A Surprisingly Sunny Sunday

It rained as we loaded the van with beach gear. It drizzled as we drove through Pearl City then Aiea. It was overcast as we took the Kinau exit. Then, inexplicably the sun loosed itself from the cloud cover as the Sienna slid into a choice parking stall and never left.

DCIM100GOPROG0192321.DCIM101GOPROG0423010.I know. Ala Moana Beach Park isn’t exactly the most exotic or exciting destination for a beach trip, but it worked out perfectly. There was no shore break at all so my Cole wouldn’t be assaulted by rogue waves and consequently resign himself to the sandy shore. He was in rare form today, walking alone in waist-deep water, splashing and kicking, getting slashed without scolding the offending party. He finally decided he had enough when he jumped off the body board and I let him sink a little deeper than I should have. Cole emerged from the water with a series of coughs. When he finally caught his breath, he uttered “Go up, already.” I wrapped him in a towel and made a peace offering of Funyans which he graciously accepted.

Avery, of course, had to be dragged away from the water even though she was in middle stages of hypothermia. I took a knee in the water and stood her on the other leg. “1, 2, 3 – jump!” I shouted and though she will never, ever, ever obey my vocal commands if I am asking her to stop doing something, she never, ever, ever has to be told to jump more than once. She was tentative at first until she figured out she could get some height, then bomb into the water and still touch the sand with her chubby toes. From that point she started kicking both feet up as she jumped, squealing and laughing the entire time. When it was her turn to jump off the body board, she did so without hesitation. I let her head sink beneath the water’s surface just to see how she would react and as soon as she popped back up, she reached out for the board and shouted “More! More!”

Thank you, weather gods, for a wonderful beach day. If it is in your collective good will to see the same through July, I would be eternally grateful.



Mad Learns to Let Go

Some of you may already know that the propensity for hoarding is hardwired into the Pascua DNA. Lynnette, her father, and Madison all have a very difficulty time letting things go. The cause may be some combination of the fear of needing an item later, an items sentimental value, or just an irrational hatred of the idea of parting with things. This is why I am so shocked and thrilled by what Madison has done in the past week.

IMG_0697IMG_0913Every single time I’ve tried to help her clean up her life, she’s fought me. She never wanted me to throw anything away, even though she couldn’t articulate why she needed to keep it, what she was going to do with it. Her idea of keeping something safe meant shoving it into a drawer or her closet or her desk. This time, however, she seemed read to part with a ton of stuff that had built up in her room. We did a wall-to-wall cleaning and she walked 7 bags of trash to dumpster that night. It was like a housecleaning but also an exorcism. So far, her room has stayed mostly clean, but I fear what will happen once school starts again.

Today, Madison and I donated a bunch of the twins’ toys. I could see Mad’s hesitation in phrases like “but Avery likes that one because it makes noise” and “that’s Cole Boy’s ball for his what-do-you-call.” Her Pascua instincts kicked in, but she made it through. We dropped of two bins full of toys. “Maybe there’s kids who will like these toys as much as we did,” she said as she passed me a bin of toys. “I’m sure there are, Mad,” I said. “Yeah,” she said. “If we keep these things in a bin in the closet, no one will get to play with them. You’ll all be too old,” I said. “Wouldn’t it be better if someone actually got to play with them?” I continued. “I think those kids would be pretty happy,” she said.

I’m so very proud of you, Madison.

Father’s Day 2018

Father’s Day brings with it one of my absolute favorite family traditions: Madison’s answers to Lynnette’s Father’s Day Questionnaire:

IMG_0468First of all, this is the first year I read this sheet and didn’t hear it in a child’s voice. I heard it in Madison’s tweener voice and so the word “daddy” sounded especially strange. She usually just calls me “dad” or “DAAAAAD!”. Anyway, let’s get to the answers.

I’m going to assume “Big Mac” was just easier to articulate than “Double Quarter with Cheese” and it’s not even right. Now and always, the correct answer is sushi. My first laugh came with the commentary on my affinity for aloha shirts, which, I mean, is just  The French bread pizza answer got a chuckle out of me because just this past week Mad’s started eating them which means LESS FRENCH BREAD PIZZA FOR ME. While this is not as bad as living in the same house as Matty, I am afraid that’s where we’re headed.

But it’s the next two: “My Daddy works hard at Pokemon-ing” and “Daddy always tells me “Where’s Avery?” that absolutely obliterated me. I spent 3 hours playing Pokemon Go yesterday. Those three hours included walking from the zoo to the Fort DeRussy and back twice, just to cash in on a special event. That wasn’t even the worst part! I ran into a college friend on the way to pay for my parking. We were both kidless and it was obvious she was going surfing, but when she asked me what I was doing I opened my mouth and realized I didn’t have any of the kids with me. So I said, “I, uh, I still play Pokemon Go and I’m here for an event.” Believe me, it sounded way worse in real life. Ugh.

