Star-Crossed Lovers? Or Maybe Just Some Ice Cream?

Avery had some digestive pyrotechnics on display today but aside from that, the kids were well enough to do some adventuring past the end of the freeway.

12I took Madison and Cole out to the playground while Lynnette cruised in the AC with a napping Avery. The Gravy Boat has been the slowest to recover from the illness that conquered out household last week. In lingered into this week by afflicting Lynnette and me. I was at my worst on Wednesday and Thursday. It all started on Tuesday. I had that sneeze where it feels like something breaks in your nose and you immediately know you’re going to be sick. This urgency led to my ill-fated decision to unwittingly take Tylenol PM at 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon. Don’t worry, Lynnette already chewed me out for being so careless. Yes, I am a moron. No, I don’t know how I hoodwinked such a sophisticated woman into marrying me. Anyway, I finished out the school day, worked with a student returning from absence for about 30 minutes, then passed out in my desk chair. I woke up at 4:45 to get dinner, then went back to work to do some more work.

I’m just glad I came out of it in time for Friday’s football game against Iolani. It was an instant classic. The Monarchs were down 28-0 in the first quarter but won the game 42-35 in overtime. This morning I was happy to watch Madison ascend to the top of the netting structure. Cole paced up and down the stairs repeatedly until he worked up the courage to jump off from the second step rather than the one closest to the ground. It wasn’t pretty. He didn’t land on his feet but he didn’t faceplant, either, so we’re marking that one up as a win.

34We ate at Sophie’s Gourmet Hawaiian Pizzeria. It was great. The ingredient options were great, the service was quick and friendly, and the prices were reasonable. In fact, that only criticism I have is that they proudly serve the Pepsi Cola family of products. Lynnette and I got the “Sophie’sticated”:

THIN GUAVA-INFUSED CRUST. Brushed with fresh herb olive oil, layered with parmesan, mozzarella, tomatoes, spiced salami and fresh arugula. Finished with dry-aged goat cheese shavings and truffle oil.

Bomb. It was Lynnette’s choice and I agreed without really looking at the description because I didn’t want to get into that husband-wife game of First Time at a New Restaurant Meal Compromise in which a married couple attempts to decide on a single entree which suits both their individual tastes only to discover that no such item exists on the menu. The game would then progress to the stage where both parties would attempt to find an entree each could “live with” only to discover that neither enjoys this compromise while both silently wish they had just gone to a familiar spot and ordered their go-to dishes. My decision to say “sure” was the equivalent of using the same answer twice in a matching section on a test; I assured that one of us would be happy rather than risk both of us being disappointed.

Madison ordered a bacon and cheese half-pizza that she said was fantastic – which is impressive because Madison’s super power is finding something, anything to complain about. Cole had bites of Madison’s pizza and Avery stuck with her dry cereal. We’ll definitely be back to Sophie’s when we’re back on that side of the island. Hopefully after a great morning at the beach or a hike that’s for sure not Koko Head.

5Once we filled our bellies, we headed back westward into Kaimuki to complete our mission for the day. Lynnette won an Instagram contest a few weeks ago. Pipeline Bakery offered an exclusive ice cream flavor called “Romeo and Juliet”. I don’t know what it consists of, but based on its name, I’ll say it’s two flavors that don’t mix, two huge cornballs, and surprise ingredients at the bottom of the pint that would put you in a coma so real that it would cause your significant other to believe you were dead and force them to take their life seconds before you come out of said coma and realize your significant other is now dead and so you get so sad that you eat more of the ice cream. I just checked with Lynnette. Romeo and Juliet is strawberry with chocolate chunks and chocolate chips. Alas.

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The Kids Aren’t Alright (They’re All Sick)

I spent all week approaching every Broncos fan I knew in order to apologize to them for starting 1-1. Well. The Broncos dismantled the Cowboys and the receipts immediately began pouring on over social media. I deserve it. Where the Cardinals fans at? Come get some.

12Instead of some rollicking adventure, we’ve been running errands and staying home because all of the kids are sick. Madison couldn’t handle WWE Live or something because she had a runny nose and cough by Thursday afternoon. It was only a matter of time before the twins got sick, and that’s exactly where we are now.

Cole and Avery are both capable of blowing bubbles with their nostrils. They don’t even need a wand or bubble solution. They just have to breathe.

