it online there is no extra charge.

Husband: Maybe we could get the silver? Or order it online?

Lady: I'd like the metallic grey, special ordered, please.

(Clerk walks away to get paperwork...)

Lady: (Sweetness off....) I TOLD you I could handle this. Just stand there and look pretty, okay?

Husband: I'm just not sure about the metallic. And I don't think the special order is necessary....

Lady: Now I know why I don't take you places. I've decided on the metallic. Deal with it.




The item in question?

A SHOWER CURTAIN ROD.

Some people really need to get a life.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Poem

By the Wildcard

The Flu

When I was sick,
I had the flu.
I went to the bathroom
from one until two.

I watched TV
when I was free.
But I went again
from two until three.

I am happy,
now I am done.
Not sick any more,
now I have fun.

Oh no! Wait!!
I am NOT done!!
I just went
from twelve until one.


A vote of the Wildcard's AGT classmates unanimously chose this as the best poem from their poetry unit.

And why not? It has all the elements important for fifth grade poetry.

It rhymes.

And it is about poop.

For his efforts, the Wildcard was awarded......(drumroll, please)....





A pencil.
Dark Friday

Four days a week "we" have soccer practice from 4-6 p.m. and by the time practice ends, the sun is starting to set.

Yesterday, while driving the Blonde One home from practice, we watched the sky changing from different shades of blue and grey to the most amazing purples and reds. We watch the sun set most nights, but this was above and beyond the usual evening sky.

And this, of course, was the day I didn't have my camera with me.

As the colors changed, I drove faster and faster hoping I could make it home before total darkness set in. I timed it pretty well because in the end,
this is the photo I got for this week's PhotoFriday challenge, "Darkness".

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Did You Hear Him?

Today was THE day for Destructo.

The Wildcard and I had dental appointments this morning, the Blonde One and the Diva had to go to school, and the Hubster had an early morning meeting.

Destructo couldn't tag along with any of us, so I had to pack his bag and take him to the drop-in child care center.

He is almost 21 months old and has never been left with anyone outside the immediate family, so we really didn't know what to expect. When I filled out the registration paperwork and did the walk-through last week, he loved it. There were toys, there were kids his age, and there were goldfish cracker snacks. It was Toddler Utopia.

This morning when we dropped him off, he immediately left us and started playing with toys. His teacher waved us off, so the Wildcard and I headed to the dentist's office.

Now, I knew at some point he would realize we were gone and there would be tears, but he's the most laid-back of the kids and I never thought it would get ugly.

But it did, and fast.

It took all of five minutes, to be exact. As soon as he realized we weren't with him, he began to cry. He cried while he played with toys, he cried while he ate snacks, he cried when they went out to the playground.

The only time he stopped crying was when they went for a walk, but he got hysterical halfway through. His teacher didn't understand why he was okay at the beginning of the walk, but suddenly for no apparent reason went into hysterics. She said he screamed and cried and kicked and tried to get out of the stroller, and didn't let up, even after they returned to the classroom.

When I heard this, I started to feel really bad for Destructo. I knew why he had the sudden hysterical fit - he thought he was going home. They walked down the street, past the playground where we always take him, past the beach where we always go, right past our house, and back to the strange 'school'. I'm sure the crying began when he passed our house without stopping.

Poor baby.

The Mommy Guilt is working overtime today.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Whew.

The race is over with mixed results.

The Blonde One did great - his best time ever, and a finish in the top 5%!! He was pretty proud of himself, and is asking if I can find another 5K for him to run.

I somehow finished in the top 25% - not so bad, considering how the past month has been. I'm okay with that, but disappointed that the race seemed so difficult. Deep down, I was hoping it would be super simple and I would be able to jump back into my marathon training schedule and be ready to go by December. That won't be happening.

