Sunday at Uncle Paul’s

Instead of lunch at my parents’ house, we got together at Paul’s apartment in town. He lives in the Piikoi area; it’s not far, but it was complicated by the H3 closure today. Everyone from the westside had to take Likelike or Pali to get to the eastside, so the freeway was backed up approaching both exits.

DCIM100GOPROG0064324.We haven’t been to the pools in Mililani much since Cole and Avery were born. It’s one of those things that kind of fell away in the first year of their lives. I had forgotten how much Madison loves the pool. Since both Lynnette and I had plenty of adult help in Grandma and Grandpa, Madison relished her freedom in the pool today. She began by jumping into the pool at the 5-foot depth, but was urged by Lynnette to try it at the 8-foot depth. “I can’t pop up in the 8-feet,” Madison said. “It’ll be fine,” Lynnette said. She waved her arm. “If something happens, I’ll jump in and save you,” she continued. “I know you won’t sacrifice your eyebrows to save me!” Madison shouted from the other side of the pool. I was howling. Madison was first in and last out of the pool. She deserved it.

DCIM100GOPROG0234841.The last time we took the kids to the beach Cole was betrayed by rogue shore break within the first 5 minutes and decided he didn’t want to have anything to do with water for the rest of the day. Today was far different, however. We originally put both the twins into their floaters, but they had way more fun without them. One of the highlights of my day was earning Cole’s trust. I sat him on the edge of the pool and thought he would complain, but instead he smiled and began leaning in toward the water. He pulled back quickly and squealed. “C’mon, Cole Boy!” I said, holding out my arms. It took a few moments, but he slowly slid his butt off the edge and fell into my arms. He screamed. After that, he didn’t hesitate to launch himself at me.

DCIM100GOPROG0134538.This picture was taken seconds after Avery somehow flipped herself out of her floaty. She went into the water face-first. I was behind her and couldn’t stop or reverse it. Lynnette was sitting on the wall when it happened, but got into the water at light speed (without sacrificing her eyebrows) to rescue Avery. “MADISON!” she shouted as she yanked Avery out of the water. I don’t know if Lynnette was yelling at me or Avery, but Madison was across the pool. This little slip should provide some insight as to how frequently Madison’s name is shouted in our household, though. But, but, but, as you know, Avery is indestructible. She coughed and shivered, then jerked away from Lynnette and back toward the pool. She squealed when I took her back to splash her up and down, to float her on her back. She is nuts.

It was a great day, and perhaps a little taste of summer.

DCIM100GOPROG0274945.

The Naked Cow Dairy Diary

A couple of days ago, Lynnette found out about a free event happening at the Naked Cow Dairy in Waianae. The problem was, she didn’t really have all of the details nailed down. “Does that sound like something you’d want to do?” she asked after explaining some of the attractions. “I guess. Where is it?” I asked. “I don’t know – google ‘Naked Farm’ or something like that,” she said. I did. My phone spat out a smattering of images I didn’t expect or appreciate. “Is it really ‘Naked Farm’?” I asked. “I don’t know. Why?” she asked. “Because porn,” I said. She laughed. “Oh, oh, oh! Naked Cow, Naked Cow!” she said through her laughter. Great.

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Two turkeys!

Madison was the most excited of our kids because she’s the only one who can understand complete sentences. “A farm?” she said. “Yes – why don’t you wear your farmer’s hat,” Lynnette replied. This is the same hat I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to convince Madison to get rid of – among a bunch of many, many other things – in the hopes of clearing out her room. Nope.

Madison enjoyed looking at the turkeys, roosters, and chickens. I think she most enjoyed feeding the goats trusses of straw. I most enjoyed when Madison went to get some straw at the same time as a young boy. He was reckless and pulled the straw out of the bin quickly with two hands. All of the small, dusty bits in the bin came flying out and some of it landed on Mad’s back. The young boy’s mother apologized like crazy. “It’s fine,” I said. I took a step towards Mad, but the woman beat me to it. She tried swiping the debris off Mad’s back. But since Mad was leaning over slightly, her back and waistline were exposed and the woman swiped some of that detritus straight into Mad’s buttcrack. It was so hard not to laugh.

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Goat Boy!

Cole was also interested in the straw, but not for the same reasons as Madison. Cole rather enjoyed shaking the gates of the goat pen and collecting pieces of straw that were stuck in the metal of the gate. Whenever Cole’s at the park, he collects sticks and sometimes larger twigs that have fallen off trees. As such, I wasn’t too surprised by Cole’s collection of straw. Lynnette noticed Cole’s handful of straw when she picked him up, but she didn’t notice until too late that he had stuffed some of it into his mouth. Maybe he was influenced by the goats? Who’s to say? Lynnette yanked the straw from Cole’s mouth despite Cole’s strenuous objections. Apparently, he has no fear of the fever/rash/hives he’s been hit with this week because whatever, you know?

