Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fingers crossed

It looks like we might be able to get Zoe the first week in May, via Portland instead of Seattle. I'm not going to jinx it by talking about it anymore.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trying to be patient and failing miserably

My frustration level is high right now. Seriously high.

Here's a quick recap:

I re-homed of my two cats, Nala and Alan, when Toivo and I moved out to Hawaii with Zac. This has left Toivo without playmates and bored. Zac and I spent numerous weekends at the Humane Society trying to find a second dog for our house and never found one that fit. We finally decided to see if we could find another Finnish Spitz somewhere on the mainland and bring the dog out to Hawaii.

As luck would have it, I got in contact with a breeder in Oregon that had a seven-year-old girl named Zoe that she was trying to place. Perfect! We would be getting a dog almost the same age as Toivo so we wouldn't have to deal with all the puppy-related issues. Due to the holidays, and the fact that the breeder lives in a fairly remote part of Oregon, it took quite awhile to get the quarantine requirements started. We knew it was going to take about 120 days of "stuff" on the mainland, i.e. shots and waiting, before Zoe could come out to Oahu.

After coordinating with someone to drive Zoe from Oregon up to Seattle where she could fly non-stop to Honolulu, we reserved a spot on a Hawaiian Air flight on April 28th. That's next Wednesday. I was told that the paperwork and everything else was in order. This is key, because if the paperwork is done right Zoe could be released immediately from the airport without spending anytime in quarantine upon her arrival. We were able to do this with Toivo, but at that time I was in charge of making sure all the "t"s were crossed and all the "i"s dotted. This time around I was relying on other people.

This brings us up to today. This afternoon I got an e-mail saying that there was a bit of a mixup on the paperwork. The Oregon folks did not realize that the paperwork had to be mailed so that it arrived no less than 10 days before Zoe did. The paperwork is still in Oregon - Zoe is supposed to be here in seven days. So direct release is out of the question now. It looks like if they send Zoe with the paperwork she might be in quarantine for five days. I hope. That's what I understand from the website. I put in a call to the Department of Agriculture to clarify that.

What irks me more than anything is that if they can't get all the paperwork together to send with Zoe on the 28th, the woman who is driving her is unavailable to drive her to Seattle again until the beginning of June. Yes. June. Another five weeks. At this point a small part of me is thinking, "To #@*!% with it. I've waiting four months, what's another five weeks?" But the other part of me is just livid.

I knew when I decided to get a dog from the mainland that there would be certain costs and waits involved. I was willing to absorb those costs and waits because I think Finnish Spitzes are terrific dogs and I really wanted to add another one to our home. But I am starting to get really close to the end of my patience. And it's even more aggravating because it's all out of my hands. I am totally dependent on these other people to get Zoe to Hawaii.

[deep breath]

Alright. I'm calming down. I am sure these people are doing their best to get Zoe to me. They probably have other stuff going on in their lives and couldn't devote most of their time and energy to the quarantine requirements, like I had to, to make sure everything was done correctly. Heck, the courier is willing to take two days to drive Zoe up to Seattle's airport.

Ok - moment of clarity. I think I might have come up with a solution. I need to go e-mail the driver. We'll have to see if this works. . .

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Feeding my ego

I love to go dancing but I rarely do. I'm reluctant to go out to clubs because while I love dancing, I usually don't like all the crud that goes with a night of going out. I'm never hip enough to know which clubs to go to and even if a friend suggests one I'm always stressed out about what I should wear. When I was younger and single I didn't want to deal with creepy guys that were looking for someone to spend the night with. Now that I'm married and in my 30s I'm worried that I'm going to be surrounded by a bunch of single-20-somethings that are more worried about drinking in excess and finding someone to hook up with. I don't want to go to their mating meat-market. I just want to dance. Me and my friends. If you're some guy and you're being really aggressive wanting to dance with us, please go away. We're just here trying to have a good time. Go work your "charm" on some other gal.

But last night was fun. Lots of fun. As I mentioned in another post, Bernadette is leaving next week. She decided that a group of us gals needed to go out dancing before she left. A couple of B's friends recommended a club in the Ala Moana Outrigger hotel, Rumors. There was a group of about six of us girls, mainly in our mid to late 30s. When we got to the club around 9:30 (which is obscenely early) the place was pretty busy, but it was most filled with folks in their 40s, 50s and 60s shaking a tail feather to some great 80s tracks plus the occasional dance-along song like the "Electric Slide". We were on the younger end of the spectrum at that point. But it was enjoyable if only for people watching. I got the sense that most of the patrons were tourists staying at the hotel. They just didn't feel local.

It wasn't too long after we got there that the DJ started shifting his play list to more Top 40/hip-hop songs. That's when we decided to hit the floor. I didn't really notice at first, but after a while the demographic changed substantially in the club. It went from a lot of older white folks to a lot of younger non-white folks. Black, Filipino, Hawaiian, Samoan, Japanese. Now this is more like Hawaii. The place also started to fill up quite a bit, so much so that I was glad that we got there as early as we did so we were able to get a place to sit for our occasional respites from dancing. Everyone in the club seemed to be in a great mood - no undercurrent of aggression. (I've been in clubs where the battle over the attention of women leads to a weird vibe of tension that flows through the crowd. Not last night though.)

