My grandfather is in a pretty bad way. He wasn’t feeling well on Monday morning and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Long and grueling story short, he’s at home and we’re preparing for the inevitable.
This is the context under which my family is operating at the moment. As Lynnette is the person who knows me best, she understands that I do not handle things like this well. There was a time when I tried to deal with these things alone. I would throw myself into menial tasks in the attempt to distract myself. When that would inevitably fail, I would turn to self-destructive activities that I am not proud of. It is my other defense mechanism to use humor to ward off negative feelings. Here we go.
Lynnette stayed home from work to spend the day with me and said we could do “whatever I wanted.” So after I cleaned our bedroom (menial task #1), we resolved to visit the water park, as we would be able to hit the adult rides since we’d be sans Madison. The water park was closed. This came as no surprise as our adventures are always riddled with screw ups.
Plan B meant continuing on the H1 West towards Ko’olina. When we got to the parking lot of the fourth lagoon, we found it nearly empty. Lynnette and I remarked that we had never seen the place so deserted. We cherry picked parking in the shade and made our way to the water. We got up to the top of the hill in this picture and realized that there was a reason that nobody was on the road, nobody was on the beach: the water was gross. We could tell from that distance that the water was tinged brown. We could see leaves floating in the water. It looked like runoff lagoon or something like that. And just like that, Plan B evaporated like a single raindrop on the windshield of a 2002 Toyota Corolla.
I’m no expert on weather conditions and their effects, but I would guess that the status of the lagoon had something to do with the vog and the swells hitting the island, and also possibly the end of the world. Now Lynnette and I were in a situation that we absolutely hate to be in: Lynnette without makeup, using a bikini top as a bra and me without underwear or hair gel. Like I said, apocalyptic stuff. It’s not so bad if you’re going to the water park or the beach or the pool, but we weren’t anymore. F.
“What do you want to do now?” she asked. I’ll be honest, I was out of water-related ideas. “Let’s take it out on some sushi,” I said. Lynnette laughed. We made it to Genki Sushi in Kapolei. Sadly, since I had projected a lengthy stay at the water park, I ate breakfast and therefore put in one of my all-time worst sushi-eating performances in some time. I think the bill for the two of us was less than $25. Obviously, this is a good thing, but still. My pride took a hit and my heart was sad as it watched plates of sushi convey past us. My stomach said “No Mas” and my heart and tongue were pretty pissed off about it. Stick with ’em, tummy. You’ll get ’em next time.
It was about this time that I came up with the idea to purchase one of those hard plastic swimming pools to fill in our driveway. The hypothesis was simple: fill it with water, dump ice cubes into that water, then cruise in it with Mad and Abby in order to beat this oppressive heat. My only concern was the possibility of Abby taking a leak in the pool. Of course, as is the overarching theme of this entry, the best laid plans mean shit, so neither the Kapolei nor Mililani Wal-Marts had those pools. We ended up in Waikele for shave ice (Lynnette wanted a cold dessert). That’s a Green River/li hing mui combo that I would never order, but my wife loves. I knew I couldn’t eat one by myself (just a horrible performance today), so we split it, even if I didn’t really enjoy it. And then, as I feared, the sugar and li hing mui set off seismic shifts in my stomach. I’m so glad to have added Sports Authority Waikele to the list. It’s long and distinguished, just like Slider’s johnson.
In an attempt to salvage the rest of the day, we picked Madison up from school early and hit up Mililani Rec 6. We had never been there before, even though it’s the closest pool to our home.
When we got to school, Madison was napping and the class was just about to wake. I pulled the blanket off Mad and she looked up with anger until she realized it was me. I suppose that’s a good thing. She had that glazed over look of confusion that we’ve all put up after sleeping hard. “Do you want to go to the pool?” I asked her. She nodded and proceeded to fold her bedding and put it away neatly in her cubby. I was proud and mystified. First of all, that’s big girl stuff right there. Secondly, though, she doesn’t put anything away at home. Sandbagger.
Madison continued her trend of adding to her bag of tricks every time we get near water. I, on the other hand, only have two moves currently: get wet and sink. Once upon a time, I could backflip into the water, but I think those days have gone the way of size 34 pants, stretching singles into doubles, and being able to see my feet while standing. Nothing gold can stay.
Anyway, Madison moved along the wall of the pool, but only after watching a younger boy do the same thing. It’s like she had to know it was possible first. I can’t blame her. And this alone is the reason why I don’t absolutely hate having to pay extortion for pre-school: there are things that Madison can learn from her classmates that neither Lynnette nor I are capable of. Living paycheck-to-paycheck sucks, but watching Mad continue to learn and grow makes it tolerable.
Semi-related aside: Last week I asked Madison what she did in school that day. “We went to chapel and learned about Noah,” she said. “What did Noah do?” I asked. “He built an ark,” she said. “What did he put in the ark?” I asked. “Animals, two-by-two,” she said. “That’s right!” I said. “But he looks different,” she continued. “Noah?” I asked. “Yeah, he’s in the Shining Stars class (another class at Mad’s school), but he doesn’t look like that,” she offered. “Noah is a boy in the Shining Stars class?” I asked for clarification. “Yeah, but he didn’t build the ark.” Worth every penny.
Finally, we discovered that Rec 6 has a jacuzzi. As soon as Mad saw it, she was all “What’s that?” I told her it was hot, hot lava – a reference to her Jake and the Never Land Pirates CD which is on repeat in Lynnette’s car. “You wanna try?” I asked. “No,” she said. Why would she? You just told her it’s lava, dumbass.
We saved it for the end of our stay. I got in first. It was hot, alright. The jets were super-strong, too. Once my body acclimated to the heat, it was damn near heaven. Lynnette did her thing where she painstakingly gets into water. Once we were both in, we tried to get Mad in. Not surprisingly, she was concerned with the temperature. This is far as she got. And she loved it. When it was time for us to go, she refused. When Lynnette tried to carry her out of the jacuzzi, Madison did that thing where she straightens out her legs and uses them as hooks to catch the edge of the pool so Lynnette had a hard time. “I don’t want to go,” she said. “I like this.”
I don’t know when my grandfather will pass. I know that he will soon. I know that it will rock my family. I will not handle it well. But I also know that I won’t have to carry that alone. Thank you, Lynnette. I know that it’s only sometimes that you want to rip my face off, but that you’ll always have my back.