Inebriation & Preparedness Are Good Bedfellows
A Much-Needed Getaway
We recently went to Kauai. We are back now, which is why I am finally able to publish a new blog, since being on a trip with a 5-year-old and 2-year-old requires that I forfeit my laptop for:
- Moshi’s SleepyPaws for Brennan
- Superman II for Asher
- Peppa Pig for both of them (because we are apparently suddenly British)
- Miraculous LadyBug and Cat Noir for Brennan
- Willy Wonka for Asher, and
- regularly checking Kauaian weather for me. This last one because the island usually cannot make up its mind whether it wants to indulge us with pleasant solar rays, or suddenly shower down angry hellfire rain that leaves divots in my cranium
Travelling to Kauai is not for the faint of heart. They are part of the Safe Travels program, so we were required to undergo a video Covid test, fill out 367 forms, prove we were vaccinated, surrender our will to live, hop down, turn around, and pick a bale of cotton. It is truly an ordeal getting on the island in the age of the coronavirus. But we finally did.
It started well, as vacations usually do, with good intentions and everything organized. I am now laughing while I type that last part, because the minute my foot lands on airport pavement, I lose all semblance of confidence and feel like a five-year-old anytime someone in authority speaks to me. This is because I apparently scream "weapons-grade stupid" and am supposedly carrying luggage full of bombs, carry-ons full of bombs, and personal items full of bombs, along with bombs disguised as adorable children whom I have trained to not act like bombs so that we can accomplish our mission. Which involves bombs.
The only thing of real concern to airport security screeners was my mobile recording studio which contains wires and electronics and cables and things that tick, which apparently causes security personnel to find me interesting. Yes, I did bring my studio, even though I was going on vacation. I needed to bring it for any necessary pickups that may arise from previous jobs, which did of course arise because voiceover karma ensures that everyone needs everything the very minute I go away.
At any rate, the first thing that signaled that our trip would be challenging was when the shuttle driver tried to murder us. I am not kidding. Generally you do not see such behavior exhibited by someone you have tipped. Turns out they were backing up right towards myself and my 2-year-old bomb, er, son, because another shuttle driver was backing up towards them, because another shuttle driver was backing up towards them in order to steal a shuttle. Once again, I am not kidding. Someone actually stole a shuttle and smashed their way through the departure tunnel, swiping other cars on their escape. Look for them on World’s Dumbest Criminals. Thankfully, my wife, myself, and our two explosive-laden sons survived, as we are all card-carrying members of the We Will Not Be Run Over By Shuttles club.
The second thing was that we conveniently forgot to take our kids’ car seats with us from the van. Car seats are critical in order to prevent our small bombs from bouncing around our car. That mistake behind us, it would require a simple call to Payless Car Rentals, nice people who do not ever answer their phones. We would deal with that later. For now, it was time to fly.
The third thing was that no matter where I looked, countless people were wearing their masks below their nose. I do not understand this because I was informed that I am able to breathe, and thus inhale viruses, through my mouth and my nose. It escaped me why people would think they were protected doing so. At many points I felt like walking up to some of them and asking politely, “Excuse me, but, as an outsider, what is your perspective on intelligence?”
Anyway, we were fortunate enough to bypass the long lines with TSA Pre-check, which means we shaved a valuable fifteen seconds off our wait. Let me tell you, with two small bom- children, that is no small amount of time. When Asher wants to watch Superman, he can get crabby. So it was no surprise then that we lost our children’s iPad at the security checkpoint, which is understandable given that the airport gods were furious at us for not getting run over and were still seeking to direct their Loki mischief toward us. We could do nothing but file a lost and found claim, which costs a convenient $34.99 along with not a hint of any kind of guarantee of finding it. This is to ensure that we are out even more money. So, since I am apparently made of money, I paid it, marked it as "lost" in the Find My app, and filed all of this away in the “Soon To Be Drowned Out By Mai Tai's” column.
Finally, we boarded. All settled into our plane, we were squared away to soar into the clouds towards Kauai. Twice.
The Boomerang Express
You know how boomerangs are designed to return once thrown? We took the Boomerang Express out of Seattle. We were forty-five minutes into our flight and had just crossed out over the Pacific Ocean. Brennan was staring out the window enthralled. Asher was watching General Zod, Non and Ursa beat up on a newly-restored Kal-El who apparently discovered that he can use a Skate-King glow-stick to regain his powers.
The Captain came over the intercom and announced, “Folks, we’ve had an instrument light illuminate, and it appears to be an issue with our stabilizer. After conversations with maintenance, and out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to return to the airport and construct our own airplane out of unicorn horns and fairy dust while purple gnomes bring us sparkly Smurfs to snack on as we all sing kumbayah. They taste like barbecued squirrel: they’re really quite yummy!” At least, that is what I heard at the end because I had become paralyzed by fear at “issue with our stabilizer.”
After collectively agreeing that the word stabilizer sounded important, and that it most likely had something to do with keeping our airplane stable, we concurred that returning to the airport for tasty Smurfs would all be in our best interest. The Captain also informed us that Hawaii had decided to remain where it was for our second attempt, as I made my popcorn and nervously stared out the window expecting to see Various Important Plane Parts like this one randomly fall away from the plane right before we exploded. It was eerily quiet on our return descent, as people played Bejeweled on silent mode while praying for protection to whatever God they suddenly adopted.
