IMR: Entries: 2001: June: 19 — Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Fine Fatherhood

Sometimes I'm convinced that there must be something horribly wrong with a world in which I'm allowed to be a dad.

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At grandpa's for Father's Day, Katie jumps right in the water to pick pipipi.
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Grandpa helps Katie find the perfect pockets of pluckable pipipi.
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UH Manoa Tip #141: If you can't find a parking spot, make your own.
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Semi-automated trash pickup in lower Manoa Valley, an early-morning ritual.
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With less than two weeks left, attendance dwindles in my Religion class.
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What a heartbreaker! How can anyone say no to this face?
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Kaka`ako Waterfront Park, where Katie, grandma and I made a random stop a few weeks back.
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I can't remember what I planned to do with these photos, but I might as well share 'em.
I was mercifully invisible for most of high school, but had I ever been singled out for something, it could have easily been, "Least Likely to Procreate (Thank God)." As Wayne is fond of reminding me, my Star Trek fandom lasted too far into my adult life, and when I wasn't logging onto Mac and Amiga BBSes or studying sexual deviancy in the HQ section of Hamilton Library, I was drawing sophomoric comics and writing bad science fiction.

But thanks to a ridiculous series of unlikely developments, involving the archetypal psycho ex, flying ceramics, "Schindler's List," a body pillow, and a pathetic period of blissful ignorance on my part, I met and fell for Jen, and against all logic, I somehow tricked her into liking me too. Another ridiculous series of unlikely developments, spanning four years, led to the arrival of our Katie.

And even as recently as last night, despite Katie's purposeful three-ness and her inevitable future degeneration into teenagerdom, I'm often blindsided, rendered frozen and dumb, at the sight of her. Coming out of the bedroom, or looking up from a book, my eye falls upon Katie playing with a puzzle or sleeping on the couch, and I do a double take and my heart skips a beat. The voice of my cynical, ignorant, acne-ridden fifteen-year-old self pops into my head and I think, "Dear lord, that's my daughter!"

"How the hell?" I'll ask Jen, randomly. "We made her?" And Jen will either smirk and say, "Should I draw you a diagram?" or she will look also and have her heart melted. Daily we marvel at how we could have deserved her, and shudder to wonder whether she deserves us.

Jen, sadly, had to work most of Sunday — Father's Day — so it was just me and Katie and assorted grand- and great-grand-parents. We spent the morning at mom's, riding tricycle circles in the driveway and taking a short excursion to CostCo, then in the afternoon headed to the day's main event at dad's (stopping first in Manoa for grandma Ozawa, who had some difficulty climbing into the van).

Eathan, Todd and Heidi were already there, and in fact were heading out for a Magic card game at UH just as we arrived. Even with their departure, the party was still going strong, with Gayle, her brother (and birthday boy) Paul and his wife, their mother, their kids Chad and Romy, Chad's fiancée Song and Romy's son Taylor.

Almost immediately, Taylor headed for the pool, and so Katie followed soon after. Gayle soon joined us. Once again I endeavored to teach a reluctant Katie to hold her breath underwater, which ultimately she did, but not without a bit of grumbling.

Then it was time to eat, and true to dad form, we ate. Alaskan King Crab anchored the menu, with the usual great assortment of local grub spread across two tables. Katie went nuts for the crab, as did everyone, and we just relaxed as we stuffed ourselves happy.

Katie then decided to head to the ocean to pick pipipi, and dad was happy to accompany her. She didn't even hesitate at the water, wading in with all her clothes on. She then proceeded to pick pipipi, dump them out, then pick them again. The little snails were no doubt annoyed, but hopefully thankful to not end up as a salty late-afternoon snack.

Dad and Katie spent quality time in the sea while I popped off to pick up Jen from work. Jen then joined everyone in feasting and relaxing and watching Katie run about. The end of the day brought an incredibly purple, incredibly hypnotic sunset. Eathan and Heidi even returned from UH early, if only to eat, and the entire family talked story over a variety of desserts.

Katie passed out on the way home, and Jen and I, exhausted, didn't hesitate to plop her into bed with us. I drifted off to sleep, staring in awe at her little face. The urge to simultaneously laugh and cry — I know of no greater feeling.

