There and back again

I’m sure I’m paranoid but I just don’t like advertising when we are going to be out of town.  I’m sure the thieves of the world are surfing blogs of random women in the midwest just salivating over my cookie crusted jewelry and finger print covered tv, good luck to them finding anything!  Anyway, I’m back, we all made it and I think made the most of it.  I’ve talked to a few people and they all want to know how Lars is – from my perspective he is doing very well (personally I would not be doing as well if it were me), he has his off moments but mostly he is doing his best to be there for his family, both our little family and his siblings and extended family.  The kids really do keep you externally focused – I did my best to cover most of their needs but I’m glad he was not as checked out as he had the right to be.

The trip was a surprise, as if that wasn’t obvious, but now I know that I can indeed book tickets (south west), car (Alamo via southwest), hotel (Microtel), pack, and, arrange transport (thanks FB!) all in under 24 hours.  I did forget shorts for myself but I made do and that was the only notable forget for packing.  We actually did worse coming back, between the house and the hotel and the car our stuff was pretty far flung and I lost a few things along the way.  Hopefully the lost stuff turns up at the house and we get it back but I’m not holding my breath.  The travel was easy, we are pretty good at the airport thing, but that was about the only easy thing.  The hotel didn’t have our reservation and Zoe was screaming the entire time I was arguing with the clerk about it – either I was persuasive or Zoe was but we ended up getting the room for a better then list price but Microtel in general was not overly impressive.  I should have known that the word ‘micro’ would imply small – the room was nicely designed but tiny, only two drawers and the closet was full of stuff so the stuff had to be moved to the corner of the room to make room for our hanging items.  The beds were comfortable but they were badly uneven, like everyone always sleeps on the one side of the bed so the other side is much harder.  The worst part was finding a ‘mystery stain’ on one of the decorative bed covers and while they took it away they never replaced it so the beds were mismatched all week.  Their queen’s were really doubles so Lars took one bed, Zoe and I got the other, and Niamh got her tent.  God bless the peapod, it makes putting her to bed before us doable and while not exactly easy since nylon is not a good sound insulator she was in an isolation zone and would go to sleep while Lars and I watched a show or two. -aside- the tent was a great idea from a site I read and I believe a commentator actually gave her the idea but this purchase has been one great reasons to read blogs! The breakfast was blah the housekeeping was fair but really, it was just a place to keep the stuff and sleep so it served.  The major plus was pretty decorating and free internet.

Our day to day doings were odd – it was a mix of funeral and fun and boredom.  While writing this in my head I wanted to label this ‘vacation’ as the bath vacation because we ended up taking so many baths and showers it was almost ridiculous.  Most vacations we end up being too busy and end up realizing that we really must wash the children after three days of washcloth baths – this time was quite the opposite.  Lars’s family all smoke, and, they smoke in the house.  I understand that grief needs comfort but I wished I had scuba gear.  Every night we all took showers or baths to be able to stand the smell of ourselves.  A few nights I just needed a break so Lars brought us to the hotel and went back to the family so to kill time I gave the girls long baths.  Zoe also had two epic poop splosions so she got 2 baths those days.  Needless to say, even with 90% humidity we all have dry skin due to too many hot showers.

I’m definitely dwelling on details here, but, it feels morbid to write about the funeral itself and disrespectful to detail the fun stuff.  For the sake of record keeping the funeral was very nice; lots of people attend, the flowers were pretty and I even helped by making two photo collages on poster board that went over very well.  The burial was at a military cemetery so it was done in one of the designated areas rather at the actual resting place.  Lars and the immediate family got to go to the site so the girls and I waited at the bathroom/facility building and I can cross cemetery off the ‘places to nurse’ list (didn’t get a pic).  The funeral home, Brewer and Sons was great; very nice, very professional and they had every detail covered; they even had dove releasing as part of the package and it was a very nice ending.  I’ve only ever been to my hometown local funeral home so it was nice to see what was different and what was the same.  Niamh and Zoe were both troopers for both very long days.

For fun stuff; we went to the Tampa Zoo and Niamh proved she has a really good memory by remembering tons of stuff from last year at the same zoo by insisting on doing the same things again.  We went to the Homosassa wildlife area and saw lots of rescue animals and manatees that are being rehabbed – the tour came with a boat ride that was pretty cool and the boat ran on silent electric engines.  We also went to a beautiful beach for a few hours – I wish my real camera battery didn’t die so fast, half the pictures I posted are from the iPhone and they are not bad, but, the real camera would have been even better.  (Dad, before you ask, the battery didn’t deplete quickly, I neglected to charge it or bring the charger so it was user error).  Finally, on our way home we stopped at the Dali museum and words can’t really describe how cool a museum it is.  They don’t even have his most popular melting clock picture but Dali is soooo much more then melting clocks – he is an impressive artist, way more then I ever guessed.  We thought a few hours would be enough but I wish we had all day.  Niamh even enjoyed it until she got cranky and fell asleep – the dozen even mentioned how good they were.

So back in the regular world again trying to recoop my lost week.  Thankfully the housekeeping lady did her magic and the house was not the the wreck we left. I checked on my email daily while I was there but I didn’t really have time to keep up so tomorrow will be extra busy but nothing I can’t plow through with some extra effort and coffee.  In the end I’m glad this is over; there is no more worrying about Lars’s mom – I truly wish she was still with us, but, now she is one less person to worry about.  I think I’ll miss her most when I’m black friday shopping, getting her gift was always a primary mission and I’m so glad she really liked what I choose this year.  I don’t know when I’ll start ‘deleting’ her, I have her birthday on reoccurring reminders and her phone number in my phone and her face book page bookmarked… odd tangent, what happens to facebook pages of people who die?

I don’t exactly know how to end this meandering post – I suppose I’ll just point you to my flicker to end on a happy note, she would not have wanted a bunch of moping, she was always one to want to get out every day we visited so I’m going to remember the trip in that spirit.

3 responses to “There and back again”

  1. Stacy Jensen says :

    Thanks for the info, have been thinking about you guys a lot. You are so brave to travel the way you do with two little ones! Grief is a long process so be patient and listen when he needs to talk. The magnatude of these things often doesn’t even set in until almost a year after these things happen. You know you put up a brave face to get through the imediate, and then later on down the line it finally occurs to you to be angry, or sad and really experience those emotions to the fullest. Call if you need anything and may God bless your family during these difficult times.
    With love,


  2. Ellen C says :

    We have a cousin whose husband died last year, and she kept his FB page going. Every so often she posts something that she wishes she could tell him, and other people post thoughts or memories of Howard as they come up. It’s a bit odd, but it seems to be comforting to her and a few other family and friends. I suppose it’s like how some people visit a grave.


  3. Liz says :

    I’m glad the trip went well. Please pass my well wishes and condolances to Lars. I was really sorry to hear the news, but didn’t have a chance to comment at the time.

    Aside: I went to the Dali museum when I was in Barcelona. He is and the museum is extremely funky and far more than melting watches.


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