Spring Break 2018: Back at the Beach!

1Our original Sunday plan centered on a leisurely drive to Kailua. A quick check of my weather app suggested it might be raining there and a student confirmed it over Twitter. We made a quick adjustment and headed out to Yokohama Bay instead because when does it ever rain out there, right? Today. It rained today.

We took a few detours on the way to the beach. I hoped to find a new playground but had so such luck. We made a quick stop at Makaha District Park, but the structure was very similar to one we’ve already been to. It was almost 10 when we parked the fan at 3rd Dips, the section of the beach fronted by a large reef and consequently perfect for the twins. A fine mist steadily descended off the mountains and we chilled in the van for almost an hour in hopes that the weather gods would clear it up. They didn’t. They gave us that amazing rainbow instead. Not a fan of the trade-off.

 

DCIM102GOPROG1096985.Eventually, Lynnette said we may as well just get out of the van and into the water for as long as we could since we had driven out all that way. It was decent logic, but she meant that the rest of us should get into the water. She just colored her hair yesterday and so she spent most of the time at the beach protecting her beautiful new locks. The rest of us didn’t mind, though, as the drizzle didn’t bother us too much. The sun glowed through the haze and the shallow water was warm enough for the twins to avoid hypothermia for at least 20 minutes.

DCIM103GOPROG1287547.Madison brought the small hand net and trolled the shallows for small fish. She caught 11 of them before we decided to go. It’s kind of impressive to watch. She has no real athletic ability or reasoning behind her tactics. She just trails a fish until it’s within her arm’s reach, then wildly slams the net into the water, sometimes with a Monica Seles grunt. Then she looks in the net and expresses surprise every time she catches a tiny fish. That makes two of us, Mad.

DCIM102GOPROG1147125.DCIM102GOPROG1127063.Cole and Avery didn’t appear to be affected by the weather at all, at least initially. Since Lynnette decided she wasn’t getting into the water, she was all-time cameraman. Cole’s pretty good by himself, but sometimes he gets more excited than brave and doesn’t think things through. He tried climbing and jumping on a bunch of slippery and jagged rocks before figuring out maybe that was a terrible idea. To his credit, he never did it again and asked for help before scaling partially submerged rocks to jump off of.

Because Lynnette was not in the water, I was an acceptable option for Avery. She held my hand tightly as she waded through the water, sidestepping rocks in her path. Then, she also decided that the rocks must have been put there to jump off of because that’s how she spent the last 10 minutes of our stay. She took my hand, used it to balance as she slowly edged up a rock. She stopped for a brief moment at the top or flattest surface of the rock, as if to bask in self-satisfaction. Finally, she stepped off the rock into the water below. A giggle followed the splash every single time.

Today was our first visit to the beach in a while and even though it didn’t go as planned, I’m glad we finally broke the shutout streak. I asked Madison if she thought we could handle the twins at the beach by ourselves, without Lynnette. “I think we get ’em,” she said, like a true moke. “Oh, yeah?” “Yeah. I got Cole,” she said. I laughed. “Of course,” I said. Well. Let’s find out.

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Cole and Avery and the Promise of Growth

After two or three soggy, gloomy, chilly weekends, the weather gods finally cooperated enough to allow us the chance to look for some new playgrounds this weekend. I’m going to post a few pictures of our adventures but write about some of the twins’ advances as they slowly transition from unruly tyrants to tiny humans.

img_7397Okay, but before anything else, I have to point out how Madison is becoming a moderately reliable photographer. You may have noticed that I am rarely in the pictures of our adventures. The reason is a practical one: I’m the one taking pictures. The twins can’t be trusted to hold or operate anything with a value over $.99. Madison is busy trying to get her play in. Lynnette is ever vigilant, her hawk eyes (framed by impeccable lashes, it must be said) are always on the lookout lest a single germ microbe get within 15 feet of Cole or Avery. But I’ve digressed.