“Where’s Avery?” is a question I ask between 3 and 80 times a day. If things are too quiet, that means Avery is getting into something she shouldn’t be. I ask “Where’s Avery?” as I look up from my phone; finish folding laundry; put the last of the dishes in the dish rack; when I come out of the bathroom; wake up from a nap; and finish preparing the twins’ meals. The answers to “Where’s Avery?” have ranged (so far this summer) from “in the tub” to “in the sink” to “in the dishwasher” to “pulling all your boxers out of the drawer” to “looking out the window” to “SHE GOT INTO MY ROOM AND OPENED UP MY SLIME!” to “she put herself down for nap”. The second to the last is the worst so far and the last is always the best.

IMG_0576Usually we have lunch with Lynnette’s side of the family but this year they scheduled dinner. That meant we had the chance for lunch at my parents’ house.

Pictures like this one here always mystify me. Even after all this time, it seems surreal. It’s the house I grew up in, but it doesn’t look the same at all, just like it’s still my dad and I but just look at these kids. My entire family (including Lynnette!) wore dry-fit shirts in my honor today and I knew my dad would be, too. We got him a gray sleeveless dry-fit shirt because that’s what he likes to wear. We also got him some peanut M&Ms which he immediately shared with Cole and Avery because that’s what he likes to do. And incredibly, we snapped this picture with everyone looking and Madison not doing some weird thing with her feet like she always does. My dad never feels this much taller than me, but I guess he is. Maybe it’s a combination of the lighting, angle, and slippers.

Coach Al tried for a very long time to teach me how to hit a baseball, but it didn’t take. He also spent my entire life quietly teaching me what it takes to be a reliable husband and father. I like to think those lessons stuck.

We’ve Got a Runner!

IMG_0314Lynnette and Madison left early this morning to film something for the Department of Health. Lynnette offered me a role as an extra, but I am wary of the camera adding 15-10 pounds – depending on whether my head is tilted up or down – so I politely declined. That left me home alone with the twins.

IMG_0339IMG_0332I took Cole and Avery to Sundial Park in Kapolei because it’s fenced-in. It’s an adjustment I’ve had to make because of Avery. In the past, both the twins have taken to the play structures, especially in playing with Madison. But that’s seemingly changed recently. Cole still very much enjoys the playgrounds. He chats up the other kids and today he addressed a woman as “aunty” and asked her to cross the bridge. He likes to challenge himself by climbing new thins. But Avery has no interest at all. In fact, while Madison, Cole, Avery, and I have been able to make it to a couple of new playgrounds already this summer, we haven’t been able to enjoy them much because all Avery wants to do is run.

First, she’s drawn to trees and flowers so she’ll wander over to those first. But as soon as she’s bored and sniffed enough of the flowers, she just starts running in a direction away from Madison and me. I spent those first two trips running after her on grass and concrete, through bushes, and up hills. To put it mildly, and in a slight alteration of what I have muttered under my breath while in mid-chase, I have decided that I no longer wish to do that. So I’m trying to piece together a list of enclosed playgrounds. I got lucky today. Sundial Park. It’s a small space filled with flowers. Well, if you know of any such play area, please let me know. It’s going to be a long, hot, sweaty summer otherwise.

Happy Super-Early $)th Birthday, Lynnette!

IMG_0320Lynnette and I spent our morning re-enacting that scene from the very first Jurassic Park movie where Samuel L. Jackson was trying to use the computers in the control room to restore the security and function to the entire island. Except there weren’t any dinosaurs, there were only Bruno Mars tickets.

Like many of my friends – judging from the posts on social media – I spent about an hour this morning trying for Bruno Mars tickets. My original plan was to buy the maximum number of 4, then gift them to Lynnette and her best friends to celebrate a rather significant birthday in November. I had reveal that surprise at about 9:40 this morning when I realized that I would not be able to operate the control center alone.

By about 9:45, I had my phone, Lynnette’s phone, my iPad, the desktop computer, and the laptop all up on Ticketmaster. My only other experiences with Ticketmaster were for WWE and Jo Koy shows. I figured the most devices, the better the odds. Lynnette, Madison and I spent the first 10 minutes of the sale starting at 5 queue screens. At some point Madison smartly shifted to a role which prevented Cole and Avery from climbing/diving/jumping onto us; this allowed Lynnette and I to continue rolling through increasingly worse tickets as “another fan” had somehow selected the “verified tickets” which were “being secured”.

