Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I forgot to tell this funny little story about our camping trip....Dean doesn't see me wearing a hat too often and I had on a stocking cap most of the day while we were at Poli Poli. Dean looked at me and said "Hey! Lily wears one of those Mommy!" and then giggled really cute like. I was like "She does? Who's Lily?". Then my 3-yr-old son says "You know Mommy. Lily. From the Young and the Restless!". Yes. That's right. My son knows the characters on the Young and the Restless well enough to know that Lily, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments for Ovarian cancer, wears a stocking cap every day to hide her bald head!!!!

You think this is my sign that maybe it's time to stop letting my 3-year-old stay in the room while I watch my soap?? Maybe I should have taken the hint several weeks ago when I was watching and Dean, almost as excited as I was, squeals "Mommy! Mommy! Look! Victor's back!! Why is Victor so mad Mommy?"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Camping: Fail

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Well, this just might go down in history as the worst Tapler Valentine's Weekend ever!! We attempted to go camping up at Poli Poli State Park Saturday night, which sounded like a lot of fun and took a bit of planning ahead since we had to secure a camping permit before Thursday - because all State of Hawaii offices are closed every single Friday thanks to "Furlough Fridays", then of course we had to do a bit of shopping for Dean since the child didn't own a single long-sleeved sweatshirt or any type of head covering. And I know what you're thinking - how cold could it be? It's Maui, right? Well, my friends, we ARE weather weenies you know. Plus, Poli Poli sits halfway up Haleakala Volcano, right around an elevation of 6200 ft, which can get quite chilly, especially at night!! But not to worry, Old Navy saved the day and I bought Dean a cute little zip-front hoodie sweatshirt and that combined with an old pair of knit pants Balin had passed down to him over a year ago (that granted were a bit short, but they would do, especially considering I wasn't absolutely certain Dean would keep them on, so I wasn't spending a penny more than I had to on clothes for a one-weekend thing!!). So Saturday dawned bright and sunny in Kahului and we were all very excited about our upcoming adventure!! Jayci had decided to join us, but at the last minute decided to drive her own car (she had laser eye surgery a few days earlier and her story was she wanted to be able to drive home if her eyes started bothering her...whatever...I'm pretty sure she just didn't want to be either (a) stuck halfway up the mountain all night with a bratty 3-yr-old or (2) freezing her ass off halfway up the mountain all night!!!). But it didn't matter. Turns out this was a VERY good move on Jayci's part!

We took both cars up the loooong, winding road to Poli Poli campground - the looong, winding, narrow road that turned into a dirt/sand road about 5 miles from the actual campground. So far, so good. We arrived at the campground safe and sound only to find a church group there playing a guitar and singing a bunch of church songs, which annoyed Joel - not because they were a church group and actually he was more annoyed because they were NOT church songs, but in his words they were "butchering" some of the greatest songs ever written (I thought he was going to lose it when they all joined in on Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful", one of Joel's all-time favorites). I think he was mostly pissed off that because they were a church group he couldn't act like an ass and make them all uncomfortable enough to shut up. But whatever. They didn't stay long anyway. They were way smarter than us.

When we got to the campgrounds there was a little bit of cloud cover, which is normal at that elevation, and actually at that elevation you're right INSIDE the clouds, which is normally kind of cool (we've hiked at Poli Poli a lot, and we normally really liked this whole being-inside-a-cloud thing). So, it's kind of all misty-like. Joel proceeded to set up the tent, only to discover the tent stakes were missing. (I'll spare you the back and forth of the as yet undecided argument of exactly WHO was responsible for making sure the tent stakes made it into the car....but since I'm writing this blog post....we'll lean towards placing the blame on the man in charge of setting up the tent and just assume that since this is turning into a rather long post, Joel will probaly skip reading most of it anyway and just look at the pictures). Anyway, so as it's misting on us (and to us weather weenies really REALLY cold - like already requiring the sweatpants plus fleece pull-over and windbreaker and stocking cap I had packed for after dark!!), Joel fashioned some hand-made tent stakes out of some sticks he found and his pocket knife (which I claim the Eagle Scout in him thoroughly enjoyed doing!!). I forced Dean into his long pants and hoodie and tried to shove his socked feet (which he did NOT love) into his only somewhat close-toed shoes he owns, his Keens, which we quickly discovered he has outgrown. So then I tried to get him to go super local-style and just wear his slippers (flip flops) with his socks, which lasted a little while, but his socks got a little wet and then he decided he was done with the socks. It didn't take long for him to just decide that, cold feet or no, he still prefers to be barefoot!!