Over the last two days, I’ve asked Madison to take pictures of Lynnette and I. Sometimes the twins are involved like above, but at other times, they end up like this:

img_7431I don’t know where she picked it up from, but Madison simply isn’t content to take our photos. She’ll pop a few tame ones, then start coaching Lynnette and me. She always always always tries to get pictures of us kissing and they always always always end up looking like this because the only thing that Lynnette hates more than germ microbes afflicted her children is my microbes afflicting her. When I handed Madison the camera today, she said “now drink each other’s champagne”. Not only did neither Lynnette nor I even ask how she even knows of such a concept – we actually did it! We interlocked arms and pantomimed drinking. I would have posted that picture but it was blurry. “Moderately reliable”, remember? Frickin’ Madison. She’s a clown.

img_7457On the playground, Cole’s become the family daredevil. Yesterday he climbed a curved ladder up to an upper level of the play structure as Mad and I cheered him on. In the past, he’d get two rungs up and ask us to help him down. On Saturday, he got halfway and stopped. “Do it!” I implored. “Go, Cole!” Madison cheered. And he kept going. When he got to the top, he stood, turned to us and shouted “DO IT!” Today when Lynnette, Madison, and I were occupied with Avery on the slide, Cole took it upon himself to climb a ladder to the highest part of the structure. I didn’t see him until he was 3/4 of the way up. I ran around the structure to get to him, and when I got there, he was mumbling “Do it, do it, do it” as he methodically moved his hands and feet onward. When he got to the plateau, he once again turned and screamed “DO IT!” This is the good stuff, man.

Avery, on the other hand is something of a playground chicken. Whenever she can see through the panels of the play structure, she’s reminded that she’s above ground. She reverts into a slow crawl to get to the stairs, then walks down. This is a truly surprising turn of events because Avery crawls on everything in the comfort of our home – and also other people’s homes. Apparently, she made it atop my parents’ counter using drawers and oven handles and sheer will. Maybe she’s a domestic climber.

Cole and Avery have also slowly earned some credit with me in the trust department. Both are less likely to dart off from the play area toward some wide open section of the park. This was always sort of Avery’s go-to move. A month or so ago, Cole because acting like one of those hunting dogs that point. If he saw Avery make a break for it, he’d point and shout “A-bree, A-bree!” in her direction. Yesterday, I saw him do something I’ve never seen him do before. As Avery jogged away from the play area, Cole took off after her. I expected him to grab her from behind as he’s done in the past, but this time, he pulled the Marlow-cutting-off-Kurtz-in-the-jungle and got in front of her. He pointed back to the play area. AND OH MY GOD, AVERY TURNED AND JOGGED BACK. I now know how all those scientists felt when the sharks in Deep Blue Sea swam backwards; when the raptors in Jurassic Park started opening doors; and when the one chimp started doing tricks for cigarettes in Project X.

img_7469img_7596Best of all, both Cole and Avery have shown that they can be trusted to walk with us without going rogue. We don’t even pack the double stroller in the van anymore. We still use the single stroller, but only to carry all of the bags. When we first tried it, both of the twins would often throw tantrums or want to walk only with Lynnette or eventually try to run off. This weekend, none of those things happened. Cole seems pretty good about walking with Mad or me, but Avery’s gotta walk with Mem.

They still don’t like leaving the playground, but can be lured away by the promise of snacks and water in the van. They still get distracted by things that catch their attention like Minnie Mouse balloons or in Cole’s case, shapes, numbers, and colors he recognizes. Overall, though, we’re so far from where we were just a couple of weeks ago when they’d both decide to turn into rocks and plop themselves down on the ground in protest of we never knew what. Lynnette still Ergos Avery sometimes, but it really depends on the Gravy Boat’s mood. Which, it should be said, is true of any women with Pascua blood coursing through her veins. I look at this picture here and laugh. She looks kind of dumpy, but that’s where she wanted to be. They were even pretty well-behaved at lunch. I’m so proud of how they acquitted themselves this weekend! I might survive them yet!

