The Lactose Latitude

Earlier this week my husband’s maternal grandfather lost his battle to Alzheimer’s. Yesterday we made our way across three states to the beautiful state of Utah.


We visited with his parents and his grandmother late last night and they seem to be doing well. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow morning. 

I have never been to a non-Catholic wake or funeral so I feel a little uncomfortable. Not because I don’t want to be here or at a non-Catholic wake but because when someone passes it is always a difficult situation. I am unfamiliar with the customs and traditions of my husband’s family. But we are here for them. 

We have offered to take care of lunch in the only way we can in the form of cheap pizzas. My mother in law cooked for 60 people yesterday so I hope this alleviates a little stress for the family. 

Speaking of which, a visit to the grocery store in search of nongreasy and semi-healthy food was extremely necessary. Now I’ve been eating a near-vegan diet for a couple of weeks with a couple of meat-eating days, here and there. But I’ve really felt the painful and at times, nauseating difference for the past two days. One, for indulging in Mexican food for a graduation party and two, for a grease filled day on the road yesterday. My body is not recovering like it used to. Dietary rules have gone out the window during travel and just for the overall gratitude that his family is feeding us. 

My husband’s grandfather was always kind to me, both he and his wife wholly embracing me and my family. While he will be missed by his large and extended family, his battle was a long and suffering. We will pray for him. 

Our view from our hotel room

Passing through Nevada 


UPDATE: The eight pizzas were scarfed down by 3 dozen people, including a dozen kids! Our greeting from the kids (all of whom I had never met before) when we pulled up was, “PIZZAS!” I lol’d.

The Father’s Day Alternative

Today is a bittersweet day for my children. When my husband R is home, we celebrate. Movies, McDonalds, ice cream. When my husband R is not home, which is more often than not, we move about slowly, numbly. We avoid parks where dads and kids are walking hand in hand. We avoid stores where the word DAD is plastered all over every aisle.

World’s best dad is the world’s best husband. World’s best dad has obligations. World’s best dad lives three timezones away.

As I sit at the table watching the kids eat breakfast (I know, I should put this iPad away but we won’t be home for a while), the kids avoid eye contact with the elephant in the middle of the room. Daddy is not here.

My own father died when A was a year old. He was retired, taking a few months here and there to travel out to wherever we were stationed to help me raise the kids, keep the house together, and just play with his only grandchildren. He died suddenly several days after flying back home to California. I think he knew his time was almost up. I think he wanted to spend this time with his grandchildren.

You know that Friends episode where Rachel is teaching Joey how to sail a boat and all of a sudden she explodes? She says, “Wow. I spent so much time trying not to grow up to be my mom that I turned into my dad.”

Yup, that would be me too. I embrace the good qualities and really try my ass off to avoid the bad ones. But today isn’t about me.

It is about these three sitting in front of me now, teasing each other, asking about what we are going to do today. Each thinking about Daddy in their minds.

Yesterday I suggested we go to the movies, something Daddy would have done for them if he were here.

Our son M exploded. “We can’t celebrate without Daddy!”

I put that topic to rest.

So our day remains unplanned. I will take the queues from the kids like I do so well after years of practice.

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Father’s Day 2010. R was still in a wheelchair. We spent every weekend at the VA Palo Alto. Happy Father’s Day!

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Is it so wrong?

Like my middle child, A, I’ve always been a bit headstrong. I’ve always known what I wanted and rarely quit until I got it.

College. Grad school. Marriage. Family.

Check. Check. Check. Check.

I didn’t even change my last name to R’s to the dismay of others in our families.

That’s right. I kept my own damn last name.

How did R feel? Like any other spouse should. He didn’t care so long as the kids had his last name. In case you’re wondering, the kids’ MIDDLE names are MY LAST NAME.

I recently read a friend’s status on Facebook where she was frustrated because she was on the phone, spelling her last name, and the saleswoman asked if she could just call her Mrs. [Husband’s Last Name]. I commented that she shouldn’t worry for I was changing the world one classroom at a time. Students curious about my kids’ names would wonder why our last names were different to which I’d reply, “Oh no, honey. You don’t have to change your name when you get married. It isn’t THE LAW.”

Somtimes R would come home, telling me what some of his friends say to their wives. Nothing horrendous, mind you. Comments ranged from sexist to slightly rude.

He’d always end with, “What would you do if I ever said that to you?”

My answers varied. “You know better than to say that to me.” “I’d leave your ass.” “You’d better have a new Coach purse in your hand.”

Once he asked me, “Would you really leave me?”

I replied, “Yes.”

He was shocked. “Really?”

“Actually,” I said. “I’ve only considered leaving you three times.”

“WHAT?!”

I raised my hands as if surrendering. “Wait,” I said. “Only every time I was pregnant and didn’t know. It was the hormones!”

That sent him in shellshock, of course. I can’t remember when we actually had this conversation but I’m remembering it tonight.

Tonight is one of those nights where I feel a little off. Maybe it’s hunger and my body is sadly accepting that I’m taking in less calories. Maybe it’s because I skipped my mid-afternoon nap. After all, aren’t the hours from 2 pm to 4 pm strictly for siesta, for stay-at-home-moms-waiting-for-sub-jobs in particular? No?

I remember this wonderful blog called “They Call Me Dependent” written by a military spouse who is examines her identity in the military world of being SOMEONE’S dependent. She is sarcastic, hilarious, and if I could remember the exact address, I would put up the link.