Should anyone doubt the brilliance of students and graduates of the University of Manoa — should anyone look at the Architecture Building and the student newspaper and shudder for our future — they need only wander the narrow residential streets of Manoa Valley at daybreak to have their fears dispelled.

For nowhere else will you witness, in the simple yet elaborate ritual of commuter ballet, the most creative tests of logic and simple physics. In their dance of signs, curbs, and motor vehicles, UH students demonstrate innovating and daring experiments and interpretations in the arts of navigation and civil law. As leading physicists found quarks packed into the smallest units of matter in the universe, my classmates similarly find huge parking spaces where there are none.

Even though I've been a student for nine years, I still consider myself a novice. After all, for years I just paid for parking, and for two years I got to park right at Campus Center. I never even took the parallel parking portion of my driving test. And unlike before, I now had the additional disadvantage of driving a minivan.

My solution is to just leave early enough in the morning so that good spots are still left. I tend to end up near the narrow intersection of Vancouver Drive and Hunnewell Street, and to minimize future headaches, I especially aim for end spots, where (presumably) no one can park behind or in front of me. But even when I'm parked right next to the "No Parking Anytime - Begin" sign, someone inevitably finds a way to fit a 10-foot-long car into three inches of curb — or, in the case of the Acura this morning, over the curb, on the grass, perhaps even hiding somewhat behind my van.

With class every morning, I've become remarkably good at maneuvering the Caravan, and I've yet to bump one bumper. (I did hit a trash bin with my mirror, though, but fortunately my mirror folds in.) I then just relax in the back seat, reading and listening to NPR, ocassionally watching other cars circle the area or watching the clawed garbage trucks squeeze down the lane.

I have what might be my last GRAD session in a week (but I've thought that before), and if all goes well, this just might be the last season I'll ever have to grapple for street parking around UH. I don't think I'll miss it very much, however.

With the last day of my two "regular" summer session classes coming right up (next Friday), it's time once again for an academic update.

Religion 353: Witches and Witchcraft — I don't get it. I was convinced I aced the first mid-term, and ended up getting a low "B" for a variety of dumb mistakes. I walked out of the second midterm last Friday convinced I'd done even worse, as I didn't anticipate the questions and wrote very short answers, and I ended up with a 95. More proof, I guess, that a little insecurity is a good thing. I'm still really enjoying the class, even though class turnout is dropping sharply. Even the most talkative Wiccan has been absent for most of the last week. We're studying the Protestant Reformation now, and are well ahead in the syllabus, which means (hopefully) we will get to spend some time on modern examples after all.

English 383: Children's Literature — I have to revisit my first impressions, which were overwhelmingly negative. My newfound appreciation for the course comes from getting a better sense of the instructor, and of my classmates. On the former? Deep analysis is clearly just her style, as is contrasting various academic criticisms. It's a little dry, but structured — there is meat on them bones. Discovering she's a published author, with a lot of works online (including an intriguing lit journal) helped. (One of her collections is titled, Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You.) She reveals a lot less of her self in her teaching than most instructors, I think, which made it hard to get a quick reading. And on the latter? Let's just say I constantly have to chant, "Don't answer, don't speak up, let someone else talk," as the instructor will pose question after question and find only long, awkward, dumb silences. If only there were a couple of other sassy journalism majors in there with me, things would be much more interesting.

Speech 333: Storytelling — I've only had two meetings of this four-hours-on-Saturday class, but I like it so far. In this case, I actually think I've met my match. Almost all of my eight classmates are outgoing, creative, even gregarious — the exact opposite classroom environment of Children's Lit. I have no problems with public speaking, but I am surprised to find that I will still learn a lot here. First lessons? Slow down (I talk too fast) and edit (my stories go overtime). I guess I could have figured.


Who's the psycho ex??? Hmmm.....
-pm. (June 21, 2001 4:43 PM)

Hmmm! All's I knows is I smooched 'er. (evil grin) (seeks mouthwash) cg /s
Pope Lusus (June 22, 2001 1:47 PM)

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© 1997-2008 Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: [ PGP ] · Created: 13 November 1997 · Last Modified: 14 January 2008