Thursday, October 11, 2012

Snorkel Fever and Sexy Turtles

Most important thing first.  My girl -- Camille, Coco, the Paris baby -- turned three years old over the weekend.  Three years.  Conceived thanks to a gorgeous bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.  Almost born in a taxi.  And according to the French -- always cold.

We sure are happy to have you around, Ms. Cokes.  You are a giggly, goofy, pink-loving (much to my chagrin) perfect little girl.  You also refuse to potty train and give a swift kick to your potty chair every time you pass it but let's not focus on that part, you're THREE!

Lucien was Coco's current age when we moved to Paris.  It seems impossible.  He turned three our first month in Paris while still living in our temporary apartment.  We were so confused and disoriented by the move, we celebrated his 3rd birthday on the wrong dayAnd we didn't even do it well.  Not our best parenting moment.

I think Coco's 3rd birthday went a little better because Seattle family came over and -- OH MY GOSH butterfly wings...

I sure do love that little girl but I've got more material about Hawaii now.  Sit tight, tiresome vacation tales will be over soon.

Alex and I signed up for a six-hour snorkel tour off the Napali coast, the cliff-strewn Western coast of Kauai accessible only by hike or by boat.  I love snorkeling off a boat except boats make me seasick and snorkel masks make me intensely claustrophobic.  Six hours on a nausea machine with a strangulation device attached to my face?  The snorkel tour was my idea, which makes me wonder if I've ever even met myself before.

While waiting with our fellow bleary-eyed coffee-drinking snorkelers for the 7:30 a.m. departure time, many people hummed the Gilligan's Island theme song and elbowed their partners in the ribs to make sure their partner noticed they were being funny.  Handfuls of people were doing this exact same thing yet every single one thought they were being original and irresistibly hilarious.  I'm sure the same thing happens in the waiting area of every boat tour, anywhere, ever.

I rolled my eyes at the lot of them just as Alex elbowed me in the ribs and bellowed "A THREE HOUR TOUR...  A THREE HOUR TOUR."  He was wearing his eager Fozzie Bear expression, waiting for laughs that were never gonna come.  Then he said, "You know, normally I think you're a Mary Ann type but at this hour of the morning you really look more like Gilligan."  It was mean but at least it was original.

Our snorkel tour took place on a catamaran.  Beautiful boat.  The guide told us people were allowed to sit up front on the two trampolines but those who did so were idiots  People who sit on the trampolines get drenched.  As in drenched, drenched.

This reminds me of one of Lucien's logic homework problems: is the last sentence in this series likely true or false?

A.) You have to be an idiot to sit on the trampolines.
B.)  Alex and I eagerly boarded the boat and pushed many people aside to be the first people to sit on the trampolines. 
C.)  Alex and I are the biggest idiots of them all.

They weren't lying about the trampolines.  Drenched drenched.  Compounding the problem was the extremely choppy water we encountered.  Plowing through those whitecaps -- up, down, splash, up, down, splash -- was really something.

It's true.  Drenched drenched.

When  you're prone to seasickness, there is one thing you do NOT want your captain to say as he eyes the waves in front of him.  You do not want him to say  --

"Hang on, everybody, the boat's about to do the hula!"  

But our captain did say that.  And our boat did do the hula.  It didn't take long for greenish-faced people to start hurling.  Alex witnessed one woman stumble into the main cabin and vomit many times into a garbage can.  She then clung to the garbage can like it was her best friend and she had an intense fear of abandonment.  The crew scrambled to get bags in front of pale faces before the boat was covered in a wave of a different kind.

In happy news, it turns out I HAVE met myself before.  I knew myself well enough to prepare for that boat.  I wore motion sickness bracelets, took Dramamine for 24 hours before boarding, chewed ginger gum and had those patches behind my ears.  Maybe it was overkill but glory be, I didn't get seasick.  It was therefore a whole lot of fun riding those waves, bordering on a truly intense high.

Alex "Lieutenant Dan'd" it for awhile (you know the scene I'm talking about?  Forrest Gump?  Anybody?) by white-knuckling onto the trampoline ropes as we hit some big waves.  He got slammed in the face repeatedly by water.  The crewman standing next to me cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled into the wind towards Al, "DO.  NOT.  LET.  GO.  EVEN IF YOUR BATHING SUIT COMES OFF.  WE'LL CATCH IT.  JUST.  DO.  NOT.  LET.  GO."  He had a point, too.  Sometimes the water was so forceful Al's ass nearly made a cameo appearance.

I didn't take many pictures of the boat ride, primarily because of hula boat but also because I wanted to experience the spectacular moment for real and not behind a camera lens.  It's not something I do often.  I'll admit, it was liberating.

What do you mean, I'm supposed to actually "look" at something?  Doesn't the canyon only exist in my camera?

We passed a couple sea turtles copulating in the water.  Everybody loves sexy turtles.  The crew members wolf whistled and hooted and hollered until the boy turtle looked at them like, "Shut UP, you are TOTALLY going to ruin this for me, assholes."  FYI, sexy turtles look like a spooning turtle sandwich rolling around in the water.

We also passed through spinner dolphins.  Hundreds.  Spinner dolphins love playing in front of catamarans so we passed through group after group of happy jumping dolphins.  We trampoline people may have been drenched up front but we also had a front row view -- so who's the idiot now, people inside the cabin vomiting in garbage cans and thinking, "F*cking dolphins, who gives a f*ck just get me off this f*cking boat!?"

