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All Baby Birds Deserve Love!

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | March 18, 2022

My daughter’s preschool class was taking a field trip to the Honolulu Zoo, and I went along to help chaperone. It must have been preschool day or something; at least half a dozen other schools were there, too, and preschoolers were everywhere.

As our group was walking toward one of the exhibits, I spotted a baby bird on the pathway, where it was in imminent danger of being trampled by four-year-olds. Having recently learned that birds do not abandon their chicks for “smelling like a human,” and, in fact, few birds even have a good sense of smell, I gently picked it up and moved to it to a grassy patch under a tree on the side of the path. I would have left it alone were it not in immediate danger.

We had only moved to Hawaii a few months prior, and I was curious what sort of exotic-to-me tropical bird it might be, so as I was moving it, I had my daughter’s teacher take a picture. As the bird still only had downy feathers, I couldn’t really tell what it was.

I got home and emailed the picture to the local chapter of the Audubon Society and awaited a reply. In the meantime, I looked through a bird book. Maybe a young cattle egret? A peachick? It wasn’t long before I got a reply.

It was a rock pigeon — not even a tropical pigeon, but the grey pigeon you see in just about every city.

That was nowhere near as exciting as I’d hoped, but at least the bird didn’t get trampled.

Great! Now We’ll Have To Put Up More Signs For Customers To Ignore!

, , , , , | Legal | February 25, 2022

I was asked by my friend and his father to help them move across Waikiki from one apartment to the other. They had reserved a fifteen-foot truck but neither of them could drive — my friend doesn’t have a license and I believe his father was injured — so I was asked to be their driver. I wasn’t looking forward to navigating downtown Waikiki with a fifteen-foot-long rectangle, but I agreed under the promise of dinner.

We arrived at the local truck rental dealer and encountered an employee outside. He gladly showed us the truck we were renting and ushered us into the building to do the paperwork.

Midway through, this happened. 

Agent: “Oh, I don’t have the keys.”

Me: “Oh… maybe it’s in your dropbox?”

Agent: “No, I just got all the after-hours return keys. I bet the woman before you left them in the truck. I’ll be right back.”

The agent left and was gone for all of three minutes before he burst back through the front doors like a tornado, knocking over an innocent hand truck on display. 

Agent: *Grabbing the phone* “THE TRUCK IS GONE!”

All Three Of Us: “What?!”

Agent: “Someone stole the truck! She left the keys in it! Hello, police, please!”

We had to wait until the agent finished reporting the vehicle as stolen. We found out later that the previous renter DID, indeed, leave the keys in the vehicle, and a random passerby jumped into the truck and drove off while we were doing the paperwork. 

We ended up with a nine-foot-long van instead of a fifteen-foot truck because that was all they could offer us now that our intended vehicle was on a joyride across God’s creation. The agency waived a ton of the normal fees, discounted the base rental, and threw in that hand truck I mentioned earlier for free. 

I enjoyed the maneuverability of our cargo van, and navigating Waikiki’s congested and narrow streets was much easier with a “normal” vehicle; however, without the extra space, the move took eight trips back and forth across the city instead of the one we were hoping for.

It Takes A Village… Minus That Nurse

, , , , , , | Healthy | September 21, 2021

My husband and I had been trying for another baby for a few months when I finally got a positive pregnancy test. I called the OBGYN office and booked my first appointment, expecting it to be like the first appointments for my other two children where we previously lived: a physical exam, listening to the heartbeat on an in-office Doppler machine, addressing any concerns that might be revealed in the exam, and some counseling about healthy habits during pregnancy.

However, the appointment turned out to be just confirming the pregnancy, using the exact same sort of urine test you can buy in dollar stores (which I’d done at home). I wasn’t able to get an appointment to be seen for an exam until several weeks later, too late for any early genetic testing; it’s lucky I wasn’t planning to have those, given my family and personal history.

And for extra fun, when I gave the nurse my urine sample (in a paper towel-wrapped cup), she took it, stared at my two- and four-year-old, sighed, and asked with disdain, “If this comes back positive, are you keeping it?”

