Husband Traveling Timeline

I was remiss in not posting my own timeline, so here we go:

1980-1998: Numerous family trips to the Smokey Mountains, Jersey Shore, camping trips throughout Florida, college hunting trips up the east coast and Nebraska/South Dakota. Formal trips to San Francisco/Northern California/Lake Tahoe, Colorado, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Alaska, Victoria, Seattle, Hawaii, northeastern New Mexico, New England, Dollywood and Virginia.
1998: Banff National Park in Canada
1999: Key West
2000: Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Luxembourg.
2001: Ireland and Cuba 
2002: Cooperstown, New York
2003: I was poor there were no trips.
2004: Still somewhat poor.
2005: Djibouti, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Trips to Maine
2006: July 4 in Maine, NYC, Savannah and Charlestown.
2007: NYC and Chicago
2008: Planned trips to San Francisco and Kauai

Re: the last post, never in my life have I seen such dedicated navel-gazing and self-involved dithering as on the modern-day blogosphere, and boy, did I contribute.  :-D  The insomnia’s getting to me.  Tom’s gone and I like sleeping next to him; wards off the anxiety and the nightmares.  He also forces me to go to bed whether I’m tired or not.  Left to my own devices I stay up until half past dark o’clock and then can’t fall asleep on my own.

Anyway!  Tom is going back to Maryland again in June, and I’m taking a poll: What would people from the DC area like him to bring back?  Options:
Coffee
Special pineapple-cutting utensils from the Dole Plantation
Muumuus
Postcards
Local bath/body products
Macadamia nuts
Spam
Keep in mind that he has to get through Customs–no, Hawaii is not a foreign country as some people seem to think (see #3, I weep for the future generations) but he will be making a pit stop in Canada for a week before.  So, what do y’all want?!

Living the Life

(Settle in, this is going to be a long, long one.)

Where will you be in five years?
Question on everyone’s mind, I’m sure, regardless of age or class.  In our case, we haven’t the slightest.  We can re-up on Hawaii, assuming there’s money in the office budget for Tom to continue doing what he does.  We can live abroad, assuming there are positions open for which Tom is qualified.  We can move back to DC, assuming I lose my battle against the inevitable–we do have to go back eventually if Tom is to advance up the office ladder past a certain point, but I’m hoping to stave that off as long as I can.  (I feel awful, but the list of places that I absolutely, positively, never want to take up residence are places that Tom loves, has sentimental connections to, or where both our parents live.  Our parents are all delightful but an August in Florida would end my marriage.  Tom is a saintly man but even he has his breaking point, and I think a Florida summer with me suffering permanent heatstroke-in-high-bitch-mode would do it.)  Hopefully we can put off moving back to the mid-Atlantic for a couple tours, assuming there’s something else available.  And assuming there are domestic spots open, we could move to Texas or Georgia.
I don’t know if you’ve been keeping score, but that’s a lot of making an ASS-of-U-and-ME-ing going on.  The world is our oyster, but much depends on what’s available and where.  
It’s a weird position, for sure.  Since moving to Hawaii I’ve started to break the habit of constantly daydreaming about where we’re going next.  We’re happy here, we don’t want to move, whereas in DC Tom was ready for a change of scenery and I was ready to get the hell out of Dodge before I graduated from AU.  We’re trying to take everything we can out of living here; it’s like three years of study abroad.  You don’t live going through the motions when you know the party could end in a few years.
There’s one drawback to living here, though: we are SURROUNDED by children.  Specifically, couples our age with children: newborns, toddlers, elementary school age.  And for the first time since we’ve been married, we’ve had the question put to us with a lot of insistency: “When are you going to have kids of your own?”  
Well, in DC we didn’t have friends with kids.  None.  But we wanted babies.  We talked about when to be having them, we followed my sister’s pregnancy with almost unseemly curiosity.  We had names picked.  We agreed they could be raised to be bigger Phillies fans than Red Sox fans as long as they never once wore Eagles green during football season.
Here, all of our friends have kids.  And observing them, now I’m starting to think we were very, very wrong.  After a lifetime of professing to like children, I’ve discovered that…I don’t.  I love my cousins, I adore them.  I love babies, newborns.  My nephew pukes petunias and spits sunshine, as far as I’m concerned.  But I don’t like kids.  I’m too controlling, too impatient, and I hate explaining myself.  I don’t accept that “because I said so” is good enough rationale for a kid but I already have a job and it doesn’t involve teaching anyone to use the potty or why sticking your head in an oven is a bad idea.
Tom’s in a similar boat.  We like the “idea” of being parents–touching Christmas moments, teaching the sprat to ski or throw a curveball–but the actual day-to-day of raising children?   We really, really like our lives just the way they are.  And we don’t want to screw it up.  “It’s different when it’s yours, you’ll love it and blah blah…”  That’s what people say when I voice my concerns.  That’s not good enough for me, because it isn’t true.  And I’m not talking about abuse or abandonment.  I’ve seen enough to know that parents don’t always bond to their kids–they feed them, and clothe them, and care for them, but it’s a job that they’d rather quit.  I don’t think that would be us, but I think it happens often enough that my concern can’t be dismissed with a hand wave and a dismissive “It’s different when it’s your kid.”  It isn’t, not for some people.  Indifference can be a type of abuse too.  If I do this I want to do it 100%, and right now I don’t think we want it badly enough to make that commitment.
In the best of all worlds, and may we be so lucky, there’s still time to decide about babies.  We may even figure out where we’re going to live while we raise them.  But this whole life we’ve chosen for ourselves is so alien to the environments we were raised in.  You get married, you pick a place you want to live for 25 or so years, you buy a house, and somewhere along the line you have babies.  Now, us, on the other hand…We’ll always rent, because we’ll always be on the move, we’re not picking a place to stay.  Our kids, should we have them, will have to adapt to bouncing around.  Maybe someday when we retire we’ll settle in one spot.  Maybe.
It’s hard to explain why that life–the 3 bedroom house, the PTA, weekends at Home Depot–is fine for those who want it, but not for us, without sounding like a judgmental jerk.  But it’s not what we want for ourselves.  And until we moved here I’ve never been pressed to defend our choices.  So that’s why I’m writing this down–I need to organize my thoughts into a set of talking points for the next neighborhood barbecue.  This whole thing sounds so defensive, but as I’ve said, I’m not accustomed to explaining myself.  I’ve never particularly cared about anyone’s disapproval.  Curiosity, schmuriosity–being curious about someone’s plans does not automatically extend the right to pry into someone’s personal life.  (Everyone I’ve ever been friends with just threw their hands up and called me a nosy hypocrite.  Sorry, I know, I’m working on it.)  But saying to a well-meaning neighbor “Unless you plan to pay for the baby, it’s none of your f-ing business” seems a tad drastic–I don’t want to start a war with the only people I’ve met here just because they don’t consider that question to be as rude as I consider it to be.
So where will we be in five years?  Not a clue.  But we like where we are now.  Just me, Tom, our weekly sushi date, and the basil plant we haven’t yet killed.

