Vacation Summary, Part 1
So I didn't mention that we were going on vacation before we left for a couple reasons, but now that we're back it's probably safe to say that we were in Hawaii with both my parents and Al's. Al's parents go every year for a couple months (they're retired), but my parents had never been. Whenever we mentioned it, my mom would say that Hawaii was a place they'd go "someday."
We pretty much had to demand that they come, and even once they agreed, my mom was a bit nervous about what they would do, what they should wear, how much it would cost, etc. About halfway through our stay, however, I caught both of my parents saying, "next time, we'll...", so I think there's a good chance they'll go back with us in a couple years. I hope they do, because having both sets of grandparents there for what was also Austen's first visit was so cool. We all got time with the beaner, time to play golf, time to ourselves, and time all together. It was awesome.
A few of the highlights (er, yeah, highlights):
We arrive in Kahului after a 9-hour flight from Chicago, during which Austen didn't cry at all. Yay, grandparents! While waiting in the Lowe's parking lot for Al to buy a HEPA filter, Mom starts playing a game with Austen that involves a Kleenex and ridiculous questions—to which the answer is always "nOOOoooo."
I catch Austen practicing "nOOOoooo" and angry face (aka Hulk pose) in the mirrored closet doors in our bedroom.
Al and I play our first round of golf, on the Village Course. I'm +30 through the first 9 holes; by the time we finish, we've lost 6 balls each. The Village is the easiest of Kapalua's three courses.
Austen signs "please" for the first time. It looks like he's making a slashing motion across his throat, or adjusting a collar that's too tight. Mom, Dad, and I take a golf lesson with Jerry King. I already love Jerry for what he's done for my game; by the end of the lesson, Mom and Dad love him too.
Austen says "grandpa" clearly for the first time while Al is changing his diaper at 6:15am. We play the Plantation Course at 6:50am with our dads; despite two errant shots (one into the road) on the first tee and the difficulty of the course (which I was playing for the first time), I improve by 8 shots over my Thursday Village score.
While our parents are out playing golf together, Al and I decide to take a drive so the beaner can have a nap. Al suggests taking the North road to a little artist colony to get banana bread for his brother; he denies that driving any part of the North road will violate our rental car contract. I swear I saw some red zones on the rental map of this area, but Al says no.
After several sharp turns (preceeded by signs instructing us to BLOW HORN) and major twists that have left me a bit nauseous despite the fact that I'm the driver, not the passenger, I ask Al if this banana bread recipe really differs all that much from my own. He replies that it's advertised as the best in the world, and that Carl has requested that we FedEx a loaf to New York.
After 20 minutes of twisting and turning, we round a bend and find ourselves on the downhill slope of a giant, one-car-wide U. There's a sheer rock wall on one side, and a sheer dropoff on the other. There is no guardrail, but there *is* part of a palm tree blocking 1/3 of the roadway about 20 yards further on.
Long story short: I make it to the bottom of the hill OK, but I burst into hysterical tears when a pickup truck with big tires and a lift kit meets us head on about 100 yards from the top of the U. I start screaming, "I CAN'T DO IT! I CAN'T DO IT! HOW DIFFERENT CAN THAT BANANA BREAD RECIPE BE FROM MINE ANYWAY???" and take my hands off the wheel. The driver of the pickup (whose right front tire is halfway over the edge of the road) waves me on, and Al encourages me to inch past her. I do, despite continuing to insist that I can't, and I manage to get to the pull-off at the top. I sit in the driver's seat screaming and crying for a full five minutes before Al talks me into moving to the passenger side for the return trip. We make it back OK and with only minimal hysteria, but there will be no banana bread for Carl (and no nap for Austen—I woke him up only 25 minutes after he fell asleep with all my screaming).