Wednesday, December 15, 2010

HMA Christmas Banquet 2010

One fun thing about being a teacher's wife is that you get to get dolled up now and again for banquets. This banquet was by far the most elaborate I've been to, bar none. The banquet coordinator at HMA really outdid herself. These pictures don't show the full extent of the table decorations nor the room itself but it still gives a brief glimpse into the night. 
 In true banquet fashion The Captain got creative when he asked me to go with him. 
 In the car driving to the hotel in Waikiki.
 The table decorations before the swag was added.
The clever centerpieces.
Our banquet photo. Probably the most fun I had taking one. All the  photographers thought that we were students, which was totally awesome except for the fact that they were going to make us pay for the photos. Tsk tsk tsk. No, no. -shakes head- That didn't do at all. 
All in all this was the most stress free banquet I've attended. I bought my dress 4 hours before the event, did my hair 2 hours before and since The Captain is an ASHMA sponsor we didn't have to pay for anything except the valet parking. Best date night ever! (Well before our date night with Dog that is...) 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Date night with Dog the Bounty Hunter

I don't even know how to start writing this story. My head is still reeling. All I can say is that it was the most memorable date night ever.
As stories like this go the more people see it, the better it gets. Here's the story from my point of view. 

It was a quiet evening and Michael and I were sitting in our living room watching The Biggest Loser. We had decided to stay in rather than go out because his allergies had been giving him grief all day and he was exhausted. 

As we sat relaxing on the sofa I suddenly found that it was getting hard to breathe. Each breath I took felt like tiny needles were pricking the insides of my lungs. I started to cough, and cough and cough some more. I was about to get up to get a drink of water when Michael started coughing too. As I struggled to the sink I started to think of what could possibly be going on. The last time I had experienced something like this we were in Thailand and had accidentally walked into the kitchen when they were flash-frying chili peppers. The spices in the air had left us coughing and sputtering and wanting to curl up on the floor in fits of agony. 

Trying to escape the toxic air inside our apartment we made our way out onto our front porch only to find a more than disheveled man making his way up the stairs. 

"Please, call the cops!" he said coming toward me. "Please! Can I come in and use your phone? Please!?" 

I took a moment to look this stranger over. He was in his late 40's early 50's. An islander. Long stringy black hair that was starting to grey. He was wearing a tank top with what looked to be sports tape wrapped around his torso, as if he had broken a few ribs and tried to fix it himself. Blue checkered shorts. No shoes. Conclusion: He looked a little homeless and more than a little desperate. 

As I sat there wondering what Jesus would do, I saw another man languidly coming up the steps behind him. His assailant perhaps? I took a step back towards our front door and seriously considered harboring the man who continued to ask us for use of our telephone. I took one more quick glance at the man coming up behind. 

He was tall. Dressed in black and wearing a vest of some sort. He had something shiny on his chestand had handcuffs tucked into the back of his pants. Conclusion: He kind of looked like a cop. Why then was this man asking us to call one? Interesting. Quick realization. If he the man in black had  handcuffs, he may have a gun too.  

"I'll call the cops for you, but I'm sorry. We can't let you inside," I said as I stepped back into the house with Michael right behind me. He locked the door and the coughing redoubled.

"We (cough) need (cough) to call (cough) the cops." Silence, minus the coughing. "Honey?" I asked. 

"Hi," said Michael on the phone behind me. "I'm at (insert address here) and there's a man outside who asked us to call the police. There's something in the air that's making it hard for us to breathe. That's why I'm coughing. Uh hu. Uh hu. Ok." 

Meanwhile, I heard my name being called from our lanai.

"Summer! Come out here, the air is better." It was our neighbor, Maria. She and her husband, brother and two little girls were out on their lanai as well. "Go get a wet cloth and hold it over your mouth. It helps a lot." 

I ducked inside again to grab a towel. People were still yelling outside our front door. Every few seconds I heard the middle aged man yell, "Call the cops! You've got the wrong guy!" and I hear the tall dark creature respond, "Then why did you run man?" 

