Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Going out Swinging

I refuse to just lay down and die, acknowleding the end of our Okinawa tour. Therefore, we jammed as many favorites as we could into the weekend and even checked out a park we'd never visited. Saturday included one Chinese furniture sale, one gift corner opening and a pottery sale as well as a trip to Starbucks (okay, that's not exclusively Japanese but we went to Coffee Casa on Friday) and a dismal amount of purchasing. An aside to all the furniture vendors: can you not see that I am trying with all my might to buy something? Why do you bring me nothing worth buying? We, of course, did all those things with Lisa & Nathan and used their van as our means of transportation. Let me tell you, Jeff looks right at home behind the wheel of a Town Ace.
Saturday evening we had dinner out with four other couples while one (very brave and talented) sitter watched all our kids. To break it down for you, there was exactly one adult for a 4-year old, a 2-year old, 2 16-month olds and a one year old. And we had her feed them. She earned every penny, we loved our kid-free, early dinner and we were back in time to hang out and watch the kids play.

We set Sunday aside for "one last" trip to Pizza in the Sky, the butterfly garden and the aquarium. I think it was our third or fourth "last" trip to go up there to eat (although this one really was the last...I think) and it didn't disappoint. This time we packed all five of us into the Carina (she has re-earned her real name since (1) she's sold and (2) her hubcaps all match again) and started at the butterfly garden. We were just sure the boys would love our plan. We were wrong. Nathan started saying "go home" before we were out Gate 2 and Wyatt pretty much freaked out the first time the butterflies started swirling around him, going all rigid and shaky in my arms, the kind of behavior that immediately precedes a full meltdown, though he did manage to calm down enough that we didn't have to bolt. He enjoyed them from a distance, especially the ones on Daddy's legs. Yep, I'm kind of laughing at him. Who's afraid of butterflies?!

The butterflies came a distant second in Wyatt's book, with the stream running through the greenhouse and grounds earning that coveted first place. We probably should've seen it coming since as soon as we got off the expressway in Nago, Wyatt started pointing at the ocean, squirming and grunting to get out of his seat. I swear, if you want to make my kid happy, just put him in front of some sort of water.

Jeff finally caved and let him touch the water running through the concrete stream.

What? You don't like butterflies? Okay, sweetie, just smile for the camera.

It was a perfect day for Pizza in the Sky, as if it was supposed to be how we remember that place. The ladies remembered us and, as always, wanted to hold Wyatt who, as always, loudly protested. He had a lot of fun while we were waiting for our table - so many rocks to pick up, so many shisas to hug, so many Japanese people to smile at - but was less thrilled to be strapped into his seat for lunch. He wanted nothing to do with the PB&J we packed for him until his creative father tore off chunks and fed it to him using chopsticks. I swear, sometimes I think I should get a paying gig and let Jeff be the stay at home parent.

After stuffing ourselves with the best pizza on island, we made a last minute decision to forego the aquarium and try the Neo park instead. While we have the aquarium pretty much memorized (ride down the escaramps, admire the flowers, take in the view of Ie, turn right to the dolphin, turtle and manatee pools, go inside to the fish tanks, turning deeper and deeper, past the dangerous aquatic life of Okinawa to the life in the mangroves display then make a hard left to see the whale sharks from up high, sidetrack to the shark area, go lower and lower until that massive tank is directly in front of you, above you, then out past the giant squid, the cold water life and through the gift shop), we've never visited the Neo park and I'd heard there were monkeys. Loose. That would climb on you. And for whatever reason, that interests me.

Despite Wyatt having fallen asleep in the car and Nathan being darn close, clutching his nana and perfecting his 10 mile stare, we plunked them into their strollers and headed in. First impression: it smells like a zoo. After taking ten steps past the admission desk and passing through one set of doors we knew why: birds. Everywhere. And where there are birds, there is poop. But still, I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the part where both boys were awake and interested in their surroundings, but not wanting out of the strollers. According to the map, this first area is called Flamingo Lake. It should probably be called Poop Loop or For God's Sake, We Should Provide a Shoe and Stroller Wheel Wash Station area, but it was cool and there were monkeys. Strangely, most of the monkeys were in two cages but a quick glance skyward also showed four monkeys in a tree and there was one monkey loose and having a snack. And after I got that close, I was really okay that they didn't want to climb on me.

We were grossed out by the muck all over our stroller wheels and were just discussing how we would be leaving our shoes in the trunk for the ride home when Nathan dropped nana on the ground. Yuck. The double yuck? Before Lisa could register what'd happened, she'd rolled over it with said muck-covered wheels. Annnnnd that was the end of nana.

We forged on, through the "Amazon Jangle" and the Giant Tortoise Farm (where you can pay Y200 for some carrot sticks to feed the goats, llamas and shetland ponies but for free can wonder "what's that noise?" and realize it's two giant tortoises going at it in the tortoise love motel at the back), past the "Afurican Savanna" and the Oceanian Flora and Fauna until we reached the Research Center for International Species Conservation. That, my friends, is a very fancy title for a row of bird cages around a pond with monkeys on an island in the middle. But really, it was very enjoyable.

By then it was 4:30 and neither child had really napped. We loaded everyone back into the car, strollers in the trunk, nana in the stroller, and headed home. Nathan was still saying "go home" (he'd interjected his refrain into our conversation approximately every 25 minutes since we'd started the day's journey) but now alternated it with "nananananananananananana" because he kind of has to have that to go to sleep. Lisa tried explaining that nana was yucky, nana had poop on it, nana was in the trunk but he wouldn't take no for an answer. So Jeff offered up his spare shirt, a nice green collared number from Banana Republic, claiming it was his nana and he'd be willing to share it. Surprisingly that didn't work either. So we alternated between ignoring the sound emanating from Nathan and singing "na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye", neither of which he found pleasing. Go figure!

Luckily, if you drive about 110 on the expressway, you can make it home in no time. Sadly, I didn't get to hear the chime of my car telling me I'm going too fast - have to leave something for the next time.


The Blake Family said...

Sounds like a fun-filled weekend...'twas a wonderful dinner! I must get that picture from you. Can't believe your going away is Friday. boohoo.

Lisa said...

My cheeks hurt from laughing so hard.

Nana said...

You wouldnt be laughing if you had gotten rolled through bird poop. And not like the normal white stuff but it was....uh....thick.