I spent Valentine’s Day with the two loves of my life. We ran a bunch of errands in the morning, then drove into Waikiki for dinner at Kai Market, the buffet at the Sheraton. The food was great, but better were the performances delivered by those aforementioned loves of my life.
We left for Waikiki early and it’s a good thing we did. Traffic into Tourist Central was backed up and made worse by tracking a young couple walking in the same direction. They literally moved faster than we did. They finally took a right on Beachwalk and disappeared from our sight, and thank God. It was miserable to watch them outpace us. We got to the Sheraton with about 30 minutes to kill. Madison enjoyed the koi pond, but wanted to take the hammock home. I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s a cross between a bed and a swing. What’s not to love? By the time she saw the infinity pool, she had talked herself into staying at the Sheraton. Lynnette and I both did the “Uhhhhhhh…” If you’re unsure what that sounds like, just imagine you’re at a fast food drive-thru. Imagine you’ve completed reciting your order. Now imagine the person on the other end asks “Anything else?” No imagine the noise you make. Yeah, we made that sound. She’s right, though. There were slides in the regular pool, a view of sunset at the infinity pool, and of course the wonderful buffet we all experienced for the first time last night. When we were looking for a Valentine’s Day destination, Lynnette came across the menu. I saw three things: prime rib, king crab legs, and ahi sashimi. I was in.
Lynnette – she of too much tongue and not enough stomach – sampled a little of everything she liked early. As predicted, so after that initial foray, she switched her focus to king crab legs. By the way, Kai Market could have/should have replaced the sign that read “king crab legs” with one that read “THIS IS WHY YOU ARE HERE.” Lynnette moved through several helpings of legs and garlic butter before calling a time out to check out the dessert. “Already?” I asked. “No,” she started. “But you want to know how much room you need to leave for dessert?” I said. She smiled and floated away to the dessert station. As you probably guessed, my dinner was a loop of servings of sashimi, california rolls, and crab legs. I put a piece of chicken and a thin slice of prime rib on Madison’s plate. I sliced them up. There were five smaller pieces of each. I got her two strawberries and three pieces of pineapple. “When you finished the meat, you can eat whatever you want,” I said. “Even the chocolate?” she asked. “Whatever you want,” I reiterated. As usual, Madison’s struggle with pieces of meat were filled with histrionics and repeated questions meant to clarify exactly how many pieces, which pieces she still had to conquer. She’d put a piece of prime rib into her mouth, lean back in her chair, and tilt her eyes toward the ceiling. She’d chew and chew and chew and chew. When she finally finished, she leaned forward in the chair. “Can I try the chocolate fountain now?” “Yes,” I said. Off she went. She went off. It was incredible. It’s like she leveled-up or something. She inhaled chocolate-covered strawberries, marshmallows, and rice crispy squares. The struggle was gone, peak-Madison had arrived. When our server came to our table, he looked at all of Madison’s chocolate-covered plates stacked on each other and laughed.
It was the best family eating performance we’ve ever put on. As I sat there caught in my usual post-indulgence self-loathing (but also wondering if I had any room left in my stomach at all), Madison lifted her plate and showed off some artwork. “Happy Valentine’s Day!” she said. Lynnette and I laughed. It hurt to laugh, but it was impossible not to. If we were to ask Madison whether we should install a jacuzzi in one of our bathrooms or a chocolate fountain in the kitchen, the spa would have absolutely no chance. Neither would the chocolate fountain, frankly. Now that I think about it, I have to say that the most amazing thing about our Valentine’s Day was something that didn’t happen: zero chocolate fell on Madison’s dress and sweater. And yet…
Lynnette drove us through Waikiki on the way home. We crept up Kapahulu Avenue and Lynnette said “What, slush float?” breaking the silence of our car. By then, my belt was undone, my shoes were already off. “Arrggghhhh!” I growled. “What?” Lynnette asked. “I’m putting my shoes back on.” I said. “For real?” Lynnette said. Slush Float! Yes, please! I shouted to the tune of “Sugar” in my false falsetto. But Daddy’s belly’s full of beef! Madison continued. It was crab, but it didn’t matter. She got me. But still: