School Phone Calls

It has begun. The thing I dread even more than back-to-school sales and making the kids get up early.

The phone calls.

Does your school do this? It didn’t happen in

English: This is an example of the angst cause...
English: This is an example of the angst caused by the use of a telephone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hawaii at all. We get at least one phone call per week, per school. Probably more like 2. These are recorded messages from the principal, nurse, and other personnel like that.

They don’t just call you if there’s a huge emergency that everyone needs to know about, like lice or vomiting (which really only makes me super paranoid, because most of the time it happens in another class, and really, you can’t do anything about it after the kids are exposed, can you?). They call you to tell you stuff you really ought to know, like, “School starts tomorrow! Don’t forget to come back!”  And many times they call about stuff they send fliers home about,  like yogurt sales after school. Do you have to kill a tree if you’re going to call/email me? Won’t the call/email suffice?

The other thing is you don’t just get a call, like a single call. I get a call, my husband gets a call, and we both get emails. We’ll be sitting there watching TV at seven at night and suddenly, all the phones will ring all across the neighborhood. Dogs erupt into barking. Babies wail. That kind of thing.

I imagine, then, there is no excuse for not knowing what’s going on, ever. Except sometimes, they neglect to tell us some of the free stuff. For example, the middle school had a free camp, and I did not hear about it whatsoever (note, email, phone call) until I read about it in the newspaper a few weeks after it happened. Come on! That’s the kind of stuff I want to know! The humanity!

I’m dreading the day when I’ll have one kid in each school and we will get three phone calls a week, probably more like nine. And I don’t even count the emails.

It’s gotten to the point where I see the number and hang up to read the email later. It’s like crying wolf; I’m getting jaded to the urgency of knowing what’s going on. I’m worried one day, there will be some kind of major thing I should listen to, and because of all the other calls about yogurt sales, I won’t.


The Two-Faced Barbarian and the Gator Gar

I’m sort of homeschooling my kids this summer. Ethan has the most to do, because he needs the most help writing and reading and he’s supposed to learn his times tables before third grade. They do that by third grade these days? I suppose so.

Every day, I ask him to write some times tables (flashcards will be later this week) and then write at least one page and up to 300 pages on the topic of his choice, to practice his handwriting as well as his writing.

Anyway, I have been impressed with the two stories he’s written. I asked if he needed topics, and he said no. This is the first year in which Ethan has been able to express himself through writing, and I’m finding the difference between his writing and his older sister’s interesting.

Plus, I had to read the barbarian story three times before I completely got it.  Not that that’s bad.

The Two-Faced Barbarian

The two-faced barbarian has a quiet fighting style. If I don’t harm him, he won’t harm me, so I’ll gently give him a plate of sardines because if I don’t, he’ll grind my bones for his bread. O, how I wish I could be free, and it’s pretty creepy for four eyes to stare at me.

Beware, my dear, friends never go hiking with me.

The American Alligator and the Gator Gar

The American Alligator looks like a gator gar. They can kill you with an attack called the death roll. It tears off the spot of its prey it got in its mouth.

Sometimes, the poor gator gar is blamed for the alligator’s attack, so some people say the gator gar should be electrocuted. But it shouldn’t be.

The Change is Happening

No, not THAT kind of change.

A different kind of change.  Today I exited the house as a trade wind blew its chill fingers over me and I shivered, reaching for my sweater.  I got in the car and looked at the thermometer.

78 degrees.

Really? I am COLD when it’s 78 degrees?  How cold is the wind, 50?

So even though I got rid of all but two sweaters when I moved here, um, it looks like maybe, next year, we’ll have to buy some more.  Sweaters, windbreakers, jeans, pajamas with pants for the kids. Not footies, though they do sell those at Wal-Mart and Costco like we’re in the mid west.  No.  I draw the line at footies.

I’m hoping this means when the hot weather rolls around I won’t feel like a volcanic rock is sitting on my chest, like I did last year.  Here’s to hoping.

Pineapple Express

The other weekend, armed with lots of coupons, we headed to the Dole Plantation. They actually have a little train called the Pineapple Express, which takes you on a tour of the pineapple grounds. However, Ethan is long past his train-obsession phase, and none of us were interested in shelling out a total of $7 per person to sweatily look at pineapple bushes.

The maze, on the other hand, was worth it.

We whipped out our proof of local-ness, getting the kama’aina discount, plus a two for one. Woot. The maze is shaped like a huge pineapple and is apparently the largest maze of its kind in the world. If I could remember what “its kind” was.

After you walk in, there’s a big open spot that looks like a pineapple from above. The maze entrances are located all over the edges of the pineapple.

