Warning- Stop reading Mom! I know you read everything I write, but do not read this story. (She has major bug phobia).
So tonight two of my good friends came over to help me around the house to to help me prepare for my new couch which arrives in the morning. The three of us love Mexican food and we planned on ordering Mexican food for dinner.
I opened the food ordering app because I prefer to order my food online. Because I hate talking to people on the phone that much.
I do not see our normal go-to restaurant listed. So we decided to try a new Mexican restaurant. I quickly google the name and I learn that it is a restaurant that specializes in authentic cuisine from the Oaxaca region in Southern Mexico. I said we should be adventurous. The worst thing that could happen was that the food wouldn’t be good and we would have to get food from somewhere else. We decided to give it a try.
I look at the menu and made a comment about the fact that they had cow tongue.
One of my friends decided on a grasshopper burrito. The description seemed palatable and it said there was a choice of meat. My friend wanted chicken.
My other friend decided she wanted to order the same thing. I looked the menu over and became overwhelmed so I ordered chicken tacos and an order of chips, guacamole and salsa.
When the food arrived, we were starving and ready to eat. I pull out the two burritos. My daughter said she wanted one and I said that they belonged to our friends. I gave my daughter some guacamole and chips and one of my chicken tacos. We all dig in and we talk about how good the food was.
Everything was great.
Then one of my friends jumps and says that her burrito actually has grasshoppers in it because one just fell out. My other friend was about five bites into her grasshopper burrito and she stops eating. I was eating chicken tacos but I lose my appetite in solidarity. The only one who continues to eat without being phased is my daughter. “Grasshopper Burrito” wasn’t just a cute name.
We contemplated what to do. Do we call the restaurant and try to get something else? My friends felt bad because I put the whole order on my card. I assured them that this was such a good story that it was worth every penny.
Seriously, I have been bummed lately. I haven’t laughed this hard in a very long time. This might have been the hardest I laughed since before Bryon got sick.
My friends decided to just order a pizza instead. With no meat. And orange soda. Sunkist. Though the person on the phone called it Outcast soda. Hey ya!
The burritos went into the trash. My friend brought the trash outside which was good because I was having images of the grasshoppers coming back to life in my house.
My poor friend got the creepy crawlies.
You can’t really tell by the picture but in person, you could totally see the grasshopper legs.
A quick google search does reveal that grasshoppers are actually part of the diet in Mexico’s Oaxaca region. They are called Chapulines. So this cuisine is authentic.
Bryon spent the last two and a half weeks of his life in New York City. I had him moved from our regional medical center because he needed better care. It was two of the most optimistic and the most scariest weeks of my life. I was optimistic because he had a world class medical team caring for him. I was scared because he was still very sick and I knew that even if he survived, the road to recovery was going to be complicated.
I don’t usually think about my time in New York. I mean, it ended with Bryon dying.
Yesterday I was reading about how one of my blogging friends spent her birthday in NYC. She spent part of her day in Washington Heights, which was the part of NYC where Bryon’s hospital was located.
It dawned on me that I can’t ignore New York City forever. Someday I will have to return. I may want to take my daughter to see the Rockettes or take her to the Natural History Museum. Or the Bronx Zoo. Or maybe I would go with my Spanish teacher friend to find an Argentinian restaurant. Or to see The Bangles with Kimmy Gibbler and my Latin Teacher friend the next time they go on tour. It would be ridiculous to avoid a whole city for the rest of my life because of what happened. I will probably just avoid Washington Heights.
My daughter’s Godmother came down with her (now) fiance and got hotel rooms in the Times Square area. She was telling me all about the city as we drove downtown. I am a small town girl from Maine after all. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was my one fun night in New York City.
Though there were other good things about being in the city.
I had a family to stay with. They didn’t even know me but they knew Bryon. They welcomed me into their home and they were so kind to me. They stay ended up being short but had Bryon survived, he might have been in the city for months. They never once gave me a time limit. I know they were rooting for the slow recovery. It would worth a trip to NYC to see them and have them meet my daughter.
Bryon’s friends in NYC got to see him. That was great.
The team was much more optimistic and Bryon’s spirits were the best they had been through the whole ordeal. In Albany, Bryon was too depressed to facetime with our daughter, but in NYC, he was happy facetiming her.
Bryon still had his sense of humor. It took me a week to figure out that I could take the express train to get to the hospital faster. He shook his head and rolled his eyes at me.
But right now, NYC remains the city where Bryon died. Maybe someday I will return but it probably won’t be anytime soon.
I started this blog as an outlet for my feelings and I have decided that I have been writing about too much depressing stuff lately. My life isn’t all depressing so I decided to share some of my fun moments. I mean, my life won’t always be this depressing, right? My daughter and I had a busy weekend so I thought I would share that.
On Friday evening I had plans to meet some good friends for Mexican food at El Loco. I had gotten a baby sitter for my daughter and I braved the drive to downtown Albany and even found a parking spot. It was great to catch up with my friends.
