Sunday Afternoon 10/22/2017

The view to the south from the Hanalei overlook

YaYu was not selected as a Questbridge finalist. After an initial bit of disappointment, by evening she was actually feeling somewhat relieved that she had not been chosen. While she would have welcomed the prestige that came with being named a finalist, all of us would have been scrambling to get things off to all her ranked schools in the coming 11 days, and even with that she knew there was almost zero chance for her to receive a match scholarship to one of those schools (there were over 15,600 Questbridge applicants this year; approximately 5,700 were chosen as finalists, and somewhere less than 800 will receive a match scholarship.). YaYu is planning to apply early decision to the top school on her list (application due November 15), then regular decision to several others that waive the application fee – those applications won’t be due until January 15. The toughest part of the application – the essay – is finished, so it will just be a matter of filling out the rest of the online application. Her “safe” school is the University of Hawaii, and she said she will be happy to go there if she’s not accepted at one of the other schools ahead of it on her list.

It’s been a busy week here at Casa Aloha. Brett and I had our lunch date in Hanalei on Tuesday, and on Wednesday and Thursday we did our monthly Big Shop.  YaYu has been as busy as ever with all her activities, and we’ve been doing extra cleaning around the house this past week. Our landlord is coming over this coming Thursday to do a “walk-through” before we sign a lease for next year. We’re not sure what that “walk-through” entails, or what he’s going to be looking for or at, if anything. We keep the house clean and well-maintained (well, the girls’ room is usually a dump), but we’ve been going over things carefully in the past few days to make sure everything is as perfect as can be. Our landlord’s been very hands off up to now and he gets his rent on time every month, so we’re also not sure why he wants to check on things now other than we had a plumbing issue last month and the problem with the oven the month before, so maybe he just wants to make sure we’re not trashing the place or something.

While last weekend’s humidity was brutal, we’ve had lots of lovely cool, breezy weather this week, and a couple of days have been downright blustery. It’s rained every night too, which means we haven’t had to turn on the sprinklers, and the dust has been tamped down (a bit). Everything is greening up again and looking fresh. Fall is here!

Yesterday YaYu ran her last HS cross country race, and she and other senior runners got were given lei and gifts afterwards Most of hers are candy lei, but she also received a couple of beautiful handmade maile lei as well (so fragrant!). The brown paper bag contains ramen – they know her so well!

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: Because I was so busy this past week I got very little reading done, even at night. The second Inspector Rebus book, Hide and Seek, came off of hold though, so I’m going to have to step up my game to get them both it and Lilli de Jong done in time.
  • Listening to: We’re having a lovely day here so far: sunny but cool-ish and with a nice breeze. LOTS of people are out working in their yards, so we can hear plenty of weed trimmers and an a lawn mower. The roosters seem to be enjoying the weather as well. We sorted all our laundry last night and Brett got up early and started the washing machine, so we’ve also got that to listen to as well!
  • Watching: We didn’t watch a whole lot of TV this past week, but the past couple of nights we’ve started watching Travels With My Father, on Netflix, and are enjoying it immensely.
  • Cooking/baking: Costco had Kirkland semi-sweet chocolate chips in stock again (yeah! – they are so much better than the Nestle ones), so we bought a bag this past week and I’m going to make and freeze chocolate chip cookie dough for Brett and YaYu. We’ll be having the Shakshuka and couscous tonight that we missed having last week (although no couscous for me).
  • Happy I accomplished last week: I cleaned all the window blinds last week, a BIG chore because of all the dust we get here, and because the windows are big. Because our house is secluded enough, we’re keeping all the blinds raised to hopefully keep them from accumulating more dust for a while because I’m sick and tired of trying to keep them clean. I also got started on shoveling out the girls’ room with YaYu’s help. I don’t think either she or WenYu throws anything away, ever. Brett also washed off the outside of the house – another big chore. We got the college girls’ Halloween candy boxed up and sent off (and I didn’t sneak any!), and we put away a bag to give to YaYu. Brett and I walked for three miles on the beach path every day except for Wednesday, but after shopping at Costco and working in the girls’ room for a while I felt too tired to do much of anything that evening. I drank at least 64 ounces of water a day this week, and did my language study every day.
  • Looking forward to this week: There will be a big surprise in the blog tomorrow! Otherwise there’s nothing special on our calendars. I can’t say I’m looking forward to the walk-through with the landlord, although I’m very glad he’s feeling better and recovering.

    Whale season is starting!

  • Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and I had a wonderful time on our lunch date up in Hanalei this past week. For the first time since we’ve been here, it didn’t rain while I was there! YaYu ran a terrific cross country race yesterday, her last as a high school harrier. After the meet she and other seniors were showered with lei and gifts from other teammates (team tradition). I was so excited to find a pair of shoes I wanted for our upcoming travels (gray slip-ons) and they were both in my size and on sale! The freezer has been working fine all week, so apparently the humidity was affecting the outlet. And the whales are back – a few have been spotted off of Maui, which means it won’t be long before we can see them here!
  • Grateful for: There’s nothing in particular today, but I’m feeling very blessed for our entire family’s good health, that we don’t have to worry about having enough to eat, that two of our girls are attending the college of their choice and that YaYu still has many opportunities awaiting her.
  • Bonus question: What’s the scariest story you’ve ever heard? Last Monday, the wind was very strong during Brett’s and my walk down by the beach. It was at our back the first half of the walk, but on the way back to the car it was blowing very hard against us. Brett said at one point, “Well, now you know what it feels like up on the deck of an aircraft carrier during flight ops!” We started talking about his navy days, and I told him that nothing in my life had scared me as much as some of the things he told me he did up on the flight deck. For example, running up to jets that had just caught and released the arresting cable and were still rolling, sending hand signals to the pilot, and then climbing up on the jet while it was still hot to get into the cockpit and start pulling gear for maintenance. Or, being blown down the flight deck on his back by hot jet blast, and only avoiding being blown overboard because he was able to grab one of the padeyes on the deck. Or, standing on the edge of the deck leaning backwards as far as he could go without falling over. BRETT!! It got to the point I told him I did not want to hear any more stories, that when I thought about him out at sea the only images I wanted in my mind were the opening scenes in Top Gun, where everything on the flight deck looks very controlled and smooth and safe (which the flight deck is not – there’s a reason it’s often referred to as “controlled chaos,” and people who work the flight deck get hazardous duty pay). The opening credits and scenes in the video above (action starts at 1:00) are still the best example I know though of what Brett did for a living for 22 years. The separations when he deployed were miserable, but he loved his job, and was very, very good at it.

That’s all for this week! How was your week? What did you accomplish? What are you cooking today? What good things happened for you?

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16 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 10/22/2017

    • Laura says:

      Brett was stuck between two worlds – he hated deployments and being away from home, but loved working on the flight deck and being with “the guys” (women didn’t deploy back then).

      Brett’s not in the film, but he knew several of the guys who were. There’s a squadron flight deck coordinator (Brett’s next-to-the-last job in the navy) though with the same body language as Brett. He appears 3 or 4 times, and my heart skips a beat when I see him. He moved from that job to squadron maintenance coordinator, which was thankfully below deck. After years of sleeping below all those planes taking off and landing on the deck, Brett can sleep through anything.

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  1. Zoey says:

    Hi Laura, don’t worry to much about landlord visit, some like to visit when about to renew just so they can see inside without feeling like intruding. They want to know all is ok. Our LL visited after 2 years, they specifically don’t like to intrude. He was quite happy (blown away) of how clean/neat and decorated the place was. 🙂 and they are not raising our rent – I hope the same for you.
    We watched Travels with my Father – hilarious. The young man has comedy special on Netflix coming 10/24. He was on Graham Norton show this past Saturday although didn’t get much air time. In the time he did have, he is quite quick witted.
    Best wishes.

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks for your reassurances – we need them! We’re pretty sure he’s not kicking us out, or getting ready to because it’s a bit too late for that. Still we will be ready with an even cleaner house than usual.

      We have become entranced with Winston, the doll, and love the father’s apparent devotion to it.

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  2. Laurel says:

    Wow…that’s quite a job Brett had. I can see why it’s frightening for you to listen to. Also, I need to watch Top Gun again. 🙂

    Sounds like YaYu has a great attitude and will do well wherever she ends up. No surprise, given what you’ve shared about her.

    We washed windows a couple weeks ago…what a job! We can see through them so much better now!

    I’ll be interested in what you think of Lilli de Jong. I really liked it.

    And I’m happy we got almost everything packed and we’re each in one small carry-on. But here is one place we may not get to see in Florence. Sad, freaky story: http://abcnews.go.com/International/tourist-reportedly-killed-famous-italian-church-piece-ceiling/story?id=50588489

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    • Laura says:

      Accidents happened up on the flight deck more often than I liked to think. Below deck too – Brett has said there was a fire somewhere onboard almost daily (they were put out quickly, thank goodness). Working on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier is supposedly the second most dangerous job in the world (putting out oil rig fires is the first). The navy is fanatic about safety though – there is training nearly every day, and people know what to do.