Of course there were sailors. Apparently some event for submariners was happening last night. As our group was dancing I noticed the dress whites of junior enlisted guys scoping out the floor. Third and Second class Petty Officers. (E-4s and E-5s). Early to mid 20s. I thought to myself, "They are decidedly not going to have any issues meeting someone tonight." Imagine my utter shock when they decided to come and dance with us! If that's not an ego boost to a gal in her 30s, I don't know what is. Bernadette and her friends are all tall, blond and beautiful though, so I wasn't surprised that they got the guys' attention. I was surprised, however, that these young men like short redheads too. Go figure. The guys were sweet and very polite, exactly the correct way to approach someone to dance with them.

We spent the rest of the night dancing in our group and occasionally dancing with them. I'm guessing they knew we were unavailable, seeing as none of us girls were mauling them in their dress uniforms, but they didn't know that most of us were married to the military - some of us to senior enlisted Navy. It was nice to use my Navy knowledge to read the ribbons they had on and their rate and rank. I just had to shake my head at how old I felt compared to them, though. At one point Michael Jackson's "PYT" came on and one of the sailors started singing along to it. I laughed at him and told him that he wasn't old enough to know that song. Then I realized that I wasn't joking. This kid was most certainly born a few years after the "Thriller" album came out. I think I was seven at the time. I just laughed.

Probably the best ego inflater of the night was only indirectly tied to our sailor dancing buddies. At one point us girls took a breather at our table and one of Bernadette's friends, a tall attractive blond (a girl who I would imagine would never have any issue getting a guy's attention) took a sip of water and then paused. "Do you realize how young those guys are?" she asked. I smirked and nodded. "I mean, they're early-mid 20s." I nodded again. "And they're dancing with us!" she gleefully concluded. We all broke into huge grins, but I was stunned that I wasn't the only one who was pleasantly surprised that they were dancing with us.

I guess all girls like a nice ego boost every once and awhile.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Baseball, company and a cold that just won't quit

I'm watching the Twins' home-opener on ESPN right now. This officially begins the Target Field era of Twins home games. It's strange to watch, however. For pretty much my entire life I have associated the Twins with a dirty-white Teflon roof, green plastic carpeting and blue static-electricity-inducing chairs. Now I have a new home ballpark, one that I've never set foot in. This is supposed to be a home game I'm watching, but instead it feels like an away game. It will take more than a few viewings to start recognizing features of the ballpark. I'm envious of my friends and family who have managed to get tickets to a game or two this season. My initial impressions is that the ballpark is terrific. Here's hoping I can get there at some point in the future. (That being said, I haven't made it to see a Gopher football game at the new TCF Stadium either. Maybe I need to head home some fall and catch one game at each venue.)

Zac's brother, Chris, and his wife, Sara, visited last week. They were heading to Maui for some rest and relaxation and spent a couple of days with us on Oahu. It was a really nice visit. We were able to spend some time catching up and showing off our island. I was worried the day before they flew in because the weather forecast called for substantial rain while they were here. We get 10 rainy days a year, and we were going to have one on the only day I needed it to be clear this spring? Luckily the forecast proved to be wrong (until later in the day) and we were able to hike up Makapu'u and then hang out at the beach at Lanikai. It really was a beautiful day. Chris and Sara were in such a good mood that they even let us take them out for sushi. (They're not sushi people.) Zac and I picked out items that we figured would be least offensive/scary to their palates. We all ate til we were full and then went home to relax for awhile. We ended up playing pitch through the evening and everyone headed to bed, tired from the day.

The next morning the boys headed out to Electric Beach to do some snorkeling while Sara and I headed down to Waikiki. I took Sara to a breakfast buffet at one of the hotels right on the beach and we ate pineapple and coconut french toast while watching the waves. We walked down the beach (got splashed pretty good by a rogue wave) and then headed back up Kalakaua Ave. We meet the guys back at the house and by then it was already time for them to head to the airport. It was only a short visit, but we were glad they were able to make time to see us. It had been quite awhile since we had seen them - August of 2008 - and hopefully it won't be that long before we get to see each other again.

Throughout all of this I have been battling a cold of epic proportions. It started last Saturday before the Chief's Ball. I was starting to feel a bit run down and had a sore throat, but didn't think much of it. By Sunday morning I was under the weather and it continued all week. Even today I'm hacking up/blowing out gobs of yellow-green gook. I hope this signals that the end of the cold is near. I was able to get my energy up for Chris and Sara's visit, but on Friday (the day after they left) I hardly got off the couch. I was pooped. I was still feeling a bit run down on Saturday but I wanted to go to Ken and Bernadette's going away party that evening. I would have had to have been on my death bed not to attend that. I'll have to save my thoughts on their departure for another entry.

