Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Aloha 'Oe

I really owe all of you a follow up, you were so kind to inquire about my dad even though I wrote (but apparently didn't emphasize quite enough) that he was ok. He's ok! Or so it seems. While the initial call was obviously fucking scary, a few hours later I was no longer thinking I had to reroute my flight home to stop at my parents'. I was going to turn around and fly west next week, but am now actually thinking next month would be just fine. Maybe even June, because then I could take Bella. The two main bugaboos at the moment seem to be: 1) they couldn't really determine where the block happened exactly (although it was apparently the right side -- which is kinda rare?), and 2) the wounds from putting the catheter/shunt in (through his leg, incidentally, fucking yeow) hurt like hell, and are making it tough to get around. Which he's ostensibly supposed to be doing. But the actual breathing part (and his blood pressure and the like) seem to be just fine, thank you. He was released last Wednesday (a mere three days and a few hours post "attack") and sounds great -- if already getting pessimistic about the Penguins in the next round is great. It will undoubtedly take mom a while to recover and allow him to use the toilet or make toast by himself.

Hawai'i was full of surprises. A while ago, I followed the advice of The NYT Samurai Shopper and bought the drugstore mascara recommended therein. I found it akin to applying oatmeal cookie batter to my eyelashes. But I didn't have time I forgot to buy something else so in the bag it went, and out it came a million miles later, and lo! No clumps! I have apparently discovered the secret to reducing clumps in your mascara, which I think is worth a patent, no? Simply buy the sweet little tube a ticket on a long and vast journey in the cargo hold of an airplane or two. Failing that, maybe stick it in the freezer for a day and then warm it up in nice balmy 80 degree weather? While playing ukelele music?

Other "Huh!" Moments:

I was kinda underwhelmed by the beaches. I know. I think this was island specific, and I didn't have a choice of islands (see: business trip that underwrote my husband's ticket and some of our hotel), and everyone tells me not to give up but the beaches elsewhere are fucking insane. I'm usually lemonade out of lemons when it comes to beaches -- Sure I can cram my towel in here, close enough to smell a strangers deodorant! The shells between the glass and syringes are truly wonderful! No really, 49 degrees is refreshing! -- but I guess usually I don't travel that long for the privilege? Or something? Anyway: next time, if there is a next time, different island. Oh, and I'm leaving from the west coast. Because 13 hours in transit is too, too long for anyone, grown-ups included.

I had never given much thought to how good pork would be in Hawaii. I suppose if I gave five seconds of time to the concept of a luau, the progression would be: lei, grass skirt, some weird stuff called poi, roasted pig. Pig. They must have pig there! But never really applied this concept widely to consider Hawaii's pork industry as a whole. Apparently there is one! I pride myself on my continental bbq excursions, but people -- don't let the islands go underestimated here. Mighty fine. Failing a sandwich, make sure to sample bacon, sausage, or random hot dog. You won't be disappointed.

Food overall was much, much better than I had anticipated. I don't know what I anticipated -- fresh fruit and fish? And there was a lot of that. I think four to five of my meals were fish tacos in a variety of preparations. But overall, I guess I never gave much thought to the idea that a place that made sugar might be pretty good at making, oh, I dunno, pastry. Or that a local microbrew would actually taste great and be more than a simple tourist plug. Yay food!

I was a bit taken aback by the number of homeless I saw in Honolulu (apparently others are too, I discovered via google). Not in a "Ew! Homeless!" kinda way (dudes, I live in Philadelphia), but in a per capita, "Wow that's a lot," kinda way. After rummaging around a bit, I guess my surprise has piqued; the total population of all the islands is somewhere around 1.28 million; Philly's population is circa 1.5 million. The park there I saw was more crowded than any I've seen downtown here; BUT, I'm thinking the resources are probably centered around the capital, and ergo, the people are too. It didn't really buzzkill my paradise as much as it made me realize this global recession thing truly is. Sadz.

Bella is apparently talking to strangers about Maddy. The incident on the beach was the first time I've heard her bring up her sister to anyone other than me or her father (and in fact, talking to Dad is a rather recent development. Apparently last week while outside on the swings, she asked him what we would name a subsequent baby girl. Mr. ABF gave up our second-to-Maddy name, and Bella made a face. I'm at least relieved I have some back-up should it come to this again). Not only did she cough up this information to beach girl, but while I was packing and panicking on the phone, she outlined the particulars of her Very Special Family to a new best friend by the hotel pool. Mom apparently turned to Mr. ABF and mouthed, "Really?" to which he responded, "Yes, she lived six days" or somesuch, and she was appropriately sorry. AND THEN went on to say how her son had some lung cold and they had to delay their trip home until he left the hospital. Because you know, same exact thing, really.

