It was one of those mornings where the belt feels slightly more snug than others. The drive to work feels a little less comfortable in the driver’s seat. Perhaps maybe one might visit the restroom before one enters his classroom. Hypothetically speaking, I mean.
On the afternoon of April 7th, 2008, Lynnette’s water broke while we were watching TV in the living room. The problem was we had ordered pizza which had yet to arrive. We resolved to wait for the pizza guy before heading to the hospital. Lynnette’s a soljah (not to be confused with a “soldier”). Since then, it’s been our family tradition to eat pizza on the night of April 8th to celebrate Madison’s and my shared birthday.
“Please do not get pizza,” Madison said Sunday night. “But we always get pizza for our birthday,” I said. “It’s tradition.” Who doesn’t love pizza? When I spoke to Lynnette Monday morning, Madison had not budged from her anti-pizza stance. “She doesn’t want pizza,” Lynnette said. “She said she’d eat sushi. She even threw Chili’s out there.” “What the hell? What’s wrong with pizza?” We decided to go to Kuru Kuru.
We were already on Kamehameha Highway when Lynnette said “Is Makino Chaya open on Mondays?” “Let’s find out,” I said. I love Kuru Kuru, but something about Makino Chaya shouted “grandeur” as opposed to the thought of Kuru Kuru which said “You always eat this, jackass.” So we arrive at Makino Chaya at 5:30 to find out the restaurant wouldn’t open until 6:30.
We ran a few errands to kill the hour between us and the buffet. When were returned to Makino Chaya at 6:20, there was a mob of people outside the doors. “I think we’ve made a tactical error,” I said. “Who the hell goes to Makino Chaya on a Monday?” I said. “I know, right?” Lynnette said.
We didn’t wait long and soon we were feasting. I wore my Mets shirt and matching Phiten necklace because the Mets came through and won on my birthday. Matt Harvey dominated the Phillies for seven innings, moving the Mets to 5-2 on the season. It’s still early, I know, and I know the Mets don’t care, but it was nice of them to win on my birthday. I ate a bunch of sushi. It wasn’t one of my better performance. I didn’t prep myself during the day; I ate lunch assuming we’d have pizza for dinner. Had I known in advance that we were going to Makino Chaya, I would have starved myself into a frenzy.
If I look different in this photo, it’s because I’ve got a little color on me. Apparently, spending an hour out in the Halawa sun is hell on the back of one’s neck. I didn’t notice the neck tan until Sunday evening when I got out of the shower and saw a thick strip of red starting under my eye socket (because of my sunglasses) and stretching all the way down to my neck line. In about three weeks, it’s going to look like I’m wearing a pasty white shirt when I take my shirt off. I’ve been told it drives the ladies wild, but my Lynnette might have been insincere when she said that.
You would have thought that it was Lynnette’s birthday the way she approached her meal. Because I was standing in line for much of our time at Makino Chaya, I did not actually see her eat much. There were, however, vestiges of her work piled high on our table. “I’m done,” she said. But we have been together long enough that I know Lynnette’s “I’m done,” does not mean the same thing as my “I’m done.”
When I say “I’m done,” I mean “I can no longer consume food in any form; I am so full that even the sips of this delicious Coke presents difficulty.” When Lynnette says “I’m done,” what she means is “I am no longer interested in eating what some would consider ‘dinner fare,’ I will not turn my attention from savory foods to sweet ones.” As I stood in line to grab Madison a few strawberries, Lynnette ordered a crepe with ice cream and strawberries.
I want to start taking video of Lynnette eating at buffets, splice the clips into a highlight reel, lay it over Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best” or Stan Bush’s “You Got the Touch,” then secretly play it in place of Madison’s graduation slideshow. I have just answered the question “How does one go about getting a divorce?”
Not to be outdone, Madison turned in her own impressive dining performance. She ate a fruit salad to kick things off, followed by a piece of fried chicken, then a record eight pieces of debattered shrimp tempura. For dessert, she ate about six strawberries which she dipped in chocolate sauce. When she decimated the strawberries, she coyly said “I still have lots of chocolate, dad.” Translated for those who do not have children that lack in subtlety, that means “Stop what you’re doing and acquire me more strawberries, dad.” So I did. Lynnette and I then got into a conversation about something. I can’t remember about what. But what I do know is that it took a few minutes for either of us to realize that Madison had already begun forking herself chocolate syrup. When Lynnette tried to take the plate away, Madison grabbed her by the wrist and leaned towards the plate, trying for one more scoop. “There’s still chocolate on there!” she shouted. She was in the middle of a massive sugar rush, as evidenced by her wild eyes and flailing arm motions. She would have licked the plate clean if we let her. “We still have Starburst in the car!” she squealed when the plate of chocolate was moved out of her reach. Lynnette might be obsessed with Candy Crush, but Madison plays Candy Crush in REAL LIFE. It ain’t no game.
Thank you to everyone who wished Madison and I a Happy Birthday yesterday. Thank you to Lynnette for a wonderful dinner suggestion, and for driving home. I know I would have had some difficult driving home as my stomach would have precluded my use of the steering wheel. How does 33 feel? Like 32, only fatter.