Congrats, Lynnette!

First of all, I have to thank my parents who have been willing to watch Madison, Cole, and Avery on Saturday nights in recent weeks. We cannot have dates nights without them taking those three clowns into their home without us. My mom and dad still seem to like the three of them, so I guess it’s going well.

img_7292When Lynnette tossed out her suggestions for date night, one of the restaurants featured sushi. So of course, that was my first leaning. But we always eat sushi, so I was cool with going Greek instead. We ate at the Olive Tree Cafe in part so Lynnette could browse Fighting Eel later. She wore the fish print cardigan pictured here which – apparently – is a kind of rare, sought after piece. Friends noted as much on our date night Instagram post. Lynnette’s Fighting Eel addiction is a strange and awe-inspiring thing I don’t quite understand, but then again, I used to have something like pairs of shoes, so I cannot really judge her.

img_7295“I have a coupon for 20% off a single item!” she said of her interest in Fighting Eel. “Well, I hope it’s 100% off you later tonight,” I said. She called me stupid. Fair. Watching Lynnette carve her way through the boutique paints my own clumsy attempts to shop for here in stark relief. She knows exactly what she’s looking for, skips over stuff that doesn’t catch her eye at all, then makes a beeline for the dressing room when she’s got an arm’s worth of possible conquests. Whenever I go in there, I’m like a blind man wearing a blindfold groping around for some hint of direction. “Can I help you?” one of the associates will ask. “Not yet,” I will say because I still need 15-20 minutes to narrow down the possibilities. Then I have to mentally play the “Is this a sleeveless top or a skirt” game in silence because I hatehatehate when I pick something out and the associate says “You know that’s a skirt, right?” because no, I didn’t know it was a skirt and I am totally incapable of telling the difference, just as I am incapable of selecting a cart at the grocery store that will roll smoothly, without one wiggly wheel or some huge ball of hair that prevents one or more of the damn wheels from rolling at all.

img_7303img_7329Before we left Kahala Mall, Lynnette got a cup from Banan for dessert, but I don’t have a picture of it because I was eating a mini spicy tuna don from Kuru Kuru for dessert. Ten minutes later, we ended up on Waialae Avenue and Lynnette squealed “Oooh, Via Gelato!” “You for real?” I said. She was. “I’m only going to get something if they have the milk tea flavor,” she said as we crossed the street. Well, they didn’t have that particular flavor in the case, and my love was crestfallen. “We’re already here, why don’t you look in the pint freezer?” And this picture here is the result of her search. Then we went to Pipeline Bakery for malassadas. To be fair, the malassadas were mostly for my parents and the kids. But I think you can tell how much joy Lynnette derived from buying them.

It wasn’t said, but I considered Saturday’s dessert-heavy date night a celebration of sorts. Lynnette’s taken on a temporary supervisory position at work recently. She had been considering applying for the position for a few weeks and went back and forth. Some days she was “yeah” and on others, she was all “nah”. Apparently, one of the cool things (at least to a dork like me) is that there are tiers to the public health nurse position. The following is part of a conversation we had when she was debating whether to apply:

Her: A temporary supervisor’s position is opening up soon.
Me: Okay.
Her: My current boss is a 6.
Me: What’s that?
Her: Public health nurse level 6.
Me: Ooh, levels. What are you?
Her: I’m a 4.
Me: Well…you’re a 10 in my book.
Her: STUPID.

Fair.