I think Bella's output here is pretty question specific. That is, the inquiring party needs to directly offer information about his/her siblings, and/or ask Bella about hers. Mr. ABF said a new neighbor came by yesterday while he and she were by the fence, and she asked Bella something to the effect of, "So is it just you?" Which, DUH! Does Bella resemble Macaulay Culkin? Does she look parentally neglected? More to the point, does new neighbor understand the literalness of a four-year-old? (She should, she has one herself.) Was she expecting, "Why yes, it is just me. When do you eat dinner?" Of course Bella answered with a "[Fuck] No! There's mom and dad, my dogs Buddy and Max, and my cats Kirby and Tucker." So there, neighbor lady. Mr. ABF figured he'd spill the beans about the urn in the family room some other time.

Or maybe she's just responding to us and kids right now. People who get it on her level. Her homies.


I have been a complete bundle-of-nerves-insomniac this week. I was blaming Hawaii (sung, avec ukelele, to the tune of "Blame Canada"), but last night after talking myself down from a Bella-getting-a-lethal-illness panic attack, I've come to conclude that the whole heart attack/swine flu bullshit has ratcheted my anxiety level up through the ROOF. I'm reminding myself multiple times during the day when my brain veers toward the horror graphic that "It's not a premonition! It's a symptom of your fucked up psyche!" but still not feeling much better.

It would help to know you're freaking out too. Aloha!


G$ said...

I'm always freaking out Tash, as you well know. This week it's because the Shoes Un.der sucked and I had such high expectations.

Swine flu freak out after you talk about the lovely pork in Hawaii made me giggle, sorry. I am just looking forward to it being kosher to wear masks and not shake hands with people. Keep your germs to yourselves, people!


Michele said...

Am I freaking out? Is that a trick question? ;)

I am so glad your dad is doing better. That is great news.

Bella has her need to share, I'm sure, and especially with those her own age and the questions they sometimes ask (or the associations made), I think it's probably going to happen more and more these days.

Hell, I'm not 4 and I feel the need to share!

loribeth said...

Not alone at all -- come over & read some of my recent blog posts. (Is it an allergic reaction? Is it a panic attack? Is it wonky perimenopausal hormones? Or some nutty combination thereof?) I thought I had this anxiety thing licked, after a bad bout 7-8 years ago, but apparently not. :( I am having "allergic reactions" before I even get close to food, which tells me they are not (entirely) food-related. Why this is happening to me at this particular point in my life, I have no idea, but I wish it would stop. :(

And yes, the swine flu thing isn't helping. Dh & I are already seeing people at the train station wearing masks!! Pass the Purell...

Which Box said...

Freaking out much? I can't decide. Because I am too tired from the mysterious flu-like illness that swept through the house last week, leaving me, as usual, last (wo)man standing, and disrupting everyone's sleep. Baby is Still. Not. Sleeping.

Then someone sent me a link to a lovely helpful site called Get Pandemic Ready, where they recommend stockpiling 3 months worth of supplies. Especially for when the toilets stop working. Yikes! And have you seen the flu wiki page? Those people are definite, definite buzz kills. Don't go there unless you want to really be freaked out. OR should you go there to be prepared? I do not know. Maybe we should buy masks and a box of gloves? Or is that crazy overkill?

I tend to specialize in worst case scenarios. But lately I've gotten better at refusing to let my mind go there. Trying to stay grounded in the here and now.

Aunt Becky said...

I can't *stop* freaking out. Altho not about the swine flu.

Sue said...

I am living in denial. Flu? What flu?

Glad your dad is okay, As for Bella, don't all 4 year olds ask too many queastions and give too much information? I was saying to C the other day, after your last post, it seem amazing and, actually, wonderful how connected she seems to feel to Maddy. Maybe she's processing something? At any rate, her sister is important to her. I think that's great.

niobe said...

Have to say that I was puzzling over the question "is it just you?" for way, way too long. As in, what was the person trying to say? I mean, I've been pretty sure for a good long while now that it *is* just me. But I'm also fairly positive that that wasn't what Neighbor Lady was getting at.

debbie said...

Tash, you crack me up. As if I haven't told you enough, I love your writing! That Macauly Culkin line was awesome. And the image of your daughter with her homies, priceless.

I wish I could say Swine Flu didn't freak me out, but meeting with clients on a daily basis, many of whom are from Mexico, in large state institutions that are breeding grounds for infections, I have to say, I'm a bit concerned.

