Lynnette saved a bunch of money by ordering gifts from Toys R Us, then opting for the in-store pick up rather than having them shipped to our home. Toys R Us has notoriously high shipping costs for Hawaii, so we went ahead and called this a win – even though it came with the catch that we had to hit 3 different Toys R Us stores scattered across the island. We made this journey on Saturday and I totally planned to write about then, but the Christmas ornaments took priority.
“Oh, Chocolea is celebrating Small Business Saturday!” Lynnette said without looking up from her phone on our way to town. A few minutes later I bypassed the Kinau exit. “Where are you going?” she asked. “I am going to Chocolea,” I said. “Yay!” Madison shouted through her rotted teeth. “No need, Philby,” Lynnette said, even as the adrenaline coursed through her veins. She was right, but I know how much both of them enjoy going to their favorite specialty chocolate store. I waited in the van with the sleeping twins and casually updated college football scores. “We got you a bacon one!” Madison said when she got back to the car. So thoughtful. And just like that, our Toys R Us odyssey kicked off.
After the quick detour into Manoa, we ended up at Ala Moana – even though we were there the day before. We didn’t mess around. “Wait,” I said. “What?” Lynnette replied. “I have to take a picture for the blog,” I said. She gave the box to Madison and told her to stand in her place. Mad didn’t even know what was happening. Also, what’s going on with that toe point? Is it something she picked up from her mother, the former model? This bears looking into. Anyway, we just got the thing and left, stopping only to pick up Lynnette’s and Madison’s Christmas ornaments. After that, we took a rare drive up the Likelike into Kaneohe. Madison supposedly held her breath the entire length of the tunnel but I remain suspicious.
We ate lunch as soon as we got to Windward Mall. Cole and Avery can be pretty patient, but not when it comes to meal time. In fact, they do – in their behavior – resemble the zombies in Brad Pitt’s World War Z in that they’re pretty chill until they’re riled up by the prospect of food. Cole ate his lunch, had a snack, then quickly became restless. Not Avery. She ate her lunch, had a snack, and also slurped up ramen noodles Lynnette tossed her way. Avery is well on her way to challenging Abby in an eating contest that would no one wants to watch, but would be absolutely stunning to witness. I have long joked that Avery might not be of my stock, but every time she eats she shows herself to be a true Higa.
Lynnette and I have figured out that if we keep the twins out too long without letting them roam, they get angry. We turned both of them loose in the padded play area for half an hour and if you listen to them, it wasn’t nearly long enough. It was Cole’s first time back since learning to walk capably and he showed off by moving from set to set. He wouldn’t have noticed if the rest of us left; he loved every second of it. Avery on the other hand still crawled from place to place, but showed a renewed urgency in her walking attempts. Maybe it was the peer pressure of so many other kids walking. But she did try quite a few times. Apparently, she also loves Lynnette so much that every few minutes, she’d look up, spot Lynnette, crawl to her, stand up, then smile – all before returning to play. Is it really so hard to install one of these in Pearlridge? Waikele? Mililani Town Center? Mililani Mauka Gateway?
A brief ride down H3 and we returned to my beloved A-Town to hit up the main Toys “R” Us. As soon as I got out of the car, a father with his three sons walked past us. I gave him the knowing head nod and instead of reciprocating, he shook his head from side to side. “These guys are driving me crazy,” he said. A few minutes later I went to use the bathroom and the same father was there with his kids. They were lined up waiting to use the bathroom. I let out a small chuckle. I couldn’t help it. He shook his head again. “I just asked these guys before we left the mall if they had to go. Didn’t I?” he said. The boys agreed that he had. Parenthood, man. It’s the best.
Well, we didn’t linger long at Toys “R” Us because I had no desire to deal with the madness that could ensue at any moment. You never know with toy stores during the holiday season. It always feels lie the calm before the storm in those cramped aisles, you know? Our final stop of the day was to be Home Depot because we needed to pick up more blinds. The ones we have get broken by the gusts of wind that never seem strong enough to entirely cool our home but are strong enough – apparently – to rip the plastic off in the clip. Before we did that, though, Lynnette made a final request for a bubble drink because “Rainbow Tea House was on the way to Home Depot.” I waited in the car with the sleeping twins and when Lynnette re-entered the car, she said “The girls that work in there know me already. When I walked in, one of them smirked. I think she knew what I was going to order.” This seemed like an odd thing to complain about considering the root of the problem, but I let it slide. I wasn’t about to ruin our family trip to Home Depot. Or our Toys “R” Us odyssey. Or Thanksgiving weekend.