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Love Notes

No "mads" in Maui

When my daughter Annie asked if I wanted to spend the first week of December with her visiting Iceland, I did not exactly warm up to the idea. No offense to Iceland.  I hear it’s a fascinating and beautiful country. Nevertheless, if someone wants to escape Sandpoint any time during the winter, Iceland is probably not likely to land on the short list of choices.

So, that idea fell by the wayside, and I figured she’d given up her plans to set off on yet one more adventure before 2009 ended. At the rate she’s going, by the time Annie reaches my tender age of 62, her bucket list of “things to do before I die” could turn pretty short itself.

After climbing Mt. Rainier in 2008 and visiting Boston and Hawaii, Annie’s itinerary this year has included a week in Ireland, a climb up Mt. St. Helens with her dad, a visit to New Mexico, a business trip to Salt Lake City and hundreds of miles spent traversing the Northwest. In May, she ran her first-ever marathon in Vancouver, B.C., and later accompanied us to Chicago for a family reunion.

If at first, you don’t... Well, a little later, Annie contacted me once again with a travel plan. This time she succeeded in convincing me to accompany her on a trip. Indeed, Maui sounded a whole lot better than Iceland, and, at the time, travel packages were relatively inexpensive. I still came up with excuses, like “too close to Christmas,” “spending all that money,” “January or February would be better, etc.” But prices would never be better, and Annie had to use those vacation days before the year ended.

I also recalled my painful regret earlier this year of wanting so much to go with her to Ireland. Unfortunately, my sense of responsibility overruled my desire, and I’d been kicking myself ever since. Sometimes we’re just too responsible for our own good, I later reasoned. 

Soon, I was saying “Yes, I can.” Soon, I was hurrying to get Christmas “to dos” completed early. Soon, I was arranging for Jennifer down the road to check on dogs and horses each day while I was gone. My friend Cis promised to keep in touch with my mom each day during that week while Bill and Willie would do chores. Soon, I was flying to Seattle and later spending that first night attending Annie’s Groundspeak, Inc. company party. After a few hours of sleep, Annie and I were sitting side by side on a long flight to Maui. 

Before going, we had made one promise to each other. I had requested that if we went on this trip, there would be no “mads.”  “Mads” occasionally happen when Annie and I spend a few days together, especially traveling. Annie quickly agreed, adding, “Well, if you’re on your good behavior, Mom, we’ll have no problems.” 

That was reassuring.

Besides behaving, I also took on another responsibility, and that was to take no responsibility. Early into the trip, after failing to bring my warm clothes for the drive to the frigid zone atop a 10,000-ft. volcano (even though I had a good excuse), I cautioned Annie not to think her mother had turned into an imbecile permanently. 

“I’m so responsible all the time that on this trip I’m absolving myself of having to think, plan, decide or do anything besides coming along for the ride,” I explained. “When I go back home, I won’t have such a luxury.” Annie, the consummate planner, seemed quite all right with that. After all, we would be several thousand miles away from anyone who knew us.

Or, so it seemed.

Turns out my cousins from Washington state had arranged a similar vacation to Maui, the same week. Before leaving, we learned of their plans on Facebook, where we learn most everything these days. So, there was the very real danger for Annie of Mom looking stupid in front of cousins, but my daughter still didn’t seem too concerned. What we didn’t know was that we would also run into people from Sandpoint halfway through the trip.

This all happened when I was still trying to maintain my good behavior the day we went snorkeling at Molokini with my cousins. Prior to that four-hour boat trip, accented by whale tails, bobbing sea turtles and friendly dolphin escorts, my aptitude for snorkeling had pretty much matched my ability to ride a wave. I had experienced my introduction to both activities along some of the magnificent Maui beaches. 

Never before had I swum in the ocean. That was obvious the very first day in Kihei when several giant waves spanked me worse than my parents ever did. For further punishment, they sometimes swept me off my feet, putting my body into full spin cycle before dumping me in the sand. 

