Anniversary Weekend 2017: Friday

It’s Anniversary Weekend! We spent Friday night throwing fiscal responsibility to the wind in the name of filling our bellies with delicious food!

5Do you know what my favorite part of Date Night with Lynnette is? It’s every night during the two weeks before Date Night that we spend together in bed looking Yelp on our phones. Each of us spit out restaurant names that are immediately shot down by the other. It’s a sick, sick game that sounds something like this:

“What about ____?”
“They serve Pepsi products.”

“You wanna try ________?”
“It only got two-and-a-half stars and I’m not really impressed with the pictures people posted- WHAT IS THIS?!” *goes silent for 15 seconds, then begins making chewing noises*

One of those responses are mine, the other is Lynnette’s. Think you can tell them apart? Anyway, it goes on like this. But eventually, we settle on a place; this time it as Tokkuri Tei. We chose wisely.

6I put a few pictures of our dinner here eventually, but I want to say a few words on Lynnette first.

She got her eye lashes permed today. She got her eyebrows microbladed a while back. Dude, she is B-R-I-M-M-I-N-G, BRIMMING with confidence right now. She doesn’t wear makeup to work. She didn’t wear makeup to dinner tonight, save for her lipstick, which – it must be said – was on point. Consider this exchange between us over dinner.

Me: The amaebi was $12!
Her: Yeah, but look at what we got!
Me: What?
Her: We got two shrimp heads with the amaebi.
Me: I hardly think that’s-
Her: You never get that with your amaebi.
Me: That’s because we don’t usually go to places that serve ama-
Her: Yes, we do.
Me: No, we-
Her: I just got the whole organism.
Me:..did you just…No, you’re right.

I’m telling you, she’s blooming into a whole different version of herself in her late 20’s. This combination of new eyebrows, eye lashes, and ume soju had her feeling herself. I love Swagger von Lynnettestein.

1234But before I work myself into a shoot, I slow things down and go over our dinner. Lynnette ordered the salmon skin salad because all the people who dropped recommendations on it. It is good. When I asked for seconds, Lynnette tried to shovel a huge pile of it onto my plate. “Whoa,” I said. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “I’m still Phil and that’s still a salad,” I said. She cut down on the salad portion and placed it onto my plate.

The Spider Roll (softshell crab) was delicious, but I gotta be honest. Every time I eat softshell crab, it only serves to remind me about my favorite softshell crab, the one at Mei Sum. I miss you, Crabby. See you soon.

We also got a fried garlic spicy ahi roll which was the most familiar taste of the evening for me. I enjoyed the crunch of the garlic and that creamy texture of the fish. I’m not sophisticated (or wealthy, quite frankly) enough to enjoy really, really good fish, but I can tell the difference between the stuff I usually eat and the stuff I ate tonight. I could feel my heart getting sadder as the food began to slowly disappear from our table.

The sashimi platter was awesome and I was proud of us because we actually chose the perfect size. My instinct is to always order the largest size, but I’ve been with Lynnette for 14 years now, and married for 11. I remember her lessons: There are only 2 adults in our house and when there’s a bunch of different kinds of food, we don’t have to order massive portions. It’s the conditioning of growing up in a house with my dad and two brothers. Food got scarce fast.

A few weeks ago I Googled what the 11-year anniversary gift is. The traditional woman would be gifted steel; and modern woman, however, should be gifted turquoise. Obviously, Lynnette is a modern woman, so I was bummed about not being able to get her a BBQ grill. Then, I looked online for turquoise gifts and nothing looked like her. She doesn’t wear jewelry as often anymore, partially because we don’t go out very often, but more so because she’s got that new-found confidence which obviates the need for flashy baubles. I spent hours trying to come up with a gift for her but never settled on anything. Then, on our way out of the house tonight, I got it. I drove down the main street near our home and said “I have to get something from the gas station,” as I turned into the strip mall. “What?” she said. I walked out with an AUX cable. “What’s this?” she asked. “It’s so you can listen to your podcasts in here (the Corolla),” I said. She was thrilled. So thrilled, that we spent the 40 minute drive into town listening to a story about the raccoons of Guadeloupe. Riveting.

Happy Anniversary Weekend, Love.

The Chill Summer Goes Bang!

Well, so much for that uneventful summer I hoped for.

