Jet lag has been melatonin'd away. Scarily tall grass has been cut. Piled up mail has been sorted to manageable proportions. It's time for a Maui vacation post-mortem.
First, and most importantly, I know that somewhere in the blogosphere there's a number of people—maybe as many as two or three, if I count relatives—who are deeply concerned about how Serena the Wonder Dog made it through eleven days at the Shaggy Dog Kennel in Dallas.
Oregon, not Texas. However, it still is about a half hour drive each way, since we live in Salem. We take Serena all the way to Shaggy Dog because it is the only kennel in the area that provides a pampered dog boarding program suitable for our Precious.
That adds two exercise times in the play yards to the two normal outings. But even that isn't enough for us. So Serena now gets to join the doggy day care guests via a Play and Stay option. The bill for her boarding is steadily edging toward what we paid for condo lodging on Napili Bay.
Serena comes back fluffy and pampered, though. Along with her cushiony pad, a folding kennel similar to what she sleeps in at home, plus leftover chew sticks (daily treat) and food packets so she doesn't have to adjust to an unfamiliar doggy diet.
When Laurel carries her "luggage" into Shaggy Dog, it's an impressive pampered pet sight.
And when Laurel heaved her suitcase onto the scale at the Kahului airport last Thursday, the digital readout also was an impressive sight: "49.5" That's a professional shopper/packer.
She barely scooted under the 50 pound limit, just as she did on our Portland to Maui flight. Which was quite an accomplishment, given how many newly bought t-shirts, capris, sweatshirts, and caps came back with her.
(Tip to shopaholics: take a lightweight checkable bag with you that can be filled with a bunch of heavy stuff on your return trip, allowing your main suitcase to stay under the 50 pound per bag limit).
Finding those clothes took a look of work, though. Well, I'd call it "work." Laurel, like most women, is strangely energized by shopping. The more tired and bored I get, the more enthusiastic she gets.
She shifts into what she calls her "shopper's walk" and leaves me shuffling along in her wake, like a male geisha who follows three steps behind (or more, depending on how many fused-glass earrings and Fresh Produce items I'd already watched Laurel fondle in that particular shopping expedition).
Her crowning achievement, if I can call it that (which I'd rather not), was taking most of our vacation to decide on a certain Fresh Produce blouse that was featured in an amazing number of different stores.
In each, Laurel would take the blouse off the rack; hold it up to herself in front of a mirror; look at the price tag; mutter something about how much she likes it, but isn't quite sure, since the price is pretty high, yet Fresh Produce quality is good, and it would probably go with some capris she bought earlier, though she'd need to check the colors, so she really needs to think about it some more.
Which she would. In the next store that carried the blouse. And the one after that. Until we got to Paia one day and Praise God! Laurel finally decided to buy the damn thing. I felt like we were already best friends, that blouse and me, I'd spent so much time with it.
Not as much time as I did with waves on Napili Bay, however. This year the boogie-boarding was far superior to 2006's large wave production—which basically was zilch.
The wave gods came through on our last day, when we had a few hours to spend on the beach in the morning before our 3:00 pm flight left. When we left our room, Laurel said, "Why are you taking your boogie board? There aren't any waves."
I told her, "You never know. The ocean is full of surprises." I was right. When the tide rose a bit the waves started coming straight in Napili Bay, right between the reefs. Paradise!
My greatest joy was showing a neophyte boogie-boarder, a guy from Michigan I think, how to catch a big wave. He struggled on his own for a while, then paddled over and said, "OK. What's the trick? Show me how you do it."
Admirable—a guy willing to ask directions. A man not after my own heart. I told him to stay close to me, as I'd tuned into where the bigger waves were breaking. When he caught one and rode it fifty yards or so all the way onto the beach he screamed (happily) the whole time.
Sweet. When he paddled back out he said "That was super cool!" Yeah, it is. My favorite activity on Maui.
Well, almost favorite. Along that line, Laurel was responsible for my greatest disappointment during our vacation. I was in our room, having just taken my afternoon between-beach-excursions nap, when she came in from a walk up Kapalua way.
"You missed her," she said. "Who her?" I asked.
"This beautiful woman who looked like a model. She was wearing a tiny bikini that showed her whole butt. She swayed and showed off as she strutted in the parking lot. Then she waved to a limousine and it pulled up beside her. The guy she was with was good-looking too [as if I was interested in that useless bit of information]. They're probably staying at the Ritz-Carlton."
And one last parting Laurel-shot. "It's too late to see her. They're gone."
Great. Just great. I don't know why Laurel does this. It isn't the first time. In fact, it seems that just about every time we visit Maui she throws something similar at me.
One year I was meditating in the morning. When I came out of the closet (literally), she said, "You missed her. A gorgeous girl down by the beach. In a little pink bikini. I could see from the deck. It was like a Playboy photo shoot. The guy she was with had her in all kinds of provocative poses."
Also once again, I thought Great. Just great. It was then that I decided I'd been meditating too long in the morning. And I put in a standing instruction with Laurel to disturb my spiritual uplift next time a worthy worldly distraction came into view.