Latest Blog: Bombshell
We ventured out our first morning to grab some breakfast and found a little bakery and café not too far down the street. We ordered some pastries for the kids and huevos rancheros for Katie and I. Huevos rancheros (basically rice, refried beans, eggs, and salsa) is a staple breakfast in Costa Rica and it’s absolutely delicious. We also got some fruit smoothies to go along with it. While waiting for the food, Gemma was so fixated on the cold drinks in the glass cooler that she walked straight into it. It was quite a fantastic faceplant actually. But then came the crying, and let me tell you, this girl has some amazing pipes. Once the episode died down, we relaxed under the fans and enjoyed our breakfast and smoothies. Afterward we went searching for one of the local markets, and it was interesting to say the least. None of the markets here are air conditioned, they’re much smaller than grocery stores in the states, and the foods are much different. There were a lot of items we didn’t recognize in the fresh produce section, so we picked out a few things and then made our way through the aisles trying to decide what to get and how to decipher what was what. Some of the products and foods have labels in both English and Spanish, but not all. The kids were hot, sweaty, and complaining so we checked out with what we thought was at least a nice starting amount of stuff. We made the long, hot, uphill (not both ways, just the way back to the apartment) half-mile walk back. Katie and I had to each carry a heavy bag on top of it, so needless to say we were sweating profusely by the time we got back. “Oh, the humanity!”
After we unloaded and put the food away, we were still left scratching our heads as to what exactly we were going to eat. Did we get food? Yes. Did we have any idea what kind of meals we were going to make? Absolutely freaking not. We decided to relax and let the kiddos get some swim time in our private pool located just outside the back gate to our apartment. While the pool is pretty small, it more than serves its purpose of cooling you off. It will no doubt get used quite often during the five weeks we’re here. Because the Packers were playing in the NFC Championship just after 5:30 PM, we decided to head back out to grab some dinner at one of the local restaurants that were showing the game. We didn’t even make it to halftime, which if you happened to have caught the game you definintely understand why. For those that didn’t see it, you likely don’t give a shit so I suppose there’s no need for me to go into details about how bad the Packers were getting their asses kicked. The best part of the game was actually a big flock of local birds (in the crow family, we were told) that were having an absolutely wild party in the trees just across the street. They were loud and pretty entertaining.
I have to remind myself from time to time of something a dear friend once (or a few times) told me: don’t take life so seriously. Thanks, Myra! Now I try to live that way as best I can. We’re in a beach town in Costa Rica enjoying some amazingly beautiful nighttime weather in January, so I’m still smiling. The second morning rolls around and Katie wanted to open the front door to let the cross breeze blow through, but was greeted by a tarantula scurrying its way into the apartment. Luckily there was no screaming so we didn’t alert the kids to its presence. I managed to eventually nudge/funnel it back out the front door using a broom. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my heart was hammering a bit while I clumsily thwarted the tarantula’s advancements. But I saved the day. I’m a hero. Whew. Then we turn around to find more columns of ants, so we sprayed for those again. Katie and I are looking at each other at this point like WTF did we get ourselves into. Breathe, it’s fine. It’s fine, right? Soooo, how about we just go out and grab breakfast again? We found a cozy little cafe and enjoyed some breakfast and fruit smoothies. “Fill it up again! Once it hits your lips, it’s so good!” We left there feeling refreshed and ready to hit the beach. We strolled up the beach walking at the edge of the ocean, the warm saltwater washing over our feet. This is what makes it all worth it. We couldn’t walk for too long, though, as we had to be back to the apartment by 11AM to meet a maintenance guy who was supposed to come over and fix the toilets. We have three of them, one for each bedroom. However, two of them were leaking.
The rest of the day was fairly uneventful, but the next day had even more surprises in store for us. It was Katie’s first day of training at the massage school, so she was off at 7:30 AM and I officially started my first day as Mr. Mom. I honestly don’t care for that term a whole lot because I don’t subscribe to the belief that only women stay home to take care of the house and kids. I’ve had a couple of two-week stretches over the past year where it’s been just me and the kids, and it’s not an easy task for sure. But I have a much different mindset now and I feel much more equipped to be able to handle everything. The kids and I took a walk on the beach after Katie left for school and we had a pretty calm first day except for one thing. I walked into the first bathroom about mid-afternoon and found that toilet leaking pretty badly. Luckily it was leaking out of the flush button on the side of it directly into the garbage can, so I could at least dump it out in the shower every few hours. I shot a message to the property manager and received a message back soon after to let me know that the maintenance guy wouldn’t be able to get out here until the morning. I had to get up in the middle of the night to empty the garbage can or risk a pretty good flood by morning. Hard not to be discouraged over our toilet issues. Ugh.
I made some makeshift spaghetti using penne noodles and what I thought was marinara. Apparently we had merely bought tomato sauce instead. To top it off, we didn’t have any spices either because we hadn’t even thought to look for those. I had to laugh. Our first homemade dinner was noodles and tomato sauce. Talk about bland! But then the worst part of the trip so far hit us. Katie found out that her mom had been admitted to the hospital after she went to the emergency room because she was having a very difficult time breathing. The doctors ran some tests and determined that she had cancer. She had gotten skin cancer a few years back but it was treated and nothing showed up on her periodic exams. The bad news is that it’s now transformed into metastatic melanoma and, according to the doctors, it’s treatable but not curable. The good news is that they’ve had pretty decent success with alternative treatments recently that don’t include chemo or radiation. The cancer spread quickly recently and had caused her lungs to fill up with fluid, which is why she was really struggling to breathe. They drained over a pint of fluid from one of her lungs and she was also in a lot of pain. Katie was devastated. Here she is in what’s supposed to be this beautiful place and she wants nothing more than to head back to Florida to be with her mom.
Her mom asked her to promise that she wouldn’t come back. For anyone who knows Katie, that’s an impossible request. Helping others is in her DNA. She’s extremely kind, an empath, and as I firmly believe an earth angel. She has amazing healing gifts as well, so I understand her angst to get home. But for now we can do nothing but wait while she tries to focus on school and the doctors try their best to treat her mom. There was major heartbreak that evening. I’m emotional and tearing up days later just typing this out. My heart hurts for Katie and her family. Prayers are what’s needed most right now. I’m a big time believer in prayer, intention, and manifestation. Katie cried a lot and I was there for her as best I could be. It’s good to release strong emotion, no matter what kind. So when the tears are flowing, I always try to help keep them flowing until the well runs dry. It’s as cathartic as cathartic can be, and entirely necessary for your own health. Not a good end to Katie’s first day of massage training. She’s lost right now. My hope is that she can actually use school as a distraction from what her mom’s going through. Time will tell.