Later we tried snorkeling. I had not yet mastered riding waves when Annie tried to rig up my snorkel, seeming perfectly content that the mouthpiece to the tube providing all-important air almost reached my mouth but not quite.

“Not quite” didn’t seem right to me, even in my temporary imbecilic state of mind. So, I told her to go on out to the water, and I’d take care of the snorkel. Finally figuring I had it in place, I said a “Hail Mary” and headed for the water. Well, those nasty waves would not stop harassing me, once again sending me every which way but loose. Invariably, the snorkel would fall out of my mouth, salt water came pouring down my throat and my swimming suit threatened to pull a Janet Jackson on me.

“This is supposed to be fun????” I thought. When the waves and that saltwater weren’t pestering me, mounds of sharp coral suddenly jutting up out of nowhere in the churning, sand-filled water kept me floundering in a constant escape mode. 

Still, I kept remembering “good behavior.” 

So, I maintained a heroic (for me anyway) demeanor for Annie (a veteran of two Hawaii trips who was loving every minute) and pretended a lot. At Molokini my snorkel/swimming experience turned out much better. I actually could concentrate on viewing those colorful fish and began to think I might even get the hang of this. 

About half an hour into the experience, however, my stomach suddenly announced, “Get to the boat. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200... just get to the boat.” An instant tinge of nausea was the motivator. I learned later that several other first-time snorkelers had experienced similar discomforts, some worse than others. In my case, the temporary gastrointestinal misery subsided once I reached the deck. 

The crew had warned us earlier that we’d be hungry. For a person who rarely eats lunch, it was all of 9 am by the time I’d gobbled down that cheeseburger and chips at a record pace. Never has food tasted so good.

Later, while walking across the deck, I satisfied my curiosity about two tall, slender women standing side by side. 

“Are you twins?” I asked. 

 “No, but we’re sisters and we get asked that a lot,” one said. 

“Did we hear you say you were from Sandpoint?” a gentleman in their group asked. 

“Yes,” I said.

“So are we,” one sister said. Turns out Gail and her friend Cameron had moved to Sandpoint a year ago. Of course, the “small world” conversation took off, and I worked really hard to be on my best behavior.

That behavior continued throughout the week as Annie and I drove the magical island in our rented Chrysler convertible. We snapped pictures of beach after beach, of gorgeous landscapes and of stunning sunsets. We sampled more cheeseburgers in Paradise aka La Haina, hiked in a bamboo forest, visited historical features, tasted our first ice shaves (now the rage of Hawaii, thanks to Obama family visits), ate fresh bananas and the “world’s greatest banana bread” from roadside stands. I think my sister Laurie’s is much better, by the way.

We enjoyed our spacious condo at Kamaole Sands Resort in spite of ants dining on any food left on the counter. We strolled through outdoor Hawaiian-style Christmas craft shows and observed how the upper half of the other half vacations in posh oceanside hotels. For me, Maui provided a week of delightful sensory overload.

I’m glad my daughter talked me into leaving behind responsibility and ice-cold North Idaho temperatures for a week. I returned fully refreshed and much more enthusiastic about tackling Christmas craziness. 

When Annie dropped me off at Sea-Tac Airport for my flight to Spokane, I gave her a hug and said, “Thank you for everything, and we didn’t have one “mad” the whole week.”

“Well, you know what I said about ‘good behavior,’” she quipped.

Maybe if I’m really good I can go back to Hawaii some day. For now, as we trudge on through the inevitable and long North Idaho winter, I’m still enjoying a fresh supply of sunny, warm reflections of Maui, which make it all more bearable. Plus, if I feel a hankering for some shave ice, I think I can find the ingredients pretty easily.

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Author info

Marianne Love Marianne Love is a freelance writer and former English teacher who enjoys telling the stories of her community. She has authored several books, the latest of which is "Lessons With Love."

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