It’s beginning to look a lot not like Christmas…

I continue to sweat the month of December away. While Hawaii is enjoying cooler nighttime temps (sometimes it even hits 69!) in the daytime it still is up in the 80s. The upstairs, where the bedrooms (and my home office) is still super hot, probably in the 90s, even with all the fans blowing. Ick.

So it absolutely does not in any way feel like December. We even went swimming today. In a pool, outside. At 4 pm. To get ourselves in Christmas mode, we took the newspaper’s guide to area lights and went on a little tour.

Usually when houses are good enough to warrant mention in a newspaper’s Christmas light section, it’s because they’re grand. Why else would they be in the paper? We drove up Mariner’s Ridge to see a house.

I bundled up in a sweater because it was 79 degrees. Holy cow! That’s cold. My blood is thinning so much I’ll probably die of hypothermia the minute I return to the mainland. If I ever return (said in a deeply intoned voice).

Mariner’s Ridge is an expensive part of Hawaii Kai, where we live. It’s populated with big two-story homes that are probably made out of the same old garage door material as everywhere else, only with ocean views. We hadn’t been up there before. One thing that makes me nervous about most places around here is that these neighborhoods all have one road in– the same road that goes out. No wonder the traffic’s so bad in the morning. Anyway, Cadillac and I relished the chance to finally check out Mariner’s Ridge. We’d also heard there is a trail up there that winds through a pine forest with an ocean view. But at night, you can see the whole city.

The hill winds up steeply to over 1000 feet above sea level (from zero) in two minutes. My ears popped and ached (still getting over this cold) and the kids screamed at the very acute angle of the minivan. “What if we fall off the cliff into the ocean?” someone moaned. “I’m carsick.”

view from top of mariner's ridge

And of course, somebody tailgated us all the way up. We saw where they live, though, and took careful note.

Finally, we arrived at the tiny short sidestreet the newspaper had listed. What glorious display would they have? Try two big light candles and one circle of lights wreath.

It was a bit disappointing, considering the life and death precipice we’d put ourselves on. “The way up was scary,” said Kaiya, “but the way down was like a super-fast roller coaster!” At least it was exciting. My ears took an hour to recover. I will not be living up there, ever.

Two more stops along the newspaper-suggested light route confirmed our suspicion: the published route bites. Next time, we’re just driving randomly around.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

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