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Thankful To Be Home From Hawaii

Well. During our Hawaii trip, the island experienced extreme downpours, flash floods, landslides, record large hail, lightning strikes, and high winds.  There was even a tornado on the other side of Oahu.  A water main broke in downtown Honolulu.  Snorkeling sites were closed due to waste water contamination.  Some open walkways connecting our hotel rooms to the convention facilities were often covered in ankle-deep water.  It rained almost all day, every day.  We were almost always damp and chilled.  We could have held the convention in Omaha, for all that we were able to enjoy the location.

The convention itself was fabulous.  I had to skip last year's convention, so there were folks I hadn't seen in a couple years.  Renewing friendships and professional connections made it worthwhile.  I'm excited about some opportunities that were put in front of me, and have some intense follow-up to do over the next couple of months.

We had a single mostly sunny day.  Fortunately it fell on the day I had no meetings to attend, so Dev, my father and I got up at 5:30 in the morn to catch the early bus to Pearl Harbor.  I'm glad we got there early, to be the day's first group to visit the USS Arizona Memorial.  From there, we went to the nearby USS Bowfin Submarine, nicknamed the Pearl Harbor Avenger because it entered service exactly one year after the Pearl Harbor attack.  Then we took the shuttle to Ford Island to tour the Battleship Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum.  It was incredibly moving to stand on the deck where the surrender was signed then, after taking a few steps, look down the battleship's bow to see the bright white Arizona memorial.

Touring military sites with my father is an intellectually intense experience.  Dad is retired Navy, an aviation buff, and reads nearly everything he can find on World War II.  He was in paradise, more so because his grandson wants to hear every story he's willing to tell.  Dad was even answering questions from other museum-goers when the tour guides didn't know the answers! 

For me, the highpoint came when Dad walked into the Pacific Aviation Museum's Hanger 79 (which still has bullet-riddled window panes) and spotted the Sea King--the helicopter he crewed while in the service.  Best of all, it was one of the exhibits open for exploration.  He spent nearly an hour talking us through the equipment, his duties, and his memories.  That's a once-in-a-lifetime for all three of us.

My father turns 70 next month.  He walked Dev and I into the dirt that day, and had energy to spare.  Dev fell asleep on the ride home.  I thought my legs were going to fall off.  Dad suggested we walk a couple blocks from the hotel--in the rain--to reach a Thai restaurant for dinner.  I begged for mercy, and we ended up having overpriced sandwiches at the hotel instead.

Then it rained some more, then Dev spent the next day in bed with a fever, then Dev felt better around midnight, then it kept raining, then we boarded the first of three flights to get us home. 

And then we had an unexpected surprise.  Y'see, Dev had pre-ordered Mass Effect 3--the collector's edition--months ago, knowing its release date fell during our time in Hawaii.  The day before we left, we went to the store to pay off the balance and ensure the game would be held until we got home.  He couldn't find the receipt, the store had his order down as a standard game, and there was no collector's edition to be found anywhere.  Dev was hugely disappointed, but still asked to pick up the game on the way home from the airport.  And lo!  A single collector's edition had been shipped to the store, without reason or explanation, and the manager had held it for him.  Talk about a happy kid!

Now it's time to get back in the swing of work and school schedules.  At least the coming week's weather in Indiana looks better than last week's in Hawaii!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
Welcome home! I'm so sorry about the weather while you were there.

How cool was it that you were able to tour the Sea King with your dad =D

The Collector's edition has some really cool extra content. So glad for Dev.
Mar. 13th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
That tour with my father is something I'll always remember.

Mar. 12th, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
So very glad about the excellent Pearl Harbor day!
Mar. 13th, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
Me, too! I've started writing down my dad's stories. His parents, uncles, and siblings have all passed away, so he is the sole source of family history--as well as stories of his own life.

And I realized there will come a day when Dev brings his own children (or his cousins' children) to Pearl Harbor, and relate to them the stories his grandfather told.
Mar. 13th, 2012 04:13 pm (UTC)
My father has some of that tendency-- he was a submarine officer who grew up on the Victory at Sea documentaries (and his father was in a bit of the WWII pacific campaign.) I think he's always a little disappointed that neither my brother nor I are vastly interested in submarine history.

Sounds like it was an awesome day!
Mar. 16th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
Yes, the fact I cannot fly a small plane without puking always bummed out my father. It's why Dev's interest in flying and history makes him absolutely gleeful.

My dad *loves* Victory at Sea. ;-)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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