The Album has been updated to include all Feb shots and the Swamp Romp. Enjoy! (Click link above in header.)
It’s the morning of the Swamp Romp and I am downing some coffee and a Clif bar. I’ve got new cammies on (couldn’t find used ones in my size), combat boots, and I’ve got a gear kit full of duct tape, New Skin, Vaseline, antibiotic cream… You don’t want to know about that one. My friend Leo reported in yesterday morning from Wal-Mart that she’d found the final piece of team apparel we needed – hot pink bandanas with skulls on them! We’ll be wearing them on our heads so we can be easily spotted coming out of the mu (there are journalists and photographers looking for us at the finish since we think we’re the largest team ever fielded for this race!). We’ll be decorating our white tank tops with Sharpies this morning (inscribing our nicknames on them) and wrapping up our feet in duct tape to prevent blisters. It’s t-minus-9 minutes before liftoff to the rally point…so I should go and finish putting on my stuff. This will be very interesting and a lot of fun – we get to try being Marines for a few hours. We anticipate it taking at least 90 minutes to cover 6 miles in the mud. I saw the mud yesterday, by the way. There were HUGE tanks, three of them, coming out of the little trail where Sam and I run. They were in there churning up the mud for us. Hopefully the 6″ African slugs found new homes…Stay tuned for pictures – Dave will be at the finish line with Sammy and Ang, and my mom. 🙂
So I’ve showered up, washed my hair twice, cleaned the bathroom of debris, and even put on foundation to cover up the war paint which didn’t come off so easily. I think I look pretty good now! Dave just looked at me, though, and asked what was on my eyes – “Is that dirt?” he asked. After consulting with Ang and checking the mirror, I realized the “dirt” was eyeliner. He is not accustomed to seeing me wear it, nor apparently do I know how to apply it 🙂 We are looking forward to hanging out with the team at our house in a few hours. Off to get lunch and beer 🙂
We picked up my friend Angie today for a two week stay! It is like no time has passed whatsoever, but it’s been 6 months since we were last stopping for a latte on our way to a tromp in the snow on Hurricane Ridge or through the nearby woods in Poulsbo. She said she really enjoyed feeling the warm, moist, fragrant air when she arrived. It’s nice to reflect on one’s arrival in Hawaii every now and then – you tend to forget just how different it is here, even the air, after a while. After she and Sam took a nap, we all went to Buzz’s in Kailua for dinner. It was well worth the wait – we had a great time (the Mai Tais took care of that! ha ha!) and Sam really enjoyed himself, especially the surprise visit from Gramma and Pete for dessert time :0 yum!
The weekend was a busy one – we transplanted four palm trees, three our front yard and one in the back, from a neighbor who wanted to get rid of them. We were happy to provide them a good home! It got little complicated when the contractors knicked a water pipe while digging out the first palm, but after 4 trips to the hardware store for brass pipe, wrenches, clamps and other stuff I know nothing about, Dave had it all fixed up. I guess all those drills fixing leaks on the submarine paid off!
And last week was really busy for me – which is why the posts have been infrequent. In the midst of several large projects for work, I have been working on our homeowners’ association budget (as the new Treasurer) to audit it for any areas we can trim. We are very close to reducing our fees to almost half of the proposed budget. Anyway…as previously reported, there are many disparate infestations one must contend with in Hawaii. Right now it’s flea season (not flu, but flea). I was trying to get Caff dipped for fleas, the carpets vacuumed and treated, and Sam into bed all within like 20 min so I could get back to work. Somehow I managed to treat the carpets for weeds instead of fleas. I grabbed the wrong sprayer (they look VERY similar in my defense). After a brief “discussion” about how serious this problem was, Dave agreed that it probably didn’t merit a response like he’d have to mount at work for radioactive contamination. I reasoned that since the weed killer was dry, it would probably be ok. After all, you can walk and play on it when it dries on the grass. As long as Sam didn’t try to eat large quantities of carpet, we’d be alright. BUT, I did end up having to treat with the appropriate chemical, adding to my workload for the day. We laughed later that I have to be extremely efficient with the rework that somehow finds its way into my day. Ahhh….laugh if you must…it is pretty funny. I know I won’t live this one down for a while. At least Ang can rest in peace knowing neither crabgrass nor fleas are likely to molest her in her sleep.
Gramma, Sammy and I took a much-needed break on the beach this morning and had a great time. I have been really busy with work this first quarter and was up late last night editing a grant application. Since I had nothing on my desk this morning, it was high time to head out 🙂 Sammy really enjoyed himself, and I appreciated the opportunity to switch up my perspective a little, as you’ll note in the collage.
