Road Game (and Playground Tour) on Kauai

“Mister?” one of my students – an offensive lineman on the football team – said in class last week. “Yes?” I said. “You went to the first St. Francis game, yeah?” he continued. “Yeah,” I said. “But you didn’t go to the other two?” he asked. “No,” I said. “You were at the Iolani games, too?” he asked. “Yeah, I was,” I said. I knew what he was getting at. “So you have to come this Friday,” he said, referring to last weekend’s ILH Division II Championship game. “Yeah, I’ll be there,” I said. The Monarchs won 13-12 and ended with a series that called to mind the final drive in the legendary Seahawks/Patriots Super Bowl. If you want me to describe what happened in excruciating detail, message me.

1So anyway, I decided on Sunday night that I’m going to Kauai to watch the team play in the State semi-final. I am a logical man but sports does something to completely override all that, man. I am a recovering superstitious sports fan. I no longer believe that my actions in any way, shape, or form affect the outcome of a game that I am not a participant in. But also, they might?

I decided late Sunday night to bring Madison with me. I was going to surprise her Friday, but Lynnette’s dad inadvertently let it slip that she was coming with me. When I asked her this evening how she feels about it, she dropped this smirk. “I’m excited,” she said, trying to not to smile too broadly. “We haven’t gone on a trip since the Era of Peace,” she said. I can’t be sure, but I believe “The Era of Peace” is name Mad has given to the time of her life before the events of November 9th and 10th of 2015.

2So we’ll watch the game at 2:00. Before that, we’re going to hit up the Kamalani Playground, which is one of the largest and best playgrounds in the state. I have Googled it and I’m not sure I’ve seen one single picture capture the entire structure. Madison’s eyes nearly rolled back into her skull when I showed her the search results. I don’t know that the Playground Tour will ever be the same after this one. Hopefully we’ll eat at a couple of signature spots before we come back late Saturday night.

Before I leave this entry to Yelp “best Kauai restaurants”, I need to thank Lynnette. This whole thing started on Sunday night when I said, “I’m only half-serious – but do you think I could go to Kauai on Saturday?” She squinted her eyes and muttered “Saturday, Saturday, Saturday…” “Oh, shit,” I said. “That’s your birthday.” She laughed. “IT IS!” she said. “Just go,” she said. And so I am.

There was a time when such a thing would be impossible. It would have led to a fight and one of us – and there’s really no telling which – sleeping on the couch for a night or two. But Lynnette and I have come a long way from the younger, more emotional versions of ourselves. Don’t get me wrong – I owe her one hell of a rain check dinner – but truth be told, the coolest part of all this is knowing that she and I are at a place in our relationship where we can say “Just go” (or “fine” or “whatever” or “up to you”) and actually mean it, and actually want it for each other. Thanks, babe. Just do your research and let me know what you want us to bring back for you.

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The Dork Knights Rise

Lynnette’s nephew turned 1 this week and we attended his birthday party last night. The invitation asked the kids to dress up in their favorite super hero costumes, but I wasn’t about to let them have all the fun.

12345Thanks to a combination of Target’s physical stores and online sites, I was able to outfit the entire family in Batman-ish outfits for a somewhat reasonable price. And when I say “reasonable” all I mean is “as far as I could go without Lynnette objecting to the whole thing.

Speaking of Lynnette, all of this hinged on her. Mad’s always down to get dressed up, the twins don’t have free will, and I have spent all of my life looking for reasons to dress up like my favorite comic book heroes. It could have all fallen apart if Lynnette simply decided she was too cool for such behavior. Obviously, she is too cool, but then she strikes a pose like that and nope, she’s a dork, too.

I was thrilled to find a Batman t-shirt that came with a cape. You can’t see it here, but I was playing with the cape all night. Did I sprint across two aisles of the parking lot to see if it would flutter behind me? Maybe. I don’t know. There’s just something about this shirt that filled me with confidence. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I felt fit. Athletic, even. You know me – I’m not one to brag, but I look absolutely shredded in this shirt. Must be the aura of dressing like the Dark Knight.

“Your turn,” I said. “Huh?” Madison said. “You have to pose for a picture. Like a super hero,” I said. “Okay,” she said. Then she hit this. “You’re not Super Girl,” I said. “Huh?” Mad said. “You know what? Nevermind,” I said.

Besides munching on boiled peanuts all night, she did a fantastic job of trailing Cole and Avery around the dining area. Mad even befriended a girl dressed as Wonder Woman and the two of them prowled the room, sometimes chasing after one of the twins, sometimes looking for snacks.

I gotta be honest. I like Cole Boy’s shirt the best. It’s a basic baseball shirt with a felt Bat logo in the center. It’s the kind of shirt one could wear over and over again without it looking like a costume. Just like how I’m going to wear my Batman t-shirt whenever I need a quick boost of the old self-esteem or I want Lynnette to find me slightly more attractive. But I digress.