Right now, she doesn’t know how long it will last, if it’s something she will like, or if it’s something she will take to, but none of that really matters. Among the endless list of ways that Lynnette and I are diametrically opposed is in the area of ambition. She’s a go-getter while I am…not a go-getter. I like to go and get the path of least resistance. These contrasting qualities have caused problems for us during our time together, in no small part because of my own insecurities. In Lynnette I see an ambition and drive I don’t have and couldn’t even fake for longer than 5 minutes and sometimes it makes me wonder what – if anything –  is wrong with me. But not this time. I’m glad you’re taking this risk, Lynnette. You’re figured out every challenge put in front of you – school, marrying a clown, having three clown kids. I suspect this will be no different. Congratulations.

Goodbye/Hello Skechers

Okay. I know that I wrote one of these goodbye/hello posts last week, and every time I write one, I’m at least half-joking. I am not and have never been very good at dealing with change, and so these types of entries are kind of a defense mechanism against both the loss and replacement of articles which I’ve built some kind of emotional attachment to, as humans often do. But tonight, I’m maybe only quarter-joking.

img_7142These are Skechers Echo City Walks. They aren’t my favorite shoe – no, that designation still belongs to my beloved Nike Air Max 1 – but they are the best shoes I have ever owned. I bought them in the summer of 2016 and they feature two things I absolutely love: heavenly cushioning and a total lack of obnoxious Skechers branding. I love them so much that when I bought them, I immediately went back and purchased a pair in gray and should have also bought the ones in navy, too. In the time between then and now, I’ve searched the internet for identical replacement pairs, but the cost has always been prohibitive.

None of that has anything to do with why it’s going to be hard to give them up. The summer of 2016 was also the summer when Avery got sick. I wore these shoes nearly every day during that 7-week stretch of hospital visitations and later habitation. In the middle of those summer days, I’d take Madison and a very young Cole Boy out for a break from Kapiolani. We’d often drive around for searching Pokemon. I did a lot of looking at these shoes while they were on my feet as Madison and I sat on the grass – with Cole in the single stroller or crawling on a mat next to us – on the median between Kapiolani Park and the Waikiki Aquarium. I spent a lot of time with my phone out and Pokemon Go on, but also deep in my thoughts while staring at these shoes, rubbing out stray marks on the outsole with my fingertips, brushing away stray blades of grass. What was wrong with Avery? When was she going to come home? Would she ever come home? It was a stressful time and I spent much of it in these shoes. Literally and figuratively, no other pair of shoes have ever carried so much weight.

img_7112On Friday night I bought these as replacements because the cushioning on the City Walks have begun to fail. My toes scrunch up at the front of the shoes. It’s just time.

This new pair is even more comfortable than the one it’s replacing, but it won’t be the same. I can’t tell you why. And oh my God, right now, as I’m typing this, “Give” by Dishwalla has come on over the speakers. Mauka McDonald’s is trying to make me cry! You can’t make this shit up. Damn…

…this entry isn’t going to go the way I thought it would because of this stupid song, so I’m just going to go full stream of consciousness now:

I think that when we are forced to deal with incredible moments of stress we don’t really know how to deal with them and maybe we just kind of fake our whole way through them – especially when it’s the kind of situation we don’t have any control over. In ways that are obvious and some that are more subtle, I know that the twins – and specifically the whole ordeal with Avery – changed me. I can’t explain it in any kind of way that doesn’t sound hyperbolic or overly emotional, but I just know that I have. Like you don’t know what the end is going to look like but you know you just want it to end and because you weren’t really paying attention to yourself, things kind of, sort of slip away without notice. And back then when every single day seemed touch-and-go, I had some pretty dark thoughts of anger and bargaining and whatever else is in the 5 stages of grief. What would I give? I thought to myself hypothetically, just to get Avery out of the hospital or to have somehow magically made it so that none of it ever happened because now she’s not the same and now it’s not this huge cluster of stress, it’s a series of smaller frustrations that build and build and I don’t know how to deal with them. So, I’m still in this screwed up survival mode but I don’t recognize it until something pops up and whenever something pops up, I wonder if I’m going to spend the rest of my life like this because I don’t remember how to go back to any other mode that’s not just trying to put out fire after fire after fire. And this – and whole bunch of other stuff that I don’t think I’ll ever actually put into words – is what I think of when I look at these stupid shoes. The City Walks are dead! Long live the City Walks!