2We got rear-ended in the Sienna this afternoon while driving home on the freeway. It happened before the lane closure as traffic slowed around the Middle Street area. I stopped, the car behind me stopped, but the car behind that one didn’t. It slammed into the car behind me and sent it straight into us. Everyone is OK. My neck hurts a little, but it is not terribly painful. I’ve already medicated with Advil and Coca-Cola. In the midday sun, it felt strange to watch cars on the other side of the barrier slow down to look at us. One guy shouted obscenities as he drove past us. It was surreal to be sure.

3The kids are alright. Cole and Avery were napping when the accident occurred. Cole was roused by the noise and collision, but luckily Madison had some french fries handy. Cole didn’t fuss the entire time. Avery didn’t fuss either, but that’s because she slept through the entire thing. Of course she did. To my surprise Madison didn’t panic or get overly excited in this, her first automobile accident. She remained calm, didn’t ask a billion questions, and most importantly, continued to feed Cole those fries. The police arrived, wrote up the report, then sent us on our way. I would like to thank them for their quick, courteous, and professional handling of our situation.

1It was a Jeep that got knocked into us and it left its mark. I haven’t bothered to open the back hatch because I don’t want to make things worse. The red wagon is back there and I have no idea how we’re going to get it out. I suspect we’ll lose the van for a few days when it comes time for repairs; that’s a bummer because we already lost 9 days of summer because we thought Madison became Mumplestilzkin. Still, things could have been a lot worse. They were a lot worse last summer. I’m grateful that everyone in our car and in the other two are fine. And, if there’s a single lining in all of this, it is the simple fact that I don’t have to look at that hideous Creighton license plate holder ever again.

Blue Rocks, Yellow Submarine

1Magikarp and Gyarados moved into their new space. Lynnette’s friend had given her one of those fish tank/bug boxes a while back and she brought it up from the garage a couple of days ago. I promised Madison we’d go to a pet store to find one decoration she could put into it. We did that this morning.

I’ve always been amused by watching Madison select things for purchase. Her tastes have always leaned toward the garish. She also still struggles to match clothing by color, print, style, etc. I love watching her eyes explore the shelves. I want so badly to know what the gears in head look like as they grind. Today she picked up a fake rock with neon blue, pink, green, and yellow rubber flowers. She held it in her hand for a few moments before putting it back. I would have gone with the Asian bridge myself, as I grew up with something similar in my family’s fish tank).She eventually went with a yellow submarine that pops off the blue rocks, so great job, Mad.

I asked Madison if she remembered our first fish tank. She does not. Perhaps that’s just as well. For reasons I will never understand, the fish in our tank were pre-conditioned to destroy each other. They all bullied each other until one was left and he died alone. I hope Magikarp and Gyarados fare better than our previous fish.

Cole likes the fish quite a bit. We’ve known about his interest in fish since our first visit to the zoo. He pointed and squealed at the fish swimming around the tunnel in the petting zoo. We can’t take him out of the stroller to look at the fish at Ala Moana because he tries to jump in every single time. Once a day, Cole climbs up on a chair next to the island and watches the fish. Today, he went a little farther. As Madison and I were making preparations to move the fish, Cole took advantage of our inattentiveness. He took Madison’s stylus and shoved it and his fist into the top of the fish vase and began to stir. I don’t think he can smile larger than he did then.

Lynnette pulled him off the chair and washed his hands in the sink. Lynnette hates fish water. She even dolphin water shamed Madison on Sunday. Right before we left the house, I changed Cole’s diaper. He lay there looking up at me. “Son, I’m not going to sit here and pretend you did the right thing by sticking your hand into the fish water,” I said. I put his shorts back on. “But what you’re going to find in life is that you’ll regret more the things you didn’t do than the things you did. And if you’ve been dreaming about sticking your hand into the fish since Mad brought them home, then congratulations,” I said. “Oh my God,” Lynnette scoffed. I high-fived Cole and sent him on his way.

Madison’s Dolphin Encounter

3Madison met a dolphin at Sea Life Park today. She’s going to tell you all about it. Her words are in her customary pink.

Were you excited to meet a dolphin?
Yeah, I was super-excited.

What was your dolphin’s name?
I forget. Do you remember?

It started with “K”, I think.