And almost as soon as the tent got set up that pleasant mist turned into real rain. And then we discovered that someone had never sealed the seams of our somewhat-new tent. (again, I'll refrain from pointing any fingers....I won't even point them directly at Joel here or anything and I'll just let you all draw your own conclusions on who's job that was...ha ha!). So even with the rain fly up, the tent soon began to leak a little. We quickly soaked the 2 beach towels we brought sopping up little puddles inside the tent. And before long the light rain turned into a torrential downpour. Then Jayci and I started worrying about that dirt/sand road we drove in on and the fact that both of our cars are kind of old Maui Cruisers and not exactly Four Wheel Drive or anything. Finally, after about 5 hours of "camping" (Dean had a BLAST by the way!!), we decided it was best if we just headed on home. So we packed it up, in the pouring rain, while we were freezing our butts off, and started out on that looooong, winding, narrow road out of Poli Poli State Park. Now, by this point everyone else who had been at the park when we arrived had long since left - again, way smarter than us!!! So there were no other humans in sight.

We got about a mile from the campground, it's still raining and cold, and my car just died. Totally and completely dead. We were just driving and the engine died with no warning at all. And wouldn't start again no matter what we tried. We were right in the middle of that narrow, winding, dirt/sand road. There was no way a tow truck would come up there. And not much we could do at that time of day in the rain. So we had to just abandon my car up there Saturday night. Now, you have no idea how glad we were that Jayci decided at the last minute to take her own car AND that we all left at the same time or we might have been stuck up there overnight!!! We did have to push my car a ways down the road to get to a spot where we could get it off the road enough so it wasn't in the middle of the road. Then we all just piled in Jayci's car and headed on home. Dean passed out in the car almost as soon as we left the campground and slept through the entire ordeal, even transferring the carseat to the other car!!! We made it home in time for Joel to cook some hot dogs at home (what we had planned to cook over a campfire) and then we all sat around and watched some Olympics!!

Unfortunately, we think the trip up to Poli Poli might have been just too much for my old piece of crap car. It's been dying a slow death for quite awhile and I had said I would drive that thing until the wheels fell off. Sadly, I think I just might be there. Joel and his buddy Vince had to drive back up to Poli Poli Sunday morning with towing cables and "pull" my car all the way down the mountain. Man, I am soooo glad I was not there for that - I can't imagine how stressful it must have been pulling that car down that crazy narrow winding road just to get back to Kula Highway. Then Joel decided that since it was all downhill from there, he just let it coast all the way down Haleakala to town!!! He coasted the car all the way down the mountain (from 6200 ft elevation to sea level) to the intersection of Haleakala and Hana Highway (now within5 miles of the house, so a free tow with AAA!!) where he finally called a tow truck to tow it to the house). And now my old crappy car sits dead in the driveway while we decide what to do. I hate not having a vehicle. I'd really like a new reliable car, but I hate spending the money. Our neighbor is a mechanic and looked at it and we're pretty sure it's the fuel pump. As you all know, NOTHING on Maui is cheap and that includes Auto Work. It will probably cost around $700-900 to replace the fuel pump, but the car is only worth about $1200 and has multiple other things wrong with it. So....do we even bother spending the money to fix it? I'm not sure we could get much more than that for trade-in value and I'm not at all comfortable selling the car to an individual (it's way too small of an island to sell a car that needs that much work to someone without being completely honest about it - and in that case I think it would just take FOREVER to sell). I was really hoping someone would steal it while it sat up there at Poli Poli Saturday night, but no such luck. I guess nobody wants a dead car. {sigh}. So anyway, there goes our much hoped-for trip to the mainland this spring. The money will most likely now be spent on a new car. Bummer.

So....there's the story of the Worst Valentine's Weekend Ever. Sorry it was so long, but really....can you think of any part of that I could have left out??