Michelle Branch has the night off:

Goodbye Dyson, Hello Shark!

img_7092It so happened that the frustration and anger I bottle up like so many delicious bottles of Coke exploded yesterday. I let it out, had a good cry, then did some cleaning. I also took a couple of naps. Catharsis. Anyway, I still had a little pent up emotion this afternoon so I decided to take it out on Madison’s room, which had become a literal dumping ground since the twins were born. But since I sleep there, it was a problem. Whenever I’d wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I’d inevitably step on something that – if the gods were merciful – would be less painful than a piece of Lego. Every man has his breaking point, even if that man sleeps in a pink room, replete with Disney Princess wall clings. I just finished almost 3 hours of cleaning. And so I am celebrating such productivity in the place where I go to be productive: Mauka McDonald’s. There’s no champagne here, but there is a yogurt parfait and a small Coke. Cheers.

img_7091The details of the actual cleaning process are tedious and unworthy of discussion in this space save for the numerous tupperware containers of Madison’s slime that I discovered hidden among the ruins. As amazing as that was, the real treat was the promise of being able to use my new stick cordless vacuum cleaner. Sadly, our Dyson (which has been a contributing member to our society since 2012) began to fail. It couldn’t hold a charge. The trigger became unreliable. I gave it one last shot yesterday and it ran in only 5-second bursts. God, I love that movie. Well, whatever. We had used it for quick vacuum jobs, picking up sand in the cars, and on the kitchen floor, but perhaps we asked too much of it when the twins were born and they began chucking bits of food and other detritus all over our home. Whatever the case, it could no longer be depended upon in its prime.

img_7089I had no desire to pay Dyson money again, so I walked through the appliance aisle during my Monday Costco run and came upon this Shark. I did my due diligence by flipping through Amazon and other reviews sites on my phone while Cole shouted “VA-CUM!” from the shopping cart. It rated well and was on sale. That’ll do it.

So I finally used it once the floor of Madison’s room was mostly cleared. It feels nice. I already know I’m going to love being able to use it without having to squeeze the trigger. The head at the bottom has much more power than my old Dyson. It tugs the vacuum forward, leading me gently on like an experienced lover. Worry not. I will take care of things. Trust me. This carpet will be cleaned. And if it isn’t, love, Costco has an amazing return policy. And if that sounds insane, you’re absolutely right. But it’s sexy, too, no? Especially that last part. We shall see how the Shark fares once it has challenged by Cole and Avery.

As is tradition in these parts, I will send off the Dyson in the most honorable way possible in this blog: a brief eulogy followed by some Michelle Branch.

Dyson,
You sucked but that was your job. The rest of us should be so lucky. Thank you for the countless times you aided the retrieval of Cheerios, of debris in those hard to reach places, but most of all the sand in the nooks and crannies of the Corolla, Highlander, and the Sienna. I hope you join Kirby from The Brave Little Toaster in that appliance junkyard in the sky. Ahem.

Valentine’s Day 2018

We can go ahead and file Valentine’s Day 2018 under “Don’t ever bother planning anything because plans never work out”. It joins other luminary plots such as “Yeah, I’ll teach at Damien for a couple of years until I figure something else out” and “I guess we can have one more kid” in the illustrious archives.

