Monday, May 31, 2010

Stuff Parents Say

There are a lot of statements you expect to make as a parent, and I‘ve made them all.

Stop sitting so close to the TV.

Don’t stick out your tongue; your face will freeze like that.

If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?
But there’s some things you don’t expect.

Years ago I started a list of Things I Never Thought I’d Say Until I Became a Parent.

I’ve forgotten most of the list, but I remember #1 and #2. And it looks like as of yesterday I’ve got a #3. But we’ll get back to that in a minute.

So here‘s the beginning of the list:

#1. “Don’t put that sucker back in your mouth after it’s been on the cat.”

Yep. That one was when ET, my oldest daughter, was about four. She was licking a lollipop, sticking it on the cat’s back, and then licking it again. Ewwwww…

#2. “Stop feeding your baby sister boogers.”

That was around the same time, so ET was four and GG was one. They were sitting in the back seat and ET was picking her nose and then placing the product in her baby sister’s mouth. GG thought this was a great game, by the way. Double ewwwww…

So now we come to last night. We are visiting our family in Alabama and the kids were playing with their cousins upstairs while the adults were talking downstairs. Then GG came down complaining that there was cheese in her cell phone.

Samsung Blackjack i607 Unlocked GSM Phone with 1.3MP Camera, QWERTY Keyboard and Memory Card Slot--U.S. Version without Warranty (Black)First of all, you’re probably thinking a ten-year-old is too young to have a cell phone. Well, I TOTALLY agree. However, the cell phone policy I established when the oldest kid started begging for one was: If you can buy it with your own money (including the minutes) then you can have one. Ergo, I’ve got a ten-year-old as well as the thirteen-year-old with cell phones.

So GG brought me her phone, and sure enough, there was a bunch of soft cheese jammed in the DC outlet. I could tell it was the snack cheese that ET brought over here in her suitcase.

I called ET down and asked her if she’d put cheese in her sister’s cell phone. She denied it. I wasn’t sure what to believe about that, so I just said, “Leave your sister’s phone alone.”

And that’s when I added a statement to my list of Things I Never Thought I’d Say Until I Became a Parent.

#3. “How would YOU like it if your sister put cheese in YOUR phone?”

Except I couldn’t get through saying it before I started laughing so hard I couldn’t finish talking. I mean, what kind of a statement IS that?

But we still don’t know for sure how the cheese got in the phone. It could have been ET or Boo. Maybe one of the cousins did it. My husband theorized that a man made entirely of cheese came in and used the phone, perhaps to call his Cheese Wife. (There is also a strange, cheesy substance on the cat’s back, which may support the Cheese Man Theory. And yes, that’s the SAME long-suffering cat who had a sucker stuck to his back!)

I guess we’ll never know what REALLY happened…
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Traveling is Stressful, Part 1

Jet Blue Single Plane
We are going on a trip to the mainland on Friday. (That’s what they call the rest of the US here in Hawaii, "the mainland." Not “the States” like we did in Germany because obviously, we are still IN the US, even though it doesn’t seem like it.)

So why am I already writing about travel being stressful, when we haven’t even LEFT yet? Oh, so many reasons…

First of all, since we arrived here less than a year ago, our trip to Hawaii is still pretty fresh in my mind. And it was tough. Thirteen hours on a plane with five kids is no joke.

My husband had come ahead of us to get housing, and report to his job, so my mother came with me to help with the kids. Which was a fun vacation for her, as you can imagine!

But they split our seats up all over the plane, so we couldn’t sit together. You can imagine how I felt when I saw the seating arrangements, with Baby Boy and Baby Girl seated far away from me. I was like, Should I just hand some stranger the diaper bag and say, See you in thirteen hours? The people on the phone had said they would be able to fix this at the gate so I could sit with my children, but it turned out the best we could get was three seats together, and then two and two.

So my mom sat with one of the babies, I sat with the other baby and the six-year-old, and the two older girls sat together. I hate flying anyways, but that made the trip so much worse, not being able to see all of my kids and know that they hadn’t killed each other. Yet.

So I have been really dreading this plane trip. And one of the things I was comforting myself with was, At least this time their father will be there to help with the kids, and we’ll all be able to sit together because I made the reservations eight months in advance.