My first mile this morning was great. I made it most of the way through the second mile before the gasping and wheezing began. I had to stop and walk until I could catch my breath, and when I began running again I had horrible stomach pain. I've never had problems with my stomach before, so this threw me a bit....until somewhere near the end of the race when I let out a HUGE burp and everythign was fine again. Apparently in my gasping and wheezing, I swallowed more air than I inhaled. (Stupid me.)

Overheard at the Start Line:

A group of four boys, about 10 y/o, were discussing the staging process. Runners were supposed to line up in groups based on their estimated time per mile. We were in the 7-9 minute mile group. One little boy looked around and said, "Don't they have a section for 3-4 minute miles? Because I know that's what I'm going to do."

New Pet Peeve:

Spectators who line the race route, smoking cigarettes and cheering on the runners.

Overall, it wasn't a bad morning. A bit disappointing, but I probably needed a reality check anyway!!


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Today I Saw...

An old couple, probably in their seventies, obviously tourists in their matching, bright Aloha pattern outfits....

driving through Waikiki in a convertible Mustang......

with the top down......

in the rain.....

laughing and having the time of their lives.



And they burned rubber and left the MomVan in the dust at the light.



I hope to be them some day.


I Am Totally Screwed.

On Sunday the Blonde One and I are running the Niketown 5-K again. We ran it
last year and I swore I would never do it again.

The problem with the race isn't the distance or the course, it's the number of kids who participate. It is a fundraiser done by Nike, and 100% of your registration fee goes to the school of your choice for athletic equipment. So, needless to say, it is heavily promoted in the schools, and every kid who can tie his own sneakers signs up for it.

Kids will be kids, right? But when you get them up at 5 a.m. so they can run the downtown streets with their friends.....well, I don't like them so much.

Last year I nearly tripped over a couple of boys who decided to wrestle on the race course instead of run on it, and I don't know how many times I was bumped by kids running around and playing tag instead of running the race. But probably the most annoying were the Cell Phone Girls. We're talking about girls in the 10-14 age range who were on their cell phones the entire time, trying to locate friends who were somewhere in the crowd of 6,000 runners. It wasn't enough to simply locate the fellow Cell Phone Girl - each 'found' girl received the mandatory jumping-up-and-down-screaming greeting.

But the Blonde One asked if I would run the race with him, and I agreed.

Now, before I got sick I had started my marathon training, and it was going well. Unfortunately, four weeks of flu/bronchitis/dehydration crud set me back.....way back. Last Saturday I went for my first post-crud run, and although it went better than expected, I was out of breath at the end. Not "gasping for air" out of breath, this was more "I can't breathe/asthma attack" out of breath. And it was only a 2.5 mile run.

So I haven't run since.

And I'm getting up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday.

It's supposed to rain most of the weekend.

The course includes a loop around the zoo, which is always pleasant....


Think of me if you hear about some crazy lady having an asthma attack, collapsing into a heap in a mud puddle at the zoo, and being trampled by a bunch of unruly kids.

Or perhaps if you hear about a crazy lady tossing little children into the primate exhibits.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Burn, Baby, Burn!!

I never sleep well on the Hubster's travel days.

I think it's some sort of sympathy misery. I hate to travel. I love vacations.......but the trains, planes, and automobiles part of getting there is frustrating as Hell. I hate airports, I hate layovers, I hate tight connections, I hate having to take shuttles within the airport, to the rental car place, or to the hotel. I hate not having total control over everything. I get just as uptight when he travels as when I travel. (I'm getting stressed right now thinking about all this....)

So anyway, I'm usually awake until he arrives at his destination and calls to let me know he made it. Only then can I relax and get some decent sleep. As luck would have it, his flight yesterday wasn't scheduled to arrive until 3 a.m., Hawaii time, which gave me plenty of time to kill.

Some time around 2 a.m. I got the brilliant idea to try a few things for this week's PhotoFriday challenge, "Burn". I decided it would be okay to play with fire, and photograph the results. I spent the next hour experimenting with candles and flames until my One-a-Day Coke wore off.