The Candy Boy was very well behaved last night, sticking around the table for a fruit salad dinner, confining his dancing to the dance floor, and allowing himself to be held by a number of family members. I snapped this picture of him in the Bat Cave as Lynnette finished her dinner.

Avery, on the other hand, would not be confined to a a simple dining hall. She explored the space outside of the main building. She got angry at me when I wouldn’t let her jump into the koi point. She walked along the walkways between buildings, and generally looked like the cutest, plumpest Bat Girl to ever scream and rumble at full-speed without the aid of a Batmobile. Lynnette and I hoped that letting her stalk through Gotham City would tire her out, but it did not. She was still awake when we got home and did not want to sleep while there was still crime fighting and cabinet banging to do.

I never imagined that I would marry such a beautiful woman and have three kids, with two of them being twins. Those are the kinds of details my young brain wouldn’t have been able to really comprehend 15 years ago. But back then, did I ever imagine that my entire hypothetical family might one day dress up as a group of super heroes? Yes. Yes, i did. Thank you, Lynnette, Madison, Cole, and Avery for making one of my lifelong dreams come true.

Britney Spears Song That Best Describes My Life: “(You Drive Me) Crazy”

This is the post I meant to write yesterday. I had the pictures selected, all the ideas sorted out – I even had some jokes ready to go – then I had to put Cole to bed and knocked out, too.

4Madison’s dance recital, Old School Jamz, took place yesterday. Lynnette took her while I stayed home with the twins because although staying home with the twins is a pretty bad idea, I cannot think of a worse one than bringing the two of them to one of Mad’s dance shows. Have you ever seen someone’s terrible choices unfold in front of you, in public, in full view of dozens of people? Why would you do that? you might have thought to yourself. Well, I didn’t want to be that guy. Both Lynnette’s side and my side of the family went to watch Madison perform. Lynnette said Madison did a great job. Lynnette was doubtful because Madison’s last practices at home Saturday morning were lackadaisical. Mad danced to a medley of Britney Spears songs and I agree, calling Britney Spears “old school” seems insane since …Baby One More Time was released in 1999, but that’s where we are. Which, is insane.

21My morning with the twins involved some playoff baseball, and a two-on-one handicap match in the living room. It’s super-fun to wrestle with Cole and Avery because they’re both light enough that I can actually hit finishers on them. They actually enjoy it, too, but a little too much. They keep running into my knees so I pick them up and launch them onto the couch, but I don’t really have that kind of endurance. So the two-on-one match ends the same way every time: with Cole and Avery pinned down side-by-side and one of my hands on each them, tickling their chests and neck area. They always tap out to that one.

At about 11:30 Cole and Avery gave me the greatest gift children can give their parents: they both put themselves down for a nap. Avery fell asleep first. Reading books wears her out, I guess. I went horizontal on the couch and Cole plopped down beside me. “Nap time?” I asked him. He nestled up next to me. I don’t know what happened after that because I fell asleep. I don’t know how much later it was, but I shot up and looked over to Avery. She was still asleep near the bookshelf. Cole wasn’t on the couch, though. “Cole!” I whisper-yelled. No answer. I found him asleep on Madison’s mattress in the twins’ room. The buggah tucked himself in!

3I was unable to sleep after that because of the adrenaline running through my body as a result of thinking I lost one of my kids in my own house. I started prepping their lunch and waited for them to wake. Once we took care of that, I packed them into the van and drove us down to Target. As usual, Avery pulled a Titanic, standing at the prow of the shopping cart; Cole was content in the child seat facing me. Wanna hear something kind of strange/cool? The spots change depending on whether or not Lynnette is with us. If Lynnette is around, Avery rides in the Ergo. You wouldn’t think this would affect Cole in anyway, but it does. He refuses to sit in the child seat and wants to cruise in the larger part of the wagon. He did it twice today. Well, we finished our time together at the Mililani Dog Park for a Pokemon Go raid. No, I didn’t catch it. But Cole and Avery did catch a bunch of cheddar goldfish so they didn’t even care.

Eyeball on Fire

Preface: I use disposable contact lenses. The suggested period for their use is two weeks. I generally treat this “suggested period” the same way I treat the expiration date on milk: it’s basically a general guideline and it’s probably OK to keep using it until it’s obviously not.

For reasons unknown to us (probably laziness) Lynnette and I have yet to order our new contacts. I knew a month or two ago that I was down to my last two pairs, so I decided that I would be “extra careful” in using them. No, I don’t know what that could possibly mean, either. Anyway, I’d been running the last set pretty hard, and I think what finally did them in was the grading at weird hours that I did over the last four days of fall break. The lens in my left eye felt strange in particular – like it no longer fit my eye or something. But I really needed to get that grading done and I don’t like wearing my glasses, so I soldiered on.

