IMR: Entries: 2003: May: 19 — Monday, May 19, 2003

Fresh Air

In the morning, a hike. In the afternoon, carpet cleaning. A pretty good day's workout.

[ GPS Hawaii On Location ]
A TV news story on geocaching was a great excuse for a GPS Hawaii hunt above Hawaii Kai.
[ Increasing Altitude ][ Treasure Found ]
Younger cachers climb a bit faster.A cache on camera. See the full photo album.
[ Days Before the Big Day ]
The new Apple Store at Ala Moana had its grand opening yesterday. Here, employees train earlier in the week.
[ The Long Line ][ The Lemur ]
Hundreds line up long before doors open.The elusive "Lemur," just in from Washington.
[ E-List Mixer ][ Apple T-Shirt ]
Mom is wowed... in the children's section.The much-coveted Apple Ala Moana T-shirt.
[ Waikiki Walk ]
Tuesday evening brought a leisurely stroll through Waikiki. Thursday, through Ala Moana Beach Park.
It's been a pretty good week, actually. With Jen and the kids returning home on Tuesday, I finally turned off the television and started getting out to do things.

A few weeks ago, Kirk Fernandez — an old friend and Ka Leo alum — tracked down our local geocaching group, interested in doing a story for KHON. We were finally able to get together today, meeting up at Sandy Beach and heading over to Mariner's Ridge to find some "hidden treasure."

There were some new faces, all fun folks, and thankfully, they were patient in explaining to me (as well as to Kirk) the finer details of GPS navigation. They also didn't rib me too much for showing up for a hike with slippers. We drove in a caravan to the trailhead, located at the end of a residential street in a very nice neighborhood, and when some residents spotted the KHON car and camera, they called out to a neighbor, "What did you do this time?"

I think that neighbor was Peter Carlisle.

We watched hikers come and go at the entrance to the trail while Kirk and Jay (the camera guy) did individual interviews. A group that looked like a Boy's Scout troop ambled past, waterballoons in hand ("Hardly an environmentally-friendly activity," groused one geocacher), as did a woman with a very roomy tank top. Terri's daughter Connie and her friend provided additional entertainment by telling jokes (including "Chicken Butt," a favorite of my daughter's) and singing songs.

Eventually, it was time to start the hunt. Our target was a special cache that Tim, one of our core members, had set up only the day before just for the outing. (Knowing our hunt would be shown on TV, we had to acknowledge the likelihood that the cache would be found by a non-cacher and looted.)

While the hike covered fewer than 1,000 feet, it was a modest climb, and in order to help Jay get a variety of nice shots, we found ourselves hiking up and down and up again at several points along the trail. It wasn't long before were were claiming credit for having made the trek three times in one trip. We became experts in not looking at the camera, and in making GPS-centric small talk. "What's your bearing?" "I think it's a few more degrees north of that."

We came to a clearing of sorts near a turn in the trail, and started beating the bushes and peeking behind rocks. Connie, as her mom predicted, found the cache first.

Everyone rifled through the goodies, made trinket trades, and signed the log. We then scoured the area, unsuccessfully, for another cache we were told was nearby. At one point I found myself high above everyone else on a pile of rocks, the wind whipping past, with fresh, stinging scratches on my legs. I doubted for a moment I'd be able to get back down. It was a thrill.

"This is the closest thing to the perfect sport for geeks," I said, carefully making my way back to the group. "Space-age technology as an excuse to get out of the house."

Triumphant, we headed back down the mountain. We then met up at Zippy's at Koko Marina Shopping Center for a quick lunch. Already, Tim is planning another special event.

The piece aired (RealVideo link) on the 6 p.m. news... with as little of me as possible, as requested. Kirk's banter with anchor Jai Cunningham was cute, and, as promised, Jay's camera work made for some great imagery.

Hopefully the segment will bring more people into geocaching than it will send into the hills in search of the KHON T-shirt Kirk put in the cache.

Today also brought the end of a campaign that began long before Jen left for Florida: cleaning the carpet in our apartment.