I won't show you what didn't work - after looking at them again this morning, the bad ones are really bad. Last night this was my favorite, and (fortunately) I still like it today.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Opportunity Knocks?

Today the Hubster left for a week on the Mainland. I had barely returned from the airport when this happened:

Diva: Mom? I've been thinking about something a lot lately.

Me: (Knowing it can't be good) Okay.......

Diva: I was thinking....... After I get my braces off..... (long pause)

Me: Yes?

Diva: I really, really want to get my nose pierced.


So, any guesses what The Marine will say to this little request?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hmmmmmmm........


Destructo: Da-da?

Me: Where's Da-da?

Destructo: Da-da? (Does the cute shoulder shrug, palms up, "I don't know" gesture.)

Me: Da-da's at work.

Destructo: Ohhhhhh.....Beach!

------------------------

(Later)

Destructo: Da-da?

Me: Where's Da-da?

Destructo: Da-da? (Again with the "I don't know" gesture.)

Me: Da-da is in a meeting.

Destructo: Ohhhhhhh.....Beach!

------------------------

(Even Later)

Destructo: Ah-Ha? (His nickname for the Blonde One.)

Me: Where's Ah-Ha?

Destructo: Ah-ha? (Yet again with the gesture....)

Me: Ah-ha is at school.

Destructo: Ohhhhhhh....Beach!


Hmmmmmmm..... Makes me wonder if there's something they aren't telling me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Drama, Anyone?

The Wildcard has inherited my intense fear of all things pointy and sharp, especially those found in a doctor's office.

So on Tuesday when I got The Call, I knew it would get ugly.

The Call was from the Wildcard's school. Apparently his health records were "lost" while being transferred from his previous school to his current school. (I won't get started on the "lost" health records because that's a rant for another day - let's just say that the two schools don't play well together, and I think the Wildcard is stuck in the middle.)

Anyway, the health aide (remember, this was on Tuesday) informed me that there was no record of the Wildcard ever having a school physical or PPD test, and if he didn't meet this requirement by Friday he would not be allowed to attend school after that date.

Normally that would be somewhat manageable. However, the Wildcard has had the flu - the Intestinal, Gotta Go NOW!!! Flu - since Saturday. He was absent from school on both Monday and Tuesday because of the flu. I really didn't want to take him for a physical and PPD while he was sick, but I had no choice.

On Tuesday when I told him about the PPD, he threw himself on the floor and appeared to have some sort of spasm thing going on. There was moaning and wailing, and tears galore. He eventually recovered and moved on, assuming if he forgot about it, so would I.

Today he went to school, but only because it was a short day and his teacher gave him unrestricted bathroom access. When he got home we headed over to Medical for the PPD. After I pried him out of the MomVan, I collected his medical records in record time and headed to Immunizations to discover that there was absolutely NO wait for immunizations! (This has never happened before.)

So, we went back to the little immunization room and waited a few minutes while they did the paperwork. The Wildcard chatted nervously, and seemed surprisingly calm. And then it happened.

The Immunization Guy (sorry, it's late and I'm drawing a blank here...) turned around, almost in slow motion, and the Wildcard caught a glimpse of the needle.

All Hell broke loose.

The Wildcard hit the floor and began the wailing/tears/spasm thing again.

So now I'm trying to peel a 10 y/o off the floor while the Immunization Guy and The Other Immunization Guy are just kind of standing back watching the whole thing. They eventually stepped up to help, but the three of us were no match for a determined 10 y/o. Immunization Guy got on the phone to call for reinforcements, and two more guys were there within seconds.

I think this is where the Wildcard knew he was outnumbered. He finally gave in, climbed back into the chair, and offered up his left arm.

A few seconds later, when it was all over, Immunization Guy tossed out the usual, "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

The Wildcard looked him straight in the eye and screamed, "I have to go poop!!! And it's coming out now!!!"

Exit, stage left.