I headed back to the porch and started breathing thru the cloth. Michael was still inside on the phone with the police so I called him outside where we sat and chatted with our neighbors for a while, trying to sort out what was going on. Before long curiosity overtook me and gunman or no I make my way back to the front of the apartment. 

From the safety of our front room Michael and I witnessed this. I've cut out most of the colorful language for PG-13 viewing. 

Needless to say, it was a date night we won't soon forget. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Star Trekkin'

So the other morning I was working when a couple came in and asked for some Kona coffee. Working at a coffee shop in Hawaii, one wouldn't think this to be a terribly strange request since Kona is a local favorite, however most people back out of their order when they discover that it costs $8.60 for the press pot. This couple however didn't seem to have any problems with it and settled in for the 5-10 minute wait it would take to brew.

Things were pretty slow at the time so as the Kona was steeping I struck up a conversation with them. The exchange went something like this,

"So where are you folks headed today?"
"Oh," said the man. "We're headed up to, uh, somewhere on the north western side of the island I think. We're going to be doing some diving."
"Scuba?" I inquired.
"Yeah," said the woman.
"Business or pleasure?" I asked
"Well, both actually," he said.
"How's that?" I asked. "Are you marine biologists or something?"
"No, not really," the man replied. "We have a company that introduces people who are really into science fiction and space exploration to scuba diving. Since being under water is the closest thing to weightlessness that you can get, we find that it's a great way to get people out into the real world and living their fantasies."

I laugh a little, because it's the coolest thing I've heard in quite some time. "That's. Awesome," I say and mean it whole heartedly. The vision of overweight Trekkies jelly-fishing around underwater in search of new life and new civilizations is enough to make me collapse in fits of merriment. Why hadn't I thought of something like that myself? As I wondered how silicon Spock ears would hold up in salt water the conversation steered in other directions and before long their coffee was finished and we parted ways.

The next day I was working the register again when the same man came in with the two cups he had purchased the day before and set them down on the counter.
"That Kona worked out really well yesterday," he says. "Let's do it again."
"Alright!" I say with a smile and ring him up.

As he fishes for his money I notice that his shirt has this logo on it. "Hey," I say remembering his Trekkie scuba business from the day before "That's awesome! It's like Star Trek!"
"Yeah," he says almost sheepishly. "My dad invented Star Trek."


"Your dad invented Star Trek?" I repeated back to him raising an eyebrow. "Well that's one I haven't heard today. 'My dad invented Star Trek.'" I chuckle and take his money.  

"Yeah, well, I loved scuba before I knew anything about Star Trek," he says. I laugh wondering if that could be even remotely true since PADI's age requirement is 10 and NAUI's age requirement is 12, but knowing that I wouldn't want to be defined by the the accomplishments of a famous parent myself, I decided to let it be. "That's really cool," I say laughing. We chat about scuba for a little while longer and then part ways. "I'm totally going to google him when I get home," I think to myself as he leaves.

For one reason or another I didn't. The next morning there he was again like clock work. He puts his cups down, I ring up his Kona, and we chat. "So how was your dive yesterday?" I ask. "It was good!" He says. "When are you guys headed out?" "Oh, tomorrow," he replies. "That's a bummer!" I say, "We'll be sad to see you go!" and I mean it. He really has been the most interesting customer I've had in awhile. Well, other than Jonah the dreadlocked landscaper, but we'll talk about him later.

"Hey, do you have a card?" I ask as he's getting ready to go. "I want to look you up and see what your business is all about." "Sure!" he says whipping out his wallet and handing over his card. I take a brief glance and tuck it into my back pocket. "Thanks!" I say. "No problem," he replies smiling.

As he fixes up his coffee a few minutes later at the bar he catches my attention and says, "Hey, you know you should really get SCUBA certified. That way next time we're in town we can take you out diving with us!" My eyes turn into little gum drop buttons. "Yes, " I say. "I will DEFINITELY look into that."  He waves and smiles. "Bye Eugene! We'll see you later." I say.

Later that day I pulled his card out of my pocket. On one side it read, "Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, President, Dive Master" on the other side it read "Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, President, CEO"

"Oh gosh..." I said out loud, smacking myself on the forehead "I called him 'Eugene'..."