There are other funny stories to share, but they have not been declassified yet. (Meaning, they are not quite funny to certain other members of the household yet.) Stay tuned…but I will give a hint. We don’t have a problem with crabgrass growing in our carpets.
We wish you all a very warm and happy Valentine’s Day! Sending lots of island aloha to you, especially our friends and family getting snowed and iced in. (See if you can spot the Hawaiian “snow” storm that buried a small car in the collage above! We are with you in spirit – I showed Sammy snow in NYC on the news and then we played “snow storm” on the beach. )
for a run 🙂 We did our “family run” (which we try to do on Sundays, and we’re being a bit more diligent about it than going to Mass, but we’re working on it…) tonight then wound up in town for California Pizza Kitchen and decaf lattes for our walk home under the stars. It was a great way to wind up the weekend. Sam had a good time showing Daddy how he stretches at our turnaround point, and chases birdies up and down the dunes. He didn’t want to leave (as you can see in the top left images of the collage). Dave was asking him “Do you want to get back in your stroller and go to dinner?” “Noo-oh,” Sammy replied, in his sweet little voice. He says “No” as if it’s a question. Cute 🙂
We were thrilled to hear that our former neighbor Matt is doing great in Army boot camp! He is the oldest in his class (by 20 yrs or so?) and just got the highest score on his PT (situps, pushups and run). GO MATT! HOO-AHH! He signed up for the Reserves out of a sense of duty and desire to serve. We are so proud of him.
spotted while out shopping for combat boots at thrift stores all over O’ahu. We have a dozen women (the DIRTY DOZEN!) doing the Swamp Romp (6 miles through waist-deep mud) at the Marine Corps base near us. I have been scouring (calling, pleading, etc.) the thrift stores for combat boots in our size. Boots are apparently only made in men’s sizes, so you have to subtract 2 from your women’s size to figure out your men’s size. As you might imagine, there aren’t many combat boots in an average women’s size (8). Fortunately about half of our teammates are tall and can fit in a men’s 7, so I was able to find boots for a few of us. It’s funny how excited one can be about paying waaaayyy too much for ratty, old, torn up, combat boots. I found myself wondering about the people who had filled them as I sifted through a big bin of stinky leather jungle boots.
Thank you to Nate, Laurie and Cate for hosting another fantastic dinner of tempura shrimp and veggies, grilled chicken, big salad and lots of desserts, including sticky rice pudding. We are tired, full and headed for bed! We are so lucky to have great friends here on the island – Brendan, Leo, Bridget and Greta were there, too, as were mom and Pete 🙂
Sammy had a great time playing in the rain today! He kept getting his hands wet in a downpour off the roof and rubbing Gramma’s legs like he was giving her a massage! This was our second time this week to get caught in a downpour while out running. Fortunately this time I had the stroller cover and all the rain jackets handy. Sam just loved getting soaked as we ate lunch afterwards. The video is way too big to post but I may mail a CD to some of his most loyal fans with a collection of videos. The above picture is from lunch at the tide pools the other day. There were lots of little fish to watch since the tide was waning (they got caught in the water left behind). The movie is Sam flossing his teeth while awaiting his second HepA shot (no, it wasn’t Merck’s VAQTA unfortunately). He also really enjoyed putting lipstick on Gramma – you can imagine how she looked afterwards!
Mom has been such a help this week, accompanying me to the commissary and exchange, and a picnic lunch at the tide pools yesterday. It’s been a really busy week for me with work – which is fun and great and stimulating – but also makes me incredibly tense because my business model is predicated on consistent naptimes 🙂 I have to get Sam home, tired, and fed and hope he sleeps for 2 hrs. Mom often fills in the gap if somebody wakes up early or I need a few more minutes. The picture above is Sam enjoying an ice cream sandwich that Gramma bought him from a machine at the commissary. This made him very happy, but also very sleepy on the way home, which made mom (me) really tense because sleeping on the way home would not be good for business.
