Tuesday, January 8, 2008

RANT: Driving in Hawaii is Driving Me Nuts

My good friend EP told me that it's a major milestone when you can complain about living in paradise.

One of my favorite quotes from Hey Shipwreck is, "When I get out of here I'm going to a training command, because it must be really nice to do absolutely NOTHING." I'm now going to modify that to, "When I get out of here I'm going to work for Hawaii Driver's Ed, because it must be really nice to do absolutely NOTHING."

WHY don't they understand the concept of NOT BLOCKING THE INTERSECTION here??? To make matters worse, the traffic lights are HORRIBLY timed, or just simply NOT timed AT ALL. People here MAKE the traffic worse than it has to be, because they keep blocking the intersections. If there ISN'T ROOM on the other side of the intersection for you, I DON'T CARE if your light is GREEN, then DON'T pull out into the intersection and block it!!! Am I being totally unreasonable in this expectation?

Of course, on those occasions when I get up to the intersection and realize there's no room on the other side, I stop to keep the intersection clear, and the people behind me get all pissed off and honk at me for not going.

Then there's the whole shaka thing that drives me nuts, too. It doesn't matter how egregious someone has been in cutting you off or making a right turn from the left lane right in front of you, they think that if they give you the "hang loose" hand sign, then that makes it all okay. "Aloha spirit" - thbbbbbbt! :-P

WARNING: Tangent Ahead

This all got me to thinking. I grew up as a Navy brat. Yes, yes, I know that the traditional or technically correct terms are "Army Brat" and "Navy Junior," but I also know I'm not the only one who thinks "Navy Junior" sounds really stupid and always preferred the term "Navy Brat."

There is such a large concentration of Navy bases and commands in San Diego that you really can homestead there. My mom loved San Diego and never wanted to leave, so my dad did a lot of cross-pier transfers from one ship to the next. We spent almost my entire time growing up in San Diego, except for four years up in Long Beach (a whole 2 hours north of San Diego).

It was always heart-braking to have childhood friends move away when they got orders to their next duty station. I remember asking my mom why they had to go off to far away places like Norfolk, and then why didn't they come back to San Diego after a while. My mom explained to me that there was a difference between "east coast" people and "west coast" people and that some families just preferred to live on the east coast. As I grew older, I learned the stereotype that west coast Navy people were much more laid back and easy going, and east coast Navy people were much more formal and even "stuffy" or "uptight." I always thought of myself as a west coast type of guy.

Well, when it came time for me to head off on my own Navy career, I knew I would be moving every couple of years, and I wanted to see what life was like in other parts of the country. The Navy sent me to Orlando for Nuclear Power School and then to Charleston for Prototype. I volunteered for a boat out of Groton for my JO tour, and the detailer was only oh-so-happy to oblige (I guess nobody else ASKED to go to Groton).

It turns out, I really loved living in New England. I love Mystic, CT. I love Boston. I love going up to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. I loved the changing seasons, especially the fall foliage and the snow in the winter. [Aside: I sun burn easily, and I kind of have an aversion to the sun in general. LW makes fun of me because I spend like an half-an-hour lathering up with sun-block lotion before we go out to the pool or the beach.] Then we got to go to Virginia, and we absolutely loved living there. My wife actually prefers VA over CT because the winters aren't as harsh and she doesn't have to shovel as much snow (because there is some strange universal law that it has to snow when I'm out to sea, so she's the one who has to shovel it all).

Now, as I find myself living in "paradise," complaining about the "aloha spirit," and wishing we were back in Virginia, I ask myself, "Self, have you become one of those stuffy formal "east coast" people?"

One thing's for sure though. My body has adjusted to the climate here. I normally have the thermostat in my car set at like 77 degrees. While my family was here visiting from Oregon, each time I got in the car after one of them had taken the car somewhere, I found myself shivering from the cold and looked down at the thermostat to see they had set it at like 65 degrees.

Oh, and when we picked up Nate to take him to dinner two nights ago, he did a double-take and commented on how tan we all are.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Shifting topics... I don't know if anyone noticed that I didn't report my WW results last week. You could easily have predicted my bathroom scale results based on the lack of exercise reported on my PT log and all the good food we ate over the holidays with family members visiting. I gained back 2.6 pounds over the holidays, but it could have been much worse. At least I'm still at an overall loss since I started WW, and now that I'm going back to work, I will get back into our Command PT routine and be able to plan what I eat and not graze so much on holiday goodies laying around the kitchen.