Goodness. (Back to the baseball game.) Look at that view of the Minneapolis skyline from the ballpark! Gorgeous. Yes, there will be days that it's 40 and raining and there won't be enough hot chocolate at Target Field to keep you warm, but on other days it will be 78 and sunny, with a Schweigert hotdog in one hand and an ice cold Coke/beer in the other. Baseball paradise. Wait a second, it IS 78 and sunny where I am . . . time for a dog and a Coke!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chief's Ball, 2010 and trouble down the street

The Navy loves any and all reasons to dress up and enjoy a few libations. Last night was the Chief's Ball, which Zac and I attended for the first time. The Chief's Ball is not to be confused with the Khaki Ball (which we have attended three times). The Khaki Ball is held in September, after the chief induction season, to celebrate the new chiefs. The guys wear their, get this, khakis to the Khaki Ball. It's semi-formal attire for their dates. The Chief's Ball, instead, is held at the beginning of April, celebrating the day that the rank of Chief Petty Officer was created. (April 1 - no fooling. Ha!) Chiefs consider this their "birthday". This year the rank turned 117 years old. At this party the chiefs wear their summer whites and spouses/dates are, once again, charged with wearing semi-formal garb.

There is also a Navy Ball held in October celebrating the birthday of the Navy. I believe the guys wear their dress whites to that one, and spouses and dates get to mix it up a bit wearing formal wear. Zac and I haven't been to a Navy Ball yet, simply because it comes so close after the Khaki Ball. Tickets are approximately $40-60 a piece and paying for two events in two months is a lot of money. Maybe we'll go this year - I'd like the chance to do over-the-top formal.

We drove down to Wakiki to the hotel that was the site of the ball. We checked in, got our souvenir and had our photo taken. I might have to get a photo album devoted to the 5x7 Ball photos we're starting to accumulate. Anyone flipping through said album will start to notice I'm wearing the same two or three semi-formal dresses over and over again. (The benefit of changing locations every couple of years is that no one notices you recycling dresses.)

Our usual group of friends didn't attend the Ball so we sat and socialized with four other guys that work at ATG with Zac (and their wives). I missed my hanging out with my friends, but it was nice to meet some new people and socialize with their wives. After a cocktail hour we had some good food for supper, a Command Master Chief gave a brief speech about the history of the chiefs, and then the DJ started playing some tunes. We stuck around to see if we won any door prizes, but we came up empty handed. Around ten o'clock things were wrapping up. Many people were staying at the hotel that night, but Zac was on duty so we had to head back to his command so he could check on things. (Duty also meant that Zac was not able to imbibe like some of the other chiefs in the room. Someone needs to be sober in case something bad happens.)

So far the night had been pretty relaxing, but that was about to change. As we turned onto our street coming home, we noticed a group of younger 20-something aged guys out in front of a house. They seemed to be drinking and talking loudly. Not a big deal. It was a Saturday night. Everyone on our block has had parties at some point. When we parked our car in the driveway and walked into the house, we could hear that they weren't just talking loudly but were shouting, angrily, at each other. Zac and I went into the house where I changed out of my dress and heals but Zac still had his uniform on, standing by our bedroom window listening to the argument outside. I asked him, "Should we call the cops?" Zac considered it. We listened a little longer and Zac announced he was going to go talk to them.

As Zac headed downstairs and out the door, I started to get a little nervous. Drinking and hostility do not combine well and Zac was walking, alone, into a group of 8 or 9 guys. I grabbed the phone and watched him walk down the street. I was really glad he still had his uniform on. I figured that even if they weren't Navy guys, they'd recognize a senior rank on him and maybe even give him a little respect. Zac came back in a couple of minutes and informed me that he told the guys that they needed to quite down, otherwise someone was going to end up calling the cops on them. He suggested they all calm down and head inside.

We headed back in to our house and everything was quiet for a few minutes. And then the yelling started again, except that this time there were a couple of females shrieking/screaming/yelling too. One guy was yelling, "That's my *%^$#@!!* wife!" There was an assortment of cursing and yelling and then it sounded like someone got slapped. I picked up the phone and dialed 911. The dispatcher answered and as soon as I related the location of the disturbance she let me know that someone had already called it in and a squad car was on its way over. Sure enough, two squads arrived quickly. At this point Zac mentioned that one of the guys had told Zac that one of the other guys had pulled a knife on him. I blasted Zac for not mentioning that to me earlier. Zac said he was worried that I would have freaked out about his safety after the fact. I told him that I was more upset that I didn't have that information to tell the dispatcher when I called.

The cops must have done their job, since we didn't hear a peep from down the street for the rest of the night. I don't know if anyone got arrested - I wasn't interesting in being that nosy. I was just glad that it was all over. We didn't want anyone to get hurt.

Since it was now quiet in the neighborhood, we figured we had had enough excitement for the night and went to bed. Hopefully we won't have to deal with a situation like that again. It was a crummy way to end an otherwise enjoyable evening.