But when we looked over our reservations this weekend, I saw that there were no seat numbers on the itinerary. This made me really nervous, so I decided to call the 1-800 number for Cheap-O Air, the company we made the reservation through, just to make sure.

First of all, perhaps dealing with a company called Cheap-O Air might have been a mistake. In retrospect, the name just doesn’t imply excellence.

Panasonic KX-TSC11B Corded Phone with Caller ID (Black)So I called them on Tuesday, because I had to spend Monday psyching myself up for it. (I really HATE making these kinds of calls) I waited on hold about fifteen minutes to get a person, and when I finally did the lady told me there were some changes in my itinerary.

They’d shaved an hour off of our hour and 45 minute layover time on the way to Birmingham, and they’d added an hour to our four-hour layover coming back to Honolulu. Couldn’t you have reversed that? I thought.

But anyways, about my SEATS, I said. She said, Oh yeah, since you’ve had these time changes the tickets will have to be reissued, so I can’t tell you that right now. She suggested I call the airline directly to find out.

So on Wednesday (after more psyching myself up; I did I mention I hate making calls like this?) I called the airline. I spent ten minutes wrangling the bad voice-recognition software:

Fake Computer Chick: What would you like to do today? You can say, “Make reservation,” “Change your reservation,” “Check flight status,” or “More choices.”
Me: More choices.
Fake Computer Chick: I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Would you like to: “Make reservation,” “Change your reservation,” “Check flight status,” or “More choices.”
Fake Computer Chick: I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Would you like to: “Make reservation,” “Change your reservation,” “Check flight status,” or “More choices.”
Fake Computer Chick: I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.

After screaming SPEAK TO AN AGENT in my most enunciated voice about twenty times, I finally got a person. They said that since I had made the reservation through an outside agency they would have to charge me $15 a person to do anything for me. I’m going, Seriously?

So I hung up and called Cheap-O Air back. I waited another fifteen minutes to get a person, and when I did he didn’t seem really confident in his English-speaking abilities. I’m going to call him Duh Man, for reasons that will soon become obvious. I told Duh Man my reservation number, and my name and address, and he said he would check on it.

Hotel and Property Management softwareAfter five or ten minutes (he said his system was “running slow” today) Duh Man came back to say my tickets had not yet been issued. Would I like the tickets to be issued?

Uh, YES! That’s why I’m calling you! Duh!

He said to hold again while he spoke to someone in ticketing. After about twenty minutes he came back:

Duh Man: Um, yeah, those tickets haven’t been issued because your reservation was never made.
Duh Man: Um, yeah…
Me: You’re saying I have NO RESERVATION!?
Duh Man: Um, yeah…
Me: But I have a confirmation number! I have an e-mail right here with my itinerary!
Duh Man: Um, that was never finalized or anything…
Me: WHAT?!?! So what am I supposed to do now?!?!
Duh Man: So, um, I’ll have someone from ticketing call you…
Me: When will they call me? Later today?
Duh Man: Um, yeah, today or tomorrow…
Me: They can call me back today?
Duh Man: Um, probably tomorrow….
Me: So someone will call me back sometime? That’s all you can do for me?
Duh Man: Um, yeah… Unless you want to book a hotel or something?
Me: NO I don’t want to book a hotel! Because apparently I’M NOT GOING ON A TRIP!!!!
Duh Man: Well, um, it’s okay…Your reservation’s not until November anyways...
Me: No, it’s FRIDAY! My trip is THIS WEEK!
(short pause)
Duh Man: What was that confirmation number again?

Well, you can see where THIS is going. He spent 30 minutes working on SOMEONE ELSE’S TICKETS!!!

So the good news is, I DID have a reservation, and my seats are together, (I made Duh Man READ ME the seat numbers) and I don’t have to worry about anything, right? Except maybe a HEART ATTACK from the scare this guy gave me!

So traveling is stressful. And we haven’t even LEFT yet!
I can't even IMAGINE what the trip itself will be like. Stay tuned for part 2...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

See Your Face in Every Magazine

Good Housekeeping (2-year)
First of all, let me say, I like to read magazines. I like to read books and newspapers too, but right now I’m talking about magazines, okay?