About an hour ago the twins were feeling miserable. Cole found Lynnette in the kitchen first and went to her for comfort. Avery was only a few steps behind and did not like it when she saw Cole already in Lynnette’s arms. In fact, that’s putting it mildly. She went ballistic. She threw herself onto the carpet, rolled around a bunch of books, and thrust kicked an innocent fan repeatedly. Every once in a while, she’d sit up to look up to see Cole still in Lynnette’s embrace, then throw herself back onto the floor with an intensified tantrum. Avery doesn’t have very many words, but if she did, I am positive one of them would have been “betrayal”.

34Eventually, though, Lynnette had to resume the meal prep. That left me in the living room with two people who like Lynnette way more than they like me. And they let me know it. “Why doesn’t anyone like Daddy?” Lynnette lamented from the kitchen. She was including herself in this question. I didn’t take offense, though. I like Lynnette way more than I like myself also.

I let Avery cry it out because there’s no stopping her if she wants to be in a bad mood. I plopped Cole down in my lap and switched from the Packers/Falcons game to the Furchester Hotel. I mean, they were about equally entertaining by this point, and one had a chance of getting Cole to stop his shouting. It worked. Five minutes later when I tried to slide Cole off my lap so I could help Lynnette in the kitchen, he shouted, turned around, and jammed the top of my head into my chest. He reclaimed his place on his throne as I muttered “Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry…”

But no one’s crying right now! Cole and Avery had dinner and are in various states of contentment. Madison’s eating soup but it’s hilarious because she’s about three feet away from me and I can hear her sniffle then slurp her soup every 30 seconds or so and it’s so gross. But not as gross as it’s going to be when I get sick. It’s all but guaranteed now.

WWE Live 2017!

Lynnette did the job last night, agreeing to watch Cole and Avery so that Madison and I could attend WWW Live at the Blasidell. I don’t profess myself as some kind of relationship guru or master of the love languages, but damn if this kind of sacrifice isn’t the truest form of love. Je t’aime, girl.

IMG_1919New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. Dolph Ziggler & Baron Corbin – The ring announcer began the night by telling the crowd that the event would feature 3 title matches. This was the first. When New Day was announced, I expected the Usos to follow, but instead got the team of No Heat, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler, two guys whose names were also generated by my copy of NCAA Football for PS3 a decade ago. Ziggler wasn’t doing any of his sarcastic gimmick stuff and Corbin was just Corbin. As always. The match was choppy and featured way too many swiveling sets of hips for my tastes, but Madison found them hilarious. To the surprise of absolutely no one, New Day retained. After the match University of Hawaii head football coach Nick Rolovich appeared in-ring with New Day to present one of his players with a full scholarship. The set-up could have been better, but it was still a really cool moment. The best bit happened mid-match, though. The crowd started chanting “New Day Rocks!” But the cadence was wrong. People chanted as if they were plainly counting “1-2-3” – evenly and without any kind of inflection. Xavier Woods heard it and made a face like he just caught wind of a nasty fart. He formed his hand into a blade and cut the air with the proper timing “New dayrocks! New dayrocks!” He smiled and gave a thumbs up when the chant corrected itself.

IMG_2013Erick Rowan vs. Luke Harper – Neither of these two were featured on the site offering event information, so it was a surprise to see them. It was even more surprising to see them face off against each other considering their history as pals in the Wyatt Family. But it was a mostly entertaining match from bigger dudes. At one point Rowan broke out a spinning kick which elicited a “Where’d you learn that?!” from a guy in the row behind me. Harper also hit a super-plex which would have ranked as the second or third highest spot in the show last July. There were a lot of chops and a lot of beard stroking, but both of them have been off of television for so long, I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about them, let alone process their feud. Harper won, and since I’m here, I’m just going to say it. Everytime I see Luke Harper, I think the same two things: Why is he dressed like Dean Ambrose? and This is what Brodie from Mallrats would look like if he grew a beard 231 times Banky from Chasing Amy then took ‘roids and didn’t bathe for 6 months.

IMG_2051Aiden English vs. Sami Zayn – I was excited to see Zayn for the first time, but English was much more entertaining. Like most of the show, English’s shtick just doesn’t translate over TV. He does this thing where he introduces himself as the “drama king” by singing a cappella. First, they turned his mic volume up so damned high that when he went for the high/loud notes, my ears actually hurt. Second, even though he sings the same song every time, it’s so stupid and irritating that it works. English doesn’t appear as musically-inclined as Elias Samson on Raw, but in my opinion, that’s what makes it work. “I know what painting his pants are supposed to be,” Madison said. “Oh, yeah?” “Yeah! I don’t know what it’s called, but I know it has a building and a starry sky,” she said. Good job, Mad. English spent a bunch of time telling the audience to shut up, but I saw Zayn hit the exploder into the turnbuckles and the helluva kick on English for the win, so that was pretty cool.

