Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Well, we're back, but you know how it is. We're not really back until a round of household chores are done, a good hard day of work is completed, the pets recall your contributions to their existence and the memories of vacation altogether go dim. Back into the swing of things. Back to the routine. Hey, why am I a week behind schedule? And hey, what happened to all the money in my bank account?

Then you're back, and the year-end scramble continues. It was nice to come home to a house draped with Christmas lights and a Christmas tree, though I don't remember decorating the thing. The Little Ditchman woke up the next morning and was surprised and impressed to suddenly be in such a familiar place. We were all happy to be back. When you have a nice home as we do here in Oceanside, a journey to an exotic locale loses its allure. All the pining for ESCAPE! that I had in my youth is gone now, thank the Lord. It's been replaced by Contentment, and it's good to be home.

That's not to say that I don't long for some good old Rest and Relaxation, ho no! That's different. My sister, whose house we stayed at in Hawaii, was somewhat disappointed that we had little interest in leaving the cabana and venturing out to see the island. She didn't seem to grasp that we really just wanted to sit for a week, maybe stroll on the beach, have a few beers. We've seen enough of Oahu to know the place, but we've also seen enough action in suburban Oceanside to want to leave it all behind for a few. But, we're back now. Back in the middle of the Christmas season, back in the middle of a tough year-end workload, back in the middle of getting the accounting in order and beginning the tax filing. Mrs. Ditchman has been honorably dedicated to it all, and for her I am grateful.

It was a typical Ditchman family vacation. There was a lot of wind and rain, flight delays, everyone getting sick, the airline lost some luggage, then the viruses were exchanged and everyone got sick again. We saw a few neat things, however. The Pipeline Masters surfing competition was going on and we caught a day of that -pretty entertaining. Ran the Honolulu Marathon in the driving rain, which was a hoot, though I ran solo for the first time, missing my running buddies. Caught a local small-town Hawaiian Christmas Parade, which was unforgettable. All of these stories I could expound upon with some well-placed adjectives, verbs, and punctuation, making all the TMST readers out there swoon breathlessly and click over to www.hawaiianairlines.com to check ticket prices. And nothing was more enjoyable than watching the Little Ditchman play with her cousin, who is a few months her senior. That was worth the price of admission, the price paid in the lavatory, the amount spent on Zicam... And we did get one good day at the beach without any wind and rain.

On the last day, we put all the toys in the rental and journeyed to the leeward side of the island to famous Waikiki beach, where we pitched a towel on a patch of sand between Japanese tourists and sat. Shoulda done this all week, I thought to myself. It wasn't for a lack of trying. My sis lives a block from the beach on the windward side of the island and, well, it's winter if you hadn't noticed. It may be the tropics, but those clouds blow across the ocean for a thousand miles collecting fresh water to dump on the first land they hit. Hawaii isn't green cause it's warm and dry, folks.

But the Little Ditchman was smart. She sidled up to the ocean with her bucket and shovel, plopped right down, and did this for an hour:

She's the smartest one in the family.

And that's the way I'll remember the vacation. (You don't take pictures of the painful moments in life.) Sure, she'd been irritable to the point of exhaustion in the days previous -you would be too, if you were standing there in the rain with green snot running down your nose, diarrhea in your shorts, and you threw up on yourself in the minivan. Life comes at you waves. For every crest, there is a trough, and the deeper that trough, the higher that crest. God help those with no storms in life, as they know not the real joys of clear weather. There's more to life than waiting for the storm to pass, too, for when it finally does, you've got to pick up your bucket and shovel, walk down to the water, and get back to living.