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Bring Avery to a farm means everyone else is on extra-hyper-alert to make sure she doesn’t pick up anything and eat it.

Avery, of course, is absolutely fearless, so what she really wanted to do was chase any moving thing around. She was upset whenever I scooped her up to carry her. She scolded me for blocking her access to the chickens sauntering the farmland. When we finally did lest her walk on her own for a bit, she decided to just imitate a peacock. She stood in this spot staring right at Lynnette, inviting her to take a whole slew of pictures. She turned several times, hit a bunch of poses. I don’t know. Maybe she doesn’t just look like Lynnette. Maybe Avery’s inherited some kind of transcendental knowledge about modeling while in the womb, that very same knowledge that Lynnette acquired through years of modeling school. The very same knowledge that has been passed down, mother to daughter, since the earliest days of the Susan Page dynasty.

Spring (Prison) Break 2017

Well, I can’t say that Spring Break has gone the way I hoped. Cole got sick and spiked a fever almost immediately. Now he’s broken out in a rash. “It’s roseola, look it up,” Lynnette said to me arrogantly after a strong sip of wine. I didn’t bother, as she’s the nurse, and that’s why she gets paid the big bucks.

2This is about as chill as Cole’s been in the last three days. He gets feverish and then clingy then fussy. He screamed/cried for 40 straight minutes last night. Lynnette and I tried all the tricks in the book – carrying him; singing to him; propping him up to look out the window; plopping him down on the sink to play with the water – nothing worked. Eventually, Lynnette went for the Tylenol and that seemed to do the trick. Yes, I wish we would have come to that solution first, but it’ll always be in the last place you look because after you find it, you stop looking. Cole’s been pretty good today. I took him to the park and was enjoyed the running around, but he got tired pretty quickly. Madison’s cruising with him as I type, urging him on to sleep. We hope.

A few nights ago Lynnette got excited watching a promo for a Prison Break reboot. It looks to star most of the same actors/characters as the original series, including Lynnette’s boyfriend Wentworth Miller. We didn’t know how ominous this program would be.

1Lynnette put Avery to bed as she usually does – quickly and in darkness. Avery rarely complains, and if she does, she quiets quickly and falls asleep. Tonight, however, Avery screamed loudly for some time. At some point Lynnette and I heard a thud, a brief pause in the screaming, then more intense screaming. “Did she fall out of the crib?” I asked. It seemed simultaneously impossible and the only likely explanation. Lynnette opened the door and shouted “Oh my God, Avery!” The Gravy Boat had indeed fallen out of her crib and was sprawled out on the floor. She cried for a few minutes in Lynnette’s arms but was fine soon after. Avery is insane and indestructible. I fear this is only the beginning.

3It isn’t often that stories like these have happy endings, but ours does. The family convened in the twins’ room as Lynnette lowered the mattress level on Avery’s crib. Cole and Madison took turns bouncing on the exposed mattress while Avery did everything she could to hinder Lynnette’s progress, obviously because she’s a troll! Even Abby checked in to take a look at the developments. As observant as she is, I don’t know that she caught Lynnette’s death glare fueled by tanking wine, the adrenaline of knowing her daughter huli-maka-flipped out of her crib and onto the floor, and the intensity of her workman-like craftsmanship.

Chrissy Teigen Sundays

Lynnette bought Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook a while back, but we never actually got around to making anything from it until three weeks ago. On a whim we decided to make one dish and it turned into a weekly thing. Except for last week because Lynnette was sick and she is master chef and I am only just the sous chef/dishwasher (unless I decide to use the dishwasher).

1PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

I am a pretty picky eater and nowhere near as adventurous or sophisticated as Lynnette. It can be a struggle – even in Chrissy’s book to find recipes that I have zero qualms about, but this was the first I saw. It’s basically chicken stuffed with cheese and meat, then wrapped in more meat. There is the slight inconvenience of tomatoes, but otherwise, it was a fine dish. I flattened the chicken, seasoned it, spread the stuffing, rolled the chicken, and was about to wrap the prosciutto around the chicken when Lynnette balked at my indelicate handling of the prosciutto. “You could be more gentle with that,” she said as the thinly sliced meat crumbled in my hands. I think I shot back with something clever like “Be more gentle with this!” I can’t remember, but it certainly sounds like something I would say. The end result was delicious, but I think we might have overcooked the chicken a little.