IMG_2363Rusev vs. Randy Orton – Before either contestant emerged, the bout was announced as a Last Man Standing Match. There was a pretty big pop when Rusev’s music hit, but it was dwarfed by the screaming for Randy Orton. The match featured kendo sticks, steel chairs, and a folding table, but that’s not why it was my favorite match of the night.

I have personally never found Randy Orton compelling. I’m not sure what his character is – even after all this time – and he always seems to be underperforming with regards to his considerable physical gifts. I realized these are common complaints of Orton, but it always seemed like Orton got a great reaction at live events. I never understood why. For a long time, David Shoemaker and Dave Schilling (two wrestling writers/podcasters) have been saying that Orton’s singular talent/value is his existence as the platonic ideal for what a professional wrestler is supposed to look like. I understood the argument, but I had never experienced it before last night.

When he walked up the steps and lingered on the ring apron outside the ropes, I actually said “Holy shit,” out loud. He’s not physical freak in the way Strowman and Lesnar are. He’s not ripped-to-shreds muscular like Rick Rude or the Ultimate Warrior were. He climbed the ropes before and after his match (which, of course he won with an RKO) to hit his signature pose. And I get it now. The gods stepped down from Olympus and sculpted Randy Orton from a slab of marble, then breathed life (but not the ability to cut solid promos) into him. He looks and feels like a wrestler in a way that AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and even someone like Seth Rollins does not. I say this without hyperbole: it was an almost religious experience, to have an epiphany in the midst of all that emotion.

IMG_2422Naomi, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch vs. Carmella, Tamina, Lana, and Natalya – It was a handicap match inside and outside of the ring because of the presence of the chinless James Ellsworth. The “good” girls brought out Asuka (in a sling) for a nice pop and so they could stand on all four corners when they eventually won.

1. Lana is terrible.
2. Tamina – even as a heel – got a huge ovation. She had family in the audience. She broke out a chee huu! in the middle of the match and every single human in my section – and probably in the arena – gave it right back to her. Great moment.
3. Naomi’s glow/blacklight entrance really is something. Mad was looking forward to it the whole night.
4. Becky lifted her arm to throw her goggles in our direction. I saw it and stood before anyone else did. I got my hands on it, but at the last minute the guy on my right made a move for it. He whacked my hands and sent the goggles into the lap of the woman sitting in front of me who didn’t even notice what was happening until the goggles plopped down on her thigh. So unclutch.

IMG_2624Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles – I figured it was would be these two and I was pretty excited about it. Sadly it was a short match that teased a few high spots, but ultimately didn’t deliver them. I suspect that since both worked pretty hard the night before – Smackdown Live was in Vegas on Tuesday night – they took it easy. I understand, I’m just bummed about it. Styles did hit the Phenomenal Forearm from the ring to the outside, then hit it again for the win. No Styles Clash, no 450, no pop-up power bomb, no 5-star frog splash. If last night Styles had the match with Tye Dillinger he had on Tuesday night, I would have been so stoked. Alas.

IMG_2671Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – Announced as the main event, it was (in my opinion) the worst match of the night. Mahal’s not a great wrestler and Nakamura was obviously protecting himself during the match, so that didn’t make for a particularly compelling physical contest. I was more frustrated with the tropes of a Jinder Mahal match because I’ve been watching them play out in exactly the same way for what feels like 6 months already.

The Singh Brothers came out to herald the Modern-Day Maharaja like they always do. A few guys in my section tried to start a “mahuraja” chant, but it didn’t take. I personally thought the money was with “Maha-raj-raj-raj-raj,” but that’s just me. Anyway, Mahal then cut the same promo he does before every single match, starting with “You people”, moving to a reminder that he’s our WWE champion, then closing by speaking to his people in his language. And then eventually the Singh Brothers interfered in the match which led to a loss for Nakamura. Again, has no one ever watched a single Jinder Mahal match? Because I have watched several. AND THEY’RE ALL EXACTLY THE SAME.

Still, it was a good night. I will probably go every time they return. Besides, it was a great date with Madison that ended at the Mililani Mauka McDonald’s at 11 PM. “So, two McDoubles, a 6-piece McNuggets, and we’ll share a fries?” I said. “Yeah,” Mad said. “And two waters?” I added. “Yeah, we don’t need to stay up any later than this,” she said. True.

Cole and Avery at 22 Months

The twins turned 22 months old this weekend. I waited until today to take pictures of them both because it’s NFL Opening Weekend and Cole and Avery would be decked out in their Sunday best.

