When JJ heard that grandma was going to Kauai again there was a tense moment of rebellion. “Why can’t I ever go with you?” he asked. Funny, children never remember when they have accompanied you on trips. I gently reminded him of our trip across country to Virginia to see Uncle Don and Aunt Bonnie. I pointed to the scrapbook from our Alaskan cruise. “But I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii,” he says, arms crossed. I assured him that his day would come.
Plans changed a bit. One of our friends couldn’t go and our hostess offered JJ the spot. Who could say no? We bought the tickets. And plans changed again. This time our friend said she worked it out and could now come on the trip. A bit of trepidation ensued when JJ found out he’d now be traveling with three grandmas. Eight days is a lot of time for a thirteen-year-old to hang with three old ladies.
We managed to pull it off. JJ got his own room high up in the loft. We got the run of downstairs. We wore him out each day – shopping, snorkeling, shopping, eating, shopping, snorkeling, traveling around the island, shopping, snorkeling, eating. We’d end the day with an hour in the swimming pool. JJ escaped to the loft for refuge and slept nearly ten hours each night. We are tough old ladies.
The biggest challenge was catering to his dietary whims – for the most part. He had a brief change of heart about diet once we sent him 1/2 mile up the street to Taco Bell for breakfast on a hot, humid morning and he returned with two cheeseburgers from Burger King because Taco Bell doesn’t open until 11am. Our explanation of Hawaiian time fell on deaf ears. Bubba Burger was 1/2 mile the other direction and that became the favorite fast food of choice. Next time he may eat what we eat. For the month of July he has agreed to thirty-one days of no fast food. We shall see.
Snorkeling was the highlight. With rented gear JJ had a quick snorkeling lesson in the pool and we were off to the beaches. First up was Lydgate Beach Park, an area with two enclosed ponds, perfect for beginners. For a kid who only had one two week swim lesson session in his entire life, JJ surprised us with his ability to outswim any of us. Snorkeling is now his favorite sport.
We moved on to Poipu where we returned three times. It was the best – except for one day – the day we crossed the sandbar to the adventurous side of the beach. Maybe a little too exhausted and heading back to shore, a huge wave plunged us over to the rocky area. A little banged up, JJ missing one fin and the snorkel gear, we bumped and scooted our way to shore, a big lesson to be learned. An expensive lesson.
Moala’a Bay was the favorite beach. I promised my friend I wouldn’t advertise this one. It’s mostly private, not so easy to get to, but the most beautiful beach we visited. While it was lovely to bask in the sun there, on this particular day, it was too risky to snorkel. We tried to follow the channel out to the reefs but wind and waves warned us not to proceed. Don’t go there 🙂
Did I mention we went shopping? I tried my best to fill up that extra thirteen pounds of space in my suitcase but bottom line, I added only five pounds to the suitcase, five pounds to my body and a weighted fistful of charge slips. Of course we absolutely needed everything we purchased. JJ caught on to the math quickly – one gift for grandpa – two gifts for us – one gift for daddy – two gifts for us – one gift for mommy – two gifts for us.
While it was the adventure of a lifetime for JJ, I think he is happy to be home cuddled up with his nameless cat. JJ survived eight days of three grandmas and questions their ability to agree on anything. We three old ladies survived the teenager the only way we knew how:
With a little bit of luck I left Reno on the Zephyr yesterday morning with enough cash in my pocket to buy lunch in the dining car. Not so for grandpa and he’s the one who begged us not to honor, “Open Your Umbrella Indoors Day.” Little J and I took our chances.
Okay, so I have to admit I did win the money the day before and grandpa may have been right. Luck turned a corner upon arrival at the Amtrak station.
First off, trains don’t recognize Daylight Savings Time. Think about it – how can a train leave Chicago on schedule, arrive at all the westbound stops according to time table commitments, and make up an hour between Winnemucca and Reno? The wait at the station… a little over an hour.
Second, near blizzard weather. Two buses cancelled the trip over the summit leaving two busloads of passengers the opportunity to observe the winter storm in the comfort of a coach seat. Finding three empty seats together in a sold out train? We took our chances behind a young man determined to catch up on all his phone calls between Reno and Sacramento. Eric commented that the foul mouth, drug dealing, gang influenced blather would stop once we reached the non-service areas. He was right about that. These were the opportunities to admire the young man’s latest rap tunes. Apparently when he wasn’t doing back flips off the stage, he was a musician, of sorts. Reminder to self – do not sit anywhere near young men wearing black fedoras, black leather jackets, black leather pants, skinny underwear (now how would we know that? – first time I ever saw baggy low rider pants in leather), jewels on every finger, ear buds implanted.
Third, dinner in the diner. The goal was to show Little J what dining on the train is all about. It seemed our discourse about fine dining on our honeymoon trip 46 years ago was as uninspiring as the drug induced rap job two cars behind us. Little J, as unimpressed as he was, did point out that the NON-silverware did still have an Amtrak emblem and the not-so-fine linen PAPER table cloths and a couple of pens provided artistic distraction while waiting patiently for the fine mac and cheese dining experience.
Fourth, delays. What more can I say other than one must always remember there is such a thing as “train time.”
Fifth – back to the umbrella – would it open once we arrived at our final destination in a deluge of rain? Of course not.