Thursday, June 28, 2007

434

I knew it wasn't a good sign when our cell phone bill came in an 8 x 10 envelope.

We have a family plan, three phones with 700 shared minutes per month. (We're not big talkers.) We use our free nights and weekends to keep in touch with family on the Mainland. Our land line has local service only, which works out well.

So, the 42-page bill arrived in the mail this week and my initial instinct was to blame the Diva. Fortunately, the bill was only $54 more than our standard bill.....it's a lot, but not what I was expecting for a 42-page bill.

As I flipped through the pages to find the culprit, one thing jumped out at me.

Actually, fifteen things.

Fifteen pages of text messages sent to/from the Blonde One's phone. That's 434 messages, the majority of them involving the same phone number.

Apparently, the Blonde One and his insomniac "friend" texted each other back and forth in the wee hours of the morning just to keep from waking up the parents. He didn't realize there would be a detailed record of it, or that we had to pay for each message.

Once again
he was busted.

He and "The Friend" will now take advantage of those free minutes after 9 p.m.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hike o' the Week

This week I decided to do the Likeke/Old Pali Trail, a 4-mile round-trip from the Pali Lookout to the Wilson Tunnels. I had to drop the Wildcard off at a Wildcard Thing at 9:00 Saturday morning and pick him up at noon, so it all seemed like it would work out.

After I dropped him off, I headed up to the Pali Lookout and parked. The trailhead is the paved road off to the right as you are looking out over the coast. It starts as a narrow road running alongside the Pali Highway, but the paved trail quickly becomes overrun with weeds and grass. At a certain point, according to the vague directions I had, the trail splits and I should veer left and go under the Pali.

This is where I had a problem. The trail split in two, but in order to go under the Pali, I would have had to crawl on my hands and knees through the weeds under the highway as traffic whizzed by directly overhead.

Instead of heading left, I took the trail to the right.

The trail to the right connects up to the Maunawili Trail (not to be confused with Maunawili Falls, a short hike to the waterfalls, popular with tourists and local kids, the one that sent the Diva to the ER last year). Maunawili Trail is a 10-mile hike in each direction, ending in Waimanalo. However, if you start at the Pali Lookout, as I did, it is 11 miles.

I briefly considered doing the entire trail, but had only filled my camelpack half full of water. The Hubster could pick the Wildcard up at noon, so I set out without a real plan. I decided to just go until I felt like turning around, then turn back. Simple as that.

The trail winds through the foothills of the Ko'olau Mountains, with lots of lush vegetation, several waterfalls, and frequent views of the mountains and ocean in the distance.

Most of the trail looks like this:

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And this:

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But you never know when you will turn a corner and come across a view like this:

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I followed the trail for two hours, then turned and headed back. Based on my map, I think I did about 4.5 miles each way....not bad for a Saturday morning!! It was a gorgeous, relaxing hike, and I plan to do the entire trail (maybe even round trip) some time in the future.

One bit of advice - park at the little parking lot off the hairpin turn just past the tunnels on the Pali. The first mile, from the Pali Lookout to the little parking lot, is unremarkable. Plus, you will avoid having to walk this section:

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In case you're wondering.....the highway is on the right of that picture and the cliffs are to the left. The metal fence? That's there to keep the boulders from falling onto the highway during landslides. Instead, they will be trapped by the fence and come crashing down on the trail.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Okay......THAT was Awkward!!

It was a rather typical Friday night for us.

The Diva was working. She was planning to head out with friends after work, but didn't have definite plans.

The Blonde One had taken off early in the afternoon to go bodysurfing with his Separated-At-Birth best friend. Before he left, I told him to call and let me know which beach they would be going to......of course he forgot to call.

The Wildcard was spending the night with the Annoying Friend.

So, when most families were sitting down to a nice dinner, the Hubster decided to go for a long run. I grabbed some fish nets (not fishnets, totally different plan there!) and headed to the beach with Destructo. Sunset is the best time to go tidepool fishing, so off we went.