But alas. I’m tired. Too tired to read. I’m lazy. Too lazy to Google the phrase “They Call Me Dependent” even though I just typed the phrase not once but twice. You can Google it later.

Tonight I am wishing I could be DEPENDENT for once in my life. I wish I didn’t have a geobachelor husband and that we actually lived in the same house, for consecutive days at a time. I’m not even asking for months or years. Weeks would be nice.

I wish I could be dependent and ask him pitifully to hold me until I went to sleep and if he could please ignore my drool if it ran onto his arm.

I wish I could be dependent and ask him for his opinion on what we should read to the kids for a bedtime story or what we should have for dinner tomorrow.

I wish I could be dependent and ask him if he wanted me to turn off the light because I can’t put this vampire novel down but I could definitely go downstairs and finish the chapter if the light was too bright.

I wish I had the option of being dependent for once.

If R were laying next to me, reading over my shoulder which he never does but it’s cute to picture it right now, he would ask if I wanted some cheese with this whine.

Then I’d punch him. And tell him that I wasn’t tired yet so could he please talk about history or black holes or something equally boring?

Yes, the option of being dependent would be quite nice right about now.

***EDIT***
I have been notified by several fabulous readers that the website address is They Call Me Dependent. Thank you! Rock on!

Today’s agenda

5:30 am / Wake up. Don’t know why. Sun peeking out from blinds. Not sure since oldest son kicked me out of bed so he could sleep next to Daddy. Not complaining. Both snore and/or elbow me. Go back to sleep.

6:00 am / Wake up again. Put last load of husband’s laundry into dryer. Go back to sleep.

6:02 am / Can’t sleep. Let dogs out. Empty dishwasher. Load dishwasher. Various chores until husband wakes up.

Blur of hair ties, finding socks, pouring cereal until 7:40 am. Son decided last night to miss school in order to bring Daddy to airport. Daughter wanted to go to school but realizes she would not be able to walk home with brother. Abruptly changes mind.

8:05 am / Slowing down at Starbucks. Hates spending $$$ on dessert at Starbucks especially for the tablespoons of sugar they call “Cake Pops” but eh. Don’t dare say NO today. Probably not until Sunday. Sunday is when I put foot down. Don’t tell the kids. Son reads excerpts of the Do-It-Yourself Diary of a Wimpy Kid book he filled out by himself to Husband. Every fourth word is POOP. That’s nice.

8:40 am / Go to drive thru of, according to Husband, the best Mexican restaurant at a gas station. Order Heaven in a styrofoam box, also known as chilequilas which is in essence, a nacho omlette and OMG. It’s good.

8:42 am / Leave drive through. Kids try to give their order. WHAT?! Promises to buy Mexican food after dropping Daddy off at airport.

9:40 am / Goodbyes at airport. No tears. Not yet.

10:15 am / Kids are hungry but Rubios not open. Mom has kids do homework, read, and/or watch educational video until restaurant opens.

12:00 noon / Lunch at Rubios. Cookies from cookie shop next door.

1:00 pm / Resume educational work at home. Play with dogs. Allowed to watch a few shows when done with all homework. Eat dinner later and wait for friend to pick up kids. Eat last of emergency chocolate at 2:00 pm.

6:00 pm / Back to School night at kids’ school. Both teachers are amazing and understanding. Look forward to assisting teachers any way I can this year. Help with PTA Membership/Clothing Table.

8:30 pm / Pick up kids who just got out of the pool. Kids are starving. Make kids bathe/shower quickly. Warm up leftover BBQ that Daddy made the other day.

9:00 pm / Whining begins. Already way past bedtime. Already burned off dinner. Already got a text saying Husband landed safely.

9:15 pm / Tuck kids in bed. Listen to son cry and say, “I want Daddy to tuck me in!” over and over. Try to cheer him up but know it will fail. “Why can’t Daddy live here?” Usually a very logical kid but he cannot think right now. Only feel. Promise to check on him soon.

9:20 pm / Tuck girls in bed. No complaints. Yet. I give it two days.

9:21 pm / Stomach cramping. Probably should not be making homemade chicken nachos, using chicken from Husband’s BBQ.

9:45 pm / Remembering peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I didn’t eat still in pantry. Mentally creating To-Do List for tomorrow.

10:00 pm / Still remembering peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I didn’t eat still in pantry. Mentally erasing To-Do List for tomorrow. Everything can wait, except for the kitty litter duty. Ew. Definitely will have to do that one tomorrow.

10:05 pm / Still remembering peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I didn’t eat still in pantry.

10:10 pm / Still remembering peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I didn’t eat still in pantry.

10:15 pm / Still remembering peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I didn’t eat still in pantry.

10:16 pm / Disgusted watching a local news clip about an owner who wanted to put down his beautiful 12 year old chocolate lab… and there was nothing wrong with the dog! WHAAAAAAAT?! Shelter decided NOT to put down the dog and is going to put him up for adoption. Stop. I’m not going to adopt the dog. Can’t say I didn’t think about it though.

It is going to be a long weekend and it isn’t even Friday yet. So many friends have checked in with me and shown their support. Will need support next week to help me kick the sugar-habit, hint hint.

Will check up on son tonight. Will head upstairs soon to put as much space as possible between me and that damn cookie.

Good night.