2PINEAPPLE-GRILLED SHORT RIBS

Lynnette bought the thinly sliced kalbi and it made a huge difference on the cooking time. We didn’t use a grill and ended up broiling them in the oven. The prep time might have taken longer than the actual cook time, but in any event both took longer than the eat time. I seasoned the meat and Lynnette made the marinade because her skill is such and mine is dumping things onto other things without any kind of consideration. These were the first short ribs I’ve cooked without the marinade that comes in the bottle with the green label. The recipe called for fresh pineappple and brown sugar; since I am not a sweets kind of guy (unless we’re talking about Lynnette! *rimshot* *applause*), I was worried that these would not be to my tastes. I was wrong. Chrissy was right. It was awesome to eat kalbi with layers of flavor rather than the familiar. I can’t wait to bust these out on an actual grill and grill some of the pineapple, too. “This is so good!” our friends and family will say. I will want to take credit, but then Lynnette will be standing right there, so…

3BTI (BETTER THAN INA’S) ROAST CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES

Confession: I took an afternoon nap and had a really bad dream about a kid being thrown off a building. I cried. It was one of those dreams where I knew it was a dream but I couldn’t will myself out of it. When I finally woke up, I darted out of the room and into the kitchen. “Chrissy Teigen Sunday?” I said. “It’s in the oven, already,” Lynnette said. I slept through Chrissy Teigen Sunday!

Let’s be honest, though. Lynnette doesn’t need me. She tolerates my presence. It took her 45 minutes to prepare the chicken, compound butter, vegetables, and put it in the oven. If I helped, it might have taken an hour-and-half. Oh, but the chicken was so good, though. She crammed the herb-infused butter into every conceivable nook and cranny and it really came out in the finished product. I could see the greens between the meat and skin of my chicken. It had a fresh, lemon kick to it. I was so thrilled, I even ate some of the veggies! No way! Avery and Cole loved it, and Madison only had bad things to say about the skin. Just one complaint! No way!

Mad’s First Computer

We bought Madison an iPad a few Christmases ago. The case we bought with it literally withered away and crumbled into dust, but the iPad is still kicking. I was going to replace it as a birthday gift, but then thought better of it. I asked Lynnette if she thought Madison might like/need a starter computer to do her homework. Mad has reading and writing assignments that are accessed over the ‘net and she and I have clashed over the use of the computer before – just in terms of time and scheduling – so I guess here we are.

12I purchased Mad a very budget laptop. The online reviews of it described it as “fine for internet browsing and document editing” and I was like “that’s all she knows how to do” but then I felt bad because that’s all I know how to do on a computer too. Anyway, the odds are against it, but I hope this laptop can survive until middle school. Mad uses a Macbook Air at school and when she when we were in Best Buy today and she referred to the Macbook Air by saying something to effect of “that’s what I’m familiar with” as a way to suggest that we were in the wrong section of the store, I balked. “I will buy you a Macbook when you get to high school, I said. I meant it. But for right now, an HP will have to do.

I let her pick out her own mouse and she didn’t hesitate to choose this one. “It reminds me of mom,” she said. Ah, yes. Mixed drinks and techno beats, she’s always into everything. “I want to surprise mom and tell her that I got a computer!” she said as we walked out. “She already knows,” I said. I guess Madison still doesn’t understand that purchases like these must be sanctioned by Mom first. “But she doesn’t know about your mouse,” I said. Mad cackled. “Mom!” Mad said as she shoved the mouse into Lynnette’s face.
“I chose this mouse because it reminds me of you!” she said. Lynnette took a look at it. “That’s great,” Lynnette sighed. “It reminds me of the time you tried to get dad into alcohol!” Mad continued. Lynnette shot me the death glare, but I laughed because how could I not.

Mad and I set up her laptop this afternoon. We bookmarked her school worksites together. She picked out theme for her laptop and a background image. I’ve begun talking to her about using the internet smartly. She’s learned a lot in school, so I just have to supplement, I suppose. That and nurse the laptop through every software update, anti-virus program, and physical cleaning I can.

Ridiculous Floor Plans and “The Drill”

My friend Brett – a fellow Monarch, Lion, and IMOPper – sent me an email with the following message:

It’s finally happened, Phil! We were prescient! I’m putting in an app right now!

The email also included a link to an article about a real estate listing in San Francisco that’s comical because it’s insane. The kitchen is the bathroom is the kitchen:

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The toilet and shower stall should have been arranged in each other’s places so as to maximize multi-tasking.

As absurd as this is on its own, there’s another layer of humor laid atop this that I am more than happy to explain. Brent’s comment about our clairvoyance stems from a running joke that began during our sophomore year of college.

The layout of the suites in Rains Hall is straightforward. It is a rectangle featuring smaller rectangles:

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That yellow rectangle also doubled as the “Haircuts by Boz” area.