Our original plan for dinner was surf and turf but I ended up picking up Kunio instead. The lobster we planned on buying was sold out at all the Times locations I checked. King crab legs were too expensive. So I waited 45 minutes outside of Kunio for a takeout order. Then, I went to pick up a cake from Baskin-Robbins. Then I went to pick up flowers for Lynnette. Dinner was great, but the real excitement came during our gift exchange.

img_6994img_7005img_6999Lynnette picked up some new bath toys and chocolate chip cookies for the twins. Yes, Cole only has one sock on. Anyway, They raided the gift bag immediately, found the toys first, then shouted at anyone who would listen to free the toys from their packaging. “Wait until you take a bath,” Lynnette said. This directive threatened to launch a full-scale riot until she started to open the thing of cookies. “Cook-ie!” Cole growled, in the manner of his favorite cookie monster, Cookie Monster. Lynnette gave both he and Avery a Cookie and we watched with glee as they tried to simultaneously eat the cookies but also avoid Abby, the snack marauder.

Madison got a back scratcher and her favorite things in the world: novelty candies. Since Kunio had to drive to the ocean, get in the boat, set out to sea, catch the fish, clean it, and prepare it before packing it up,  I had time to check out Party City. Someday, Bubble Tape and two handfuls of lollypops won’t get it done for Madison, but until then I’m just enjoying the ride.

I picked up a Fighting Eel dress for Lynnette. I tried to go with something she didn’t have yet. And by “something”, I simply mean “print”. Because if I could never buy her a Fighting Eel dress again, what the hell would I buy her? She’s a Bubble Tape and lollypop kind of woman, you know? “I love it!” she said. “I’m going to wear it on Saturday night,” she added. “That’s what I had hoped,” I replied. She then pushed a large bag toward me. “I hope that you can use this on Saturday night, too…” she said, her voice trailing off.

I opened the bag and found this Dallas Cowboys blanket. Before I go any further, I will not say it is the least romantic Valentine’s Day gift I have ever received, but it might be in the top 5. UNLIKE THE DALLAS COWBOYS. “Why would you…” I started to say before laughing. “BECAUSE YOU NEED A MAN’S BLANKET! YOU ONLY HAVE ANGRY BIRDS!” she shouted. This sent me off into further hysterics. A few seconds later, I said “I sleep in a pink room covered with Disney Princess. The Angry Bird blanket is not the problem!” through teary eyes. Madison cackled. The Worst Gift Giver Ever had returned. “You don’t like it?” Lynnette asked. “I do, it’s fine,” I said. “Wait- you said you hoped I could use it on Saturday night, too?” I said. “Yeah…” she said. “I thought it was gonna be something to wear out on the date!” I said. “I never said that,” she said. So, so good.


On Monday, my English classes discussed the concept of emotional maturity as featured in Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. A large portion of the novel’s thematic subtext revolves around the concept that strong emotions of any kind cause conflict, and that conflict is poison to a stable society. In the novel, citizens are given the drug soma to help them escape such feelings. So I asked my students what do you do when you have negative emotions, but you can’t address the problem in an ideal way? The answers varied and I agreed with all of them: sleep, eat, go running (I don’t agree with this one), blow up things in video games, listen to music. Someone said they did homework because anger somehow allowed them to be hyper-focused. Man, I wish I had that ability because when I’m at home and I get set off, I go into the bathroom, open the cabinet beneath the sink, take out all of my cleaning supplies, and start scrubbing the hell out of the toilets. No, I don’t understand it, either.

But the point, I guess, is this: as hard as it is for me to accept at times, I have to try to determine my own happiness, even – and especially – in situations that are less than ideal. As I stood outside of Kunio, I could feel my frustration building. I thought about having to drive through Mililani to get the cake still, to get the flowers still, and how I was already going to be 45 minutes behind my schedule. If you know me, then you know: being thrown off my schedule like this makes me batshit insane. And nothing throws my schedule off more than Cole and Avery. Sometimes when it’s ten and I wanted to leave the house 30 minutes ago but one or both or them are spinning like break dancers on the living room floor screaming their heads off because we ran out of yogurt melts or they didn’t want us to turn off the tv or Lynnette went to use the bathroom, I think that I am so angry I could out-scream, out-kick, and out-tantrum the two of them combined. When we try to take them out to do cool things and one or more of the three of them inevitably ruin it for a reason that makes no sense, I yearn for the days when the only thing that would ruin my activities was a sudden stomach attack. This rage builds and I have no where to put it (unless I am at home and I can clean the toilets), so I just kind of have to eat it.

