A Picturesque Sunday at Kailua Beach Park

After driving from Anaheim to San Diego and from Anaheim through downtown Los Angeles, a trip out to Kailua no longer seems so daunting. Lynnette picked out Kailua Beach Park from a list of possibilities, we packed a cooler, then headed toward the east side. Among the things we learned the hard way today: The Aikahi Park Shopping Center Safeway does not have a fresh seafood department. No poke bowls for lunch. Sad face.

Stretching out before heading down the water.

Stretching out before heading down to the water.

We got lucky with parking and found someone leaving before making a full tour of the parking lot. My patience in terms of waiting for parking stalls is directly proportional to the scarcity of stalls. If I were waiting to park in the Macy’s structure at Pearlridge on weekday in July, I’d have very little tolerance for any perceived nonsense. “Just put the bags in the trunk!” or the immortal “He can handle the stroller himself, just put the kids in the carseat, already!” But in situations like today or at Ala Moana during the Christmas season, if someone tells me they’re leaving but it’ll take a few minutes, my blinker goes on and I can sit in silence for 10 minutes if need be.

I would have gladly inflated Madison's floaty. I like to flaunt my increased lung capacity. But not by running.

I would have gladly inflated Madison’s floaty. I like to flaunt my increased lung capacity. But not by running.

This is what a "I don't like waiting for my food to digest, but I don't want to risk saying anything stupid" protest.

This is what a “I don’t like waiting for my food to digest, but I don’t want to risk saying anything stupid” protest looks like.

We found a shady spot under a stand of trees at the edge of the rise looking out at the shoreline. Lynnette and I split a Safeway deli sandwich. It was a decent sandwich, but somewhat disappointing after I had my heart set on a poke bowl. Madison struggled through an Uncrustable, but that battle was nothing compared to the difficulty Madison faced in the 20 minutes of resting after our meal.

“Why do we have to rest?” she asked. “You have to digest your food and rest your tummy,” I said. “But my tummy is good already, I can feel it,” she said, with both hands over her stomach. “If you throw up in the water, we’re going home,” I said. “Do you want to throw up in the water?” I asked. She shook her head in the negative. “Do you want to go home?” I asked. She shook her head side-to-side again. With that, she sighed and flipped down onto our mat.

A few minutes passed before she looked down at her stomach and said “Dad, I think my stomach is rested now.” Silence. “Mom, how much more minutes (that killed me) do we have to rest?” “Ten,” Lynnette said. This sent Madison off into a celebration of sorts. “Yay!” she said, then collapsed back down onto the mat.

How much more minutes? Is a question Madison began asking in earnest during our California vacation. She asked it many, many times including, but not limited to: in line for rides at Disney Land, on the way back to the hotel from San Diego, during the Angels game, and in the middle of traffic in downtown LA. I correct her every time she says it. “MANY,” I say. “Many what?” Mad will say. “How MANY more minutes.” I will say. “STOP COPYING ME!” she’ll shout. And a little piece of my heart evaporates into nothingness never to return again.

That's not the face I would make if Lynnette pulled me near, I'll tell you that much.

That’s not the face I would make if Lynnette pulled me near, I’ll tell you that much.

While Lynnette did not strike any predatory poses today, I know that she enjoyed spending some quality time with Madison and I. She had a full week of work after coming off our trip. She arrived home every day this week tired and I think somewhat jealous of the fact that Madison and I are still in vacation mode. She would get home, put her things down, then fling herself into the our couch. Soon thereafter, she would start playing Candy Crush on her phone, often lamenting the “impossibility” of a given level or swearing directly at her phone.

There was something about her today at the beach. A kind of calm I haven’t seen – even on our vacation – it was like the first time she allowed herself to relax in ages. Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s like she knew we didn’t have anywhere to be or anything else to do, so she could just enjoy the day. And a glorious day it was. As has been documented in this blog, Lynnette and I are sporting some pretty unflattering tans due to the California sun. Today was our first serious attempt to even those tones out, but I don’t know that today did any good. Lynnette’s shoulders and upper chest are downright crispy. Her stomach area – shielded from the So Cal sun – is white. She looks like a cartoon animal, you know how there’s that oval on the torso that’s lighter than everything else? She’s going to kill me. I could see an expanse of redness on my shoulders when I got out of the shower, punctuated by white splotches, probably from where the suntan spray hit initially. My arms are really, really dark right now. To make matters worse, I’ve gained about ten pounds since the beginning of summer. I want to blame the presence of Disney Land and the absence of cigarettes for the weight gain, but at least 2% of it has got to be tied to my lack of exercise. Maybe 3%, then.

Surfing was never so easy.

Surfing was never so easy.

"Do a cartwheel, Mad!" "Okay!" "Hey... that's not a- hey, that was awesome, Mad!"

“Do a cartwheel, Mad!” “Okay!” “Hey… that’s not a- hey, that was awesome, Mad!”

Madison showed off some athleticism today while her father mostly showed off his gut. She took the kick board and declared she was going to go surfing. Her first attempt was the best. She casually tossed the board onto the water as is crept up the shore. Then, she tried to jump on it. Of course the board slid out from under her feet and she had to shuffle to avoid falling flat on her back. She made the adjustment! Anyway, from that point, she got smarter about it and held the board in place before getting both feet on it. She was Kalani Goob or Goobi Slater from that point on, shifting to maintain balance as the waves dictated.

While we were on the shore, I told her to cartwheel. “Okay!” she said. Then she tumbled forward, tucking her head in as her feet followed. “Oh,” Lynnette said. It’s just as well, though, It’s not like Lynnette or I were going to correct her because that would have eventually required one of us to actually attempt a cartwheel. I’m pretty sure I can still pull off a cartwheel without killing myself, but that’s the kind of thing you like to figure out in the privacy of your own home, you know? Maybe I can’t cartwheel. Maybe my stomach will hit me in the face when I get inverted. I don’t know. But I wasn’t about to find out at Kailua Beach Park.

Li hing/strawberry. Shocker.

Li hing/strawberry. Shocker.

Our day ended at Island Snow. While not as long as those I’ve stood in at Aoki’s or Matsumoto’s, the line was pretty formidable. It moved quickly, though, because they’ve got three machines working at one time, making for a more efficient shave ice experience. It was a fine end to an absolutely beautiful day. Lynnette and I had not been to Kailua Beach Park since our days as summer fun leaders, and Madison had never been. The three of us loved our time there today, however, and will likely make an effort to visit more often. Madison had only a lone complaint: “Why does the shower water have to be so c-c-cold?”

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