Phil and Lynnette in Full-Shop Mode

We just got back from San Diego. It took us about 90 minutes. Back on Oahu, I drive 60-65 and detest people who drive any slower than that on the freeway. Up here, I drive 70-75 and 1993 Honda Preludes with zip ties holding the bumper on pass me. Anyway, I’ll have the notes on Sea World up tomorrow, hopefully.

She was upset that the store opened at 10:02.

She was upset that the store opened at 10:02.

We spent Friday  honoring the most ancient of our Higa Fam’s traditions: shopping. As you all know, Lynnette and I can shop, and her favorite we-don’t-have-one-back-home clothing store is H&M. Lynnette has been to three separate H&M locations so far on our trip; she’s hit up the 3rd Street store, the one pictured on the left at the Outlets at Orange, and also the one at the Spectrum Center in Irvine. To my knowledge, she has purchased something at each of these locations.

I, however, am sad to say that the men’s clothing in H&M is starting to skew a bit too young and a lot too slim for my personal tastes. I bought a $15 windbreaker and that’s about it since I do not wear tank tops, skinny jeans, or capris. There was a time, though, where I probably would have tried it. That time was a couple/few notches in my belt ago. Sigh.

This nearly hit me in the privates.

This nearly hit me in the privates.

Lynnette spent nearly an hour in the H&M yesterday, but that didn’t bother Madison or me much. We found something called Thrill It nearby. From the storefront, it looked like a kind of empty Fun Factory-looking establishment. I flipped through a brochure at the door and read something about “credits” and “game cards” and it began to sound a little too much like Fun Factory (extortion) to me. “I just want to look inside, please, dad,” Madison said. Of course I caved. We walked in and a teenaged girl approached me quickly. “Do you have any questions?” she said. I knew about the bull riding (?). I could see the sparse arcade games. “What do you have for kids her age?” I said, pointing to Madison. “This,” she said, and pointed behind her. I didn’t see the forest for the trees. It was a three-level playground outfitted with air guns that shot foam balls. There were slides and other obstacles. The structure was built to support the weight of adults. It was designed to allow adults easy movement, unlike at Chuck-E-Cheese where if your kid gets stuck on the top of the playground, they have to take the thing apart. It cost the same as 808 Bounce for the same amount of time – all day. Madison got stamped for re-entry and took off. Here is the website. How has no one on Oahu attempted something like this? Madison’s going to hate Oahu in a about a week.

Lynnette is the type of mother who packs extra clothes for Madison every day of our trip. It's hard to argue against after this, you know?

Lynnette is the type of mother who packs extra clothes for Madison every day of our trip. It’s hard to argue against after this, you know?

We drove farther south to the Spectrum Center in Irvine. It was a bit more upscale, and it was here that I made my first personal purchase of the trip (a shocker, I know). I picked up a t-shirt from Urban Outfitters that was on clearance. It’s not an especially attractive article of clothing, but it reminded me of a shirt I had back when I was a kid sporting a shaved head with long bangs. It was a “Don’t f*ck with me” look back in ’92. If you weren’t there, you’re going to have to take my word for it.

So far, there have been two great upsets this trip. The first seems preposterous considering the sheer amount of time I’ve invested there, but I haven’t added a single Disney park to the list.  I don’t know what to say. I’ve spent a total of 32 hours in and around Disney Land, and I haven’t thrown a deuce yet. The other, more depressing upset of note is the fact that I haven’t purchased a single pair of shoes on this trip. That’s messed up.

The crazy-o-meter at the Korea House went off the chain, assuming a chain is one of its components.

The crazy-o-meter at the Korea House went off the chain, assuming a chain is one of its components.

We met Lynnette’s cousin Chelsea and her boyfriend Shane for dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant. Before I say anything else, let me just say the Korea House in Irvine is legit. Good food, large portions, clean restaurant.

It was odd to see Chelsea in a place not her parents’ house or some kind of family gathering at Lynnette’s parents’ house. Lynnette and I emceed Chelsea’s high school graduation party together, you know? Yeah, it was a long time ago. Anyway, it was great to catch up with Chelsea and Shane, and it comforts me, I suppose to know that there are bits of crazy in other members of Lynnette’s family, too. Apparently, Lynnette and Chelsea both share a deep disdain for anything less than immaculate hotel spaces. There is a bit of high-maintenancosity that runs through Lynnette’s family which is often combined with crazy illogical behavior in the attempt to avoid low-maintenancism.

Like I said, she's going to hate our squalid life back home.

Like I said, she’s going to hate our squalid life back home.

Since our travels had taken us past the Outlets at Orange, the mall – and Thrill It – would be on our way back to the underrated Portola Inn. Lynnette and I held the possibility of a return to Thrill It as leverage over Madison the entire day. She made it a point to remind me anywhere between 7 and 84 times that the stamp on her forearm was still visible.

As we got up from dinner with Chelsea, Madison asked “Where are we going now?” “We’re going to say goodnight to Uncle Shane and Aunty Chelsea,” Lynnette said. “Then what?” she continued.

As we got into the car, Madison asked “Where are we going now? “Is your stamp still there?” I asked. “Yes!” she shouted. “What were the two things you had to do today?” I asked. “Be patient and listen!” she shouted. “Did you do those two things today?” I asked. Madison waited a second before answering in the affirmative, you know, to make it appear as if she had to think about it. Whatever.

So we drove back up towards the Outlets at Orange and the parking lot was a mess. The movie theater and restaurants were partially to blame, but there was also what appeared to be a sobriety check point on the way out of the mall. Lynnette and I spent about 10 minutes looking for parking. I looked in the rearview mirror. I didn’t see a head. “Mad!” I shouted. I turned. SHE WAS SLEEPING! “No way!” I shouted. She didn’t move. “Mad, we’re at Thrill It,” Lynnette said. Somehow that got through to her. He head slowly rose. “You’re sleeping!” I said. “No, I’m not!” she shouted back. “I was just resting.” Lynnette and I laughed. “So what? Go back to the hotel, then?” Lynnette asked. “No!” She said.

The accompanying picture is the one I snapped off just before she re-entered Thrill It at 9:30.

It is a small thing, but whenever I can give her something that I never had, I feel that it is a minor success. But you know, string enough of those together…

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