Aloha and Mahalo AAC Inc

So for the company trip this year we headed off to Maui for 8 days of relaxation, fun and sun. Ana had mentioned Hawaii so I worked on Jim for a few months before he agreed, then I had to work on him to get him to agree to bring Vera. He did thank me right before we left – he knows how much work Vera does for us.

I booked the whole trip Expedia and we did it on the phone with an agent who made several promises that were not kept in the end. Also the day after the trip was booked I received an email that said one leg of our flight was canceled – this happened several times between when we booked and when we left. Calls and emails to Expedia for assistance were all roads to no where.

Our connections in the lodging industry got us room upgrades (ocean views) and free breakfast. We stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani which was so lovely and just about perfect. Our rooms were great and we all had an ocean view. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone that might be staying in Maui. I loved the pool and even had a spa treatment.

On Friday we left BWI for ATL at 9:55 a.m. on Delta (Delta was great the whole trip) and spent almost two hours in ATL, hooking up with Lisa and Rankine there for the next leg. The flight from ATL to LAX was relatively painless, I watched G.I. Joe on the little screen in front of me (horrible movie) for $6. And most of us participated in a trivia game that was also on the monitors.  In LAX we had a short layover before getting on the plan to OGG (Maui). On the leg to OGG we had great flight attendants, I shook my head no at the free peanuts and cookie but the attendant insisted, telling me they had exceeded their trash quota for the month and I had to be responsible. And there was an lady that came to a group of us and had us do art work which was great she was entertaining.

We landed in Maui at 8:40 p.m. local time which was about 1:40 home time and we were all pretty tired. The directions to the hotel were not really great and it’s REALLY dark on the road to the hotel so it was hard to see the map in the car and figure out street signs. Gary and I headed up the wrong road for a while before I remembered the GPS on my Blackberry and figured out we were heading in the wrong direction. Even though we got a little off track we were still the “First Team to Arrive”.

I didn’t sleep well the first night, I was awake several different times during the night for no reason and finally at 5 just woke up and started the day. It was nice to have free breakfast and the coffee in the room helped me. Each room had a balcony and I watched the light come into the day from it all but one of the mornings, it was rather spiritual for me. I read my daily meditations out there. [Meanwhile back in DC, Mouse had been scared to death when Mark A stopped by to feed her – it was then that she realized Daddy wasn’t coming home that night – *scratch, scratch, scratch on the pole*]

Saturday after spending some time at the pool and in the sun Gary and I headed off to Lahaina where he got to see the Sugar Cane Train (he likes trains) come into a station and turn around. We then headed back to the hotel. I got a facial at the Spa. We had dinner at Carl Jr.s… well we don’t have one of those in DC and an early night, I think I was asleep by 9:00 I think. [Meanwhile back in DC: Mouse had been almost all alone for two whole days except for that stranger Mark who she didn’t want to get to know *meow, meow, meow* {translation: woe is me}]

Sunday morning after breakfast Gary went to church at an open air place near out hotel. When he returned he and I decided to go out to the Road to Hana. I got sick on the Road to Hana, two hours each way of winding, twisty roads, really not my cup of tea my stomach didn’t agree. Jim wanted to invite me to dinner but that was the last thing on my mind. [Meanwhile back in DC: Mouse is hoping her Daddy gets sick and can’t enjoy himself]

Monday Gary and I had intended to go up to the top of the volcano but I was reluctant to go to any twisty, turny roads and declined the invitation. Gary did go up the mountain and did some exploring on hs own. It was Gary’s birthday so we had dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was nice. I told everyone that it was his birthday, much to his dismay, so at breakfast he got a cake, at the restaurant and even the ladies who came to do the turn down said happy birthday to him. He made like he wasn’t happy about it but I saw the smile. [Meanwhile back in DC – Mouse came out of hiding to let Mark pet her *purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr*]

Tuesday afternoon 4 of us took off in the early afternoon to go Ziplining it was so fun and everyone had a great time. Piiholo Ranch Zipline, great team, very safe, very good. There were two other sets of people in our group and one couple got stuck out in the middle of one of the ziplines and was stuck out there for about 20 minutes. Glad it wasn’t us. I would love to do it again and again and again. I managed to get a video of me zipping on the last line and soon I’ll figure out how to upload that here.  Tuesday night Gary, Ana and I had dinner together at the Fish restaurant at the hotel and I went out on a limb and ate fish. Not something I would do willingly. [Meanwhile back in DC – Mouse took advantage of the solitude, finally realizing that her Uncle Gary couldn’t come give her attention and disturb her nap *zzzzzzzzzz*]

