Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Only an asshole goes to Hawaii for 10 days and then complains about it. I am now going to be that asshole. I wish I could be a glass half full kind of person, but I'm not. I wish I could not worry about the small things and not get stressed when things don't go as expected, but I do. I wish I wasn't an asshole, but an asshole I am.
After a great flight (for me at least...you'll have to read Michael's posts to see his comments on his flight (and the trip for that matter). I sat in between Parker and Elizabeth. Parker played on my iPhone the whole time and Elizabeth made cards, drew, tried to sleep, watched tv and generally hung out.
Our flight got in a bit earlier than our condo check in, but we weren't sure exactly where it was, so we head out to it before doing an adventure. When no one was there and it was ready for us, we went in and took a look around. The inside was lovely. Two bedrooms, updated kitchen, good sized living room and right on the ocean, as promised. I went to look for the pool. And that, my friends, was the beginning of the end. The pool was in the middle of a shit hole condo complex and right next to major roof construction of one of the buildings. There were construction vehicles, men on roofs tearing things up and a cement mixer about 20 feet from our unit. I was not happy. I went back to tell Michael. He was not happy. He suggested we go look at the beach. Although there wasn't direct access to a walkable beach in front of our unit (just rocks and waves up to the retaining wall), a promised gate to the next unit and the beach was 10 feet away. Unfortunately, it was locked with a giant lock for which we had no key. I was not happy. Michael was not either. We did some risky rock climbing that, had the tide been any higher would have been just plain stupid, and made it to a small park. The girls played in the rocks and water while Parker threw the ball with Michael.
I was texting the condo manager to ask about construction, locked gate, missing key, laundry room, wifi access, and a few other things. We took the highway back to the condo after a bit, which was almost more unsafe then walking on the slippery rocks. It was then we asked the kids to try the pool. Parker, who can handle super cold water, jumped in and jumped right out saying, "Ooooh, no way!" I was beginning to think we would not be staying at this condo. When I got the text from the manager saying we checked in too early, the construction was until Christmas and he didn't know anything about the lock, I knew we wouldn't be staying there. Massive construction, no access to beach, and no pool were all deal breakers.
I had no idea what we were gonna do and I was freaking out, but Michael was Mr. Cool saying we would figure it out. I emailed the travel agent to see if she could help and started looking at other places we could stay. As you could imagine, last minute condos for the week before Hawaii were few and far between....not to mention incredibly expensive.
We went to lunch at the near by Whalers Village and it was then that we discovered that the car we got (a regular car rather than a minivan to save money) was a complete mistake as it was challenging at best to buckle in the kids and their proximity to eachother caused immediate fights, teasing, hitting and other such nonsense. I continued checking expedia, freaking out. Michael started walking in and out of hotels on the beach seeing if they had rooms. He was being a real sport since this type of thing is low on his list of fun things to do. "Hey Michael...go into that place, find the front desk, talk to some stranger and ask them the most ridiculous question you can and then come tell me what they say." He loves that shit. He got no good news either.
We drove back to the condo where I was still freaking out. I knew I would be miserable in this condo for 10 days. I knew the kids would be miserable. I knew all that misery would cause Michael to be miserable. I knew we couldn't stay there. But I also knew the only few options were not ideal either. Not ocean front. Not ground floor. Not cheap. Not even reasonable. We stood looking at each other for a while, trying to figure out a way to make this all right and we came up with nothing. So Michael packed up the stuff we had just unpacked as I booked a room on expedia at the nearby Westin. This is the only picture we have of the horrible condo. It was right after we arrived and we were all still thrilled to be there.
After some confusion at the Westin (since we had literally booked the room minutes before we walked up we were not yet in the system), we got to our one bedroom unit. It had a full kitchen, giant bath and all the amenities one would expect with fancy resort condo. It had an ocean view (as in if you stood on the balcony you could see blue out there somewhere) which was apparently an upgrade from what I booked which was a garden view which would have been the parking lot. It was late by then, about 7pm Hawaii time so super late for the kids. Nonetheless, we went down the jacuzzi before heading to bed, the kids in the living room and Michael and I in the bedroom. It had been an incredibly stressful day and although I was glad we were in a good place, I was still freaking out about the money and the stress of the day.
I don't remember many of the details of the next 9 days. Which is good for you because if I did, this would be a very hard post to read (if it isn't already). And good for me since I would still be quite mad about it all. But here are the highlights; good and bad.
