4th of July, 2013

All of our Fourth of July paths eventually take us to Ala Moana for the fireworks show. The only variance is what we do during the earlier part of the day. Since Lynnette’s legs and my own are not functioning properly because of this new things we’d discovered called “exercise,” all-day shopping was out of the question.

Only the essentials.

Only the essentials.

I don’t know when this special will end, but Foodland was having a poke sale which meant $9.99/lb as long as you buy two pounds or more. We were going to pick up two pounds of ahi-something  or something-ahi until we got to the store. Foodland had piles of ahi in their fridge cases. I may have remarked to Lynnette about wanting to swim in it like Scrooge McDuck swam through his money. When I saw all of that poke sitting there, I involuntarily shouted “One pound spicy, one pound cali, one pound shoyu.” Lynnette turned to look at me and I nodded in a manner that I hoped could convey “Yeah, I said it” and “Of course we’re ordering three pounds of poke” simultaneously.

Foodland wasn’t as crowded as I expected it would be, but maybe we just got lucky with timing and found a checkout line that was both short and quick. As we stood in line, Madison’s not-so-little voice said “Look, dad!” She pointed at a bag of Gummi Cola hanging from a rack near the rest of the impulse buys. There was a yellow sticker on it. $1.39 it said, instead of $1.69. “Get one!” I said. Madison did not hesitate. Lynnette did not hesitate to roll her eyes.

Again, only the essentials.

Again, only the essentials.

Paul and had a little BBQ for some of his college friends and we decided that’s what we’d do for lunch. That’s the what the poke was for. As Matty and I pupu’d the hell out of the spicy ahi and california poke, I realized why my instincts made me shout for the three pounds: so that people would eat the shoyu and I more spicy and cali for me! “Get Hawaiian-style poke over here, guys!” I said to no one in particular. Matty caught on immediately and giggled, adding “I know, right?” Smart stomachs think alike.

In a weird stroke of “small island,” the family who moved in next door to my parents a while back have two sons, and their mother went to Creighton with Lynnette. We’ve known this for some time, but they were never home when we went over to my parents’. Yesterday, the entire family was in the yard. The boys were playing with water. Lynnette walked over and I heard the sound of heightened female voices. You know the ones: when women bump into other women they haven’t seen in while, when women see something soooooooooooooo cute, and when Lynnette sees anything to do with Disney Land. I didn’t want to generalize that last one onto the entire female population. Anyway, Lynnette’s friend invited Madison to play with her sons. Mad did that thing where she’s shy, then five minutes later she’s the loudest one out there. “Do you want to play?” Lynnette asked. Madison nodded her head. She disappeared into the house with Grandma.

A few minutes later, Mad emerged in a swimsuit. “Cover up, Mad,” I said as Lynnette walked her over. Lynnette turned to frown/smirk at me. Ah, the frown/smirk. As predicted, in a few minutes, I could hear Madison’s bossy voice over the fence. When it was lunch time, Madison came back for a hot dog, corn on the cob, and a gummi cola chaser. America, son.

The wand is obvious, the popsicle less so, and I have no idea about the pushbroom.

The wand is obvious, the popsicle less so, and I have no idea about the pushbroom.

After eating far too much food for my own good, we set off on our journey towards the fireworks show. Since the bang-bang doesn’t happen until 8:30, we had a lot of time to kill. Our first stop was Pearlridge. Lynnette remembered seeing dancing shoes there once, and since our little Goobi is now enrolled in dance classes, we thought it would be nice to have a spare pair of shoes. No luck. Payless didn’t have the shoes we were looking for. It’s okay, though, the wild goose chase was air conditioned.

Now that I think about it, our journey to the fireworks was similar to Frodo’s trek to Mount Doom. There was a lot of side-tracking and what seemed like a really unnecessary amount of walking. I suppose that makes me Sam (fat guy who ate a lot), Madison is Smeagol (all the whining), and that leaves Lynnette as Frodo (owns both a very valuable ring and sexy feet).

The most fun I had all day was hunting for mermaid pieces in the make-your-own-Lego-figures troughs at the Lego store. Ever since Madison’s car-building experience in Disney Land, she’s been into Lego. I’ve already balked at purchasing a tub of random pieces for she and I to play with because it’s expensive. I might have to rethink that after yesterday. Lynnette and I gathered pieces and left it up to Madison to decide which ones she like. The three mermaids in this picture are what she ended up with.

There’s something beautiful about running one’s hand through a bin of Lego pieces. The sound of plastic clutter, the stimulation of shapes on the skin of my hand. It sounds and feels like childhood.

Staying cool.

Staying cool.

This is how you deal with parking lot traffic.

This is how you deal with parking lot traffic.

We ate dinner at Shirokiya – there are so many different options there, it never gets old – then slowly made our way back to the car in the Sears parking lot. We timed it pretty well, actually. The sun was well on its way down and it wasn’t too muggy. Since this is the fourth year in a row we’ve done this, we’ve been refining our technique.

I packed a cooler of drinks, the iPad for Mad, and a book for me. We sat for awhile, but it wasn’t like the first year when we watched it from the Macy’s side and had to claim a spot three hours before the show. I will never do that again. Only for Fantasmic!, maybe.

The show went on and Madison is still at the age where she loves fireworks shows. In my eyes, there hasn’t been a significant advancement in fireworks technology since they started doing hearts and happy faces years ago. If there have been major steps, they have yet to be included in the Ala Moana spectacular.

Of course, the real show is after the fire works in the parking lot. We got moving as fast as possible, but still got caught trying to get out of the lot. It’s amazing. Ala Moana does this every year, and they still haven’t figured out that they need more people to guide traffic because really, at 9:00 PM on the Fourth of July, a lot of people already spent their Aloha Spirit drinking, shopping, vaping, or siting in a folding chair for two hours.

Lynnette and I have an agreement to deal with this traffic jam: she will drive home. I would prefer not to attend the fireworks show, but Lynnette insists upon it. In an attempt to appease me, she has agreed to drive home for the last two years, saving me from ripping my own face off. It works! I sat there in the passenger seat reading my book and Lynnette caught up on some Candy Crush. It’s as good as it’s going to get, you know?

Well, gotta run, we’re picking up Paul and heading back to Kailua Beach today. Hopefully everyone else is all beached out.

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