Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hawaii Hangover

No, I didn't spend my time in Hawaii imbibing heavily, although I did partake in a fruity frosty happy hour beverage pool-side more than once. Take, for example the lava flow:

This kicky little number is essentially a pina colada, some banana, and pineapple juice poured over frozen strawberry sauce which then spreads out and up through the drink like, well, lava. The drink is scrumptious and I've been daydreaming about having one since I left Hawaii in '05 at the end of my honeymoon.

What is notable about this drink, however, is that it's in a cup made out of corn. CORN! Corn turns into plastic??!! Oh my head. I do believe this marks the end of my relationship with corn as a food product. Seeing "This cup was made from corn" on my plastic cup made of corn, I felt much like I did in middle school when someone showed me how to remove rust from my bike chains with diet freaking coke. There was something so off-putting and quease-inducing about the idea of putting something that can eat rust into my body. Why would I do that? Now, sadly, I feel the same way about corn. If it can be manipulated to the point that it turns into a plastic? I don't need it in my intestines. Oh, corn, how I will miss you (this is where someone with greater knowledge about the process than me chimes in to explain how this process is possible while still leaving corn as a viable food option because life for me won't be the same without corn on the cob. Someone? Halp!!!)

(also? yes, those are my feet! Hi, pool chaise! My feet miss you! Le sigh)

My hangover is not alcohol-induced at all, really. Just a good case of fun-fatigue. We landed yesterday evening at 6:45 and expected Ethan to be bouncing off the walls for hours into the night, given the time change. Instead, he passed out shortly after we reinstalled his car seat in my car and he took note of how mommy's car differed from our rental car in Hawaii. "Mommy's car is old and dirty." Thanks, kid.

The good news is that after years of sleep battles, Ethan transfers, in his sleep, from car seat to bed seamlessly. Thank heavens for small mercies. The bad news is he'd not eaten since about 8am Maui time. If you know Ethan even a little bit, you know he's not going to eat a bite of food that can be found on an airplane (but really who could blame him?!) and if you know Maui's airport, you know there was precious little we could purchase before getting on the plane to hold us over mid-flight. So he spent 4.5 hours eating chewy fruit snacks (the devil's food, I know; I am available to accept my "Mother of the Year" award any time) and graham crackers. And I knew that if he woke up at 4am, complaining of hunger, there was probably less food in our house than at the Maui airport. So I had to wake him up for a sandwich at 8pm.

Oh, bad, bad choice. Note to self: the advice "never wake a sleeping baby," extends up to, and includes, age 3. Oh holy hell, after he ate a few bites of sandwich, he was up until 11:30. Eleven thirty. Husband and I took turns trying to settle him and losing our patience until he finally passed out.

I assumed given how tough it was getting to Ethan to sleep, our energy would be sapped and we'd fall into a deep and dreamless sleep right away. But no. I was up until 5:30 this morning. Yeah, that's what I said. 5:30. In the morning. Oh. My. G-d. Seriously?

Part of the reason I was up? Trying to cope with kitty trauma. When we left for Maui last Friday, I'd gone through the house, intentionally to account for both cats. They like to play in the garage and sleep in closets, so I wanted to make sure they weren't stuck anywhere they couldn't get to food and water before we left for a week. I counted two kitties, one in the living room and one in the kitchen before we left.

When we opened the door last night, the first thing I heard was meowing. Loud, howl-y meowing, a tone somewhere between desperation and pissed the eff off. That, if you don't have cats, is really just not good. Not what you want to be greeted with as you walk into the house for the first time in seven days.

The plaintive cries led me to the linen closet, where, when I opened the door, I found Echo's big yellow eyes staring out at me (it was dark, he's black--he kind of disappears except for the eyes). He jumped out, ran to the litter box and then to the food and water dishes, giving me an earful the whole time. "Meow!!!! Do you have any idea how long I've been stuck in there?! MEEEEOW!" "Meow! I'm freaking STARVING! Meow!!" "Meow! And don't even get me started on my bladder!!! ME-FREAKING-OW!"

Poor kitty. Best I can figure, when my neighbor came in to feed them sometime in the past couple of days, one of her kids must have inadvertently closed the closet door while Echo was either sleeping or hiding from them. He had not, shall we say, used the closet as a bathroom, so he couldn't have been in there for "too" long, but poor, poor kitty!!!