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)And I like to read them on paper. I like to physically turn pages and read them. My husband has one of those Kindle thingys. He loves it! He brags how he can have a million books on there. (Or some ridiculous number like that--when he starts giving me statistics I seem to get a little humming in my head that makes it impossible for me to recall the actual number later.)

But I don’t like the electronic form much. I like to hold a REAL BOOK. I like the way books smell: the brand-new book smell and the vintage-book aroma. I like a shiny new magazine sliding through my hands as I read it. I even like the black fingers you get from reading a real newspaper. It’s authentic.
But anyways, I DO like to read magazines. But I have to say there are some topics I’m getting tired of, because they are on the cover of every women’s magazine EVERY month.

#1: Losing Weight. Oh my gosh. Maybe it’s un-American of me, but I am SO SICK of all this talk about losing weight! Yeah, we’re all fat. We shouldn’t eat so much junk. WE KNOW! Let’s move on!

#2: Getting Organized. How many different ways can you say the same thing? Get rid of your extra stuff! Store the rest of it in cute little bins! Woo-hoo! That’s all there is to it. How can you keep squeezing a whole article out of this topic every month, ALL YEAR LONG?

#3: Saving Money. Okay, don’t buy so much STUFF! That’s it. Seriously. Again, not something we should be needing to keep writing new articles about, month in and month out. By the way, I notice no one suggests we should Save Money by cancelling our magazine subscriptions. Hmmm….

Speedo Women's Race Lycra Blend Learn to Swim Solid Superpro Back One Piece Swimsuit, Black, 34#4. Find the Perfect ___ To Flatter Any Body. Fill that blank in with swimsuit in the spring/summer, dress in the fall/winter. Now I like to look at clothes as much as the next girl, but I take umbrage with the Any Body. Mostly because the models are all the SAME body! Where’s the regular chicks? You can put camouflaging pleats and ruffles all over me, but I am NOT going to look like these size-zero girl on page 48. And neither is 90 percent of the population. If you say Any Body, how about let’s SEE some of them and how FLATTERING the clothes are?

#5. Healthy Meals Your Family Will Love. Just give it UP people! They won’t love it if it’s healthy, okay? You keep trying to come up with new ways to serve the same stuff. So we end up with a long list of ingredients, half of which I can’t even FIND at the store, and I spend all day making something that will make my kids go, “What did you DO to this chicken Mom?” and “Can I just have a peanut butter sandwich?”

#6: Hidden Dangers in Your ____. Just fill in the blank with ANYTHING there. There’s hidden dangers in everything, it seems. I can get skin cancer from using sunscreen? What? Oh, because then I get a false sense of security and stay in the sun too long. I can get cancer from my plastic containers? Whoops! Better check the labels and try to remember which numbers are the BAD ones. (Again, that humming noise in my brain when I try to remember the numbers.) Buying cleaners in attractive bottles could KILL me? Oh, because they look like they could be food or perfume. (Assuming I’m an IDIOT, of course.) And it goes on and on, all the products that are out to get me.

And, all right, I admit that these can all be worthy topics. The thing is, I'm just SICK of them!
Ladies Home Journal (1-year)Okay, so all those gripes aside, what do I LIKE to read in a magazine?

#1: Interesting Stories About People. Well, that seems like a big duh, doesn’t it? But I mean stories about regular people, not just celebrities all the time. I especially like stories about people whose problems are way worse than mine, like “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” (I also love how it always IS saved!)

Or people who write in for advice, you can’t beat that with a stick! That’s always something different! What SHOULD “In A Dilemma in D.C.” do about her wayward daughter? How about those etiquette conundrums: Should I tell my co-worker his rancid B.O. is killing us all? Inquiring minds want to know!

Small World Living Toys Super Cool Ice Cream Set#2: Miniature Investigations. Recently I read an expose on how big actual ice-cream scoops were vs. how big they were supposed to be. Seriously. It was fascinating. They went to ice cream parlors and got like fifty scoops each, and then went back to the lab and weighed them. (How do you get THAT gig, I wonder?) Result: Ben and Jerry’s was shortchanging everyone, and Baskin Robbins was giving everyone about an ounce more than they should have. And, oddly enough, Coldstone was the most accurate, even though when you get ice cream there it LOOKS so imprecise, with those two metal paddles they roll up your scoop with. Now THAT’S an investigative scoop I can get into! (Pardon the pun.)