After about half-an-hour, we finally made it to a payment screen. They weren’t the seats I had hoped for, but by then I had given up idealism. As the time on the clock melted away, I rushed to input my information. It felt like one of those computer guys in War Games or Armageddon or GoldenEye: I was just banging the keys before global thermonuclear war or the comet hit or the satellite did something bad. It was frustrating. I know randomness is as close to fairness as we’re going to get, and I don’t know that there’s a better way but it feels like there should be. Luckily, we were able to get some tickets, so it was worth it in the end. Plus, it’s hard to hate anything that results in this:

That’s what I like, that’s what I like.

Madison as Vigo the Carpathian

I was at the stoplight at the end of the Mililani Mauka offramp. I had just picked up poke for Lynnette’s dinner. Because the twins were napping, I left them home with Madison. I gave her strict instructions: she was to text me if either of them woke up. That’s why when I saw Mad’s name pop up in the Sienna’s in-dash display, I wasn’t surprised.

“Did they wake up?” I asked.
“Hey,” Madison said.
“Are they up?” I asked.
“No, but there’s some slime on the ceiling,” she answered.
“What?!” I said.
“There’s a little slime on the ceiling,” she repeated. Madison often uses qualifiers like “some” and “a little” in order to mitigate her troublesome circumstances.
“How did slime get on the ceiling?” I asked.
“I got up and I tripped and I forgot I had the slime in my hand and I threw it and it hit the ceiling and some of it got stuck,” she said.
It was hard for me to picture.

IMG_9893“Are you sure you weren’t throwing it around?” I asked as I looked at the bits of slime that had decided to settle the ceiling of our living room. “I tripped and started stumbling and forgot I had the slime so I kind of threw it up,” Mad said. That was her story and was sticking to it – like the slime.

I guess I believe her. I’ve seen my friend Brent accidentally throw a bible across a stage in the middle of a homily on the Encounter Retreat, so I’ll believe anyone can accidentally throw anything. Plus, Madison is incredibly clumsy and this ineptitude is exacerbated by the fact that she doesn’t pay attention to what she’s doing. She spills cups of liquid routinely. Just this afternoon she somehow spilled goldfish crackers out of a bowl. Whenever Lynnette or I try to tell her to be careful or pay attention because she’s clumsy, Madison insists she’s not clumsy. Well, Mad, you’re not going to get less clumsy by denying the problem. As for those globs of slime… it wasn’t exactly Ghostbusters 2, so I easily wiped them from the ceiling. Madison put the slime away, hopefully in a place that Avery can’t get to, because the last time Avery got to the slime, the slime got into the carpet and it’s still there.

The lesson here is probably that summer should get sunny again real quick so the combined powers of Madison, Cole, and Avery can’t destroy the house.

The Start of Summer ’18

Lynnette’s on Maui for a wedding and she sent me this early this morning:

20180602_102628While not as gorgeous as Lynnette herself, I have to admit that’s pretty stunning view. It’s serene and idyllic and the polar opposite of what Lynnette left me with:

IMG_9866The first day of summer was a success on multiple fronts.

  1. We made it to a new playground in the Salt Lake area and found two more to revisit when Lynnette is with us because today I was the only adult chasing Avery and I gotta be honest: I am not as athletic as I like to believe.
  2. We avoided eating lunch or dinner out. We picked up some groceries and will use them for lunch this week, or as long as they last.
  3. I’ve already cleaned out the Corolla for Lynnette’s use starting Monday.
  4. The kids got into the pink pool this afternoon. I am hoping to wipe them out because I while they haven’t seemed to mind that Lynnette’s not around, I don’t know what tonight’s going to be like when I try to put them to bed.

In fact, the only speed bump I encountered on this first day of summer was a random ambush by my stomach in the middle of our Target run. I gave Mad the Icee to share with the twins and parked the shopping cart along a wall near the restrooms in hopes that the wouldn’t descend into chaos for however long my stomach wanted to terrorize me. Do you know what makes a stomach attack 100 times better? Hearing the shouts and unintelligible noises of your two year-olds ricochet off 5 walls on their way to your ears while sitting in a public restroom, then hearing a woman ask “Are you guys alright?”, then hearing your 10 year-old say “Yeah, we’re fine. AVERY DON’T DO THAT!” So good.

Anyway, we’re going to pick up Lynnette tomorrow morning and there’s talk of Krispy Kremes and the beach tomorrow. That would be pretty awesome. Let’s rock, Summer ’18!