I was supposed to run the Fly Creek Cider Run 10k this weekend but I dropped a metal trashcan on my toe on Easter. That doesn’t sound like a big deal but my big toenail is blue and I had to wear flip flops all week because it hurt too much to wear regular shoes. By Friday I could wearing shoes was bearable but I decided that it wasn’t the best idea to run the 10k or 5k. I was disappointed because I really was looking forward to this race. I was signed up to run it last year but missed it due to Bryon’s illness. Maybe the third time will be the charm.
There was a rugby tournament at Albany Law School so my daughter and I went for a little bit. My daughter wasn’t that interested but we did walk around the track and even did a little running.
Saturday afternoon was the birthday party of the son of Bryon’s best friend. He is turning 3. They did an amazing job with the Mickey and the Roadster Racers theme. There was also a bounce house and wagon rides.
Reminders that life continues on. It feels good that that we are making happy memories that my daughter and my friends children will grow up with. But, like everything else, it is bittersweet because Bryon isn’t here for those memories.
Sunday was the monthly brunch with my girls. This is turning into my most favorite day of the month. We alternate houses and we each bring something. We had an amazing brunch with Blueberry and Strawberry French Toast Casserole, Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Quiche, Vanilla Bread, Sausage, Fruit, cookies, Mimosas and great conversation.
I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend or better company.
Last weekend I took my daughter on our second big adventure since Bryon passed away. My best friend from Maine, who had been living in Florida with her fiance, just relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan. I looked at google maps and saw that it was about a nine hour drive. I ascertained that it would be long, but it was doable. The drive to my parents house in Maine is usually about 8 hours so this would only be a little longer. I decided to make this into a “runcation” (which I will write about in another race recap post.) To make an exciting weekend even better, my other best friend from Chicago decided to drive up with her daughter. In case you forgot, she was the one who consoled me as I sat on the floor in a Las Vegas casino crying a month ago.
I couldn’t seem to get my act together all week so I was packing on Friday morning and got a later start than I had wanted. I kept feeling like I was forgetting something. I had to remind myself that there were Targets in Michigan and if I forgot anything, I could just get it at Target, along with other stuff I don’t really need but I will decide I can’t live without. We finally got on the road around 9 am.
Our trip was pretty uneventful, though we ran into some snow but it was sunny by the time we were in Western, NY. Before we knew it, we were at Niagara Falls. My gas tank was just below a half of a tank but I stopped to fill my tank before entering Canada. Anyone who travels to Canada knows, gas is very expensive and it is wise to fill up on the United States side of the Border.
I was nervous crossing the border without Bryon because I had read on the internet that Canada was careful about children crossing the border without both parents. If you are a single parent traveling with a minor, you need a notarized letter from the other parents stating it’s okay. Well, Bryon wasn’t here to notarize any sort of letter. So I brought my daughters birth certificate along with a copy of Bryon’s death certificate. (We also have NEXUS cards) I was chatting with the Canadian Border agent who was very nice and she said it really was a concern when parents don’t bring any ID and it was clear I was my daughter’s mother. She did look at our NEXUS cards and my daughter’s birth certificate. The border agent said she didn’t need to look at Bryon’s death certificate but told me that it was a good idea to have it on me just in case.
My daughter finally fell asleep in Canada. The drive was long and uneventful with lots of farmland. Bryon and I had never traveled further than the Niagara region so Southern Ontario was all new territory. I found myself wishing he was on the trip with us. For starters, he would have been doing the driving. Second, we drove by so many places that would have excited him, like the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. I imagine the conversation would have gone something like this:
Bryon: Let’s stop! It’s the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame!
Kerry: You don’t even like going to the American Baseball Hall of Fame. You think it’s lame.
Bryon: But Kerry…It’s the CANADIAN Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kerry: But…you aren’t that into baseball and a visit will take up a lot of time and we want to get to Michigan before it get’s dark.
Bryon: You are a Miss No-Fun.
I also thought fondly of Bryon as I drove by London, Ontario and saw the sign for the Labatt Brewery. He loved Labatt.
I was bored with the radio in the car and ended up listening to the CBC news. I decided that would be my cultural activity of the day since I would not be stopping at Tim Hortons, or the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame or the Labatt Brewery. I drove by a really large wind farm that went on for 45 minutes. Then I was finally in Windsor, Ontario and then I was crossing the Ambassador Bridge into Detroit. The Bridge was beautiful and I couldn’t take a picture because I was driving. There was a very large American flag. I don’t know if it is because I am generally a patriotic person or if it was because I was glad that my long drive was almost over but I started to belt out “America the Beautiful” when I saw that flag. My daughter was not impressed. I can’t blame her as I am not exactly a good singer. Actually my singing is not even tolerable. Poor girl.