When we got to the beach, the high tide had created a huge puddle on the sand, so we bypassed the tide pools by the rocks to go splash in the puddle for a while.

By now it was after 7 p.m. and the beach was deserted. Destructo noticed another puddle further down the beach so we headed in that direction. We had gone a few hundred yards when we noticed someone lounging on the sand, in an isolated area near the trees.

I looked again and realized it was the Blonde One. Since he had never called, I didn't know he had decided to go bodysurfing at THIS beach.

As we approached, I noticed that there were four feet lounging on the sand. And four legs, intertwined in the sand.

This is when I realized he wasn't with his Separated-At-Birth best friend. (At least I hoped not!)

This was also when Destructo recognized his big brother and started shouting his name and running in his direction.

(Okay, okay. I pointed him out to Destructo, knowing he would make a beeline for him.)

Let's just say it was an awkward moment.

And, as he later told me, the "just friends" girl he was with was totally embarrassed and said, "That wasn't how I wanted to meet your mom!!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How to Make Me Crazy

So, I'm PMSing.

I need my extra caffeine boost....something more than my One-a-Day Cokes. Recently I discovered
Vitamin Water, most notably the "Energy" one. It's a peachy, watery flavor, but it contains a gazzilion more caffeine grams than a Coke, with a fraction of the calories.

Every month I stash a few Vitamin Waters in the back of the fridge for those days when I need them most.....like today.

It never fails. I crack one open in the morning, planning to sip it all day to provide a steady flow of caffiene to my bitchy, unbearable system.

Some time around noon, the Hubster comes home during his lunch time, usually hot and sweaty after a long run. He opens the fridge, grabs my Vitamin Water, guzzles it all down, tosses the empty bottle into the recyclables, and says, "This stuff is nasty. I don't know why you buy it."

And then I want to kill him.

Like clockwork, I tell you.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hike o' the Week

This weekend I chose the Pillboxes as my Hike o' the Week and I dragged the Wildcard along, just for the fun of it. He wasn't onboard at first.....after all, he was perfectly content sitting around the house playing video games and avoiding the sunshine.

He whined and stalled and tried to bargain his way out, until I whispered in his ear, "After we're finished, I'll take you to Island Snow for shave ice."

He grabbed his shoes while I filled the camel pack with water for the trip.

The Pillboxes are two abandoned WWII bunkers on the peaks of the ridge above Lanikai. The hike is relatively short and simple (another reason I dragged the Wildcard along), and the views are spectacular. We went at sunset because it was cooler and less crowded.

The first part of the trail is through a woodsy area, and is steep, dry, and crumbly from lack of rain. As we were finishing that part and I could see the open trail along the ridge above, I suddenly remembered that the Wildcard is afraid of heights. Not height in general, just when it involves a cliff with a steep drop off the side.

Perhaps he wouldn't notice........

He was initially hesitant when we reached the clearing, but he mumbled something about shave ice and continued on.

I'm not sure how long the hike is in terms of distance, but it took about 20 minutes to reach the first pillbox and ten more minutes to reach the second. The trail continues on from there, and we followed it for another ten minutes until we came across a large patch of flowering cactus plants swarming with bees.

That was our turn-around point.

On the way back I stopped to snap a few pictures (of course).

This is on the trail looking back at the second pillbox (up on the peak on the right):

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And this is from the same spot looking toward the first pillbox:

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The Wildcard maneuvering a narrow part of the trail along the ledge:

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And, of course, the Mokes at sunset:

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The Wildcard finished the trip without one complaint or whine. He did, however, use the quality time alone with me as an opportunity to beg and make his case for a new video game.

I told him he should be happy I offered the shave ice.


Oh, speaking of shave ice.....we arrived at Island Snow three minutes after it closed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's Okay Because He's Three

Destructo has become a non-stop talker, and his brain doesn't always keep up. It's fine, and it's amusing because he's only three y/o.