I also like when people have a problem a with a company and a magazine reporter straightens it out for them. “You will be receiving a full refund and an apology, Mrs. Chambers.” BOO-ya! That’s what I’M talking about!

#3: Blogs and Fiction. I like it when they feature a blog, perhaps like THIS one. How about it, Good Housekeeping? Ladies Home Journal? Redbook? I’m available...
Wilton Smiley Face Candles

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Handkerchiefs and Sunscreen, or Miracle on Kinau Street

This morning I was awakened at 5:30 a.m. by our new kitten’s insistent mewing. It’s weird, but to me it’s worse being awakened thirty minutes before your alarm is going to go off than in the middle of the night. At least if it were something like two in the morning I’d have a possibility of going back to sleep.

But at 5:30? I’m just lying there going shut-up-shut-up-shut-UP! PLEASE just let me have that last precious half-hour of sleep!!

But of course I got up and went to sit with the kitten. I help him in my lap and petted him, which he tolerated, and I gave him his medicine, which he hated. And it WAS almost time to get up anyways… but STILL!

Once the kids got up, they each took a turn petting the kitten, and he really seems to like them better. (Maybe because they never give him any medicine.) Then it was time for them to get dressed and fed and head off to school.

I was already planning my morning; Thursday is usually my errand day. I take the twins to the daycare on post from eight to twelve and I am able to go to the grocery store or the post office or whatever without having to lug them with me. They get breakfast and lunch there and have a good time playing with other kids, and I get to eat MY lunch without ANYONE ASKING ME FOR ANYTHING! Bliss…

Scotch® Mailing and Storage Tape 3650-4, 1.88 Inches x 54.6 Yards, 4-PackThe twins were still sleeping after the second bus had left, so I started working on a care package I’ve been putting together for a soldier in Iraq. I had planned to mail it off today, but as I was composing the letter I was putting in the box, I realized I wanted to include a few more things he‘d mentioned he was interested in. So I decided I should go to the store before sealing up the package.

And then I looked at the clock.

Ack! It was already eight! I quickly got the twins up and dressed and we were in the car by 8:15. Not too bad! As I was congratulating myself on this, I made a wrong turn on the way to the daycare and ended up on the interstate going the wrong way. Then I had to go a couple of miles out of my way before I could turn around. I was no longer pleased with my ability to make good time.

We got to the daycare by 8:30, and I rushed the twins into their classroom, where I saw the teachers had already cleaned breakfast off the table. Oh no! The twins hadn’t eaten anything!

Fortunately, the teacher was really nice and said we weren’t too late and she would still feed them. So I was relieved as I left that I wasn’t going to be Bad Mommy Who Brings Hungry Kids Too Late For Breakfast.

I headed off for my first errand of the morning: Wal-Mart. (Yeah, I know I was just there on Monday. What’s it to ya?) I was thinking about what I needed to do next: make a return, then buy the drawing supplies for the care package, then find something pretty to hold the things we’d be baking for the kids’ teacher gifts…

I stopped at a red light next to an elementary school and saw a big group of kids dancing in the bright sunlight. I gasped as a memory hit me.

Coppertone Water Babies UVA/UVB Protection Sunblock Stick, SPF 30, 0.6-Ounce Sticks (Pack of 3)Last night I’d noticed that Boo had a bit of a sunburn and I’d commented on it. She said, “Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, my teacher says I need sunscreen every day this week because we’re practicing for our May Day program out in the field.” (This is their end-of-the-year hula program.) She’s a redhead, so you can imagine Boo has very pale skin that burns easily. I really should be putting sunscreen on her every day, but I usually only do it when she’s going to be out in the sun.

But did I remember it this morning? Oh no! Why is that? Because I’m Bad Mommy Who Forgets to Put Sunscreen on Her Sensitive Child Even Though We Live on a Tropical Island Not Far From the Equator.

I started smacking myself on the forehead. How could I have forgotten? I looked at the children waving their arms in the blazing sun. I’ll bet THEIR mommies remembered sunscreen, I thought, starting to really get upset.