Divine Friday

I'm (finally) back to PhotoFriday, and this week's topic is "Divine".

I wanted to choose something that wasn't religious, chocolate, or Bette Midler (the three things that immediately come to mind when I hear the word "Divine".

Last night I was watching the sun set behind the mountains, and I remembered a Divine photo I had taken last time we lived here. It was late in the day and the Blonde One was at baseball practice. While we waited, the Wildcard and I tossed a baseball around, kicked a soccer ball for a while, and found ways to pass the time at the baseball field. We watched the clouds move in, and hoped the rain would hold off until practice ended. As the sun began to set, I snapped
this photo.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ahhhhhh....the Neighborhood Busybody

So we have a Busybody.

The Hubster and I have started peeking out the windows before leaving the house, just to make sure she's not waiting, lurking, looking for someone to chat with.

It's pretty pathetic, really.

When we first moved in, the Hubster and I would have our quiet time sitting on the porch in the evening, watching Destructo play in the front yard while the sun set. Then one day the Busybody came by, introduced herself, and plopped down on the steps to chat with us. She told us about all of the neighbors, the neighborhood kids, and even their pets. She had the inside scoop on everything and everyone. She wouldn't stop talking, and she wouldn't leave, so we eventually took Destructo inside for the night.

The next few evenings were more of the same, so we opted for after-dark walks with Destructo instead.

I've casually mentioned her to several neighbors, and they all just roll their eyes and give me the "better you than me" look. I cringe when the doorbell rings, because half the time it is the Busybody. She usually wants to sit and talk about random stuff while I clean the house, chase after Destructo, or make dinner.

One morning she spotted me as I peeked out the window and she began waving enthusiastically, like that would be enough to lure me out of my house.

Fortunately, I was able to wait until the school bus came by and took her off to school.

That's right, I said School Bus.

The Busybody is ten freakin' years old.

If she were an adult I could easily blow her off, but how do you tell a kid that she is annoying the hell out of you and she really needs to go play with the kids her own age? There are at least a dozen girls her age in the neighborhood. Her family seems normal, so I don't think it's a matter of craving attention or anything like that. The girl just likes to hang with adults, and no one has ever told her that she's not one.


Instead, we all cower in our houses and don't tell the new neighbors to look out for her.

Friday, September 16, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....

While at an office party during our very first Christmas in Hawaii, the Hubster's administrative assistant (a woman who was born and raised here) made the comment, "It just doesn't feel like Christmas because it isn't raining."

As someone who grew up in the Midwest, where Christmas usually involved snow, ice skating, and layers upon layers of clothing, that comment just seemed odd.

Fast-forward to today.

This week has been mostly rainy and overcast, and today was no exception. The Diva and I had to go to the 'other side' of the mountain because she had an eye appointment with a specialist at Makalapa.

(She had been in to see our Brilliant Doctor a few weeks ago because she had a white spot on her eye, and her eye was very irritated. He diagnosed it as a probable case of
this, which is caused by over-exposure to the sun and can be rather serious, and wrote her a referral to a 'real' eye doctor. So we worried for three weeks. The real doctor took a look at it, declared that she had something in her eye, and removed the spot with the aid of some numbing drops and a Q-Tip. We're very relieved that it wasn't anything serious, yet annoyed that Brilliant Doctor failed us yet again.)

It was still drizzling on our drive home to the Windward side. As we came out of the H-3 tunnels, we could see the clouds trapped up against the mountain below us. We drove down the mountain, through the clouds and rain and watched the temperature drop into the low 70's. When we got part way down, at the point where we usually have gorgeous views of the bay and ocean, the normal blues and greens of the water were replaced by gloomy greys. It pretty much looked like a dreary, miserable day.

However, this is where the Diva and I looked at each other, smiled, and shared a common thought:

"It really feels like Christmas today!!"

Bring on the hot chocolate and Bing Crosby!!

(Only 99 Days Until Christmas!!)