By Diane Ako
My house looks a wreck, and I don't remember it being this way in 2006. Oh well, the basic premise of my time traveling vacation is being fulfilled, which is - to spend time doing activities I enjoyed doing before I had a child.
For three lovely days, my husband and I took vacation so we could hang out together and remember what it was like to do things without having to account for a third person, and most importantly, to reconnect with each other. We have spots of time alone, but it's not frequent, it's not more than a couple hours, and it's not usually in the day.
This year, we wanted a mini-vacation that allowed Olivia's patterns to continue, while we played hookey. This way, she could go to preschool all day, get picked up by the sitter and watched for his two hours' duty, which let us have about eight hours a day to ourselves. Perfect.
The first day, we went for a three hour hike in the hot sun. The dog and I were wiped out. This is nothing for Claus, who exercises about five hours a week, but it's practically my monthly quota of exercise. What was I thinking? I know. I had weekend-warrioritis. Typical overeager desk jockey. I had to take an afternoon nap and I was still groggy and done for the rest of the day.
The second day, we tried a new trail, and only went for one hour. My body was confused by the abnormal pattern and revolted. I got very hungry and wanted to fetch lunch. It's a good thing my gentle husband is clear on the goal of this time off - that it's to hang out, not to work out - or he would be really disappointed.
We ate at a new joint that's been collecting buzz, He'eia Pier General Store & Deli. We liked it. It was an upscale plate lunch in a great part of the island. We ate lunch on the picnic benches outside with a beautiful view of the Pacific. The breezes were blowing, the sun was shining. It doesn't get better than this.
Or does it?
After lunch, we stopped for dessert at Kaneohe Bakery, also another first for us. My cake decorating teacher worked here once a long time ago. When I was heavy into cake decorating in 2010 and wanted a new career, she said she could refer me for a job here. "It's hard work. You won't like it," she warned. "It's more than just piping cakes."
I'm not afraid of hard work, I told her. But she insisted so much that I tabled the idea, and it eventually drifted off in the tide of unrealized ideas as other things in my life took over. Still, I'd never been inside and was curious. Today was the day for doing new things. This is a vacation, after all! I'm breaking old patterns!
Inside, I saw the cutest piped cupcakes with a spring theme. They had flowers and butterflies on it, and it was so cute, I had to buy one for my little girl. I stared at it all the way home, inspired to make the same. Like mother, like daughter. When I presented it to her after dinner, she actually said, "It's so pretty, I want to gaze at it all day!" Gaze. Sounds like a Disney word.
The deli and the bakery provided just the right respite. Claus wanted to go for a swim, so we actually chose Waikiki Beach, to continue the theme of playing tourist in one's own hometown. The water was refreshing and clear enough to see a few fish, the waves were gentle, and the view from 400 meters out was stunning. People pay big money to do this, I thought, and this is my office. I should take better advantage of it.
After the swim, we headed home to receive Olivia from the sitter before his shift ended. We would normally then get into the usual dinner-bath-bedtime routine, in which I myself end up falling asleep with or not too long after Olivia. This, however, was not a normal night. This was Date Night!
We asked my parents to come and stay with Olivia so we could eat out in a grown up restaurant. I got to wear a child-unfriendly dress (one that would slide right off if my kid clung to me like a tree, which has been known to happen at the end of some dinners) combined with teetering high heels. We went to a place where semi-loud techno music set the tone, while our food dishes were all spicy, raw, or otherwise would have been deemed weird-tasting by a kid. We both got to indulge in a cocktail.
Also, I saw no other children in the restaurant. Not only did that establish that I was in an adult-zone, it was very liberating in the sense that I always snap my head around when I hear someone call for Mommy. I can't help it. It's instinct, and it keeps me in a mommy frame of mind. Were I to hear a random call for Mommy, I would then start thinking about Olivia, looking at my watch, and wondering if my mom put her to bed on time. So that didn't happen for two hours, and it was nice.
We got home at 9:30. There was a time when this was the start of my night. At this stage of life, this is the end of my night. Given the massive amount of exercise (don't laugh!), I was actually overextended for the night.
Still, it's been a good vacation so far.