Now that Reagan is skiing well, I have to ride the lift alone while the girls pair up.
New year. New meal.
My last post was making fun of Kim's new car for telling me how to drive. Then...shit happened.
Last Friday night before Christmas, we had made our way across county. We were coming around Indianapolis at midnight after missing all weather and having a smooth trip so far. As we entered a curve on the interstate, I found myself in the outside lane with no car around. We started banking up and to the left and I quickly realized that I was no longer in control of the car. I was driving a tad fast and couldn't react. The car went into the median on the right side with the right wheels and started to slide. Crash. We just bounced off the guard rail going through the turn. That part wasn't too bad.
Kim says calmly and loudly, "Kids, we are about to wreck". I was very nervous. The car bounced off the guardrail and began to spin back out into the interstate. No cars around but we were in an overpass covered tunnel with concrete on both sides. But the scary thing was that the car was rotating back into the highway and anything more than about 45 degrees would cause the wheels to grip the wrong way and us to flip. I had visions of the car rolling and kids dying.
That all happened in a few seconds. Time for the rubber to hit the road. And it did. The car corrected itself hard...in the forward direction. Safe. Phew. Now what?
I just wanted off the road. We found a spot to pull off and went to access the situation. The kids were crying. Kim worked to settle them down. Reagan spilled her chocolate milk everywhere. Apparently, she was not listening when we said she needed to put the lid back on in between sips.
This was probably the first time in my life where I really worried about the inside of the car (meaning the family) vs. the outside of the car. Guess I have evolved. But then again, I haven't been in a wreck in forever.
Outside, the damage was depressing. Starting from the front bumper, down the quarter panel. Both doors smashed in. The rear quarter panel tore up. The rear bumper shaved off. All the way back to the hitch rack we had on bent up. Both rims have huge chunks of steel shaved off of them too. That guard rail is a few feet off the ground and probably 18" high or something. Pretty much wrapped the car right through it so it touched from front to rear in a rolling motion.
Luckily, the car was drivable so we decided just to press on the 2 more hours to our family as planned. It was a quiet drive. Lots of "if only". But still felt good about being able to walk away from the whole thing in tact. In the moment, it didn't seem like that was certain.
Kim's new car has a so called "feature" where it watches how you drive. Last night, it kept telling me this on screen. Machines.
Can't miss those shoes
Some tricks I have never seen in that one.
We leave in the morning so its the last full day here. The consensus was easy - back to the favorite beach. On the way, we took our leis out to Duke to continue the tradition.
I like my ice cream. So we had ice cream about every day here. From anyone that sold it. Even in Hello Kitty bowls. My wife made a rude comment about my smile here. Screw her.
I built my final masterpiece today. Its a Christmas Tree. Its not that I am such a holiday person but the shape kind of seemed easy. I had at least 4 (FOUR!) Asian tourists stop and photograph it. SUP!
Thanks for following. I will go quiet now for a bit as life resumes to its normal pace. I need to get back to stuff like running. Breaks over.
See you again one day, Hawaii. I am fond of you. You are my 3rd favorite state. I hope to call you home in some capacity someday.
View all photos from this trip.
The family always enjoys a luau while in the islands so Kim picked a bit of a different one this time. Usually, these are just a dinner and show. But we learned of the Polynesian Cultural Center over on the other side of the island. It was more of an all day adventure. Kind of like Epcot meets luau -- meaning they had several little villages setup for each of the major Polynesian islands. So you traveled over a bridge to that country and would partake in games, crafts, songs, and what not for those peoples. In between, there was a canoe parade with dancing.
Over in Samoa, this dude stole the show. He was very dry and hilarious. He did a demonstration involving coconuts that had us laughing as he did a variety of jokes that just fit in. Turns out he is a fixture here. Does this skit several times a day for like 20 years. So he has all the nuances dialed in and plenty of subtle jokes. I would blog them but you had to be there.
Mid-show, his buddy showed us how they climb trees in Samoa to grab the coconuts. Nice job with the legs there buddy. Impressed. He was way up that tall tree. Like falling would have killed you high.
Next up was New Zealand but it had a funny tribal name that I don't recall. They had us play a children's game with sticks. Basically, you stood there with your stick, then the leader called out left or right. You then ran that direction and grabbed the next stick leaving yours behind. You had to grab the stick before it fell over. Turned out to be fun as they reversed directions and expanded the circle. Good simple campfire/scout game.
I was hot in the running for world champion when I lost out in the finals. Notice how the girl plays dirty on my out. REF!
We got some sick tats as a family for completing the challenge. These babies better be permanent.