      We’re super proud of YaYu. She is so scared no one will accept her, but we believe she will do just fine and will be happy no matter where she goes.

      We have done our windows as well. I washed the insides this past week, and Brett did the exterior when he washed the house this past week. We’ll hire a professional crew though whenever we do move out of here.

      HAVE A WONDERFUL TRIP!!!! Can’t wait to hear all about it when you’re back!

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  3. Isabella says:

    I’m sure that all will work out well for YaYu. It was worth the try! The scariest story was one my husband told me early in our marriage. We were just 21 and 23 with 2 little kids (first of our four). He had a job at the highway dept. at that time before going back to college. He was walking a plank about 30 feet in the air, and another man was coming the other way. Now, the experienced ones actually knew how to pass one another in situations like this, but Hubby was not experienced! He felt himself falling backward, and the other fellow just grabbed his shirt front and saved him! I still tremble when I think of that story.

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    • Laura says:

      OK, your story is a very scary one too! I think young guys sort of think they’re invincible at times (i.e. leaning back out over the water on the side of the ship), but things come up that they’re not prepared for. Thank goodness the experienced worker was there and knew exactly what to do! I worried about Brett, but I worried more about the other guys he worked with doing something stupid and harming Brett in the process.

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  4. Libby says:

    I’m sorry that YaYu wasn’t selected to be a finalist. All that prep work should make the other applications that much easier. Love her team gifts 🙂

    Wow is all I can say about Brett’s aircraft carrier stories!

    I’m reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Interesting and thought provoking but a little too much like “lessons that are good for me.”

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    • Laura says:

      We were sorry too, for her, but believe that things will work out. The best thing is that the essay is done. The one for Questbridge is too long though for the Common App, so she let me (shock!) edit it and cut it back to fit. We’re going to get her Early Decision app off next week, and then she can take her time a bit on the other ones.

      I’ve never read that Mitch Albom book, but I’ve heard both positive and negative reviews of it over the years, and for exactly the reason you’ve given.

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    • Laura says:

      Hanalei was beautiful last week. It looked for a while like we would get rain, but it never showed up (thank goodness). There were too many tourists though for my taste.

      YaYa is going to do great things. She’s a fighter, doesn’t give up, and has a lot to offer the world.

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks, Chris! We’re so proud of all of our girls. They’re so different from each other, and have different goals and outlooks, but all are achievers, and get along and support each other. We feel so blessed to have been able to parent them – lucky us!

      YaYu spent some time a few weeks ago going over the U of Hawai’i website, and liked what she saw. They have a very good Asian languages department, and YaYu is considering continuing on with Mandarin, so she thought it would be a good fit for her. Plus, she said she’s love living in Honolulu as a change from Kaua’i.

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  5. JJ says:

    Sorry to hear YaYu wasn’t selected, but there are plenty of other options and scholarships out there for someone like her who is very active in school and gets excellent grades. My nephew is a freshman in college now and I know the whole process is stressful and aggravating for them (and their parents!) but it all worked out in the end and he loves the college he is going to. I’m sure the same will happen for her. I’ve been to the U of Hawaii campus and it’s very nice and if she did go there, at least you’d have one of your kids not too far away!

    An old friend of mine was in the navy from 1992-2012. He was stationed on the Nimitz for a time, but not on the flight deck. I remember him saying how it was a floating city and the noise from the planes taking off and landing was something that took him a long time to get used to.

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    • Laura says:

      What you said about scholarships and options are what we’ve been telling her all along, and she seems to be in a pretty good spot about moving forward. I am frankly SO GLAD this is the last time we have to go through this though. Our son’s getting into college was easy, but things had changed so dramatically by the time we got to Meiling and WenYu’s turn at it, and both of those times were very stressful. So, I will be glad when this whole thing is over!

      The older carriers used to carry about 5,000 sailors; the newer ones are bigger and have over 6,000 on board now. Both men and women work the flight deck these days – when I saw pictures of women up there directing planes, hauling tie-down chains, fueling jets, and doing other maintenance, it made my heart sing – it’s about time! The noise is incredible no matter where you are on the ship. Brett always wore ear protection and a helmet, but his hearing was still damaged from working around (extremely noisy) jet aircraft all those years.

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