We had a great time in Maui, and I am soooo tired. We had to save every penny to pay for everything, so I really missed you all in Cleveland. I hope you all get together next yr! Our airfare was a gift from a relative who works for an airline and we were very, very lucky to get it. We rented a condo (online), a much better deal than a hotel, even the cheapest hotel. The condo was very nice and had two bedrooms and a hide-a-bed couch in the LR. That's where difficult child slept. husband let difficult child bring his PS2. Grrr. He also let him bring an Airsoft gun (double grr, especially since it went through security with-o my knowledge and it looks just like a real gun, except the orange cap, of course). difficult child showed it to me when I was searching his luggage for his eye drops. He was angry and panicky, and when he gets like that, I know something's up. He said he'd only show me if I promised not to get mad at husband. (Don't you hate it when the kids say stuff like that?) Anyway, he did very well on the flights (all 3 of them) there and back(6 total. Boy, am I good at math, or what?). The only time he was really bratty was when we drove to Haleakala to see the sunrise at 4 a.m. He refused to get out of the car. He refused to wear a jacket. (34 degrees) I was torn between staying with-him in the car and missing the sunrise we'd driven an hr to see (not to mention traveling 15 hrs b4 that), and catching up with-husband and easy child. I caught up with-them and we saw the sun rise (sort of like a Martian sunrise--beautiful and creepy, with-clouds and lava, lots of cliffs and ledges). Afterward, we went out to breakfast at a restaurant that had a fabulous view, and difficult child told me he was afraid of heights. Say what? We had a trip planned to drive the road to Hana--an all day affair, 2 hrs there, beach time, then 2 hrs back--and I thought, what are we going to do about difficult child? husband and I decided to give difficult child 1/2 a Xanax and tell him it was for motion sickness. It worked! Trouble was, everyone was stressed out, because there are dozens of hairpin turns on the edges of cliffs--most with-guardrails--and I was driving. If I had been a passenger, I would have taken a whole container of Xanax, LOL! It was a stressful drive up, but not bad on the way down, because we knew where we were going. We ate grilled chicken at a roadside stand (it was actually someone's back yard) and tried to buy as many gifts and as much food as possible that way throughout the trip, because the economy is so bad. I read somewhere that Hawaii is the 5th worst state in regard to the economy. Made it great for traveling, though. The people are so nice! The culture and climate are so different, difficult child and easy child found it hard to believe we were in the US. The weather was hot and sunny the entire time. The beaches were great (we swam at about 1/2 doz beaches, incl the beach at Hana, although the Black Sand Beach was too rough and scary so we just went in and out of the caves, and husband and difficult child skipped rocks, no easy feat with-waves like that!). One day, difficult child and I dived into the waves on the beach for about 2 hrs, great fun (the waves are about 3X bigger than VA Beach). We got a little unnerved when we both took a tumble in one of the big waves and got stuck in the undertow, thinking "this is it, just write my obit," but after a 5 min. break we were back at it again. difficult child, easy child and I went on a 2-hr horseback ride. It was absolutely gorgeous. Poor difficult child got the smallest horse. He wanted a wild Arabian steed, LOL! We got to gallop twice. easy child's saddle fell off and she was very scared. Luckily, she remembered to rein in and the horse stopped b4 easy child hit the ground. I was wondering why her hair was flying sideways off the saddle while we were running ... Her horse was gorgeous, with-a long mane, and her name was Blondie. I think the guide chose the horse to match easy child so their manes would match, LOL! The guides briefed us b4 we left ... stuff like, when your horse stumbles (on the edge of a cliff?) hold on to the reins but don't yank. Most of the time, they can get up again. I wasn't sure if that was a joke or not ... ) We ate lots of Mexican food and lots of fish tacos. And I had a few cute little umbrella drinks, to make up for what I missed in Cleveland. I got my fill of art galleries, too. We went to a traditional luau and ate and ate and ate. The luau told the history--in song--of the Polynesian people and the islands, incl. the way the clothing changed when the missionaries showed up. Very odd to see long red and white skirts and blouses, 18th and 19th c clothing during a hula! The narrator was a middle aged Hawaiian with-a great speaking voice, who was also a drummer, and the story was segmented so that ea time a historical change happened, it incl a costume change. Most of the time, the outfits were grass skirts, etc. difficult child did NOT think it was appropriate for the women to wear coconut shells on their boobs, LOL! The women were drop-dead gorgeous and the guys were gorgeous, too. difficult child was embarrassed that they had bare b&tts and just wore long loin cloths and headgear. I think it was very educational. easy child and husband took a catamaran snorkeling trip and saw lots of sea turtles and fabulous sea life. I skipped that, as well as the helicopter ride, and stayed at the condo with-difficult child, since he's afraid of heights and I get motion sickness. I had to force difficult child to leave the condo and get off the stupid PS2 one day. (I think that's when easy child and husband were snorkeling.) I had no real plans except to get a shave ice, and he kept bugging me ... "Why? I don't want one." "You've never had one. You don't even know what they are." "Yes I do. They're snowcones." "No, they're better." "I don't want to go." Sigh. When he finally got one, it was HUGE and he got 2 colors. After that, he was hooked. Getting him to try something new is like pulling teeth. But then he always loves it. He even admitted to one of the sales clerks that the long flight from VA was worth it. And he actually wanted a floral Hawaiian shirt, after steadfastly refusing to wear one for 12 yrs straight. (He ended up with-a conservative blue-on-blue that he could wear at home.) easy child got her nails done on the last day, while difficult child, husband and I walked on a nature path that wound around all the nice hotels. I have GOT to win the lottery. Guests on the beach on pure white towels, getting massages. Drinks on the beach, delivered by barefoot waiters and waitresses wearing leis. Phenomenal artwork and sculptures on the lobby walls. But the beaches are ALL public. Anyone can go to any beach, even in front of the hotels. Great idea. We all missed the kitties and the dog, but difficult child missed them the most. He is so happy to be home in his familiar surroundings.