Week 6 Summary
Result this week: 2.6 pound gain (over two weeks)
Cumulative Result: 2.6 pound loss
Average Per Week: 0.4 pound loss per week

LW has made some really good dinners for us lately that were both healthy and delicious. One of my new favorites that she's made a few times is Baked Shrimp in Lemony Garlic Sauce. First ES decided he liked it on a previous run (he gave it the high praise of declaring it, "NUM NUM!"). Then, this time, YS shocked us by not only TRYING it (this was a monumental achievement just getting him to TRY something different), but also LIKING it and EATING MORE! It turns out this one is actually a WW recipe, and it's only 4 points per serving.

Another new one LW made that was a big hit was spaghetti with ground chicken meatballs from a Rachel Ray recipe. One would THINK given YS's addiction to chicken nuggets that it would have been relatively easy to make the "jump" to chicken meatballs. OMG the fuss he made! He refused to try it and pulled the "I don't like it" routine, to which we gave the standard, "You aren't allowed to say you don't like it until you've at least tried it" response. YS wanted a dinner roll, so LW resorted to Uncle Dave's tactic of putting the chicken meatball inside the bread like a sandwich. Will wonders never cease? He tried it and he LIKED IT. After that, he actually sat there and ate the rest of his meatballs without the bread.


One Crazy Adventure said...

Driving in Guam drove us nuts. We finally figured it out towards the end of our tour... the Guamanians were not required to take any sort of driving class or test in order to drive. Then once licenses were required, those who already were driving didn't need to be tested.

Island life is nice, but we figured out that we just did not know how to relax. Schedules need to be kept, things need to be done, etc. Fast pace is just ingrained in us.

MightyMom said...

you'd be amazed at the number of things I have "hidden" in my kids food.

Most recently is Mama's Sauce, which is pureed mixed vegies and broccli with seasonings. They absolutely love it...and if anyone ever tells Gator-boy it's made of veggies that person will have a VERY short life span!!

take it easy out there.....

C said...

So if you're so allergic to the sun, why did you never end up here in Washington, hmmm? ;) I tell DH most sunny days that I miss the clouds. I do not miss the eight or fewer hours of sunlight in the winter.

I remember riding in someone's car going from Pearl to downtown during rush hour. That pretty much told me that Boston drivers, while bad, at least MOVE. Yikes. (I still hate Mass-hole drivers, though.)

And here? Drivers DON'T GO when the light turns green. WTF. I don't remember that from growing up.

Sagey said...

Hey C, watch what you say about his LW! Born and raised in Boston and still a better driver than these dang Hawaiians! :-)
-The LW

blunoz said...

OCA - That explanation about driver exams in Guam is pretty funny. I agree WRT I need a schedule to keep. My wife and other family members make fun of how I plan vacations or trips.

MightyMom - Yeah, one of my favorite things my mom made when I was growing up was "goup" - usually like a meaty tomato sauce but she'd throw in peas and other stuff that I wouldn't have eaten otherwise. She didn't have to PUREE it though, I just learned to eat stuff mixed together (my wife can't STAND that). Oh, BTW - ES is 6 and YS turns 4 in two weeks.

C - Well, LW came to visit me for two port calls - one in Victoria, VC, and one in Bangor, and we really enjoyed both visits. I actually HAD orders to the HMJ for this tour, and we were looking forward to life in the PacNorWest. I was in sub school when they sent the ORDMOD sending me to MSP. That would be why my car is still sitting in my brother's garage in Portland, Oregon. I had already shipped the car to Oregon when the ORDMOD came through.

Oh, and I'm married to a "Mass-hole" driver by the way :-). I fear for my life when I get in the passenger seat and let her drive, so I normally drive everywhere we go. I could tell you a story or two, but LW would probably run me over with the car if I did.

blunoz said...

Yyyyyyeah, LW didn't like that comment so much... It was all in good humor, Sweetie! :-)

Sagey said...

I have officially turned in my keys. Let's see him get the kids to school and to all their activities. Obviously I am should not be allowed behind the wheel with his off-spring in the back seat!

Mary Alice said...

Found you through a comment at Just This Side of Normal.....saw you were in Hawaii. We spent 3 1/2 years stationed at Hickam...loved the Aloha spirit, loved that that at least people would shaka after merging in front of you...I thought geez, he doesn't like the traffic there, must be from Boston....than I saw your Boston comments. Well, I had to laugh. Everyone has something that feels "right" to them. We are both native Californians and I have to say I would pick driving the H-3 any day over driving in VA or with the Massholes!