Archive for the ‘dad’ Category

Sheraton Waikiki staycation

April 15th, 2015
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For spring break, my family decided to stay the weekend at Sheraton Waikiki. I've stayed at hotels all around it, but I haven't stayed there before, and it has a fantastic kid-friendly pool. You see where my priorities are?

View from our room.

View from our room.

We stayed for two nights, the perfect amount of time to enjoy Waikiki and unwind. One night would have been too short. We were upgraded to a one bedroom suite, which was so kind and luxurious.

Olivia has grown up around privilege. When I worked at Waikiki's top luxury hotel, we regularly stayed there. Rack rates started at $500 and went up to $7,000 a night, and we stayed across all categories.

For years, that was her favorite hotel. Kid has taste. Her standard against which all other hotel rooms were measured was if the room had a chromatherapy hot tub and came with its own butler.

I'm saying all this because it means a lot when she now deems Sheraton Waikiki her favorite hotel. Factors: the pool has a slide;  the same pool has a waterfall; the infinity pool looks cool even though she was not old enough to be allowed in; the view from the room overlooked the pool so we had the best seats for the nightly 3D pool light show.

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Secret to the seven-year-old: Win her over with cool water features. What the kid likes, the mommy likes.

So we passed the time alternating between the pool and the beach. We dug holes in the sand. We all used the slide and liked it. We warmed up in the hot tub and made a new friend for the weekend, a ten-year-old from Texas. We fell asleep in the red-awning pool cabanas.

One afternoon, we walked around Waikiki, and found a little restaurant called Heavenly in the Shoreline Waikiki. We stopped in for a bite and were pleasantly surprised. It's fun to discover new things.

Sea asparagus ice cream.

Sea asparagus ice cream.

Heavenly offered the oddest dessert: sea asparagus ice cream. I like to try new things so I ordered it. It was mildly salty at first and then mellowed out to a sweetness. It was just OK - not horrible, not amazing. I wouldn't order it again, but I liked trying it.

It's fun to be a tourist in my own town. We'll have to do this again soon.

Where's your favorite place to staycation?

Truth Fairy

April 3rd, 2015
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Olivia lost another tooth. For a while, I've been giving her a plastic toy diamond along with cash.

Last weekend she was playing hide and seek in the closet where I keep the jar of diamonds. I thought I hid it well but you know children; if there's a hidden present in the house for them, they will find it like a heat seeking missile.

She came out of the closet holding the jar. "Daddy! I figured it out! You give me money and Mommy gives me diamonds for my teeth!"

Fake diamonds

Fake diamonds

Claus was floored and caught off guard. "Um. Put that back and pretend you never saw it," came his first instinct.

Then a minute later, he said, "I think that's all the diamonds that Mommy got for her teeth."

She looked at him, shrugged, and went about her hide and seek. I wasn't here for this but laughed and laughed at the debrief later.

The next night we were alone, and I asked Olivia, "I heard you found a jar of diamonds yesterday."

She relayed the story and then said she was skeptical because the jar looked too new to be as old as my baby teeth (thanks.)

After swallowing my pride I said, "It looks new because I never play with it. I just keep it on the shelf."

She followed up with, "Why would you keep it in the hall closet? Doesn't make sense."

Why does she have to be so smart? And the lie continues: "It just seemed like a good place for it. Why not?" Sure, in the closet where I keep extra pots, pans, baking supplies, and lunch bags.

"Are you sure you aren't just giving me the diamonds and Daddy gives me money?" she quizzed.

"Yes," I insisted.

There's things to like (and dislike) about every stage of her development and while I really enjoy talking to her with real conversations now, I'm also a little sad that the innocence is fading.

As long as there's still a Santa, I'll be OK.

 

This is how rumors start

April 1st, 2015
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I was on the phone with my friend Christy. It took me a week to return her call. By way of apology, I said, "I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but I've been busy and tired."

We had bad reception. There was a long pause on her end and then she said, "WHAT? REALLY?"

She has young kids, too, and I thought she was joking, so I continued, "Yeah, I know, right?"

Christy said, "You're FIRED?!"

Me: "No, no. Tired! With a T! Fatigued."

"Ooooh. OK!!"

Here is another one. Olivia wanted to give me a massage because I was tired. Sweet, right?

Anyway, I thanked her and praised her and told her what a good job she was doing. She delights in the compliments.

"I'm a good rubber!" she exclaimed.

"We call it massaging," I corrected.

"I'm rubbing you. I'm a rubber!" she insisted.

Another one:

At Christmas, we had an assembly line for decorating the tree. Claus pulled the ornaments from the box, I put the hook on, and she found the spot on the tree.

Praise, praise, praise on what a great job she's doing. You know the drill.

She wanted to return the compliment so she told me I'm a good hooker. Claus thought that was so funny he encouraged it by saying, "Yes, Mommy can sure put the hooks on really well!"

"You're such a good hooker, Mommy!"

Let us hope this is not a story repeated at school where it will surely be taken out of context. So far, CPS has not called me.

Meditation with chores

March 30th, 2015
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I've come to realize I like hanging up the laundry. I've done it for years - we have a clothesline - both to reduce my carbon footprint and to reduce my electricity bill.

