Sunday, December 30, 2007

Plan of the Day


Crete.

That's where we will be retiring.

Why?

Because Giada ate a yummy salad in Crete this week.

Rational?

We think so.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Making Lists

It's that time again.

The Hubster has been 'promised' orders off the island this summer. He was told that he would know something as early as January, which is just around the corner. (As if any of you needed a reminder of that....)

Unlike last year, this year we are ready to go. A lot has happened this past year, and as much as we love Hawaii, we feel like it is time to get back to reality. The ages of the kids and the ages of our parents also have a lot to do with our decision to head back to the Mainland.


So, the first list....where to go next?

Our top choice is California. If we have to leave Hawaii, California is an easy transition....although the traffic scares me. And the taxes are high. There's surf, but it's cold. There's hiking, but I don't know if I'll feel as safe there. The opportunity to do some traveling around the western states is a definite advantage. Plus, we have friends in California.

After that, pretty much everything available sucks.

(It's a very short list.)


We refer to the second list as the "Where do we want to live when we grow up?" list.

The Hubster can retire in two years, and we are trying to decide what to do and where to go after that. Normal families don't have this dilemma, but when you are originally from opposite parts of the country and have spent 20 years as nomads, it's a tough decision.

We're all over the place on that one.

Yesterday we had it narrowed down to about 50 square miles in Florida, on the outer islands south of the Beeline and north of Palm Bay.

Today we are considering Montana, Idaho, and Colorado.....in addition to the 'acceptable' section of Florida. Oh, and the Florida Keys. Possibly California too, if we like it there. (The Hubster also mentioned Minnesota and Missouri, but I didn't take that seriously.)

Fortunately we have two years to make a decision on that.


My final list is everything I need/want to do before we leave in five (short) months. This list is a lot longer, and involves a lot of hiking, some island hopping, and a few touristy things.

I'm at 44 items, and counting on that one.

It's going to be a busy five months!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Destructo Christmas

Tradition at our house includes church on Christmas Eve followed by opening one gift, the one from the sibling gift exchange.

Before we left for church, we let Destructo know that he would get to open his gift from the Wildcard if, and only if, he was good in church. He promised he would be good, but his hyperness lately led me to believe otherwise. I filled his backpack with diversions, just in case.

So. We hadn't even made it inside the chapel when we had our first issue.

The outdoor creche had a donkey in it. Destructo quickly decided it wasn't a donkey, but a Mustang, and he started racing his imaginary Mustang around the entryway to the chapel.

The Hubster quickly ran him down and brought him inside.

The next 75 minutes (yes, I counted) were pure Christmas Eve Hell. I'll save you the details, but just know that he was noisy, distracting, and gassy. Fun stuff, all around.

As we left church, I whispered to the Wildcard to quickly wrap a rock or something for Destructo, since he had very obviously NOT been good in church. He suggested a fork for some reason, but eventually grabbed a single leaf from the yard and placed it in the bottom of a huge gift bag.

The plan was for Destructo to see that his siblings (who were good in church) got nice gifts, and all he got was a leaf. There would be a lesson in there about behaving in church, and we would then give him his real gift (a remote control Mustang).

Anyway, the gift opening began and Destructo's excitement level grew. He watched as the Diva opened the gift from him (foot scrub and other girly stuff). The Diva gave the Blonde One the iPod headphones he has wanted, and the Blonde One gave the Wildcard the drawing supplies he had asked for.

Now it was time for Destructo's gift.

The Wildcard handed him the gift bag containing the leaf.

He looked inside.

What happened next made me realize we were on the wrong track with him.

He grabbed the leaf, held it up for all to see, and exclaimed excitedly, "I got a leaf!!! I got a leaf!!''

This is where the What The Hell? look was exchanged.

The Wildcard handed him his real gift, which he attempted to disguise in a shoe box. He struggled with the wrapping paper for a moment, then finally revealed the shoe box.

"I got new shoes!! I got new shoes!!"

(Sigh.)

No lesson learned here.

He opened the box and about wet himself when he was that it was the remote control Mustang that he had wanted. He bounced around the room while the Hubster opened it, inserted the batteries, and attached the antenna.

After a few minutes of racing it around the dining room, he stopped and looked at me for a minute.

Then he asked where his new shoes were.

(Sigh.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mele Kalikamaka...

......from our Ohana to yours!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a great New Year!

Just a few tropical Christmas pictures. Honolulu Hale (City Hall) has a great display each year, including an indoor Christmas tree display. Here are a few pics, day and night.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus, dipping their feet in the fountain and relaxing with a beverage:

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Penguins chillin' in the fountain:

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The snowman family, including the SnowDog:

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The giant tree draped in lei:

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The lights at night:

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Destructo's favorite tree:

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It wouldn't be Christmas without a Hello Kitty tree:

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And finally, Go Warriors!!

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wait a Minute.....

Destructo has curls, and I love them.

For this reason, I let his hair grow a bit longer than most kids his age have.