We had maze maps and we were supposed to go find stencils at hidden stations and trace them onto our maps. For instance, we had to find a mermaid and a train.

The maze bushes dwarfed Kaiya. She didn’t care for it too much.

I found the first station easily.

Then I asked Cadillac to find the next station, figuring that since he was in the Army and had to get some kind of map reading certificate he would be better at it. Rangers Lead the Way and all that.

So of course there were, ahem, a few wrong turns. But we found the next station. And then one more. And the people were starting to get hot and burned and wanted their pineapple ice cream. Cadillac, however, wanted to finish the maze, all 6 or so hidden stations. Kaiya agreed with me and I pointed out that Cadillac’s un-sunblocked neck was turning red, so he agreed to stop his mission. One thing about my husband: once he starts something he wants to finish at all costs, no matter if the rest of his family is face-down in the pineapple top someplace, crying out hoarsely for ice cream. We’re kind of wimpy like that. The kids get it from me.

Anyway, we went and got ice cream and were much refreshed. Kaiya only ate part of hers before she said the brain freeze got her. Then Cadillac said he would finish hers, so she ran back.

Ethan, who detests fruit, ate about half of his.

At which point Elyse dramatically stole his ice cream, being done with hers.

Then threatened me dramatically with a plastic spoon.

Cadillac said he would take the two older kids back into the maze to finish. They refused, full of ice cream and now too cooled off to go. He was displeased.

But he got over it.

Anyway, if you are on Oahu and decide to go, I don’t think you need a whole day, unless you really want to do the whole tour and you love pineapples. And if you’ve had the pineapple soft serve from the Tiki Room at Disneyland, then you’ve had exactly the same thing.

Why Does This Look Like Cali?

On Friday, we ventured up Diamond Head. Diamond Head is an inactive volcano and a state park. You hike up a side of it for a view of its crater on one side and the ocean on the other.

tinder-dry diamond head
tinder-dry diamond head

I knew there were 72 steps. What I did not know was that there was a hike up to those steps, and another 99 steps following those 72 steps. Also, I did not know that Diamond Head crater would be like hiking southern California in the middle of a summer day. Breezeless (the crater walls keeping out any coolness), bone-dry, crackling hot. Thus, I brought only one bottle of water, which I finished halfway up the path to the stairs.

06 26 09 008

At the base
At the base

Kaiya was happy about the whole thing, as her daddy carried her the entire way. Especially when she spied the Japanese girl with pink hair. “I like your hair!” Kaiya called out to her. The girl smiled. Ethan munched on a bag of dry ramen. As long as he has food, he’s fine. He chirped, “Excuse-moi,” to each group we passed. Each group of Japanese tourists gave us the “hang-ten” sign and chorused, “Alooo-ha!” and the girls all cooed at Ethan. Elyse vacillated between proclaiming, “I am about to die!” and “Hey, look at the view!”

I was not so happy. I only like to hike in the cool of evening or morn, not at one o’clock in the mid-90s. Lucky for me, my MIL wanted to go down, too. Her knee bothered her. She offered to buy me a shave ice from the truck at the bottom (which was really more like a Snoopy Snow-Cone, gritty and large ice particles). I went with her and she called her daughter while I ate my extremely large snow-cone thing.


My husband promises that we shall return, on a morning, with Camel-Baks. I should have given him the camera and had him take pics at the top and said that I had done it already. A pic is proof, right?

Hawaii, Here We Come

My husband was offered a job in Hawaii a couple days ago. Since the other job he was in the running for said they were still considering, he took the Hawaii job.
But wait. He starts work on Monday, the day after Easter, training here in San Diego. Then he reports for work in Honolulu the Monday after that.
If my head explodes and no one is around to here it, does it still make a sound?
My mind is spinning with logistical questions. Mostly about posting all of our vast collection of, well, junk on Craigslist and starting anew. I think our Thomas the Train collection will net a tidy sum, as will our CostPlus rubberwood table.
So I will stay behind. I will finish doing the edits on my book. I will take care of the kiddos. I will sell our stuff and pack what we have.
Don’t feel too bad for me. My in-laws live like a mile away and they’re experienced at moving and such. I’m sure they’ll help.
But still. Blows mah mind and is exciting at the same time.
Is it sad that what I’m MOST excited about is that our health insurance will be AWESOME, will cost less than $200 a month for the whole fam, and will begin immediately? After shelling out big bucks for COBRA, who can blame me?
Stay tuned for more on our big adventure.

Hawaii Five-O Theme Song Sorry, embedding was disabled.