I was almost to Wal-Mart at this point. My kids’ school was about twenty or thirty minutes behind me. I told myself, I’ll go ahead to Wal-Mart and pick up some sunscreen while I’m there, and then I’ll go to the school and put it on her.

But what if they have practice before I get there? I wondered, and started to go off on myself again. How COULD I have forgotten? I’m the worst mother in the world. Et cetera.

I thought of poor Boo, baking in the sun. I started crying about it. So I prayed. I asked God to be merciful on my little girl, and somehow fix it so she wouldn’t get sunburned before I got there. Maybe He could have her teacher put sunscreen on her.

The Hiding Place (Hendrickson Classic Biographies)That sounded like a stupid and trivial prayer, even as I said it. But I remembered a story I heard about Corrie ten Boom. You know Corrie from “The Hiding Place,” the Dutch girl who hid Jews in her house during WWII and ended up in a concentration camp, which she survived and became a writer and Christian speaker? I heard a story about her that happened before all of that.

Bride's Wedding Day Keepsake Handkerchief Hankie: Reads BrideCorrie and her sister Betsey were walking to their job at a factory in the winter and Corrie had forgotten her handkerchief. Corrie was upset because her nose was running, and Betsey said she should pray and ask God for a handkerchief. Corrie said it was stupid to ask God for something so small, so Betsey said the prayer herself, asking for a handkerchief for her sister. Then, as they continued to walk along the street, a handkerchief fell down from an upstairs window and landed on Corrie. She looked up, but no one was there.

That story affected me quite a bit when I heard it several years ago, but I hadn’t thought of it much since. But today it came back to me, and I prayed for divine sunscreen.

Once I arrived at Wal-Mart, I forced myself to stop worrying about Boo and made my purchases. I was done by about 9:15, so I felt I was making pretty good time so far. Then when I went to get back on the interstate, the on-ramp was blocked with two police cars, complete with flashing lights.

18" X 24" One way street sign (Left arrow) One Way (Left) 18" x 24" ALUMINUMNow, I was in downtown Honolulu. I know how to get to and from only two places in downtown: Wal-Mart and our church, and I have to go the same route in and out each time in order to find my way. And now the way out was blocked. I told myself not to panic, and that if I kept driving parallel to the interstate I would eventually see another on-ramp.

ONE WAY (RIGHT) street sign traffic hwy carThen I immediately found myself in a left-turn-only lane, blocked in on my right by another left-turn lane. I turned left and looked for a way to double back. I turned around and found a no-left-turn sign. This just got worse as time went on. Honolulu is maze of one-way streets and only lanes. Usually I would just get out the GPS and push the “home” button, but a piece broke off of the GPS charger so it is currently not working.

I was close to tears again, trying to keep working my way back towards the interstate in hopes that I could one day enter it. I stopped at a red light, looking all around to see if I recognized anything. Suddenly I realized, I’m near the church! The other place I know! And in front of me, shining like a beacon, the 7-11 where I sometimes get a Big Gulp after choir practice! Yay! I knew where I was, AND I could get a diet coke!

Traffic LightDirectly in front of me, in the crosswalk, a blind man started crossing the street with one of those long sticks tapping the ground. He tapped along, veered slightly off course and tapped the tire of an SUV in the center lane, and then corrected himself. The light changed to green while he was still finding his way. I gasped to myself, hoping no one would start driving and run him over, but no one moved. All four lanes waited patiently until he was safely on the other side.

I thought to myself, You see? Your problems are NOTHING compared to that guy! Just crossing the street is a major thing for him, but he did it!

I pulled into the 7-11 feeling pretty serene. I hurried in to get my Big Gulp, where I saw a piece of paper taped over the diet coke button. Oh no! Out of order? No diet coke? Serenity shattered!

Now, I know you’re thinking, big deal! Why don’t you just walk over to the refrigerator case and get a diet coke in a BOTTLE? I’m sorry, but it’s just NOT the same! I wanted a fountain diet coke. I had my heart set on a FOUNTAIN diet coke!

Remember the blind dude, I told myself.

So I sighed and purchased an inferior soda. The cashier had really beautiful natural long fingernails. I wouldn’t be remarking on it, but it was a GUY! I mean, they were longer than mine!