But shit, no love is perfect. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing – over and over again – but expecting a different result. Maybe that’s true. But it’s also exactly that which makes loving someone unconditionally the single most impressive thing anyone of us can do.

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Is This a Date?

img_6888

Viriliter Age

“This is not a date!” Lynnette said as I drove to Damien on Saturday afternoon. “What do you mean?” I said, voice rising to meet hers. “Just because we’re going to a game first?” I asked. She nodded. “The kids aren’t here, it’s just you and me. This is date!” I said. In the year 2018, this certainly qualifies as a date, and the Damien Monarchs qualified for the Division II state tournament after defeating University Lab School in a hard-fought game. Congrats, guys! I knew that I would have to do some work to change Lynnette’s mind, and by work, I mean “good food”. Because that always works.

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Coming (not so) soon!

But before we ate any of that delicious food, we had to take care of a little business. The chairs in our dining room set have begun to fall apart due to the rigors (my weight) and effects of time. We’re going to replace them with a set of the one pictured here…only they don’t have any in stock and probably won’t have any in stock for a few months. We’re OK with that because we don’t need to replace our chairs immediately and we really like these chairs. They match both our existing table and the couch. Well, they’ll match the couch exactly once we get them and Cole and Avery stain them as a ritual of initiation into our household. None of the chairs we currently own have fallen apart under the strain of having to support me, so I think we’re good. For now. Fingers crossed.

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Only food could make her smile like this.

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“And let me tell you another thing – I’m getting a bunch of stuff from Liliha Bakery on the way back to your parents house.”

We sat in the Inspiration parking lot for a few minutes while Lynnette worked her magic on Yelp. She settled on Izakaya Uosan. “It’s hot and new”, she said. “Just like you,” I said. She scoffed. But still. Well, we found the hot and new place only to discover that they’re booked through the 18th. Deterred but not defeated, we opted for the Boiling Crab. What we didn’t know was that there was a block party in Kakaako that night. We drove around the block a few times before having to park in the Restaurant Row lot. “This brings back memories,” Lynnette said. Our relationship basically started and blossomed at the Ocean Club. “See! I told you it’s a date!” I said. She did not agree.

Well, her standoff lasted about as long as it took for the bags of shellfish to arrive at our table. Among the many, many sexy things Lynnette does, dismantling shellfish is near the top of the list. She tactically destroyed our dinner. The loud, upbeat music allowed her to break out her foodie dance in a much more free form. “So, is this a date now?” I asked. She nodded as she shifted her weight side-to-side in her seat. As an aside, we cannot recommend the lemon pepper fries enough.

“Do you want ice cream?” she asked as we walked back to the car? “No,” I said. “Well, I want ice cream,” she said, which – let’s be honest – is what her initial question meant anyway. I stood outside of the busy parlor trying to catch Pokemon which, it should be said, is a solid dessert in its own right.

img_6929Before we left, we were morally obligated to take a picture in front of the bathrooms in the Restaurant Row parking lot. “I think this is the first time I’ve been here and haven’t been drunk,” Lynnette said. “You’re probably right,” I said. “I don’t think there was anything more guaranteed than using these bathrooms on the way out of here,” I added. But they’ve added coded locks to the doors! Oh no! “That’s sad,” my brother Matty said when I told him about this lack of access. “Right?” I said. I shake my head at the mere thought of it.

There’s no doubt that this was, in fact, a date. It was also the fat pa’ina I said I would throw this month since I’ve paid off my college loan. Feels good, man. “In about 6 months, I’ll be done with my college loans,” Lynnette said on the way home. “What? Fat pa’ina?” I said. She smiled and nodded. Well. From here to there, then.