Were you scared when you got in the water?
No, but the water was freezing and it smelled like frozen fish.

What was the hardest part of the experience?
Dancing with it.

Why was it hard?
Because you have to hit the water – but not too hard or too soft.

What is it like to kiss a dolphin*?
It feels like someone put a blob of lotion on you cheek and lips. And it also felt good because the dolphin was smooth and he didn’t bite.

Did anything about the dolphin or your session surprise you?
Yeah, how old the dolphin was and how well it was trained. I thought I was going to be with the younger one (dolphin), but it was older than its usual lifespan.

What was your favorite part of the whole experience?
Probably getting a kiss from the dolphin, then looking at Cole and seeing that he wanted to hop into the water with me. The dolphin was really cute and I had a good time.

*When we got home, I scrolled through the pictures of Mad’s time with the dolphin. As we got to the kiss pictures, Lynnette blurted out “EWWW! MADISON’S FIRST KISS WAS WITH A DOLPHIN!!!!!” Madison was stunned. In what can only be described as a rarity, Mad was so shocked that she didn’t even yell anything back. Her face grew bright red and it wore this kind of smirk/scowl that I swear was 95% motification, 3% anger, and 2% concession that Lynnette made a good joke. 


It rained overnight and drizzled this morning so I took the twins to the indoor playground at Windward Mall. In a cruel twist of fate and complete waste of gas, neither Cole nor Avery were interested in the playground at all.

1Today was Cole’s turn to be an opihi! He was fine when I put him into the wagon. He was babbling through the mall. As soon as I took him out of the wagon and placed him on the cushioned bench, he started whining. I tried to put him on a few of the structures, but he pulled his feet in like landing gear or as if the floor was lava. Madison got him to play for about 30 seconds before Cole remembered Madison is not me, and he started looking around for me. When he found me, he pointed and shouted. I didn’t even want to sit next to me. I called him an albatross and he didn’t get the reference but I didn’t think he would yet I was hopeful he might… let go of me at some point. He never did until I put him back in the wagon.

2Avery, on the other hand, was looking for a little too much independence. Every time she created a little distance between herself and Madison or I, Avery made a move for the opening of the play area. The first few times she stopped at the mat at the entrance and tapped on it. I assume this had something to do with its visuals and textural change. But then she just started to full-on sprint right or left into the mall. It wasn’t fun to chase her because I was barefoot, too. Then, when I had had enough of that, I tried to put her back into the wagon. She revolted. She stiffened her body out like a board so I couldn’t buckle her in. She screamed at the top of her lungs. Cole began to clamor for more snacks.

In that moment I wanted to leave them both there. I was so angry I felt I could have spontaneously exploded like a human torch flamed with rage. All I could think about was how we saw the H3 town-bound lanes cut down to one backed up all the way down the mountain on our way to the mall. I carried Avery out through the mall and Madison pulled Cole behind me. They were fine by the time we got to the van. They just didn’t want to be in that playground. I wish they would tell me these kinds of things.

Daddy’s Little Opihi (because Mommy wasn’t there)

I went to dinner with 2016 graduates last night and we made beach plans during the meal. Some of them were eager to help watch Cole and Avery, so I thought that it would at least even the odds of adults vs. toddlers. I don’t know why I ever make plans.

2Cole Boy was fine. He played with Madison, he played alone, and he didn’t mind hanging around with my former students. He also didn’t do that thing where he decides he’s over it and walks in the opposite direction of the water. In fact, Cole provided the highlight of the day. I was sitting with Avery in the shallow water and talking with my students. Cole was on the sand. He filled a funnel with sand using both fists; he just looked like a happy kid. Then, when the cup was full, he lifted it up, tilted his head back, opened his mouth and poured the sand in there. “No!!!” I shouted from the water. He looked at me and unleashed a huge smile, his mouth framed by sand. This guy over here!

3It should come as no surprise that my PITA Girl was the snag in my best laid plan. She didn’t nap in the morning so she was a little tired but she was also super-clingy. She didn’t want any part of anyone who wasn’t me for longer than a minute or two. She wouldn’t even let me put her down during lunch. I had to sit her in my lap – until she saw a bird that got her on her feet. Then it’s like she forgot that she was in my lap because she plopped down next to me and picked up her cup of milk and drank away. Now, had Lynnette been there, Avery would have affixed herself to her, leaving me free to scrape sand out of my son’s mouth and get into water a little more than a foot deep.