It rained every single day. Some days all day. Some days on and off. Some days hard. Some days sprinkling. We saw many rainbows because there was sun as well on most days.
It was windy every single day. Not just breezy. Windy. So windy that we couldn't sit on the lounge chairs without losing towels, clothing, and food to the wind. Sitting on the beach was like getting exfoliated by the sand that hit you on all sides. We think, although this can't be 100 percent confirmed, that our hotel complex was the epicenter of the wind. Something about it's location in front of the valley made it susceptible to huge gusts of wind according to one waitress.
Not being on the ground floor with quick access to and from the room was problematic, as we expected. The kids were cooped up when Mom and Dad were sick of the rain and wind, which was often.
We didn't do many excursions because of the car rental situation. It was just plain painful to sit in the car with the kids without wanting to kill them without 5 minutes.
The resort had many large incredible pools and hot tubs; one with a water slide that Parker loved and went down 200 times total. His original goal was 100, but when that was easily attained, he went for it. After 200 times, he wouldn't go on it anymore as he was afraid he couldn't get to 300. I went on it once which was one time too many.
They also had a kids area complete with pirate ship and playground. The kids had a great time there while I huddled under towels trying to keep warm and dry.
Michael and I had a lot of lava flows, mai tais and pina coladas. I'm not a fan of alcohol but I do like a drink with a little umbrella, piece of pineapple, and cherry on top. I think they all helped ease the pain.
Micheal and I each got in some good runs. I missed one short run during the week due to laziness, but did my two long runs on the Saturdays. The second one was 10 miles which I ran along the beach (not in the sand, but on a path) from Kaanapali to Lahaina and back. This American Life kept me entertained on that run.
We got to sleep a lot. Long at night and naps on many of the days. I find sitting around exhausting, so I was extra tired. The kids watched tv in the morning to keep quiet and that was helpful as Michael and I switched off getting up early to run.
One evening Michael and I left the kids in the room with the tv on and the phone set to call Michael with one touch. We told them we were heading to the restaurant (which could be seen from our room) and they should watch tv, call if there was a problem and not answer the door or phone for anyone. We enjoyed some coconut shrimp, fruity drinks, and quiet before we got the call. I ran up to the room where they kids all said, "Our mouths hurt from the pineapple!" That was it. I stayed with them and Michael continued to enjoy the quiet downstairs.
The kids were incredibly annoying. Fighting a lot. Behaving badly. Bugging each other. And us. And for some reason there were lots of potty accidents. I think the situation (wind, rain, car) stressed them out too although I think they actually handled it better than I did.
I spent too much money on silly things for the kids (stuffed animals, wind chimes, flute in the shape of a whale, etc). I don't why. I think I was trying to buy happiness.
The power went off for the entire resort several times on Christmas eve. Luckily all we were doing was watching tv, as presents had been wrapped and kids were asleep but it was the icing on the cake of the week.
The beach in front of the hotel would have been nice if it wasn't raining and windy all the time. A bit corrally for good swimming but the kids all had fun there doing body surfing at the shoreline and Michael even took them each snorkeling on one day. On one day when it wasn't as cold and windy as normal we went out there with sand toys and enjoyed a good hour and half before it got ugly again. That was the best we got on the beach. Even a trip to the annually successful self named Shark Beach was a bust as it was so cold and windy even Michael and Parker couldn't deal.
Christmas was good. The kids all got the thing they asked for which made them happy as we had threatened them with rocks from Santa for being "bad". ( Elizabeth was convinced she was getting a rock.) When they woke up on Christmas morning we heard them whispering. When Michael went to the bathroom, Elizabeth said to him, "What is taking Santa so long?" They all fully believe the whole Santa thing which I find odd considering I told them last year he (and the tooth fairy) didn't exist.
The last day there, we rented one of the covered pool deck chairs and actually had a good time, ordering pool side lunch, playing in the pool as a family, going down the waterslide, and enjoying the bouts of pouring rain somewhat protected from the wind. I was glad for that day since so many before it sucked.
Me, trying to be happy.
Can you tell how windy it is here?
Trying to keep warm.
Some other random shots:
In between the fighting there was moments of kindness.
Yeah, I bought them this stupid dolphin.
All in all, the most expensive and worse trip I've ever taken. Even worse that Mexico in early 2006 when I was just pregnant with the twins. Had I been able to come home early from this one, I would have. But as Michael said about a dozen times there when I complained: It could have been worse. There could have been terrorists taking over the resort.