Wednesday I took Gary to the airport as he went off island but technically stayed on Maui, he went to the island of Molokai which is part of Maui. Jim and Ana drove me to Kihei for an AA meeting and then we had dinner at the Pupu Lounge, it was ok. The meeting started and the chair said: this is a speaker meeting. Well apparently Speaker meeting is code for topic/bad day meeting in Maui as that’s what it was. After the lead he picked me to share which I didn’t appreciate – not being familiar with the format of the meeting I felt off kilter but as the topic was “spiritual tools” I talked about how close I felt to my higher power in the morning watching the light join the day. It was mostly downhill from there. [Meanwhile back in DC – Mouse started to eat more and more to ease the sense of loss – *Mmmmmeeeeeeeoooooowwwww*]

Thursday was mostly a day of sitting by the pool and swimming in it until the afternoon when Jim and I went to pick up Gary at the airport. That evening was the only “required event” for the travelers, we all met at Outback for dinner. The company, toasts, laughter and fellowship was wonderful, the service not so much. Several orders were messed up. But we still had a great time. Afterward we went to Dairy Queen for dessert (I got to pick and I love me a Banana Split Blizzard. [Meanwhile back in DC – Mouse wished her Uncle Gary would come and wake her up from her nap]

Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. we left the hotel to go snorkeling. *Yawn* We followed a GPS device that didn’t recognize a new road so we were almost late. We left on the boat and headed to the first of two snorkeling areas. The water was cold but the wetsuit top helped to make it seem less so. It was rather choppy (to me) out there and this was my first time and wasn’t really enjoyable for me. I chose not to participate in the second spot and didn’t get to see the turtles but I understand they were very cool and they say the water was less choppy. [Meanwhile back in DC – Mouse wonders if they will ever come home]. The rest of the day I didn’t do much, I ordered room service and watched a movie on the TV (Transformers 2 – not worth it). [Meanwhile back in DC – Mouse considers trusting this Mark person more and maybe that Robert person who’s been here too]

Saturday, our last day in Maui, I decided to spend most of the day by the pool and did exactly that. I ordered a burger for lunch at the pool and just took it easy. We packed and headed home around 6:00. [Meanwhile back in DC – Mouse came out of hiding for Mark and Robert and was sociable.]

It was a long, long trip back and I don’t think anyone slept well. We left Maui at 9:00 p.m. and arrived at BWI at 4:15 or so. Mouse was very loud, talkative and happy to see both of us. She wouldn’t stop purring and that night while I attempted to sleep she was, as expected, very needy.

It was a great vacation. I’m very tan. I highly recommend that if you’ve never been to Hawaii you go at least once, it’s certainly worth it.

Makua kane

Makua kane means Father

Last year, around this time I heard that my Pa died. I had been scheduled to leave for Cancun on the company retreat the next day and ended up spending a week in Wisconsin instead. Pa probably thought it was funny.

Since he passed I’ve changed my name to honor him his first name is my middle and I’ve taken his last name as my last. It was the least I could do for the man who gave me so much. Is it a pain in the ass sometimes? yes Was it expensive? yes Was it worth it? most definitely

I still want to call home to Ma and Pa, I don’t know if it will always be Ma and Pa but it still is today. I try not to slip up when I talk to Ma or Rhonda – I don’t know if it’s painful for them to hear me say “Pa” or think about him. I know I still get a little teary now and then just remembering silly things he did or his stubbornness, curiosity and mannerisms.

My Pa loved to work with small engines and I always thought he was very careful and “safe” until he stuck his hand in a snowblower and lost part of his finger. It was just the top part of the finger that he lost and he drove himself to the hospital that day, one handed, his other hand tucked neatly under his arm… Now he could make it look like he had his finger buried pretty deeply in his nose with it and he loved to do that..

I miss you Pa – a lot.

Uphill Battles

I’m sad about Maine. Once again in the land of the free, people have gone to the polls to deny others the same rights that others take for granted. I say for granted because hetero couples get married all the time and then divorced – rinse lather repeat. Divorce rates in Maine are 13th (Source) in the nation. My biological mother was married 8 separate times. But if two guys or two girls want to get married and live together with the same rights and responsibilities of a hetero couple this state says NO.

Our side raised more money than theirs, I donated several times promoted on Facebook and via email. I’ve talked to people about the issue, I know a lot of our side was up there working in the field, making calls from all over the nation.

It’s disheartening and it makes me want to quit giving money and quit caring. It makes me want to quit struggling in this battle and just let them win. For only a moment.They want us to give up, they want us to be quiet, they want us to accept less-than-equal and we can’t let them.

This was only a battle in this war we’ve been on, only one defeat today. Tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to educate, another chance to win.

Other groups that have had to fight for their rights faced the same ignorance, hatred and church filled bigotry and managed to overcome. So shall we, one person at a time if we have to, this nation of ours will live up to the promise of freedom and equality that we deserve.