I'm the only one who does it. I have never minded it - and my mother, aunts, and grandmother did it - and when time and energy allows, I hang up the clothes. If not, I toss it in the dryer.

Of all the house chores, I like doing the laundry the most. I never have five piles waiting for me by the weekend. I have other cleaning tasks that need dire attention, but not dirty clothes.

From all these years viewing it from a neutral standpoint, I just made the leap in my mind that I actually like hanging up clothes. Why? Because it's ME TIME!

I'm slow to this party. Other mothers know this secret. My work friend Jennifer Humphrey has two young boys, and her Me Time is going to the grocery store without children because "you can take your time, walk through the aisles, think about what you want to make. It's different when I'm with them and I have to rush through as quickly as possible."

With my laundry, nobody wants to help, and I have definitely asked repeatedly before. They think it's like, the kiss of death or something.

Claus will only use the dryer, which I do not criticize because at least he's getting it done. Olivia just doesn't want to, and it's more trouble than it's worth for me to stand there and tell her over and over again what to do.

The other day I realized it's like running away, without running away. I'm going to a place that still qualifies as Mommy Being At Home, yet far enough away to not be disturbed. They know if they come out they risk being made to work so they avoid the laundry area when they know I'm headed out.

The other week, I was hanging up clothing and listening to Olivia whine at Claus over something. And I hid out there.

I noticed I was zoning out pleasantly as I hung up the latest batch. I like laundry. It's clean, it smells good, and I am mostly just standing still doing a soothingly repetitive motion. I now look forward to having to hang up (or taken down) clothes.

It's perfect! I can actually go somewhere ten feet away that people will actively avoid! It's like teleporting to a secret place! Some people hide in the bathroom, but I escape to the laundry room!

I used to hide in my home office but sometimes people would still open the door without knocking and come inside, or whine outside the door that they wanted to come in. Then I would have to tell my husband to just give me ten more minutes.

The secret is to find a place nobody wants to go! Why didn't I think of this before! I should also start adding in yard-poop cleanup! I'll be treated like a measles-carrier!

I'm both pleased with myself for figuring this out, and a little sad when I look at what now constitutes, for me, joy. There was a time when I was hip with the latest trends and food eateries, able to go out to concerts, and planning hikes and surf dates with my friends.

Today, my pleasure is in realizing the laundry room is a fun place to be. Parenting=FUN!

I'm now strategizing how often I can wash clothes (and pick up poop - can I honestly hide in the yard for an hour "picking up poo" when we only have one dog?)

*sigh* At least we probably have the cleanest clothes on the block.

What's your secret hideout from the family?

Burying Kona

March 23rd, 2015
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I drove around with a dead dog in my car for weeks. That's not as gross as it sounds. The dog was cremated, and in a box.

Six years ago, I put down my beloved Kona, a wonderful yellow Lab who brought me 13 years of joy. She was the best.

Kona, 2003

Kona, 2003

I mourned her for a long time. I still tear up if I really stop and think about her.

Olivia was a year and a half old when Kona died, but she actually still remembers her. I like that.

After she died in 2009, I intended to bury her one day, but was too hurt to do more than put the ashes in the living room and glance up at the box once in a while. After a year, I brought the box down from the shelf, but it still hurt to actually hold it and think about parting with her.

I decided to let it go and when the time was right, it would come to me.

Years went by and my life has taken some ups and downs; the normal progression of any life, I suppose. My husband and I are mired in parenting, work, elder caregiving, and just life in general. I eventually forgot about Kona.

Last fall, in what was the hardest year of my life, I noticed the box of ashes again, and decided it was time to bury the past - literally and figuratively. My plan was to take Kona to her favorite haunts before putting her in the ground in my yard.

Of course, time moves both quickly and slowly when you're at this stage of life - working full time and raising a young child. I feel like I'm constantly tired, always busy, and often forgetting.

I took Kona off the shelf and put the ashes by the front door, to remind myself to schedule time to execute my final plan of action for her. Fall became winter became spring, and only recently have I gotten to acting on it.

Jen and the dogs, 2004

Jen and the dogs, 2004

One Saturday, Olivia and I made time to drive Kona to my friend Jen's house. Jen and her three dogs were a big part of Kona's life. For years, the six of us would spend our days off together. Two of Jen's dogs died last year, too. Jen and I reminisced and cried.

Flower dog, 2001

Flower dog, 2001

The next day, we took Kona to the beach. Kailua Beach was her favorite, and it was also where she served as flower dog in my wedding. My daughter and I walked for a while along the shore with Kona's ashes.

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Back at home, we decided to bury her in the front yard, her favorite place to hang out because she could see all the action on the street. Claus dug a small hole and Olivia poured the ashes into the ground.

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It wasn't heart wrenching because I was finally ready. It's a little scary how strongly humans form attachments, that it took me half a dozen years to be ready to bury a dog.

We told her we loved her and that she would always be with us. That was that.

2001

2001

Until we all meet again at the rainbow bridge.

Kona's paw prints

Kona's paw prints