In another land, we made some children's toys by weaving them. Apparently, there is no Walmart there (yet) so they make the toys. You could cast this little fish on the line. Neat.
Time to arm the kids with spears. Kids would make good warriors I suppose. So they learned how to throw some spears.
Over in Fiji, we learned about cannibals. Hmm. Keep your eyes on that dude in the middle around your kids.
Back in Hawaii, we learned the hulu. I was awesome. The girls...eh.
Time to get to dinner. We took a canoe ride to get there.
I got 2 hula chicks sitting with me!
Dad, what's for dinner? Mac-n-cheese? Pizza? No. That thing they are pulling out of the ground over there kids. Yum!
Let's get a closer look. Uh, your dinner is looking back at you. Yikes! Traditional pig.
So finally time for the show. It was the best luau show I have seen. More 21-st century to keep this generation entertained. Had a story line and some production value. I enjoyed it. Crowd gave a standing ovation when it was over. No photography during so that was cool because you didn't see everyone with their iPhones out trying to record it to show it to nobody on Facebook later.
So the back story to this place...if you are still with me. The reviews were mixed for 3 reasons.
The first was because you can make it an all day thing. You can just go to the show. Or you can go to dinner and show. Or you can spend the day. Your choice. Lots of packages. I wasn't sure how it would pan out but ended up being good. We got there at 1 PM and walked around in our tour until 5 PM (dinner) and were busy with no downtime and we didn't see everything. So that was good for us.
The 2nd class of reviews were mad alcoholics because there was no booze on the premise served. Odd but I don't care. I was curious why. That brings me to reason number 3.
3rd. Mormons. Huh? In Hawaii? Apparently. So years ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came to this island spot in 1915 and built their 5th ever temple. Later on they built Brigham Young University (BYU) Hawaii here next door. Then in the 1960s, the church built this "theme park" deal here. They say its a non-for-profit but its the #1 paid tourist attraction in Oahu by their own claim. What they do is employ the kids from the university to work at the park. If the kids work so many hours (I think it was part time...maybe 20 hours a week?) and go to school, they can leave school debt free with a 4 year education. Interesting. There is no visible association from the park to the church until after dinner really. They offered time to shop at the markets in the park or you could take a town tram ride. We knew the story a bit so we were curious and hopped on the tram. They sped us through town and dropped us off at the temple to view and learn more about Jesus. Pushier people have come to my front door. We just viewed and saw to get the full experience. I can check that off my "saw that" list now. The self-proclaimed volunteers at the temple were a lot of teens who were their on a mission for 18 months. Not going to school but there to serve. Draw your own conclusions. I wasn't aware but you don't get to go into these temples once they are dedicated. So it was a photo op then back to the party at the park.
Jesus, that was a long day.
We were headed back to Hanauma Bay but it was full from all the damn tourists. So we drove on and promised to return later. We drove around the bend to Sandy Beach. I had seen this beach mentioned a variety of times as a popular and dangerous beach. I saw it on Obama's list of favorite Hawaiian places too. Let's check it out. What's that I spy in the parking lot? Its a Wahoo's truck. I am home.
To the water! I read on various sources that this beach is the number one source of back breaks and neck injuries in some capacity. Apparently, its because the surf breaks so close to shore and just throws you out onto the sand. But that wasn't stopping people. Tons of folks out there. So let's give it a try.
And then we started getting yelled at. The lifeguard started waving and calling for us. Took a minute to figure out its me. So then we swam in and came up on shore to talk to the guy. He kind of came at me hard about not reading the signs and not doing it right. He then chastised me for taking my young daughter out in that water telling me about the back breakers and what not. I tried to not get too defensive but extract more information about what I should be doing instead from him. Over there? More kick? He wasn't forgiving or giving. He kind of left it like we had no business out there. OK? I left confused. Its never fun as an adult to get told that you are doing it wrong. I spent the rest of the time watching others in the water and trying to learn from my mistakes.
Sand buddy. She was making me cookies out of sand. Anytime I spend dedicated minutes with her I become her best friend. But she is quick to remind me that "I love mommy" as if we were cheating on her.
We went back over to Hanauma Bay to finish up the day. The water was rougher than before but I saw a bunch of new and much bigger fish today. No GoPro but I am sure you trust me. When I returned to the beach, there was a statue in my honor. I am so honored. I think.
Break time. What's your problem?
Impromptu tan contest? Kayla vs. Brandon. Hmmm, its close. Not.
Since Kayla can't snorkel yet, I took her on a personal tour of the reefs from the shoreline. We spotted about a dozen fish. That was good enough for both of us.