Lately he has been in need of a haircut, but I've been putting it off because he's too cute, and I just haven't had the time.

I think we reached the breaking point yesterday. He had a meltdown about nothing in particular, and his hair was the issue. He was trying real hard to throw a fit, but his hair kept getting in his eyes and tickling his ears. He tried as hard as he could to push it out of the way without losing meltdown momentum, but it kept distracting him from the drama at hand. Finally he just started pulling at his hair and screaming, "It's saying 'Get me out of here now!!'"

So, it was time for a haircut.

This afternoon I called the salon and asked how soon I could bring him in. I told them that immediately would not be soon enough.

They put him down for a 2:00 with Andre.

So, at 1:55 I checked in and heard the receptionist whisper to someone in the back (I assumed it was Andre), "Your first haircut is here!!"

Andre came out and had the look of a nervous newbie as he asked what I wanted done with Destructo's hair.

I explained that he basically needed a trim. He hated it in his eyes, and he preferred it not hanging in his ears but no whitewalls, and then I added "and I'd like to keep the curl in the back".

So, Andre went about his business snipping, combing, and pondering while I perused a February 2007 issue of "In Style" Magazine, the celebrity wedding issue. I occasionally glanced up to make sure Destructo wasn't shaved bald or screaming hysterically, but for the most part I was engrossed in the do/don't celebrity photos.

When Andre finished, I quickly glanced at Destructo....it was a bit shorter than I had wanted, but hair grows so it was no big deal. I paid the bill and left a generous tip for Andre before heading off to finish a few errands.

It wasn't until we had been home for a while that I really took a good look at Destructo.

Next time I need to be more specific. Instead of saying "I'd like to keep the curl in the back" I should have said "I'd like to keep the curls in the back".

Andre had left one long curl, rat-tail style, in the back.

How did I NOT notice that??!!??

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hawaii Time

One of the things I love most about Hawaii is the laid back atmosphere. Plans are never written in stone, deadlines don't exist, and time is irrelevant.

What makes me most crazy about Hawaii? Plans are never written in stone, deadlines don't exist, and time is irrelevant.

It's tough balancing eighteen years in the Marine Corps community with the laid back attitude of the state, even after living here for nearly seven years.

Case in point: The Wildcard's first band concert.

If the Marine Corps was running the show, it would go like this:

6:30 Arrive in uniform, set up the stage.
6:45 Begin warm up.
7:00 Concert begins. Play everything in double-time.
7:45 Concert ends, clear the stage, clean up.
8:00 Do a quick three-mile run (in full uniform) for an after-concert cool-down.

The Wildcard's school is not a military school, the band director has always been a civilian, and the booster club president has never hosted a bitch-and-stitch.

This is the "timeline" for the event:

4:00ish Drop the kids off at school. Have them bring uniforms. Begin setup.
5:00ish Potluck for the kids, of course. Bring a dish to share, whatever you want...there is no menu.
6:00ish Finish setup. Change to uniforms. Begin warm up.
7:00ish "Scheduled" start time. Parents begin to arrive just after 7:00, bringing their own spontaneous potluck.
7:45ish The band begins to play.
9:30ish Concert ends, cleanup begins.
9:45ish Take a break and finish potluck leftovers.
10:30ish Call it a night. Decide to put equipment away during class time on Monday morning.

Either way, it's all good.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Healing Field

This past weekend, the Healing Field organization set up their flag display at Pearl Harbor to coincide with the December 7th memorial events.

The organization began with a single display of flags, one for each victim, on the first anniversary of September 11, and since then has grown and raised millions of dollars for charitable organizations throughout the country.

At the display in Hawaii, 2,408 flags were flown to honor those who lost lives on December 7, 1941. They also flew one Hawaii state flag for each military member with Hawaii ties who died in the current war. The purpose was to raise funds to help build a new Pearl Harbor Museum and Visitor's Center. The current center is much too small to accommodate the number of visitors who pass through there each day. In addition to being too small, the center is sinking and suffering structural damage.

Donations to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund and the Healing Field organization are tax deductible.

(End of Public Service Announcement)

If the display comes to your area, it's worth checking out!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

A (Destructo) Christmas Story

Destructo's Christmas list, as transcribed by the Wildcard:

-A Mustang
-A Blue Angel jet
-A race track for the Mustang
-A car
-An airplane
-A sparkly thing
-A special thing

In an effort to get a few more ideas, I took him to Toys R Us and walked the aisles. I told him we would write down every thing he wanted so we could send a letter to Santa. This is what we came up with:

-Cars
-A Mustang
-'Cars' cars (from the movie "Cars")
-Airplanes
-A propeller plane
-Fast cars

On Friday I took him to see Santa. This was their conversation:

Destructo: Hi, Santa.

Santa: Well hello there! (Checking his list...) Looks like you've been a very good boy this year! (Apparently Santa doesn't read the blog.)

Destructo nods.

Santa: So, what is on your Christmas list this year?

Destructo: I want a Mustang. That's all.

Santa: A Mustang?!? Ho, ho, ho!! Which color do you like?