Even scarier? A host of emergency vehicles met us on the ground. This is what they do when an airplane decides to land with both wings missing. My confidence in our trip reached an unflappable apex at this point.
So we returned, and our five-year-old was now livid, which is not what anyone wants. Apparently all Brennan wanted to do was to see the fire jugglers NOW, and most certainly did NOT want to wait for Group B’s turn to board a SECOND time. Though I assured him that it was far better than being in Group Double-Y, Brennan was not pleased at all, and made that frowny face that tells me that A) I have utterly failed as a father and should be licked to death by kittens, and B) the alphabet doesn't go that far, you moron. It was at that point that I returned to my unicorns and tasty Smurfs. I find mentally checking out during conflict efficient and convenient.
All told, we deplaned, replaned, and were finally heading out to Hawaii one hour later: my wife, Asher, and Brennan, who was now armed with box cutters and they inform us he should be back with us in 15 to 20.
Upon arrival in Kauai only three short weeks later, we were relieved to discover that the Payless Car Rental staff were in fact all still alive, and that the reason that they did not answer their phones was only because they do not care about other humans. We joyfully received the news that they did in fact have car seats available to rent at a bargain daily price equivalent to the gross domestic product of Kuwait, and sent us off to our sedan, which I had not paid for and needed to be swapped out with an SUV which I did pay for. We drove the one hour north to Princeville, and finally arrived at our resort at 10pm Hawaii time, which is 1am our normal time, which is why both our boys hung limply forward in their car seats bowing humbly to the god of narcolepsy.
Our kids actually did great through this chaotic day of travel. I count my lucky stars that we did not get run over or crashed, and I did not get beat up from asking confrontational mask questions. I parked the car and was soon fast asleep like my boys. My wife woke me up because sleeping in the car makes my back ache, and she needed help bringing the kids upstairs to our room and can I please start being part of the family.
Our National Lampoon's vacation progressing nicely, I was more than primed for a Mai Tai. It was then that I discovered that Kalypso's in Hanalei no longer serves lobster quesadillas, which was one of my primary reasons for returning to Kauai.
Hanalei is dead to me now.
I Will Not I Will Not I Will NOT bring my Mobile Studio
Crustacean-laden Mexican delicacies notwithstanding, I proceeded to look up the definition of notwithstanding. Apparently it means peanut butter in ancient hieroglyphics, which are drawings by drunken natives who dwelt in caves that echo, which brings me to my next point concerning voiceover recording technology.
I had resolutely decided that I would not bring my mobile studio with me to Kauai, as I needed the vacation. But like many voiceover artists, I do have one in case of emergency. I brought it, and while on vacation:
- I booked $7k worth of work willing to wait for me until I returned
- I recorded several pickups for an existing client
- I recorded two quick jobs that could not wait until my return
- I managed to document all of this because I wear my mask over my nose, meaning no offense to incorrect mask wearers, notwithstanding vis a vis ergo e pluribus unum concordantly optimus prime.
I would not have been able to do any of that had I left my kit at home, nor if I had been constantly imbibing Mai Tai’s, which are a delectable Hawaiian cocktail made of rum, Curaçao liqueur, orgeat syrup, lime juice, and voiceover artist chloroform. Truly, they and Blue Hawaii’s are Kryptonite to any voice talent seeking to be efficient while on vacation. You cannot enjoy them simultaneously. I discovered this when I had two Mai Tai’s and one Blue Hawaii at a luau, and attempted to speak intelligently. I learned the single most important lesson about drinks at luau's: stay away from drinks at luau's.
In the end, I allocated only a small amount of time away from my family in order to attend to my clients’ needs, and I was able to get back to learning quadrisyllabic words and judging below-nose mask wearers.
How does the story end, you ask? Well, they caught the shuttle thief. Our airplane stayed in the air. The car rental place had car seats for us after all. Lost and Found reported they had our iPad and would be shipping it to us for the price of a small mortgage. I got my work done. I even had a Mai Tai or two or fifty, but you would do the same if Murphy’s Law came after you too.
Ultimately, it was good to get away! And it was so necessary: I really am a workaholic. I love what I do, but I love my family too, and we needed to take a break together after the dumpster fire train wreck that is commonly referred to as 2020. We did a train ride, church, a luau, drinking, Spouting Horn, beaches, lots of pool time, drinking, a river cruise, drinking, shopping, shave ice, and of course, McDonald’s, since we have two small bombs. Er, children. Who also climbed trees and chased peacocks. There may also have been drinking.
Bless you, Vacation. Bless you. And bless you, Mai Tai’s. Until we meet again. We had a beautiful, wonderful time, and I got to watch my kids play on the sand and jump the waves…go careening into the pool…be enthralled by fire jugglers…feed the donkeys. I got to bond with my wife. I got to wake up late. My heart is full, and I am very grateful.
Now back to work!
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Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Artist for hire