The carpet is a dull brown to begin with, which already doesn't make for award-winning interior decor. But after five years of mostly kid-related spills and stains, our living room started looking downright scary. All that was missing was the chalk outline. Not surprisingly, during the last annual inspection by our landlord, we were asked to do something about it.

First we tried to hire a handy-man neighbor to do it. But after Jen sat at home a few times only to be stood up, we gave up on him. Then, especially last week, I bought up cleaners and brushes and went at the carpet with a vengence. But despite all the elbow grease and empty aerosol and spray bottles, I ended up with a floor that was a little lighter, but mostly dusty and brittle.

Finally, in desperation, I went to the supermarket and rented their big steam cleaner. Even as I signed the overly-wordy contract, I remained convinced those things were just a big scam.

But wouldn't you know it, the damn thing worked. I even headed back out to get more soap to tackle the hallway and our bedroom. The water that came out of the machine was pitch black, and took forever to wash out of the tub, but the carpet is its old brown self... and fluffy as a bunny.

To make sure I got my money's worth, I then lent the machine to our neighbors, Nicole and Martin. (Martin, of course, was just thrilled to get the spontaneous Sunday afternoon assignment.)

I spent more on carpet foam and Resolve stain remover in a month than I did to use that machine for four hours, even though the machine was the only thing that worked. But hopefully I won't have to worry about wasting money on the carpet again for another five years.

Yesterday, I joined a number of my fellow Mac fanatics for the grand opening of the Apple Store at Ala Moana. There were apparently a few folks camped out the night before, and by the time my mom and I showed up at 8:30 a.m., the line had snaked quite a way down the mall and back up again. (Covered on the evening news, Ala Moana reported it was the biggest store opening ever.)

I knew several HawaiiStories folks were planning on being there, but I didn't spot any of them. I was pleasantly surprised to see longtime Mac loyalist Mary, though, Olympus C-2100UZ in hand, just in from Seattle for her sister's graduation. I also bumped into Mac guru Michael Wise, who — despite being considerably further back in line than us — was fervently hoping to snag himself a free Apple T-shirt. Lots of folks in line were already festooned in Apple gear (including iPods, PowerBooks and commemorative Jobs' keynote hats), but no doubt about it, the free T-shirt was still a big draw.

Fortunately, I snagged one, as did mom and a very happy Michael. It's so cool, I don't think I'll ever get up the nerve to actually wear it.

We also enjoyed checking out the store, of course. The new 30GB iPods were flying out the door. The Apple Cinema Displays were gorgeous. I drooled over OS X and iMovie. And while mom hadn't before understood the appeal of Macintosh computers, she walked out convinced she would get one... if she could afford it.

Ah, the Mac-lover's perennial conundrum.

What else did I do this past week?

Well, I made a modest contribution to the "May Day Project," and enjoyed it so much, I later went down to Waikiki and Ala Moana Beach Park to try and capture something to send in to "America 24/7." Just getting out and about turned out to be more important than getting a picture worth submitting, though.

I met up with Sylvia and Doris for lunch (we mostly talked about our kids), I met up with Lacene for dinner (she just finished a stint on the parole board, and is hoping for a permanent appointment), and I even met up with an exam-fatigued William the other night for dessert (coming soon, Dr. Matsuda).

To complement the movies I was able to get out to see with my mom, I worked my way through part of my Netflix DVD queue, including the second Harry Potter movie, and Y Tu Mama Tambien, and In the Bedroom.

And I started planning Zac's first birthday party.

His first birthday!

In about four hours, Jen, the kids, and Jen's mom are going to leave Daytona Beach for Orlando. After spending the night there, my family will begin the long journey back home.

In one day, 11 hours, 43 minutes and 22 seconds, America Airlines flight 283 will touch down at Honolulu International Airport, and soon afterward, my life will be complete again.

I guess I can't put off cleaning out the fridge much longer.


Hey your countdown says that baby two is almost due!! (just thought i'd point that out.) The year went by fast, didn't it?
pm (May 19, 2003 12:48 AM)

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