By the middle of work Monday, both eyes were irritated, so I kept removing the contacts, moistening them with solution, then shoving them back in there. By last period I could barely keep my left eye open. I ripped the contact out and on my drive home. “There’s something wrong with my eye,” I said stoically when I got home. “Let me see it,” Lynnette said. She said something unfit for print in an outlet as classy as this. It was really red. It was weepy. It was as if only half of my face watched This is Us.

unnamedI went to our eye doctor who advised me to: order new contacts, stick to the two-week limit, and not wear glasses for a week. “What’s wrong with it?” I asked of my crimson orb. “Oh, so the contact just sucked everything to the front of the eyeball. It’s inflamed,” she said. “Oh,” I said.

So, now. the unintended consequence of having to wear glasses is that I have to get a haircut sooner than I wanted to. I have a fat head and my glasses are pretty snug around the sides of said fat head. The arms of the glasses tramp down on my hair, but make the hair around it stand up. When I take the glasses off, it looks the same way the grass at a park does when I lift up the blanket we were sitting on and I can see the unseemly imprint of my butt cheeks.

“Ho, not the glasses, ah?” a student has already said. “Whoa, I thought you were Mr. Chan!” a student has already said. “Ho, you and Mr. Chan! Braddaaaaaaahhhz!” a student has already said. One more week of this.

Fall Break 2017: Epic Cousin Time

My dad and brother Matty were home today so we kicked of Fall Break by hanging out with the two of them and Declan. We brought over Declan’s birthday gift – an enormous inflatable pool/play area complete with a slide.

DCIM101GOPROG0613892.Declan likes his gift. He killed it going down the slide. By the end of it, he was climbing all over the place, moving between the two pools, and shooting his cousins with the water hose. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a month age advantage play out as boldly as it did today. Declan moves quicker than Cole and Avery. He also seems to lack the aversion to cold water that Cole and Avery possess. Well, he is the progeny of one Matty Higa, so there’s a chance he’s just a mad man. It isn’t out of the question.

23Twenty minutes into the water fun, I left to pick up McDonald’s for lunch. It was probably for the best that none of the 3 Mrs. Higas were present for what some are already calling “French Fry Fest ’17.”

When I got back, Cole was already out of the pool. As soon as he saw the bags of food, he shrieked and took them from me as I dangled them over the patio wall. Avery squirmed and fussed in Matty’s arms. “Why is she angry?” I asked. “She didn’t want to come out of the pool,” he said. “Just put her back,” I said. “Really?” he said. “Yeah.” By then I had set Cole up with a box of fries on the patio stairs. Mad got her food. “Avery? You want french fries?” I shouted, holding one in the air for her to see. She screamed dramatically from the pool, then made her way to the patio. By then, though, Cole had set himself up as the keeper of the fries. Avery tried to reach into the box, but Cole Dikembe Mutombo’d her every attempt. I had to set up a little napkin with chicken nuggets and fries for Avery.

That was my second favorite part of the day. The first came when Cole left his seat to get a drink. Avery saw the void to her right and slid over to the exposed carton of fries. When Cole came back, he pointed at the box and made shrieking/crying noises. It was hilarious. “Move your feet, lose your seat, suckah!” I said, probably with a little too much glee. My dad hooked him up with some fries to keep the peace.

It was a gorgeous day and we can only hope the weather gods continue to gift us with such incredible conditions for the rest of the week.

Homecoming Pep Rally 2017

Cole and Avery are still too young to bring to Damien football games. I have already visualized what bringing them to Aloha Stadium – or any stadium for that matter – would mean. Cole recklessly ascending and descending the stairs for the duration of the game. Avery climbing the chairs and stopping on the metal bleachers or flooring as hard as she possibly could. The only silver lining would be some good cardio. I hate cardio.

But, I figured they might be old enough to attend the Homecoming pep rally on campus. They could run around in my classroom beforehand, then run around on the grass area atop the hill during the actual event. Sounds great, right?

IMG_3074

Some Windex will get that right out.

IMG_3079

The Most Avery thing possible.

It really was great. Lynnette picked up McDonald’s on the way to the school, but Cole and Avery were so excited to run around the wide open classroom that they didn’t eat immediately. Cole climbed into and out of a few desks. Whenever a student entered or exited, he ran towards the door in an attempt to break out of the room. Once Madison finished her meal, she started drawing on the whiteboards. I asked Madison to help Cole do the same. She was doing a great job of it until she got distracted (as always) and Cole wrote on the wall and door. I’ll be scrubbing that out very soon. Thanks, Cole Boy.