1All of this meant Madison was free. She was on a boogie board or swimming in the lagoon. She had to chase Cole back toward us a few times, but other than that, she was on her own and she loved it. When I carried both Cole and Avery up to the grass for lunch Mad never bothered to ask for a drink or a snack. She just stayed in water. It was hard to blame her. And then of course when I started the car and cued up the air conditioning, Cole and Avery instantaneously fell asleep. “Are you getting Sushi Bay for lunch?” Madison asked as we drove through Ko’olina. “No, not today,” I said. “Wow, every time we’re on this side you get Sushi Bay,” she said. “Not today. I have leftovers,” I said. I did have leftovers. But I really wanted sushi. It’s just that I didn’t have the energy to call in the order, get out of the car, wait in line to pay, walk back to the car, get out of that congested lot, get back on the freeway, then finish the drive home. Yes, I envisioned all of this on the way through Kapolei. It is a rare event when sushi doesn’t win.

That’s More Like It, Summer!

Mama and Papa graciously agreed to watch Cole and Avery so Madison and I could tear up some summer today. This time, the weather actually cooperated!

DCIM100GOPROG0047032.We got to Kaimana Beach and found non-metered parking. Yes! We walked over to find the beach wasn’t crowded at all. Yes! The water was cool and refreshing. Yes! It was a beautiful morning for the beach and I did only the minimal amount of involuntarily looking around for Cole and Avery, but Madison and I got sunburned. “There’s suntan lotion in the car,” I said. “That’s the one we used when we got sunburned last time,” Mad said. “Really? Maybe we just need to rub it in this time,” I said. Well. we sprayed liberally and rubbed it in. It didn’t matter. This suntan lotion is now dead to me. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…sunburn on me.

2We added to the playground tour by finally getting to Paki Playground. Every single time we’ve passed by the park on the way home from the zoo or aquarium or from Pokemon Go-ing, we’ve seen the jungle gym and we’ve seen the swings. Every single time, I’ve said “Oh, we should check that out one day.” Today was that day. We don’t get much time on the swings but it turns out that Madison is finally coordinated and/or strong and/or brave and/or big enough to actually create some momentum on the swings! I could see the uneasiness in her face as she climbed higher and her legs stopped moving. Still, she was game to jump off the swing – though at a low height. These attempts also provided the highlight of the day. During one of her runs, she started to jump off the swing – she got one hand off the chains – but then stopped and fell back into the seat. The swing lurched oddly and she had to stick up one of her legs for balance. Her face was a mixture of fear and confusion. But she smiled and we laughed as soon as she came to a standstill.

3We got lunch from the food court at Ala Moana. It was our second lunch date in as many weeks. We did not have such an emotional conversation as the one that took place last week, but I think that’s partially because the food was better (sorry, Arby’s). Look, there’s something about the spaghetti from the Poi Bowl that I like, even if I can’t explain or tell you what it is. Also, they have $1.85 large Cokes, which is a steal, by the way. Their mac salad isn’t super great, though. It’s the one glaring flaw of their offerings other than the fact that their food tastes so good that it’s impossible that it’s good for any part of me other than my tongue.

4The actual reason we ate at the Ala Moana food court – and the pinnacle of the day as far as Madison was concerned – was to make make our first ever trip inside of Jungle Fun. In all of my life, I had never actually set foot inside of Jungle Fun. I never made it past the yapping, backflipping toy dogs out front. A week or two ago, I made the mistake of showing Madison a snap of the play structure inside of Jungle Fun. I didn’t know (but should have) that it would cost money for Madison to enter this play structure. Well, I hope she got my money’s worth. “It’s waaaaaay bigger than the one at Chuck E. Cheese,” she said. “Is that good?” I asked. “Yeah, but it’s not as good as Thrillit,” she said. “Well, yeah, Thillit is like 10 times the size,” I said. “Yeah. I wanna go to Thrillit again one day,” she said. “I don’t know. It might be 5 or 6 years before we can travel again,” I said. “Yeah,” Mad said, a little bummed. “But by then you’re going to be 14 or 15 and you won’t even want to play in Thrillit anymore,” I said. “Of course I will, dad,” she said. Well, then.