A Slice of My Life – Kauai Edition

April 23, 2013

Last week, that week of utter craziness in Boston and Waco and unbelievable disappointment in our government, I was in Hawaii.  Kauai to be exact.  We heard the news about the bombings because a friend who came with us on our trip happened to be watching the news as she ran on the treadmill.  We were six hours behind the East coast and, it felt, a million miles away from all the bad things that were happening.  Kauai was actually a great place to be in a time of fear and uncertainty.  We didn’t have to shield our kids from the news because they were in the water from morning until evening.  And truthfully, whenever the tv was on, it was tuned to the Disney channel or Cartoon Network.  I relied on Facebook and the New York Times on my phone for updates and I felt utterly sick at times that I was sitting by the pool with a Mai Tai and watching my kids splash around while people were recuperating from unimaginable injuries in hospitals and others were imprisoned in their homes while a manhunt went on.  But what can I do?  I was on vacation, on an island in the middle of the Pacific, while some really bad shit went down in our country.  Does that mean I shouldn’t tell you about our trip?  I don’t think so.  So here we go.

This was our family’s fourth trip to Kauai.  Our first time Spencer had just turned a year and Graham was three.  I remember, viscerally, the stress of traveling that far with children that young.  My kids actually did great, I was the one who was a mess.  In general, I am not a high stress worrying kind of person.  But traveling across time zones on long flights with my children when they were young was hard for me.  It is so different now, at ages eight and six.  They pretty much entertained themselves, with the help of a combination of iPad, Leap Pad, and DVD players, and all the snacks that I don’t usually let them eat (think those white crackers with spreadable cheese), for the duration of the five hour flight.  We left Oakland early in the morning and arrived, thanks to a three hour time difference, around 9:30 in the morning.  That left us with a bonus day of sun and swimming.  Above is where I parked myself for the first three days of the trip.

If you have been to Kauai, you know the weather is not a sure bet.  Our first time there, we had six hours of sun in seven days.  (You should click on that link if for no other reason than to see my kids at ages two and four – impossibly cute if I do say so myself.)  After that trip, we decided it would be a good idea to tack on a couple of days in Poipu at the beginning of the trip.  Poipu (which the boys thought was the funniest word ever) is on the sunny side of the island and it is nice to know that, if nothing else, we will get a few days of sun.  The Sheraton has a terrific pool and the beach is just steps away.

The view from our room in Poipu, setting up for the luau.  We contemplated going but realized that there was almost nothing for the boys and me to eat (the vegetarians in the family), so we opted to just watch from our balcony.

The boys liked the pretty girls “shaking their booties”.  All righty then.

Several examples of island style.  My dress is from that cool boutique in Oakland.

It wasn’t all sun and swimming and fruity beverages.  After three days in Poipu, we headed north and west to Princeville.  We stopped on the way for lunch in Kapa’a at a restaurant where we have eaten before.  Randy ordered fish tacos as he usually does when he has the opportunity.  About five minutes after finishing his lunch, he got a really bad headache.  Then his face turned bright red.  I suggested we turn around and head for the hospital near the airport.  He told me that he wanted to press on and we’d see how he felt.  This is something that Randy sometimes does, he won’t admit that something is wrong until it is dire.  Is this a guy thing?  Not only would he not turn around but he insisted on driving.  As we got on the road, I saw a sign for an urgent care just out of Kapa’a and made him make the turn.  It turns out they have an ER, thankfully.  In just a few minutes after checking in, his whole body turned bright red.  In order not to scare the boys or have them tear up the waiting room, we went back into town to get shave ice, more on that treat later, and waited for the call to come get him.  It turns out that Randy got scromboid poisoning, something that can affect certain kinds of fish if they are not refrigerated properly.  The redness was basically one huge hive that covered him in a histamine response.  It is amazing what the body can do when faced with an invader.  After some IV benadryl, his color was back to normal and away we went.  Needless to say, I drove the rest of the way.  Later in the trip, Randy got a bad cold and was hit by a car while riding his bike.  Again we were lucky and he was all right.

Princeville.  The only downside to our time share is that is not on the beach, although the pool is terrific.  We are just a few miles from Hanalei Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and we are up the hill from a lovely St. Regis, where we have beach privileges.

Not too shabby.  We have to bring our own towels so we are recognized as the riff raff and we are NOT allowed in their pool.  We are allowed to order $15 cocktails however.

I’ve lived most of my life on the West Coast and right near the water.  The water has mostly been a Sound and is most recently a Bay.  Being in Hawaii and looking out on the Pacific Ocean is awe-inspiring.

I read three books.  Two are not really worth mentioning (all right, I read The Night Circus after hearing great things about it and all I thought was meh).  This one though.  Wow.  I’m kind of a fiction snob and was prepared not to like it or just to think of it as a beach read.  It was a beach read in that is has a great plot, but I also found it moving and very well written.  I half expected it to fall apart at the end as so many books that start well do (helllloooo Gone Girl), but the end was just as great as the rest.  Pick it up!

Every single day we had shave ice.  That is not a misprint.  In Hawaii it is shave (no “d”) ice and it is nothing like a sno-cone.  The ice truly is shaved from a huge block so it melts on the tongue like ice cream, and there is no crunching or pool of syrup left in your cup when you are done.  At first we got one for the boys to share (they are large) but Randy and kept dipping our spoons into it.  Then we got each of the boys their own but Randy and I kept dipping our spoons into it.  Finally, the boys each got their own and Randy and I got one to share.  Such good stuff.