My sweet little shelter cat, who came to me with probably only a few of his 9 lives left, definitely used up one more being stuck in that closet for who knows how long. Therefore, I spent most of the night letting Echo climb on me, curl up against me and tell me his long meow-y tale of woe over and over again, to reassure him that I wasn't going anywhere.

But that doesn't really account for 5:30 am. For the first time since I was pregnant with Ethan and was clobbered by pregnancy insomnia, I just couldn't sleep. Wide. Awake. Even when I put my book down at 5:30 and forced myself to close my eyes, I tossed and turned for I don't know how long. And given that we had a birthday party at a bounce-house play place at 11am, I knew today was going to be agonizing.

And it was. Loved the party and was so happy to see our friends--I was a chatterbox running on adrenaline for the first 45 minutes of it. But then my contacts started to burn in my eyes, and I found myself fantasizing about lying down in one of the bounce-houses and taking a nice long nap.

The rest of the day I marveled as Husband replaced the screen in our porch door and Ethan ran around in the back yard, both of them as though they were bright-eyed and refreshed after a long week lounging in paradise. Oh wait. They were bright-eyed and refreshed after a long week lounging in paradise. But I had to go and blow my bright-eyed and refreshed on a sleepless night. Gah!!!

I'm hoping to sleep until noon tomorrow and get a bit of that back.

Here are some more pictures from our time in Eden:

Lava fields at Bay Perouse:

ever so happy to be touching lava!!

Big Beach (yeah, that's what it's called. Creative)

I could eat him up.

Molokini is in the distance--it's the tip of an underwater volcano and where Husband and I snorkeled there on our honeymoon.

Our Yellow Submarine:

The Banyan Tree in Lahaina:

is HUGE!


am. so waterlogged.

Ahhhh, I feel bright-eyed and refreshed again already....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The title is only funny (and maybe then only marginally so) if you know the name of the volcano on Maui is Haleakala. Then you get my witty little play on the word by making it Helleakala. Maybe. Or, you "get" it, but it's still not funny. I know. Believe me, I know.

Yesterday morning we started out with a giddy sense of possibility and adventure. Today was THE day. I whipped up some sandwiches for the cooler, threw a bunch of sweaters and fleeces into a bag and off we went. Off to Mount Haleakala National Park. Ten thousand feet up, to the top of the volcano crater. Sweet!

About three months ago, Ethan's class became fascinated by volcanoes. Ethan would come home and explain to me breathlessly about the giant mountains that filled up with lava and the BOOM!!!! exploded into the sky! Amazing! So cool!! The Wonder Pets and the Backyardigans both have episodes featuring volcanoes and zOMG how Ethan loves them! This is when I jokingly mentioned to Husband that we clearly needed to take a family vacation to Hawaii so Ethan could see a real live, erm, dormant volcano. (note to self: good job not selecting Iceland as our family volcano get-away). The joke-y "hey, let's go all the way to Hawaii to show our kid a real volcano!" line turned into a real vacation idea because a.) we were badly in need of a family vacation, and b.) Hawaii, it turns out, is a hell of a lot closer when you live on the West Coast as opposed to the East. So there you go.

When we got out onto the road, I unfolded the map to its full-sized glory (no candy-ass GPS for us in Hawaii, folks. We're kicking it old school with actual maps given to us by the concierge) and realize that we're embarking on a 2 hour car ride to the summit. Having done this ride on our honeymoon, I swear I didn't remember the ride up being that long, but that's probably because I was all gooey-eyed and in love. This time, with a preschooler? The ride was slightly less idyllic. "Are we at the top yet?" "I want to go hoooooooome." Poor kid. I felt for him. But IT'S THE VOLCANO!! It's what we came here for! Must soldier on! Almost there!

We pointed out the clouds to Ethan as we rose up above the cloud line. That was briefly fascinating to him and he started wondering why we couldn't just drive home to California if we could drive up into the clouds. The fact that the drive back to California would require a car that could either fly or could drive on water, and that it would take days from Hawaii to California, didn't seem to be a reasonable excuse NOT to take a car back for our return trip. So, you know, we're taking that under advisement.