On a side note, R and I were thinking of a getaway to Hawaii too. But, if the beaches aren't that great, where is "elsewhere?"

Hennifer said...

Glad your dad is recovering! Hope they have some more answers for him.

I'm freaking out about the swine flu, especially in comparison to my lack of reaction to previous scares, SARS, ecoli, salmonella, Mad Cow, etc.

I told a friend today, my kids are getting on a PLANE tomorrow morning for CALIFORNIA, with my EX!!! Enough said. I hope he has some clue, although he never has before so...

Sorry your anxiety is so high!

Tash said...

Debbie: Don't go to Oahu. Try another island. I hear Kauai is remarkable.

k@lakly said...

Freaking out right next to you. Living in this world of why yes, the worst case does always seem to happen to me, SUCKS ASS.
Do you think it would be wrong to stop nursing so I could get drunk, like, everyday?

Glad your dad is on the mend. That shit is scary no matter how quickly they recover.

Hope's Mama said...

Yes, I can vouch for Kauai and Maui, just been to both of them. Beautiful. Although the beaches on the North Shore of Hawaii are nice, they are just more for surfers, not swimmers.
And yes, how good are the fish tacos! And the local microbrewery. All a pleasant suprise given I come from the land Down Under, and we tend to think our food and booze aint at all bad. Other than that, we thought the food sucked. I mean poi, what's up with that?
Great post, as always Tash. Glad to hear your Dad is ok.
Oh and yeah, what flu? It has reached our shores, but zzzzzzz.

Lisa b said...

I just took a temporary research job in our hospital. I get email updates on the swine flu daily and am trying to pretend they aren't signs that I must run screaming from my desk.

kriswaldherr said...

Not to worry. We're always freaking out here too!

eden said...

I'm glad your dad is getting better.

And for the record ... people are freaking out down here in Australia, about swine flu. Daily updates, etc.

I'm with G* ... make masks kosher.

Val said...

[Glad your dad is doing alright]
But I, too, was gravely disappointed by the beaches of Oahu... Next time we'll try Maui or Kauai! (about time to return; my boy has outgrown his Hawaiian shirt!)
I don't have any useful advice for the Freak-outs - I myself am a master at appearing outwardly calm & reasonable, while my interior is a shrieking madhouse. Exercise, a little yoga, vague attempts at meditation...

Melissia said...

Freaking out here in Texas as well, not about the swine flu. But my dad is, an expert about the Spanish flu of 1918 which killed millions, he is planning to visit in about 2 weeks, on a plane no less flying into Houston, so is already obsessing about death and illness and pandemic. I on the other hand am obsessing about his new countertops which I cannot get installed before he arrives which means he will not have a functioning kitchen in his retirement home. He is staying for TWO WEEKS! Which also means no tile work, no trim, and no plumbing, all of which will have to happen after he arrives. Not good. So panic and doom of a different sort for me.

angie said...

my nephew puked in the car today on our way home. i'm totally convinced he is patient zero in our family for swine flu. sure, he didn't have a fever and drank a gallon on tropical flavored juice of some kind (could only smell it, not confirm said flavor) before sitting in the way back of the van, but hey, i was in mexico a few years ago. i do not doubt the power of dormancy.

btw what is up with people responding to the death of our babies with, "Yeah. my kid was sick once"? like that is freaking comparable...jackasses.

charmedgirl said...

i can't even begin to imagine living with a man (annoying as he inevitably is) and then having him have some sort of death scare. or actually die. wtf? i feel for your mom (and you of course, my love). glad he's ok.

when i think of hawaii i think of three things: spam, which is apparently some kind of freakish delicacy that they put into everything from tacos to sushi rolls, and the transexual sex trade, which is supposedly booming in hawaii. third, the crammed beaches flanked by humongous, towering hotels that look like the jeffersons' apartment building.

good thing you found good food, which can save just about ANYTHING.

charmedgirl said...

OH...the freaking out. i feel pretty good lately, but the pendulum must swing. it's the law.

MsPrufrock said...

Living over here with exposure to a (generally) reasonable, non-panic inducing media, I am moderately concerned but not freaking out. Yet. I worry about everything, but I love large gaps in my anxiety which means I worry about silly things that will probably never happen, and don't worry enough about things that may. Bah.

Good to have a post from you again. I always enjoy them.

Betty M said...

Not freaking yet except at silly coverage. But Mexico not a big destination for Brits so cases here pretty low.

CLC said...

The swine flu is so overblown. Thousands of people die every year from the flu and no one talks about it (not that that makes it ok or right), so why is the media hyping on this flu strain? We should be scared of the flu all winter long.