Destructo, without hesitation: A white one.

Santa: Would that be a convertible or a hard top?

Destructo shoots him the "Are you an idiot?" look: A convertible, of course.

Santa (to Destructo): Ho, ho, ho!!! Would you like a cookie?

Santa (to me): Good luck with that, Mom!

Sigh.

At least he won't shoot his eye out.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Qualifier

Famous last words: Girls are so much easier than boys.

I need to qualify that.

Girls are so much easier than boys until those teenage hormones kick in.

Need proof?

Tonight, 6:30 p.m.

The Blonde One isn't home from soccer practice yet. I remember that I left my cell phone in the car and go outside in the rain and retrieve it.

There is a message from the Blonde One. He is going to The Best Friend's house and will be home before eleven o'clock.

This is Red Flag #1.

He doesn't know it, but I am aware that there's a girl named Molly in the picture. He knows he needs to be home before 10 p.m. on a school night. The Best Friend has covered for him in the past.

Tonight, 8:15 p.m.

The Diva's phone rings. After a very brief conversation, she says, "I'm running out for a few minutes. I'll be back." And she slips out the back door.

Red Flag #2.

The Diva always tells us where she is going. If she's going to the gym or the gas station, she tells us, and lets us know when she'll be back. If she's going to a friend's house, she promises to call by 1 a.m. and let us know what's going on.

Tonight 9:15 p.m.

The Diva is back and pacing nervously. The phone rings.

The Hubster and I both pick it up at the same time. I let him talk while I listen silently.

The Blonde One, who was going to his best friend's house, has his car stuck in the sand at the beach. His Best Friend lives nowhere near this beach.

When the Hubster and I go to bail him out, we discover that he is very stuck in the sand. His friends tried to help him out, but only buried him deeper. The Diva had been there, took one look and said there was nothing she could do.

Not only is he stuck in the sand at the beach, but he is off the beaten path, down an isolated trail on the darkest part of the beach.

He swears he went there alone, just curious about where that path led. And that he DID go to his Best Friend's house, but left after a few minutes. There was no girl involved.

The path to the isolated beach is muddy and full of huge puddles. He said it was dry when he drove out there. We had a huge storm Tuesday night, and it has been on/off raining all day. His claim that it became flooded after he went there is total B.S.

How stupid does he think we are?

His car is still stuck on the beach, and we will need to call a tow truck in the morning.

And he stands by his story, that he was on his way home from his friend's house after soccer practice and was just curious about what was down that path (even though it wasn't even on his way home). He said he parked there to watch the waves (in the dark).

The Hubster said the 2+ hours he spent out there in the cold rain, trying to find a way out without letting us know is punishment enough.

I think otherwise.

Girls are so much easier than boys.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mad Science, Part Two

Remember the Wildcard's science project?

This is what it is, as explained in his handouts from the teacher:

Winogradsky Column

A translucent container filled with mud, water, and other materials such as shredded newspaper, powdered chalk, and egg yolk mixed together. The column is a self-contained recycling system powered only by light. The purpose of the column is to provide an environment for microbes to grow. The concentration of oxygen, nutrients, and light affect the types and amount of microbes that grow. The column can help students understand the growth of microbial communities and the interdependence of microbes - the activities of one microbe allow another to grow.

This is what we have, four weeks later:

The first one we did....
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The correct one.....
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Pretty, eh?

On Tuesday, as I was making dinner, he explained to me that his current assignment was to take two samples from the water. The first one should be mixed with some sort of anti-bacterial agent, such as anti-bacterial soap. The second sample must be taken to school and examined under a microscope.

I asked him a few random questions about the assignment while he puttered around the kitchen. Before I realized what he was doing, he was heading out the back door with a turkey baster and some of my new Tupperware.

Ummmmmm......I don't think so. Not only does the stuff look nasty, one whiff will take years off your life.

I quickly explained how he could get samples of the gunk with an ordinary, disposable drinking straw, and place them in a ziplock sandwich bag, double bagged.

With that, I thought he had it all under control. (I don't know why, the entire experiment has been one mess after another.)

A few distractions later, I walked into the kitchen and found stinky green stuff in my kitchen sink. One ziplock baggie was next to the sink, and the other was inside the sink and bubbling over. Both were covered with a slimy substance.

The Wildcard had disappeared.

Really makes you all want to come to my house for dinner, doesn't it?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

More Vocab Fun

Tonight the boys and I were in my new Race Car on our way to church. Since we disposed of the MomVan, we need to take two vehicles if we all are going to the same place, so the Hubster and the Diva had left earlier in his car.

Anyway, we were waiting at a red light and discussing random stuff, just the boys and me.

Destructo, who likes to be included in these conversations, suddenly piped up with this:

When I went to the store with Daddy the other day we were at this red light. He called it a "freakin' red light!!"

I guess that explains the freakin' dragons he encountered in his (educational) computer game earlier in the week and the freakin' wheel that fell off his Hotwheels car yesterday.