(Unfortunately I know adults who seem to have the same thought process.)

Like tonight when I put him to bed. He was immediately yelling at me from the gate at his door.

Destructo: Mom!! I want a flashlight!!

Me: You need to go back to bed. You don't need a flashlight.

Destructo: Okay. (pause) What about just a light? Like, maybe a flashlight?

Or last night when we couldn't find StupidDog's leash.

The Hubster: Does anyone know where the leash is?

Destructo: Yeah.

Hubster: You do? Where is it?

Destructo: Because it's red.

And this morning, when he woke at the crack of dawn wanting to go see the static display of airplanes at the front gate. Or maybe not.

Destructo (from the gate at his door): Mom!! Get up!!!! We need to see the airplanes!!

Me: Huh?

Destructo: The ones with propellers, the ones that we can touch.

Me: We can't go now. It's still a little dark outside.

Destructo. Okay. (pause) The ones that aren't tied down. The ones we can touch!!

This went on for at least ten minutes before I finally gave in.

I got up, threw on some clothes, got him dressed and headed out the door. Two minutes later we were at the front gate and he was screaming hysterically in his car seat.

Destructo: No, no!!! The ones with the propellers!!

Me: These have propellers.....

Destructo: No!!! The ones I can touch and they go up in the sky.

This is when it registered that he was referring to the remote control planes that fly on Sundays. The Hubster often takes him to watch them fly.

Me: Those planes don't fly today. We have to wait until tomorrow to see them.

Destructo: Okay. Let's go now.

Me: No, tomorrow. When you wake up in the morning.

Destructo: Okay. They have propellers and I can touch them. We'll go now.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Summertime!!!

Today marks the beginning of those lazy, hazy days for us.....the Blonde One finished school on Wednesday, and Destructo graduated from elementary school on Thursday. Today was our first real day of summer break.

We need to act fast and enjoy it, because here in Hawaii the kids only have six weeks off for summer. As much as that sucks for the kids, it sucks more for me.

We have always planned a lot of fun activities for the summer, and six weeks doesn't give me time to do much. But then again, we're on an island and don't have the options of most other people. Plus, the kids are older and don't really enjoy those tours of National Parks any more (insert sarcastic eye roll here).

So, with that in mind, these are my goals for the summer:

1. Hiking. I've come to love the workout and solitude of hiking. My goal is to choose a different trail each week during the summer, hike it, and take lots of pictures. If I stick to it, expect a photo-heavy blog over the coming weeks.

2. Swimming. I've never been a strong swimmer, and it's something I've always wanted to improve. My goal is twice a week (minimum) trips to the pool for lap swimming. There will be no pictures of this!

3. Bonding. The Wildcard always seems to be overlooked due to the drama or needs of his siblings. I want to take a day trip with him around the island, do some exploring of the tidepools on the North Shore, have lunch at a shrimp wagon (his favorite), stop for shave ice on the way home, and take lots of pictures (both of us - it's a hobby he shares with me).

4. Ten pounds. I've gained ten pounds this year and want to lose it over the next six weeks. The hiking and swimming are good starts, but I need to get back on track with everything else.

5. Date Night. Too much drama, too little time for us. The kids can watch Destructo while the Hubster and I have some time to ourselves.

And that's it for me.

Anyone else have any goals or plans for the summer?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Maui

Let me start by saying our previous trips to Maui were much less than ideal, so when The Houseguests chose Maui as the spot for our outer-island trip, I was really not excited. I stalled on making the travel arrangements, hoping they would change their minds.

No luck. Maui it was.

I decided that
Lahaina might be a good spot to stay, as our other trips were in the more central part of the island. I hadn't been there, there was golf, shopping, and restaurants nearby.....my bases were covered.

I made reservations at the
Outrigger Aina Nalu, just two blocks from all that Lahaina offers. I debated between the Outrigger and a couple of other more resorty places, but settled on the Outrigger because I've never been to an Outrigger that disappointed me. This, plus the location was awesome, it had just been remodeled, and we got a great kama'aina rate.