But soon the clouds below us stopped being a source of interest and his steady stream of "why" questions tapered off ("why are they clouds?" "why are they water?" "why is there water in the sky?" "why do the plants need the water?" "why is it called water?" why why why whywhywhyWHY????!!!! Dante was clearly never a parent or he would have most definitely included a "why" circle in his little collection of hells), and we were back to some serious kvetching about his general unhappiness at not being in the pool. Which, I do realize, is totally reasonable to a 3.5 year old. I know that I could check into the Days Inn on the other side of town from us at home and he could play in that pool to his heart's content (please note, though: the pools here are way nicer than you're going to find at any Days Inn, unless there's a Days Inn in Heaven, and even then, I'm not sure), but that a volcano is not really an everyday thing. But he doesn't quite get that. I know.

I hoped that when we arrived at the top of the volcano and got out to walk around, he'd be as in awe of Haleakala as he had been two days earlier when we walked on the lava rocks by the ocean at Bay Perouse. That day, he had been very unhappy with the idea, afraid the lava would be hot, wanted to be back at the pool instead, yadda yadda. But as soon as he started exploring, he was fascinated and couldn't be pulled away from the 200+ year old lava rocks, every five minutes asking what is becoming his trademark question, "How cool is that?!!" I expected he would react the same at the summit of Haleakala.

Poor little guy, it was just not meant to be.

When we arrived at the summit, it was probably 45-50 degrees at the top and windy. The type of wind that takes your breath away if you're standing into it. And the second we got out of the car, Ethan stood into the wind and got the breath knocked out of him. Damn it! I'd thought to prepare him for the "don't worry, the volcano won't erupt," "there's no hot lava anymore," and "we're bringing coats because it's going to be cold up there!" elements of the trip. It hadn't occurred to me to prepare him for the "don't worry, the wind will not blow you off the side of the volcano" fears that might arise. That did arise. The second that blast of wind hit him, he went from kvetchy whiner to full on panic attack meltdown.

It was super good times, folks. Super good.

We gave it our best shot. I carried him. Husband carried him. We tried to explain to him that he was safe and that the wind wasn't strong enough to carry him away (think he might still be a bit traumatized by this incident in which a friend's kite was picked up and mercilessly carried away by the wind, never to be seen again). He stamped his feet and screamed (and he's not a really tantrum-y kid when it comes down to it--this was full-on freak out of epic proportions for him). Trying to put him down would elicit blood curdling screams and his legs locking on my waist like a vice. So, you know, loads of fun for the whole family.

Look how happy! This is before we reached the summit when it was just super cool to be in the clouds.

It really does feel like you're on the top of the earth.

....and here's the end of the happy. As soon as we got above the vegetation line, it was all tantrums and tizzies.

So much more impressive in feet than in meters.

good times

one of the rare moments he consented to being on his own two feet

At one point we had to sit down and work on some old-school rocking/comforting. Sometimes the 5-S's work on preschoolers, too.

Carrying my child down into the volcano. These are the days when I'm grateful he is barely 30lbs.

Mr. Crankypants finally won out and after about 30 minutes of trying to win him over with exclamations of amazement, we sobbed our way off of Haleakala.

I have to admit that our failure to fully revel in the awe of being atop a volcano really pinched my Clark Griswold nerve raw. Husband had to talk some sense into me as I started to "But this is what we came here for! Let's just keep going! He just needs to calm down and then he'll love it!" Ugh. It's not easy for me to admit that I was momentarily willing to put my desire to make memories and have experiences together as a family ahead of what was clearly becoming my 3.5 year old's all out panic attack. Sigh. Thankfully I eased off on the Mommie Dearest: The Vacation Edition routine, and we got back into our car.

And headed here:

because if there's one thing Ethan and I can agree on, it's that we looooove us some goats!

We took the tour and got to feed the goats and watch the kids show off on, what else? the surf board, and then we got to sample a variety of goat cheeses. Ohdeargod, the goat cheeeeeeese!

Ethan made a friend

Now, please prepare yourself for 8 billion pictures of goats.

Has clearly recovered from the Haleakala trauma. Is sooooo happy to be around the goats.

It's not cold OR windy here! And? There are goats!

love the little goaty goatgoat


Surfing baby goats, people!!!! For the love of all things weird but so freaking adorable! Surfing baby goats!

What do I plan to do when I retire? Move to Hawaii and raise goats. Write it down and check back in 25 years. You heard it here. Retire to Hawaii and raise goats. (Husband is not 100% on board with this plan yet, but he will be...)