We made it to Ann Arbor around 7:15 after google maps took us on an interesting drive in Detroit. I was so excited to see both of my best friends. Since I don’t use people’s names in this blog, I am going to refer to my friends as “my Maine best friend” and “my Chicago best friend”. And I will refer to my Maine best friend’s fiance as “the Scientist” because, well, he’s a scientist. We sat down and ate some Domino’s Pizza (which I learned is headquartered in Ann Arbor) and drank some Aldi wine (not too bad). My daughter was excited to see my Chicago best friends daughter and they wore princess dresses and chased each other until it was time for bed.
I woke up early Saturday morning to make my run to Target to buy the items I forgot, along with those other items that I didn’t really need but decided I can’t live without. My Chicago best friend came with me and we decided to do the “divide and conquer” approach and I think we were out of there within 20 minutes. It was quite impressive.
After we returned to the house, we packed up to take the bus downtown. My daughter really enjoyed riding on the bus.
The plan was to take the girls to the Natural History Museum at the University of Michigan. They had a great time running around and looking at the artifacts but they began to get tired and hungry. We had made it through the first two floors and the Scientist went up to check the third floor and said there wasn’t as much there so we decided to leave.
I wanted to do some shopping so we stopped at The Den to buy my daughter and myself an article of clothing that said “Michigan” on it.
We then had lunch at Hopcat which was delicious and very reasonably priced. I had the tacos which were delicious. And I don’t know what the seasoning was on the crack fries, but they were amazing. My daughter learned the hard way that the hot sauce was not ketchup. There were some tears but I still think she handled better than some adults would have. The hot sauce was really hot.
When we returned, I put my daughter down for a nap and my Chicago best friend stayed with the girls while my Maine best friend and I went to the race Expo which I will write about in another post. After we went to the Expo, we needed coffee so we went to a Meijer that also had a Starbucks. In 2007, I lived in Indiana for three months and I forgot how awesome Meijer was. It’s like, one of the seven wonders of the Midwest. Anyway we were in desperate need of caffeine and I also had to get the Starbucks You Are Here mugs. It’s my latest obsession. Anyone else into those mugs?
After the girls woke up from their nap, we made plans to go to a Mexican restaurant, Los Amigos. The food was really good and I am a Mexican food snob. I was excited to see Chilaquiles on the menu because I think the only place I can get them locally is at El Mexicano in Saratoga. I was excited that they had a train. It was like Governor’s except it was a Mexican restaurant and we were in Michigan, not Maine.
We were all exhausted Saturday night and didn’t stay up late.
Sunday was race morning which, again, I will write a separate race recap.
After the race, my Chicago best friend and her daughter left. My Maine best friend, my daughter and I drove 45 minutes to Dearborn to go to The Henry Ford. It was pricey but I felt like it was something you need to do in area. We were starving so we had lunch at a diner in the Museum. It was an actual diner car from 1946. Jut don’t expect to get a diet soda because when my Maine best friend tried to order one, the waiter informed her that there was no diet soda in 1946. However, the prices were not reflective of 1946 and they did accept credit cards.
My daughter took a cat nap on the car ride and was tired and was beginning to lose it after the cars, trains and planes so we decided to call it a trip. I didn’t feel too bad because my Maine best friend decided to buy the membership because she figured out that a membership would pay for itself in two trips. She also figured that this would be the place that out of town guests would want to go so a membership made sense.
We had a relaxing Sunday night. We ordered Chinese food for dinner and just hung out and went to bed early.
My daughter and I were on the road by 7am. We had a morning stop planned in Windsor, Ontario. When Bryon and I got engaged, I went on theknot.com and was active in the September 2012 board. Theknot.com was glitchy so we moved our group over the Facebook and we are still an active group. There have been so many milestones, babies, new jobs, new houses as well as divorces, illness and now death. I am the first widow of the group (though one of the ladies of the group was a widow who married her second love in Sept 2012) Anyway, one of the ladies on the board lives just out of Windsor (she blogs here) so my daughter and I met her at a Tim Hortons. I have known her online for over 5 years and it was exciting to finally meet her in person.
After our visit, we had a long car ride back. My daughter slept for about half of the Canada portion and none of the New York portion. We stopped for lunch at a rest stop just outside of Buffalo. The drive was long and uneventful and we made it home around 6 o’clock.
This adventure was still bittersweet. I didn’t miss Bryon as much as I did when I went to Vegas. Maybe that was because Vegas was the first adventure since Bryon passed. Maybe it was because both of my best friends were there which provided twice the distraction. But even though travelling without Bryon may have been easier, I still got sad when we passed the University of Michigan stadium because Bryon was such a sports fan and I knew he would have been excited. I guess I just have to have faith that he comes along with us in his way but I just wish he was physically still here to go on these adventures with us. I miss him so much but I must carry on for him, for my daughter and for myself. But it does make me feel good that I am still fulfilling the promise I made to him in the final hours of his life.