Those rainy days I was telling you about.  It was still in the 70’s so it did not stop the boys from swimming.

Or me from drinking.

The annual boys in Aloha shirts in Randy’s arms photo.  (Here is the one from last time.)  I warned him that after poisoning, a bad cold, and a collision between his bike and a car that he did not need a hernia on top of everything.  Maybe next time the boys will pick him up.


  1. Glad y’all had a wonderful time, well except for the food poisoning! YUCK.
    Our very best friends live there in Kauai. he own a fishing charter company there. Good times

    Comment by leslie — April 24, 2013 @ 12:53 am

  2. Oh my goodness, such a treat to read this, and OH MY GOODNESS, to everything that happened to your poor husband! Hit by a car! What! Glad you are all okay and glad you got to take such a lovely vacation — fun to read it and remember some of the places we saw. : )

    Comment by Shanna — April 24, 2013 @ 3:32 am

  3. Wow, what a trip! I’m glad Randy made it home safe & sound. I hope to go to Hawaii later this year – I’ve never gone and it’s a place I’m dying to get to. I also love shave ice :) I also wanted to mention that I loved that book. The cover was gorgeous and the insides were pretty wonderful too (though I also liked Girl Gone!)

    Comment by kickpleat — April 24, 2013 @ 6:51 am

  4. What the heck??? I cannot believe Randy’s luck (or lack of) during this trip. Thank goodness he is okay. Let’s catch up soon …. miss ya!

    Comment by Denise — April 24, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

  5. I grew up going to Kauai – love Poipu. Your pictures bring back a lot of good memories. Sadly, Hawaii is much farther once you live on the East coast… I also loved Beautiful Ruins – such a well written book! And also did not love Gone Girl (I thought I was the only one! Glad I’m not!) Her second book, Dark Places, I thought was better. So glad Randy is ok!

    Comment by CarMar — April 24, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

  6. I too read “The Night Circus” after hearing wonderful things about it. I hated it!

    Comment by Darlene — April 24, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

  7. Wonderful! Love Kauai and so happy I am not the only one that was disappointed in Gone Girl! Glad Randy is okay, what a scary event!

    Comment by Eileen — April 24, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

  8. My gosh, Dana… I kept reading and hardly believing that on top of everything else Randy got hit by a car? WOW. You are all so lucky, just to think about it makes me shiver inside…

    As to driving on as if nothing is happening, it is a guy thing. Drives me nuts. Phil, the handyman, will sometimes be working in the garage and cross our home going to the bathroom – something seems wrong, I ask if all is ok. He admits to cutting a finger. Nothing serious. Yeah, nothing serious, except that the bathrooms looks like a crime scene… I swear, men are interesting creatures ;-)

    glad all is fine with you and family… great photos, by the way

    Comment by sallybr — April 24, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

  9. Such a gorgeous trip! I definitely wished I was at least a time zone away when all the craziness happened last week. So insane.

    I’m glad to hear you had such a fun time even with all of Randy’s bad luck! That is all so crazy!

    I loved Gone Girl for the first half and was definitely disappointed at what I thought was a kind of sell-out ending. Just wasn’t compelling enough.

    Comment by Joanne — April 24, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

  10. OMG! Never a dull moment on your vacation. The boys look so big in the picture with Randy. Maybe they will be picking him up next time. Thanks for the beautiful photos. A girl can dream.

    Comment by linda — April 24, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

  11. Wow, does HI look lovely! My husband and I are thinking of celebrating our 35th anniversary there next year! This makes me want to go!!
    And your poor husband! Omg. Glad he came out of all of those scrapes with minimal damage. Yikes.
    I am one of the ones who LOVED Night Circus :) Thought it was really different. Kind of like a grown up Harry Potter. I have Beautiful Ruins on my list of ‘must read’ books. I am bummed about Gone Girl, though, as our book club is reading that in June.
    I would love you to do a blog post about books! (Novels, cookbooks, memoirs, etc )
    Your boys are ADORABLE, by the way. Really adorable.

    Comment by AnnieM — April 25, 2013 @ 3:23 am

  12. Annie, I’ve thought about doing a book post. Glad to know people might be interested in that. Gone Girl is a great read, it goes super quickly. But, for me, it felt apart in the end. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it.

    Comment by dana — April 25, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

  13. What a nice trip! I love love Kauai, I’ve been twice but I just want to go back. I think Poipu is fantastic (and the name also made my husband and I giggle, so it’s not just your boys), and we had our best snorkeling there. The nice restaurant at the fancy hotel in Poipu next door to the Sheraton is good, and we also had great food and drinks at a farm-to-table restaurant just south of Lihue called 22 North. I’m happy that Kauai seems to be embracing fine dining, since everything grows there!
    I’m so glad your husband is okay after all that, and wanted to say that crazily enough my husband was also hit by a car on his bike last week and was fine also. He was just down the street from home, though, not across an ocean!

    Comment by aleah — April 28, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

  14. I really enjoyed your post – thanks for sharing. I love vacation!!

    Comment by Elli — April 30, 2013 @ 2:09 am

  15. Great to read about your trip! Glad you had fun, other than Randy’s bad luck, glad he is on the mend.

    Comment by Kirsten — April 30, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

  16. Looks like a beautiful place to visit, even with the rain. Poor Randy, I’m glad he survived the vacation! Seems like the rare times that I get a vacation bad stuff happens to me too, but nothing that bad!

    Comment by melinda ke — April 30, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

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