I thought about complimenting him on his lovely nails. I thought about asking him if he’d met Omar the Dead Sea Facial and Manicure dude. I ended up saying only, “Thanks! Have a good day!” because I decided I didn’t even WANT to know why.

From the 7-11 I found the interstate with no problem and made it to the elementary school at a little after ten. As I arrived, first I checked the field where I knew they’d be practicing. No one was out there. I suddenly noticed it was a little overcast and the grass was wet. I walked in past the cafeteria where some of the older kids were lining up. I heard their teacher saying, “Now, get in your places just as if you were outside.”

I went ahead to Boo’s class. The kids were just coming in from somewhere and were half in/half out of the door. One yelled to Boo that her mother was here.

The teacher came to the door and I said I’d forgotten Boo’s sunscreen. She said, “Oh she probably doesn’t need it. We were going to practice at nine, but you know, the weather, yah?” She gestured up at the cloudy sky. “We’ll practice inside instead.” Boo was already in front of me, so I rubbed the sunscreen stick all over her face anyways.

But as I walked back to my car, I almost couldn’t believe it. When I had prayed for Boo, back on Kinau Street at 8:45 or so, the sun had been shining full force on Queen Kaahumanu Elementary School. It had still been beating down like crazy while I was lost in downtown Honolulu. But here at Boo's elementary school on Red Hill, the clouds had covered the sun for over an hour!

Talk about divine sunscreen! Hallelujah!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Eventful and Expensive Monday

In the mornings I always sit on the screened porch in front of our house and watch the kids until they catch the bus. Monday at 6:40 a.m. I was sitting there as usual, calmly reading my devotional book, when my oldest daughter came running back from the bus stop.

She was holding something in front of her with both hands, way out from her body, and the kid I call Crutches Boy was trailing her. (I call him Crutches Boy because he had a broken leg at the beginning of the school year, and I don’t know his actual name. He is not currently on crutches, however, so it’s a bit of a misnomer, I guess.)

I sighed and got up, slipping on my shoes to cross the yard and say, “Okay, what nasty thing are you bringing home NOW?” As you might guess from that statement, she has a history of bringing home nasty things. We won’t go into that now. (And I hope poor Crutches Boy didn’t think I meant him. Whoops.)

She said, all in a rush, “Mom, it’s a hurt kitten; I think it was hit by a car.” Crutches Boy bobbed and hovered behind her.

I could see that it was indeed a kitten. It had a little spot of blood on its nose, but it looked okay from the front other than that. I said, “What do you want me to do with it?”

“Take it to the vet or something!” she said.

I sighed and said, “Just put it down and go catch your bus.” I knew the middle school bus was due any minute. When she set the kitten down in front of the house I saw that from the back it was definitely not okay. Its poor little tail had been stripped somehow; it was nothing but bone and blood. It lay down on the porch and looked pitiful. Well, I couldn’t just LEAVE it there, could I? I went to get a towel or something to wrap it in.

I went into my younger daughters’ room --they were still sleeping-- and said, “Wake up girls! I need your help with something.” As might be expected, the response to THAT statement was unenthusiastic mumbling muffled by pillows. I added what I knew would get them moving.

“Your sister found a kitten.”

Two heads popped up and they both bounded from bed. I told them it was on the front porch and I followed them out with the towel. When we all came out the poor kitten was re-energized by fear and tried to run away. It was quickly caught and wrapped in the towel. We brought it inside, and I set the girls on the tasks of comforting it and seeing if it would take some milk from an eyedropper.

While that was going on, my cell phone started buzzing. There were two new messages. My oldest daughter was texting from the bus. “kitten?” and “wat happened”

I texted back “kitty ok,” and took a picture of her sister holding it to send her.

My phone buzzed again. “can we keep it” she was asking. I answered that one with the classic “we’ll see.” Momspeak is good in text language too!

Then she texted me again. “it’s name is bunny” At the same time, her sister was saying, “We should call it Lucky!” I decided to table that discussion for later.

In the meantime, I was trying to look up a vet in the yellow pages. It looked like an animal hospital was in order, and I found one that was nearby. I also found a cardboard box left from last week’s trip to Costco to transport the kitten.

Once the kitten was in the box, I told the girls to get their clothes on and get ready to catch their bus. I went to get the twins up. I was already exhausted and it was only about 7:05 a.m.!