That area designated as “toilet” is literally just that – a toilet and doors/walls that you would find in a Target restroom or other like kind-of organized public restroom. The toilet took up a small percentage of that space, so I started the joke that it would be an ideal place to put the microwave. Brett found the idea ridiculous and over time, as our humor often does, the original concept escalated to even more preposterous heights. We joked about moving the hot plate in there, too, so that we could, umm, multi-task. The apartment featured in the article above is the illogical manifestation of something my roommates and I mocked lovingly 17 years ago. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I was an idiot.

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Ah, Rains!

All of this got me thinking about “The Drill”. If you lived in the dorms during your time in college, then you know of the two undeniable, inexorable truths: everyone has illegal crap in their room; fire alarms are pulled at random (the worst) times without (sober) reason. “The Drill” was borne of these two truths.

We had a microwave and a hot plate which were forbidden at the time. We had taken a couple of fold-up chairs from the quad outside Rains when they were left out after an event. One of these chairs was left open in the toilet stall, usually as a place to stack magazines or whatever other choice reading material 20-year olds owned. Brett says Derek first referred to it as the “counseling chair”. The imagery – the chair facing the toilet – made for some pretty hilarious hypotheticals, but maybe not so funny in practice. Once, when a female guest came over, she spotted the chair and asked what it was for. “Oh, that’s the counseling chair,” I said. She didn’t laugh. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I have no idea how I tricked a woman into marrying me. We took chairs from the common room (but not the one on our floor, of course). We used these chairs and the fold-up chairs whenever we had guests (rare) or whenever we didn’t want to drag our desk chairs in front of the TV (all the frickin’ time). So, whenever a fire alarm was triggered, we had to hide all of the illegal stuff in our room. We weren’t going to lose our stuff and eat a fine. “The Drill” could be run by a single person, but it was always more fun with at least one more person. I remember how brain-shatteringly loud the fire alarm in Rains was, the way it bounced off the brick walls straight into my ear canals. So. The hot plate slid under a bed. The microwave was covered crudely with towels or whatever cloth was handy (so as to not arouse suspicion). The fold-up chairs were shoved in the corner behind the toilet. We carried the common room chairs into the bath tub and shut the sliding door because we didn’t return the chairs for weeks. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I was a lazy slob. Was “The Drill” worth it? Well, we never lost our stuff and we never ate a fine, so… plus, it was fun as hell.

College, man.

 

Nakagusuku Softball 2017

 

I stopped playing in the Monday night softball league as soon as the twins were born in the fall of 2015 and never went back. I played sparingly during the last Okinawan softball season, riding the bench (by choice!) because I was a physical and emotional wreck but didn’t the team to forfeit. A few weeks ago my uncle asked if I was playing this season and I told him no. But then we were short this week so I got the call. Look, I would never compare myself to John Wick – I’m nowhere near as athletic, I can’t grow facial hair, I am not highly-trained in and/or highly-skilled at anything, I don’t have the kind of build that’s flattered by a slim fit suit, I have a personality, I drive a van, and the only headshots I’m familiar with is the old photography studio in Liberty House Pearlridge – but just let me have this, OK?

*Digs glove, cleats, and bag out of the garage*
“YEAH, I’M THINKING I’M BACK!”

3I made sure to stretch before the game. Who knows what kinds of cobwebs, critters, dust, rust, and whatnot lurk inside of my “muscles”? I knew it was trouble from the start as my legs were tight, tight, tight. I didn’t get much better when I started throwing. I’ve been sleeping on my right side more often because if Cole ends up in the bed I’ll catch ass or worse in my face when I lie on my back or left side. The ball felt like a sack of wet sand.

My first two at-bats were horrendous. I was diving into the ball and caught it off the cap both times. I kept telling myself to wait back, but I couldn’t even feel myself drifting over my front foot as it was happening – and then the ball would come off the cap and I would feel embarrassed jogging to first. Since I am the person who lovesloveslovesloves to shout “Make the adjustment!” I felt ridiculous. I was upright during my third at-bat and grounded out, but caught it off the cap again. In my final at-bat I early again – but got enough of it to punch it through the middle for the go-ahead RBI in the top of the 9th.

Speaking of that 9th inning, 9 innings is a lot. After the 7th inning, I walked under the shade of a tree where Tanya and Declan were sitting. “I have spent the last of my energy,” I said. It was hot. I was breathing very hard. I could feel the redness in my face. I pulled it together for the last two innings, then stalked back to the parking lot. My body is pretty sore right now. But I did the laundry, cooked dinner, and bathed the twins (Lynnette is sick), so I assume I will pass out as soon as I get into bed, then be unable to stand when I get up in the morning.

“What’s wrong with your face?” Lynnette said when I got home. “What’s wrong with it?” I asked. “It’s…dark,” she said. Great. Even better? Bye next week!