Sam enjoys “maul Gramma time” – he really tussles with her like she’s a boy! Yesterday, however, on a day I really needed mom because I also had a homeowner’s association board meeting to prepare for, poor mom locked her keys in her car at Wal-Mart. This particular Wal-Mart expedition was ill-fated from the start, though, so we weren’t too surprised. We tried to swing by Wal-Mart on our commissary outing but she forgot her item to return so we had to pass it up. Turns out we were pressed for time that day anyway, and I blanked on how to get back on the H1 from the parking lot. I took a few wrong turns but found my way to the airport, from which point I could get home pretty easily (I know the airport run wherever we live, so just drop me off there and I’m ok! ha ha!). We took a break from the frenzy yesterday to have PB&Js at the tide pools. It was fun to look around in the little pools of water on the lava rock for small fish, tadpoles, and baby hermit crabs. We made a little home (ecosystem!) for them with coral, water, algae and sand. Mom carried them gingerly over to friend Laurie’s last night so her daughter Cate could take them in to preschool for “share day.” We hope they survive a trip over the Pali!
Dave has been busy with homefront defense projects as well. He trapped THREE mice yesterday. I haven’t written about this yet because I feared our list of guests planning trips this year would suddenly vanish – but now that the infestation seems to be under control it’s safe to report. We think that a house being demolished nearby was bombed and the rodents scurried to look for new homes. I guess they liked ours best (?) because our neighbors haven’t reported any problems. Dave had to take the three still-living mice stuck to the trap out to the trash yesterday. Luckily it was trash day, but I couldn’t help imagining their squirmy bodies writhing on the trap. Poor things. Last night as I was winding down for sleep (Dave hates this time of night – I usually wonder strange things or feel a sudden need to tell him stories of no particular importance) why the first mouse to get caught didn’t warn his buddies. Or why the buddies didn’t notice how he (or she?) was strangely still on a little piece of cardboard. I think it would give me pause. Or maybe I’d be so focused on food that I wouldn’t notice. So – note to my friends – if I’m about to scurry across a trap on my way to a nice meal please try to warn me. I promise to listen.
Alden – don’t even begin to think my dishwashing method (discussed previously) has anything to do with rodent infestations! Strangely I’ve not noticed as many cockroaches running around since the mice arrived. Any thoughts on that? Do mice eat cockroaches? Have I tampered with the ecosystem here to my peril? I did in San Diego – I battled a couple rats living in my stove (SUPER BIG UGH!!!) only to bring on a snail infestation. Who knew that rats loved to chomp on snails ? ? ? It’s so gross that I can tell which unwelcome guests are living at my house by the droppings on the counter. Gecko, mouse…and the other day mom left a satchel of dog poop on the counter because she was so rattled by me getting annoyed that Sam had inadvertently touched fossilized dog poop in the run thinking it was a rock. Sam knows not to touch poop (he hovers over it pointing “ooohhh! OOOHHH!” and we know his little warning well), but this time he was fooled by the rock-like look of the hardened, desiccated poop.
But I digress…and I apologize for this horrific post. It has done me much good, though. That’s what this is all about – a catharsis for me 🙂 Sam is up and I’ve already put in 2 hrs of work. I’ve been up since 0530. The life of a stay-at-home mom – all bon bons and fun. 🙂
Dave, Sam and I went up the Kuli’ou’ou Ridge trail today. The weather was cool and clear (70 and sunny) – we couldn’t have asked for a better day. Dave loved the trail as much as I thought he would – the woods, climb, views – and we had a great time. What we didn’t count on was today being SuperBowl Sunday. We wanted to stop at Kona Brewing Co. for beer afterwards (a ritual after hiking) but found they were closed. So was the second place we tried. Three’s a charm and we devoured lunch in Hawaii Kai at the Blue Water Grill. If you check out the picture above you may be able to notice some names scratched into the “End of trail” sign. We didn’t pay any notice to the scribbles until we told our waiter why we were so famished (I was, like, stalking him for food). When we told him which trail we’d done he was impressed Sammy went all the way up with us, and then mentioned he loved that trail as well. He went on to say that his name was on the sign, so we pulled it in close on our camera and he showed us “Scuttles.” (We didn’t ask.) So I took a picture of him as well (it’s in the Album).
For any hikers reading this and planning a trip up the ridge, my husband says on the absolute treachery scale (1-10, 9 being Angel’s Landing in Zion – if you’ve ever done that you know), this was about a 5. If you are carrying a child, tolerable treachery is a 6 for us, and this trail is about a 4 or 5 because the last 1/2 mile is steep, a little narrow and slippery due to loose dirt. Bring trekking poles. The trail is otherwise excellent – the first 2 miles in the 2.5 mi one-way trip are shaded and easy to navigate. Total elevation gain is 1800′, and elevation at the top is just over 2000′. The view from the summit over the windward side is awesome. There is a picnic table shelter at about 1.2 mi into the hike – we used that as our stopover on the way down.