Not to be outdone, Avery spent the afternoon being Avery. Her supernatural sonar somehow located the loudest desk (mine) in the room; she started banging its side with both hands. I laughed. She’s so predictable in this way. A few moments later, climbed over the rod under the desk repeatedly in what I can only assume was her version of a playground. Eventually, my little daredevil made it to every corner of the room, exploring areas under, behind, and atop desks, all while clutching a half-piece of a chicken nugget. That’s simply how she rolls, baby.

IMG_3097Madison accompanied me during my failed defense of my water balloon toss title. She finally got a cup of Kona Ice.

She, Lynnette, and I took turns tailing Cole and Avery back and forth along the top of the hill. At some point Cole found the stairwell closest to the cafeteria and decided that going up and down them was all he wanted to do with the rest of his night. I took this picture of the flame-engulfed DM from the area right outside of Mr. Aina’s office while pinning Cole to the railing with my knees, an act which I would describe as tender, true, and bold.

Cole and Avery had such a great time that that whined the whole way back to the parking lot and screamed at Lynnette and me when we tried to put them in their car seats. They didn’t want to leave! Thank you to all of the faculty and students who made last night such a wonderful time for my family. Thank you especially to those co-workers, students, and parents who made time to hang out with my family. I really appreciate it.

Go Monarchs!

The Updated Sleep Assignments for School Year 2017-2018

We’ve had some slight movement since the school year began. It’s not ideal, but it works.

IMG_3031Master Bedroom: Lynnette, Cole, and Abby. 

Pros: I no longer get punched and kicked in the face; I don’t have to sleep on a 6-inch edge section of the bed. I don’t wake Cole up when I get up in the morning or any of the 17 times I get up to take a leak in the middle of the night.

Cons: I can’t remember the last time I cuddled with my wife for longer than 15 minutes.

Lynnette and I tried to work it out. Somewhere during the summer I got tired of getting ninja kicked and elbowed in the face by Cole and declared my intention to sleep on the couch. It was hot, though. “No, stay here,” Lynnette said. “Why? It’s not like we can cuddle, anyway. He sleeps between us,” I said. There was a beat of silence. “Why don’t you put Cole there against the railing, you sleep in the middle, then I’ll sleep here at the edge?” I asked. “No,” Lynnette said. “Why?” I asked. She laughed. “Because I noticed he tends to roll this way,” she said, pointing in her direction.

IMG_3027The Twins’ Room: Madison and Avery. 

Pros: Madison has a roommate; Avery has a chaperone; I can sleep in a bed.

Cons: None

Two months ago, Avery was the best sleeper in the house (in the kids category). Lynnette would take 15 minutes to sing Avery to sleep, and even if she wasn’t completely asleep, Avery would settle herself down for the night. For reasons known only to her – like everything else she does – Avery began reacting violently to Lynnette leaving the room, even after the latter sang the former “Part of Your World”. Avery figured out how to launch herself out of her crib. It was like the greatest one-up I’ve ever seen a child pull. Oh, yeah? You gonna leave me in here by myself? Watch this! She ended up crying on the floor of her room one night. On another, Lynnette frantically yelled that she couldn’t see Avery on the monitor. I opened the door to find the Gravy Boat perched on the ottoman in the room. She was crying.

A few weeks ago when we were still trying to win, I put Avery in her crib and lay down next to it on a futon mattress. She climbed to the top rope and didn’t even both to wait for me to get up. “NOOOOOO!” I yelled and she jumped and hit me with the frog splash. She has no fear of anything in this mortal world except for the vacuum. Avery forced our hand. Lynnette converted the crib into a toddler bed which now doubles as Cole’s trampoline. But since Madison sleeps in the room, Avery has a cuddle buddy, which thankfully mitigates some of the trouble Avery can get into in the middle of the night.

IMG_3032Madison’s Room: me.

Pros: Uninterrupted sleep.

Cons: Navigating a minefield of Madison’s stuff every single one of the 17 times I get up in the middle of the night to take a leak; I don’t have anyone to spoon; it’s the hottest room in the house.

It’s not a terrible arrangement. No one bothers me and there’s memory foam on the mattress. I have my iPad charger in the wall adjacent to the bed and just this weekend I moved my iPhone dock alarm clock in. The room is pink and decorated with a number of Disney Princesses and their animal sidekicks. There are toys all over the place. I have to slant the mattress slightly off the frame so that I can use the iPad charger against the wall. But, but, but. NO ONE BOTHERS ME. I have tried several times to have the best of both worlds and seduce Lynnette into cuddling with me, but it never lasts longer than a few minutes. People start looking for us. Mostly Lynnette. But still.

Someday I will tell you when I get to sleep in my own bed again. Someday.