The first hint of trouble came as we pulled into the Aina Nalu parking lot. Certain members of our group were expecting shiny, new resort....not an Old Hawaii-style condo in a residential neighborhood. After a bit of discussion, I said, "Screw it, this is where we are staying. I know you are going to like it. If not, next time someone else can do the planning."

The grounds were gorgeous, and the unit itself was very nice. It had been remodeled and upgraded, but still had an Old Hawaii feel to it. The grumbling subsided a bit.

Our first major decision was where to go for lunch. I suggested we just walk into town and see what we find, but others still didn't get it. We loaded up two cars and headed the two blocks to town, drove the strip, couldn't find parking, and returned to the hotel.

Everyone was now on board with the walking thing.

We took our time strolling down the strip, poking in and out of little shops, stopping to watch the boats in the harbor, and finally had lunch at
Cheeseburger In Paradise. We ate upstairs, overlooking the ocean. The meal was very good, and the drinks hit home (considering we hadn't eaten all day and it was about 150 degrees outside). The Houseguests and the Hubster raved about what a nice, quaint little town Lahaina was, and they loved that we were a short walk away from everything.

Score another one for me.

The trip only got better when everyone realized we didn't have to travel as a pack. The Hubster could walk down to the beach and check out the surf without having to make arrangements to take the car, and I could head out to take sunset pictures without everyone else tagging along. Some of us toured nearby historical sites while others shopped, napped, or hung by the pool. So much nicer than being stuck in the confines of a resort!

Speaking of sunsets, we had had several days of vog (think fog, only with volcanic dust instead of water vapor) . Vog gives me itchy eyes, headaches, and makes me sneeze.......but it makes for some awesome sunsets!

Lahaina Harbor:

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I especially love this one:

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On our second day there, the Hubster's aunt and I got up at 3 a.m. and headed up to watch the sun rise from Haleakala, the highest point on Maui. I did this last time we were on Maui, and it was the highlight of our trip, so it was a must-do this time around.

We were fortunate to have light wind (15 MPH) and warm temperatures (44 degrees!), but my hands still froze. (I did plan ahead and grab some things out of the "winter" box of clothes on the very top shelf of my closet when I packed!!) Last time I was up there, the temps were in the mid 30's and the winds were near 50 mph.

Anyway, my lesson learned this time is this: Do NOT go to the parking/viewing area at the summit. Everyone goes there and it is very crowded and difficult to get a good perspective. Instead, park in the lot just before the summit, the one where the Haleakala Visitor Center is. Once you park and are facing the overlook/visitor center, look to your right and you will see the Sliding Sands Trailhead. A short hike up and around the hill will take you to a secluded area with the BEST views of the sunrise. Trust me on this. (Note: This is NOT the Visitor's Center at the Park entrance....it is the one at 9,700+ feet.)

This is the view from 10,000 feet, looking down on the clouds while waiting for the sun to make its appearance:

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It was gorgeous, peaceful, and surreal. The only thing you could see from there was clouds and the tops of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island. They are actually much further away than they appear:

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This is the view right before the sun poked through. You can see the rays lighting up the sky:

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The very beginnings of the sunrise:

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A few seconds later:

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And then it was morning:

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After we made the 2-hour trip back to Lahaina, the guys made breakfast for everyone. (I napped a bit.) They headed off to play golf while I took the Aunt and Mother-in-Law to Kihei to shop at the craft market (I wish I had a link because it is the best place to buy souvenirs on the island).

That evening we walked through town, picked up a few more souvenirs, and had dinner at
Bubba Gump. Again, it was an open-air restaurant and we had a table on the water. We watched the cruise ships go in and out of the harbor, watched the fish, stingrays, and turtles play in the water while we ate. Oh, and the food was amazing!

The trip was awesome, and my perspective
of Maui is forever changed!