12I have no way of proving this, but it seems like the twins have both made strides this month.

Cole’s been more responsive to direct commands and instructions. He appears to enjoy helping Madison put the toys and books away at the end of the night. He’s started pretend play by using a combination of our play toys and food and actual utensils to simulate cooking. He flips the laundry baskets over to make counters and stovetops, then mixes bead necklaces in pans and bowls before extending his spoons and forks in our direction. Whenever I take a bite, I exaggerate my enjoyment of the faux food, and Cole really seems to get a kick out of that.

Even Avery – for all the challenges she’s presented recently – has shown encouraging signs. She’s been interacting with us longer and more frequently. She’s brings both Lynnette and me books to read her. Her favorite titles include those which include different textures for her to touch. During a meal yesterday, I was eating and checking my phone. All of a sudden, Avery placed her and on mine. I looked up and her big brown eyes looked right into mine. “What’s up, Gravy?” I asked. She smiled. Then, I placed my hand on hers. She laughed and raspberried me.

“They’ll be two in a couple of months,” Lynnette said of the twins a few days ago. “I don’t know how that’s possible,” I said. Lynnette laughed; she felt the same way. “They should be 5 or something already,” I said. “I know, right?” Lynnette said. Maybe because there are two of them, it feels like time passes at twice the speed. Or 4 or 5 times.

Bildungsroman

Yesterday when I was at the Damien football game Lynnette took the kids to Target. They were bra shopping. For Mad.

12Lynnette told me about this momentous occasion earlier in the week. Mad spoke to her about it and asked Lynnette to keep it a secret – not because she was ashamed, but because she wanted to set off bricks of C-4 inside of my head by telling me herself.

“Does she need them?” I asked Lynnette. “Maybe, but she’s already self-conscious about it, so just for her piece of mind,” Lynnette said. I don’t have a sister, my dating record is spotty at best, and I still have no idea how I conned Lynnette into marrying me. What I’m trying to say is that I know nothing about women and the younger versions of them. Lynnette could have told me anything and I would nodded along.

They bought some trainers at Target and today I let Mad pick out a dri-fit one at Old Navy because our family is sponsored by Old Navy and this is one way I felt I could be supportive, holy crap, pun not intended. “Don’t you dare!” she said when she heard my camera snap. “Now I know what mom feels like,” she said. I suppose she meant being blog fodder. Well, she’s not wrong, I guess. Anyway, she found one in her size and she tried in on about about half an hour ago. She came out of the bedroom with it on trying super-hard not to smile.

34Since we were just killing the whole “coming of age” theme this weekend anyway, Lynnette bought Madison some washable hair color and dyed Mad’s hair for the first time. She flat-ironed Mad’s hair into some bouncy curls, then ran the dye into her hair. I was taking pictures of the two of them and my mind was spinning. What was happening? At that point I half-expected the doorbell to ring because some cool 5th grader from her school with a side comb and/or frosted tips wanted to pack her on his bicycle to the gas station to get Icee. Good God.

When the dye job was complete, I took at look at my purple-maned daughter and said “Ho, my bad, ah, you just joined the Descendants. Lynnette laughed. Madison did that thing where she tried very hard – but failed – not to smile. She did a little better with the austere look when I asked her to smile for a picture with her newly purple hair. I guess she was too cool to smile. I guess you could say she was “chillin’ like a villain”. Oh, man, I hate myself.

I always knew this day – or one just like it – would come. But now that it’s here…where did my little girl go, you know?

These are just physical signs, though. There have been other less visible ones. Recently, she’s been showing signs of increased cultural awareness. She remembers songs, their titles, and the musicians that sing them. She understands movies as fiction and has shown an interest in the behind-the-scenes side of her favorite films. She went out with a classmate for the first time on Thursday night and when I asked her about it, she summarized the whole thing by simply saying it was “fun”. No play-by-play. No details. It’s happening.

It’s surreal, but I can’t help but crack a smile, even as my thoughts are thumb tacks in a rolling bingo cage. Exciting times are ahead for the first of her kind. And her parents, too.

Okinawan Festival 2017

We returned to the Okinawan Festival today after two years away. I think Lynnette might have been too pregnant in 2015 and it was cancelled last year due to bad weather.

3We scored amazing parking just before the Aquarium which is so amazing because it’s so impossible that it almost didn’t matter what happened next. Almost. I had forgotten how hot it is to stand in line for the famously epic andadog line. I got in it while it was still just long rather than insane; Cole rested in his stroller with me. Luckily, we were at the park early enough for the trees to still cast long shadows. Cubby Candy and I were afforded shade for half of our wait. I despise the andadog line because this one time I waited in the line for over 20 minutes only to get to the front and be informed that they were out of andadogs. This was back when they didn’t have dedicated lines for individual items. I have trust issues.