The full moon from our deck, with Saturn visible above it. (Dave – thanks for looking that up!)
for the 21st century housewife on the go. His remark was in response to one of my household tactics – putting plates and glasses away without drying them off. I figure they can air dry just as well on the shelf as the would on a rack, especially since we took the doors off our cabinets. Agree? Please comment if you do so I can point to the grassroots support for my housekeeping. (Dave actually subscribes to an RSS feed of this blog so he can keep up with my shenanigans…)
In other news, I drove the worst shopping cart on the planet yesterday. Longs drugs in Kaneohe is where you can test drive it if you like. I had to lift up the back end about 3 inches, and point it on a 45-degree angle while pushing (with 35 lb Sam in the seat) in order to keep it from rattling and squeaking at 100 decibels. The sad commentary on how busy I feel (I’ve had a lot of work projects to squeeze in this week) is that it would take too much time to swap carts, so I actually preferred to drive this horrific wreck of a cart around (all the while asking everyone where I can find diapers and hand sanitizer, the only things I needed in there, because these common items aren’t listed on ANY of the aisle markers and the staff didn’t know where to point me…).
Lastly, in my list of items I feel compelled to air tonight…here is a link to a SNL skit about the TSA. Mom sent it to me shortly after we returned from the Big Island because on our way back I had a bit of a run-in with the security people. I was well aware of the 3 oz cap on liquids, and duly packed my almost-empty 3 oz sunscreen in my carry-on without concern, knowing it was well under the limit. I even declared it just to be sure. BUT I did not account for the 5 oz of egg nog milkshake Sam was clutching as we showed our IDs and boarding passes. Oh no. That would just not do. We were told we would have to finish it or chuck it. I was aghast. Saddled with heavy car seat, backpack child carrier, carry-ons for Sam and me (his library, my diaper bag/backpack) and duffel bag, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was turn around and retreat. I am all about the forward progress. Not to mention my lunch was still in a bag unopened and I was eager to park my butt at the gate and chomp. Faced with the prospect of telling Sam he had to ditch his nog, I decided to turn around (it was the lesser evil). However, I parked myself and Sam in his car seat (he has a nice, portable recliner chair) right on the other side of the little cattle chute to security. I plunked down like a homeless person and ate every ounce of salad dressing while Sam finished up his nog. Poor mom was probably embarrassed at my protest and sat on an actual bench about 20 yards away. I apologized to the security person for my huffy attitude, but chuckled to myself that Sam still had contraband tucked away in his diaper. Would they find the 6 oz of liquid and/or gel he had in there? Or would we get all the way to the gate with it undetected??? Enjoy the video. It’s 4 min long, but well worth it. I am not up late enough for SNL so it was pretty funny…
Above is a picture of bread I made today – rosemary focaccia. It turned out really well! I ate more than I should have tonight, but I always do when it’s fresh out of the oven. There is nothing like it. You can even see the sea salt on the crust. Mom, Dave and Sam all enjoyed it, too. This was made with my natural starter which I keep in the fridge and just use for baking about once a week. It was grown from wild airborne yeast and works really well. I don’t use any commercial leavening agents, and haven’t for about 2 yrs now. It’s fun to keep my hand in bread-baking (literally and figuratively), and Sammy is enjoying kneading the dough with me. He gets to form a little Sammy-loaf that we bake alongside mommy’s loaf. Today he also watered ALL the plants in the backyard. He is such a good helper.
After talking with several friends whose husbands have very distinct ideas about how to wash dishes, clean the house, do laundry, etc. it seemed worthwhile to provide a forum for these men to share their wisdom. For instance, is it permissible to wash colors together with whites as long as the clothes have been washed before and the washer is on cold? (Alli’s answer, why YES, of course – I even wash them on warm – wooo hooo, BIIIIG risk-taker I am 🙂 !) Is it ok to let the dishes soak for several hours in hot, soapy water before washing them? Furthermore, if you wash the sink with bleach first, is it ok to allow the dishes to contact the sink surface while rinsing them? My friends really appreciate that we are married to men with such high standards. After all, we could be commiserating that they don’t do anything around the house, are lazy, whatever. I was also thinking maybe Dave could tag his belongings with a GPS chip to figure out if they’ve moved while he was gone, and tie this into a webcam so he could monitor any seismic anomalies from work with Google maps (remember the query about the entry way table moving an inch the other morning?). This might also prove helpful if certain items go missing…sunglasses, iPod, etc. We love you, husbands!!!