Now, here are some photos of our failed camping adventure for your enjoyment:

Dean looking SUPER adorable in his long pants and hoodie (I almost can't stand it!!) AND the short-lived socks-with-slippers look:
"Helping" Joel set up the tent (notice he's already lost the slippers)!!:
Checking out the inside of the tent with Aunty Jayci while waiting for the rain fly and for Daddy to whittle some tent stakes!! (and the first of a few shedding of the hoodie):
Half a shaka while eating a sandwich (and look! he actually has the hoodie up for half a second!! What you can't see are his purple lips.):
Off to attempt to gather dry firewood under the Redwood Trees (while we were still under the crazy belief we might spend the night!! ha!):
Reading all the park signs to Aunty Jayci:
Seriously, isn't he the cutest thing ever!?!?
Trying to stay warm and dry inside the tent (we weren't successful):
Jayci making a run for it from the bathroom in the pouring rain:
This is just getting ridiculous and this is about the time I said enough's enough and we decided to go home:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Good Grief - Word Association

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I think most of you know that my Dad, who is only 59 yrs old, is in the late stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Watching a loved one slowly slip away from you emotionally and cognitively while they remain (for the most part) physically intact creates a very difficult and unique grieving process. In reality, the amazing man who raised me is already gone and has been gone for quite some time. I mean sure - there's an unresponsive, agitated, incontinent, grumpy, anxious, weird-smelling, detached man who essentially looks exactly like the man who raised me - but trust me, that is NOT the man who raised me. However, I'm finding it harder and harder to remember that amazing man who was my father and instead when I think of my Dad, I first think of THIS difficult person. And that is my greatest fear - that all of my wonderful childhood memories will slowly be replaced with memories of this person that Alzheimer's Disease has left us with. And I had a pretty kick-ass childhood in great part because I had such a kick-ass Dad (and Mom too)!! I don't want to forget that.

So when I discovered the Good Grief blog - a scrapbooking journey through loss and healing - and their scrapbooking challenges related to helping you scrapbook and journal about a loved one you have lost, I decided this might be just what I need to help me deal with the roller coaster of emotions I am experiencing as I watch my father quickly decline. And hopefully, this will help me hold on to more of those happy memories and not dwell so much on what's happening now. And yeah, I realize technically my Dad isn't DEAD, but for all intents and purposes my Dad is already gone, ya know?

So anyway, I hope you all are OK with me sharing my Good Grief creations here every now and then. These will be my "Therapeutic Posts"! LOL. So here goes my first Good Grief Challenge...

February's challenge is to Use Word Association. That's it. Open to plenty of interpretation. Here's my digital layout (click on the layout to view it larger if you'd like to read the journaling):

Of course, these aren't the only things that made my Dad who he was - but the smaller words / phrases are more like little "memory joggers" for me - each of them tells a story from my childhood, each special and significant in it's own way - some funny, some poignant and some just very specific memories I want to hold onto.

If anyone has anything else they'd like to add or any words/ phrases they think I forgot, please comment here and let me know. This blog is in itself a type of journal - so if you knew my Dad "before" (because that's the way we think now - in terms of "before" Alzheimer's and "after" Alzheimer's - it sucks), what words/phrases would you associate with him? Or just feel free to share a special or funny memory of my Dad.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Our Fruit Houses

Tonight we were having a funny conversation with Dean. He was playing a game he made up where he was saying all the "fruit" things he liked. It started out with fruit punch, fruit roll ups, fruit snacks, and then progressed to him just naming everything he could think of with fruit in front of it - fruit sandwich, fruit cereal, fruit soup, etc. Then he just started getting silly and just saying anything and everything he saw with the word fruit in front of it and wanted Joel and I to play along, so we all took turns naming stuff like Fruit Chair, Fruit Table, Fruit Clock, etc. Once we had exhausted everything in the room, Dean looked around and said "Fruit House" and started cracking up laughing. The rest of the conversation went something like this:
Me: "Fruit House? That's silly! I want to live in a Fruit House. I would live in a Pineapple House. What kind of Fruit House would you live in Dean?"
Dean: "ummm, Apple!"
Me: "Apple? That's a good round house!"
Dean: "Daddy, what kind of Fruit house you live in?"
Joel: "Watermelon"
Dean: "No Daddy! That would be all watery! Your house would drip drip drip. Like rain inside! You can't live in a Watermelon House".