Traveling Timeline

A timeline of travel: where I’ve gone, where I’ve lived.

1983-2002: Grew up in southern Maine.  Took numerous camping trips in New England, vacations to Disney World and the Tampa Bay area, school field trips to Boston, and educational family vacations to Amish Country, Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and DC.  Those were fun!
February, 2001: Aruba
April, 2002: England and Scotland.  Specifically: London, Stratford, Edinburgh, and York.
August, 2002: Moved to DC for college
April 2003: Road trip!  DC to Worcester and back again, pit stops in Providence and elsewhere.
Fall 2004: Study Abroad!  Lived in Madrid, Spain.  Visited Toledo, Segovia, Granada, and Cordoba (Spain); Paris; Rome and Florence (Italy, clearly); Athens, Cape Sunion, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Patmos (Greece); and Ephesus and Istanbul (Turkey).  I was watching the Eiffel Tower when the clock struck midnight on my 21st birthday, standing next to some of my best friends.  That was AWESOME.
Fall 2005: Went to NYC for the first time.  Moved to Maryland, permanently, and finished college.
Spring-Fall 2006: Numerous trips to Florida and Maine for wedding stuff.  Trips to New York City to visit my friend K in Manhattan.
October 2006: weekends in West Virginia (wild and wonderful, the signs all say so).
December 2006: Honeymoon road trip!  Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; and Tampa, FL.  
February 2007: Pittsburgh, PA to visit Andrew.  Awesome, awesome city.
May 2007: West Virginia, New York City
June 2007: Chicaaaaaaaago with Tom and Andrew to visit Michelle.  So much fun, wow.
December 2007: moved temporarily to Portland, ME, an hour north of where I grew up.  Much to my shock and everyone else’s, I grew to love it like home, like I love York County, ME and Portsmouth, NH.  (5th generation Mainer, and don’t you forget it.)  Here my husband and I parted ways for the winter, as he went on to Hawaii while I helped my sister through the last bit of her pregnancy and then with her baby.
January 2008: Girls’ Weekend in Boston with My Ladies.
March 2008: Moved to the island of O’ahu in Hawaii, about 15-20 miles north of Honolulu
Upcoming trips: San Francisco and Sonoma and Napa Valleys, July 2008; Kauai, September 2008; Maui, November 2008; and very VERY tentatively, Australia in April 2009.  
Tom has his own list, I’ll let him post it.  What I want to know is, where have you been?  

Happy Belated Birthday, Tom!

Yesterday was Tom’s 28th birthday. Since I am a very good wife, I bought him exactly what he’s been hinting at since we moved to Hawaii: snorkeling gear for two!  We did a trial run at the turtle sanctuary near Hale’iwa on Friday afternoon.  There are some awesome striped and spotted fish, the likes of which I’ve only seen at the Tampa or Baltimore Aquariums.  Then Tom caught some movement in his peripheral vision, looked up…

…and was eight feet from a gigantic sea turtle trying to get dinner out from the rocks.  He called me over and we watched the turtle from a few feet away for a good five minutes before the turtle moved on.
There will be other snorkeling experiences, and probably at better beaches than this one, but this is one memory I will reach for when I’m thinking back on the wonderful moments of my life.

North Shore Memoir

Notes on the North Shore:

Feral cats EVERYWHERE.  Diseased and sickly, in the bushes, prowling around trees, eviscerated by cars on the road.  It’s disgusting.  Same with the roaches–size of my fist and flying EVERYWHERE.  Before I leave Hawaii, I will have a rodent run over my foot while at work, I know it.  And yet I wear sandals every day.
…But also, peacocks!  Those are fun to look at.
And shave ice is a wonderful thing as well.  It’s a buck for a giant cone, way better than any stupid snowcone or Italian ice, like a snowball in your favorite flavor.
There’s no radio reception after a certain point on Kamehamea Highway, about 10 minutes north of the Dole Plantation.  There was talk of putting a gigantic radio tower in Hale’iwa, but the “Keep the Country Country” crusade battles on.  I’d rather listen to a CD and maintain the pristine skyline.  
The surf is a little flat right now but the ocean is lovely.  I definitely need to invest in some filters to get the glare off my camera when I take pictures in the afternoon.
As dressy as you ever need to be: sundress and sandals.  Bra optional.
Eddie Would Tow, or Eddie Would Go.  Those are your options.