By the time my daughters boarded the bus to elementary school, I was in the car with the twins and the kitten in its box. I followed the bus out of the neighborhood and headed out.

Weirdly, the animal hospital was right next door to the “Hawaii Sperm Bank.” I didn’t know they were even really CALLED sperm banks! I thought that was just on TV or something; in real life shouldn’t they be called infertility clinics or something! That distracted me for a minute, but then the task of getting into the door of the animal hospital claimed all my attention.

Maneuvering an injured animal in a cardboard box, along with a double stroller that’s just a SMIDGE too wide for the average doorway takes a lot of concentration. After a while one of the ladies behind the desk took pity on me and came to help hold the door.

I explained why I was there and they called for a someone to come “assess” the kitten. They asked me, “Are you willing to adopt this animal as your own?” That seemed a little formal. Was I taking some sort of vow? I said okay.

A lady in scrubs came out and looked in the box. She said they would take a look at the kitten in the back and then come out and tell me what it needed.

Then the lady behind the desk gave me some forms to fill out “as best I could.” She asked me if we had a name for it. I said, “That’s under a bit of a dispute.” Personally, I thought Bunny was a stupid name for a cat. I mean, you don’t call your dog “Horsey,” you know?

I texted my daughter, since it was still before eight and I knew she’d keep her phone on until school started. “your sister wants to call it lucky,” I told her.

Quick as a flash, the answer came back, “too bad I saved it,” and then a moment later, “it’s name is bunny!!!!!!!!!!” I sighed and wrote “Bunny” on the form.

While I waited for the doctor to come speak to me several people came in with animals. One lady came in with a young Dalmatian that had a cone on its head. It really wanted to smell everything in the room, but its nose was just a little shorter than the cone, so it just kept clunking the edges of its cone into everything it wanted to sniff, making the sound a plastic cup hitting a table makes. The twins were pretty entertained by this, yelling, “Doggy!” periodically. Someone else had a little Yorkie and a baby in a carrier. The twins added an occasional yell of “Baby!” to the conversation.
Another lady came in with a bunny in her purse. There was discussion at the desk over this, because the rabbit specialist wasn’t in that day. (I’m like, There’s a bunny SPECIALIST? Aren‘t veterinarians supposed to be able to take a lizard/a chicken/a pig/a frog all in the same day, like Kramer said on Seinfeld? I feel so disillusioned!)

While that was going on, lady in scrubs came out and said, “Bunny?” Dalmatian Lady and I pointed at the purse on the desk. She looked in the purse and then said, “No, I mean the kitten NAMED Bunny.”

So I had to say, “Oh. That’s me.” You see! This is EXACTLY why I didn’t want to name the thing Bunny in the FIRST place! Now I look like a moron in front of the veterinarian.

She told me Bunny needed his tail amputated. (And that he was a he, by the way.) This seemed reasonable to me, until we discussed how much it would COST to amputate the tail! Animal surgery is just as complicated as people surgery apparently! But at this point, I felt like I was committed. Especially since I’d vowed I would adopt the animal for my own. So I said go ahead and do the blood work, and the x-rays, and the surgery, AND the overnight stay.

I also went to Wal-Mart and picked up a litterbox and food for when Bunny comes home. The expenses are mounting up already! (The twins thought the cat food might be for them.)

Like I told my husband later, once I picked up the injured kitten in a towel, I was pretty much stuck with footing the bill for him. But my husband suggested the name “Stumpy” or “Money Pit” might be more appropriate than “Bunny.” We’ll see…

Okay, so here's Bunny, groggy from surgery and wearing a cone on his poor little head. I hope other cats don't have internet access to see this or he will be SO embarrassed! But seriously, how could I have resisted this face!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Had A Bad Day, and Daniel Powter Didn't Sing About It Either

I had a bad morning yesterday.

Yes, I know my pretty rainbow picture above doesn't really fit that statement, but it's of the military hospital that will feature later in my story. It's one of the funny things about living in Hawaii, you're living in a beautiful tropical environment, so even the bad days look pretty.