1It was the twins’ first Okinawan Festival and it was their first time eating fresh andagi. They LOVED it. Lynnette’s co-worker Gwyn found us sprawled out under the shade of a tree and gave us two. They were still warm and I broke one in half to split between Cole and Avery. Cole took a piece in his hand and slowly placed it into his mouth. When it didn’t come out, I felt like he probably liked it. When he signed for more before he was finished chewing I knew we had a winner. I can’t say that it was his favorite part of the festival, though, because he loves shave ice more than just about anything else. Madison returned with a cup of the stuff and she made the mistake of handing him a spoon. Cole basically dove at Madison and the cup and knocked a bite off the mound and onto the grass. We had to take the spoon away from him. He screamed at us but quieted down when we started feeding him.

2Avery got her hands on a piece of sushi before the andagi and she tore into it. There’s no telling what she’ll like versus what she won’t like, but if she finds something she likes, she won’t let it go. Whenever Lynnette or I tried to take the sushi back, Avery scolded us and tried to run away to the wide-open freedom of Kapiolani Park. In fact, Lynnette followed Avery around while she strolled through the grass clutching a whole andagi in her right hand. Lynnette had to vacuum Avery’s carseat when they got home from the festival. Avery already has the appetite of Alden Higa but none of the height. I’m worried, man. What if she has Al’s appetite but Karen’s height? Oh, yeah. She’d look like me.

4Mad was bummed because there weren’t any games this year. The bounce houses were there again, but none of the old-school games like the snake hunt, duck scoop, and ring toss onto the 2-liter bottles of soda. Her day wasn’t ruined, however, as I will write about tomorrow. Her adventure today deserves its own entry.

Anyway, Madison was a big help as always. She got the shave ice, had trash duty covered, and found a way to procure some shrimp chips and other snacks for herself. She also helped Lynnette out when I went to the Damien game later in the afternoon.

Speaking of which, the football team opened its season with a 35-21 win over Iolani. The game was held at Farrington’s new stadium and it is a gem. It’s so great to see something new and beautiful in the middle of Kalihi. I have heard that Rainbow Drive-in and Gyukaku aren’t far behind. I’m gonna gain so much weight.

 

Avery Passes a Test, Lynnette Might Pass Out

Facebook reminded me that a year ago today I thought we were going to bring Avery home from the hospital but had to wait another day. The universe works in strange ways; Avery was at Kapiolani again this morning for an EEG test.

1Avery had these weird episodes last weekend. She’d throw up or come close, then immediately get super-woozy. It wouldn’t last for more than a few seconds, but then she’d be really tired for 5-10 minutes before behaving like herself again. Lynnette took her for the exam and sent me this photo. I was originally supposed to take Avery today, but I think we can all agree it’s a good thing I didn’t. It required Lynnette’s touch, apparently, because I don’t know how I would have put any of this stuff in her hair. They would have thought me the worst father ever.

The results came out normal. We don’t know what was going on with Gravy last weekend, but we’re glad nothing seems out of the ordinary on this front. Great news! And there’s still some better stuff.

2Lynnette had a long day. She texted me about needing a drink before I got home so I picked her up some margarita mix. She had one with dinner. Mad and I left to get dessert. The image on the left is the series of text messages Lynnette sent me. We were already on our way home when I received them. Good thing, too.

Lynnette made herself another margarita and it began to affect her judgment. She fed Abby by putting her food bowl not in its outer bowl, but in the water bowl’s outer bowl. You can see the ill-fitting pair as well as Lynnette’s cry for help.

When I got up the stairs, she was singing and dancing along with the Muppets who work at the Furchester Hotel. “Ho, I think I could be on Madison’s dance squad right now,” she said. Which, I mean, is just incredible on so many levels. Was she so drunk that she thought she could dance well? Or was she so drunk that she thought she could dance – but only at a 4th grade level? Some things are better left unknown.

She deserves it, though. I love when Lynnette has a couple of drinks. The pidgin comes out. She gets silly and affectionate. She bit me on the arm a couple of times and squeezed my stomach and my ass. She walked past me in the living room and whispered “I like bite you right now. Hannibal Lecter kine.” I laughed out loud. Hilarious, but mostly because I know the truth is this: dealing with drunk Lynnette is what it’s like for Lynnette to deal with sober me. Get your weekend on, everybody. You gotta catch up with Lynnette!