The office didn’t offer abortion services. Why would I have come if I were seeking that? If they had to ask about my plans for pregnancy, why do it so bluntly, and with the impression that three is too many kids for someone to have? It set the tone for all the rest of the pregnancy visits, wherein I was treated like a nuisance and a hassle. I was very happy to move in the eighth month of pregnancy and have my third child in a more welcoming environment — one which includes a few childfree-by-choice aunts and uncles who said I could have an extra child or two in their place.

Well, Hellooooo, Honolulu!

, , , , , , , | Working | June 22, 2021

I have been sent on business to Honolulu. I’m staying in a big hotel with multiple towers. After waiting in the outdoor atrium for my turn at the concierge, I get to the counter only to have the computer system go down. Ah, well, it happens. We wait patiently in the lovely Hawaiian weather, and when the system comes back, the concierge finds that the company has booked me into the business tower and, for once, instead of being on the second or third floor facing a parking lot, the concierge has upgraded me to be on the eighteenth floor, ocean view, for my patience in having waited as long as I have. Happiness!

Concierge: “Here’s your key, your pass to the workout room, and a map of the property. Just go down this path to the business tower.”

So, I go down the path to the business tower and up the elevator, put my key in the room door… and walk in on someone who clearly was not expecting anyone to be walking in on them given their state of clothing — or lack thereof!

Me: “Excuse me!” *Turning away* “Is this your room? They just booked it to me!”

Stranger: *Covering up* “Yes, this is my room. I’m booked in here for the week!”

Me: “Let me go back and find out what’s going on.”

I go back down to the concierge and ask what’s going on. From what I can gather, when the computers came back, they didn’t quite sync up completely with the occupancy database and she booked me into a room that the system thought was empty but apparently wasn’t. Ah, well.

But alas, there were no more similar rooms they could move me into, so I was back in the original booking: sixth floor, garden view.

And the air conditioner wasn’t working in the room.

I told this story to a friend who works in the hotel industry and he said that, given the way electronic keys work, it’s likely that when I opened the door, it canceled the previous occupant’s keys. The keycard gets paired with the lock when you put it into the lock and cancels any previous cards that might exist. That way, you can’t just keep your key and go back into the room after you’ve checked out. So, the guy probably had to talk to the concierge, too, about getting his key reprogrammed.

Thanks A Lot, Dad

, , , , , , , , | Related | November 26, 2020

I was laid off during the health crisis. I receive an offer for an even better-paying job, but it will take me out of the country and will take a long time to process my paperwork. As a result, I have to take another job to get me through the time period between the two positions.

The position I end up taking moves me from Michigan to Hawaii. The pay is substantially less than what I was making in Michigan but I figure that the experience working for the government is still very helpful for my career plans; plus, I get to live in a new place that few people get to experience.

While I know that living in Hawaii will come with its own unique drawbacks, the reality of the situation turns out to be worse than I anticipated. I’ve gone from having my own two-bedroom apartment to myself and putting thousands into my savings account every month to sharing a townhouse with two girls half my age who came to Hawaii to drink and party.

I am disappointed with the low pay rate offered by my subcontracting company. I manage to talk them up a little bit, but the rates they offer for mid- and senior-level positions are still unusually low for my field. I figure that not all contracts are created equal and maybe the government just isn’t paying them that much. Oh, how naively trusting I am. I talk about my pay rate with coworkers with fewer qualifications working lower roles and they ALL make more than me. It turns out that I have a really cheap staffing agency.

I still have plenty of savings, but I’m cutting costs to stay within my temporary budget because I’m trying to save my money. This also means that I am unable to return home for Thanksgiving.

All in all, I am really not liking life in Hawaii. I’m talking to my dad, griping about my life, and discussing holiday plans.

Me: “I’m going to splurge this week for Thanksgiving. Instead of my usual five-dollar frozen pizza, I’m going to splurge for a ten-dollar frozen pizza.”

Dad: “We’re going to be having yams, broccoli casserole, stuffing, prime rib… a pie…”

Me: “Well, Dad, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving and a hearty f**** you!”

My dad just laughed.