The snorkeling part was OK.  It's not the best snorkeling location I've been to but Alex saw a sea turtle and followed it for awhile so that's something.  The snorkeling mask lived up to its expectation; it absolutely made me feel like I couldn't breathe and was going to die floating on my stomach looking at pretty fishies.

I just cannot get used to breathing through my mouth, and not just in snorkeling situations.  When I have a cold and my nose gets stuffed up, I'm likely to sit up all night crying, "I'M NOT GONNA MAKE IT THROUGH THIS."

Anyway, we all snorkeled and had some laughs and when we climbed back onto the boat the crew served us lunch and many beers.


The water on the way back wasn't as choppy but several more people still succumbed to the seasickness.

Like the hottie on his honeymoon there in the shorts.  Yeah... he didn't do so well.

Those ladies under the towels weren't so good either.

But me and Al?  It was all over. Six hours. And we felt incredible.  

I have still more Hawaii tales but I'm crazy over here.  It's been a busy week.  Thankfully it's almost over.  And best part -- my best friend from high school arrives tomorrow to stay with us for the weekend.  I haven't seen her in years, not since me-n-Al's wedding.  She wore a really ugly bridesmaid dress for me, a sign of eternal friendship, as it should be.

It's unacceptable it's been so long since we've seen each other. 

Come to me, Ohio Mom!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why aren't I in Hawaii right now?

Al and I have returned from our five-day Hawaiian vacation.  Now that we're back home, our slight tans are fading and we can no longer wear bathing suits every day in lieu of clothes.  The post-vacation depression is really settling in nicely.

It's easy to pack for a vacation to Hawaii; all you need are a couple bathing suits and a couple sundresses. Don't bother taking makeup, especially mascara, because after thirty seconds in the ocean you're going to have black streaks running from your eyeballs to your chin and your ghoulish appearance will make small children (actually just Alex) look upon you in horror.

Alex had a harder time packing to leave for Hawaii than I did, as evidenced by his demolishing of our closet and continuous muttering of "some dickhead took my sandals."  He was eventually forced to pack his old Crocs.  It was a painful moment for both of us.

Every time Alex and I leave for vacation without the kids, I am reminded we don't have a written will.  If we die together, we screw everyone and everyone will hate us and want to kill us  (HA too late.)  I therefore never sleep the night before a trip, beating myself up for being ill-prepared for death and periodically grabbing Alex by his ample chest hair and yelling, "How can you sleep when our children go into foster care tomorrow?"

Alex loves preparing for a vacation with me.  He calls it "as relaxing as something that's not relaxing at all."

There's not much to see flying to Hawaii.  Lots of blue stuff.  The good news is, when you get close to the islands, the deeply tanned flight attendants serve you Mai-Tais.

Well Aloha there

Our landing took us within inches (I swear) of this mountain on Kauai.  It was very exciting, and by exciting I mean we all assumed crash positions.  Perhaps it was just me.  Have I mentioned my fear of flying?

Alex and I decided to go to Kauai this trip because we got a great deal on a resort/rental car package.  We didn't much care about the resort part but were nonetheless excited to hear it was a "FIVE STAR!" establishment.

Right.  We took one look at our suite, declared the resort "five stars of motivation to get out and do something else" and didn't return except to change from one bathing suit to another.

Does this look like a five-star stove?

Alex and I generally get along very well.  The major exception is when Alex is driving.  Alex's driving makes me batshit crazy.  He's the kind of driver who goes 25 in a 50 while staring out the side window and saying things like, "Oh my gosh, look, there's a Macys!"

Everything is a beautiful revelation to Alex when he's driving, everything an object worthy of further study.  It's like he's seeing the world for the first time.  It makes me absolutely crazy nuts.

There was, unfortunately, a lot of driving to be done on Kauai.   We chose Alex as the driver because the other time we don't get along is when Alex has to give me directions.  He's more of a "oh, you should've turned back there...." kind of navigator.  You have no idea how many times I've driven with a map perched on top of the steering wheel while Alex pressed his nose against the window and exclaimed over every mildly interesting thing we passed ("Oh my gosh, that cow has spots!").  We are screwed in a car.

Once we were out of the car at various Hawaiian sights and Hawaiian beaches, however, we were all smiles again, skipping away from the car holding hands.  At least we recover quickly. 

Al and I were by far the palest bodies on the beach.  There was us, and then there were the stupid leather-faced prematurely wrinkled people likely dying of skin cancer.  When I looked at it that way, I felt better about my 500 spf sunblock and continued to slather.

It helped I had the best bathing suit

While on the beaches, and later in the restaurants, we were confronted with Kauai's feral cats.  (There were also wild roosters everywhere but I'm not going to talk about that mindboggle*)  There are skinny little wild cats all over the place with their little mews and their little paws pawing at you, hoping to snag a piece of seafood off your table.  For those of you still around from my Paris blog, you may remember our cat joke from Croatia?

"That cat's a dick"  
The Croatian joke lives on in Hawaii
Oh thank God

I'm outta time over here.  Could this be another multi-episode travel saga ala the Europe days?  I hope so.  Prolonging the vacation tales... everbody loves that...

Fingers crossed for hundreds of chapters,

*Gosh, look, a rooster!