Well, I guess it wasn’t THAT bad of a day; everyone is still alive and all. But still…

I had to take the twins in for their two-year-old check-up. Yeah, I know their birthday was a month ago. I didn’t remember to call for an appointment until the day they turned two, and this was the soonest they had at the military hospital here.

I remember when I had that first child and I was so diligent about getting her check-ups as close to her actual birthday as possible. I also disinfected her pacifier every time she dropped it. Things change, okay?

So I was heading up to the military hospital yesterday. It is absolutely HORRIBLE to go there by the way. The place is a giant maze on a hill with not nearly enough parking. I’ve started just going directly to the farthest parking lot from the building and then heading for the grass and packed-dirt field behind it, because that’s always the only parking left. Then there’s the long walk uphill through three parking lots pushing a double stroller, as a lovely prelude to taking two different elevators and heading to the very back of the hospital to reach the pediatric clinic.

McKids McDonalds Play Food Assortment - 25+ piece set - in a Plastic Drink Cup (1 Each)So I thought I’d get a diet coke on the way there to fortify myself for this journey. I took the back way instead of the interstate so I could go past the McDonald’s that has $1 any-size drinks. That’s a good deal anywhere, but here in Hawaii it’s particularly good.

So as I cruised along down the four-lane road on my way to McDonald’s, a police car came up behind me with his light flashing. I pulled over slightly to let him pass me, and he pulled up next to me and said to pull over all the way in the grassy area across the street.

I was like, “Me? He’s after ME?”

I pulled over in the grassy area he indicated, which by the way was someone’s YARD. It was a yard full of parked and/or abandoned cars, in front of a house that strongly resembled a doublewide, but still. Do these people not MIND the police giving out tickets right in front of their door? Or maybe they’ve worked out a deal…. hmmmm…

He said I was going fifty miles an hour, while showing me the readout on his radar gun said “50.” Did I mention this was a four-lane highway? I think fifty is pretty okay; I’d figured the speed limit was fifty-five or forty-five.

SPEED LIMIT ___ 18" x 12" Aluminum SignI asked what the limit was. He said, “Twenty-five.”

I said, “TWENTY-FIVE?! Are you kidding?!”

The policeman was not interested in chatting about this. He took my license and went back to his car.

Baby Girl said, from the back-seat, “Bye-bye!” in her cheerful voice.

I was like, “I WISH, Baby Girl.”

So while he filled out the ticket --of COURSE I was getting a ticket; he wouldn’t spend all that time writing for a warning-- I had plenty of time to berate myself. “You wouldn’t be IN this mess if you didn’t have to get a diet coke,” I told myself. Myself answered defensively, “Oh, so now it’s a CRIME to want a carbonated sugar-free beverage in the morning?”

I did not, as you notice, berate myself for speeding. Because I wasn’t! Who would go twenty-five on a huge highway like this? People were zooming past us like crazy as we sat there. I could hear someone inside the house watching TV. Yes, I was THAT close to these people’s house. I hoped none of the cars I was blocking in were operable. It would really stink if someone came out of the house wanting to go to work and found me there getting a TICKET!

So finally the policeman came back to have me sign the ticket. I signed, even though I wished I had the guts to check the “Refuses to Sign” box and hand it back to him.

He said I could write a letter if I wanted, requesting a court date and telling “my side of the story.” He didn’t actually make air quote marks when he said that, but I could tell he meant them. Then he gave me my copy and left, ready to go stop another one of the poor hapless motorists breezing past us.

Baby Girl said, “Bye bye!” again.

How much was the fine, you ask?

Decorated Mouse Pad with loader, loading, ship, bucket, cargoWell, you know how things are more expensive here in Hawaii because everything has to be brought in by boat? Apparently that applies to traffic tickets too. I guess they take up a lot of SPACE on cargo ships!


Pardon my screaming in all caps. I was having a mini heart attack typing that.

Well, I guess I saved a dollar though, since I didn’t have time to get my diet coke after all that delay.


SINGLE Economy Syringe (3 cc) with Needle (22 guage x 3/4")At least I made it to the appointment on time. And the twins are perfectly healthy, plus they only needed one shot this time.

So it could have been worse.

But I would have felt a lot better if I could have made the policeman come with me and push my stroller up the hill from the parking lot. While I told him “my side of the story.”

That might have been WORTH the $182!