## Random equations in the mathematics of life

### Around and Around

A few years ago, I planned a trip for the family.

It was a crappy time in our lives. The Scientist and I had just barely come off of a 6 month legal separation. My father died after 4 months of being in and out of the hospital. The Ambassador was dealing with the disintegration of his relationship with a cousin whom he used to worship, who had now turned into a bully. His physical bruises were numerous, but the emotional ones took a lot longer to heal. The Professor and the Artist were navigating the treacherous waters of teenagers. All in all, it was a mess.

So I planned a trip.

I told the kids I’d chosen a spot with “something for all of us”. We were going to Idaho. At first, they were shocked, incredulous, and even protesting. Then they figured out I was outright lying, but couldn’t figure out the real destination. I explained that they’d need passports in case we crossed over into the Canadian Rockies. Those beautiful dress clothes? Well, they’re for the formal barbecue and hayride, of course. All throughout the spring, I would expound on the beauty of Idaho, and all the cool stuff we would see there. The kids would roll their eyes, and wonder out loud where we were really going.

The week before we left, I gave the kids a puzzle with about two dozen questions on it. The answers fit into numbered spaces, and all were about, you guessed it, Idaho. They hunted down the answers, and kept the papers until the day we left, salivating over the final clue they’d unscramble.

We packed the car, got in, started driving, and stopped for breakfast. I handed them the last piece of paper – the holy grail containing our true destination, simply by placing numbered letters into the spaces.

Almost.

Remember Ralphie, from A Christmas Story, and his secret decoder ring? Yeeeah. Theirs said, “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine” too!  I found this hilarious. The kids? Not so much. The Ambassador didn’t speak to me for half an hour!

We got back in the car, and I handed over my laptop. On it was a Power Point, set to music (Two Tickets to Paradise and Guitars and Tiki Bars), detailing our cruise ship, along with each port and what we’d be doing there. The kids freaked out. They forgave me incredibly fast, amazingly enough, and the fun began.

That trip was really good for us. We spent time together, away from the outside world, reassuring each other that no matter what else, we would always be a family. But there were tensions. The Scientist and I were in a really bad place, and though we covered pretty well, we both felt it just the same. I was fine being on the trip with him, but would’ve preferred not to share a cabin with him. We do pretty well when we travel together, but even the Caribbean couldn’t erase the problems in our relationship. Our friendship was crumbling around us, and that had always been the foundation for the rest of the family. We were in danger of losing everything.

2 months after that trip, I asked for a divorce. We separated once again, starting the one year clock required by our state before a divorce would be granted. A month after that, we started therapy, not to rebuild a lost marriage, but to at least attempt to sew back together the shredded fabric of a long standing friendship. Quite honestly, I thought it was a lost cause. While I would never speak against their father, I was done, and simply wanted to move on to parent the kids and try to pick up the pieces of my life.

Now, 4 ½ years later, we are headed back to Idaho. We’re going to a different area, but Idaho just the same. This time, our friendship is in a really good place. Our relationship has changed in so, so many ways, but we are still best friends, and now we’re both much better parents to our kids.

This year, like 2009, has also been tough. The Scientist lost his father after almost the same amount of time as my own father. We’ve lost some friends in sudden, tragic ways. The stresses have slowly eroded us, but we know the island sunshine, and the bond we have as a family will help us put each other back together.

We’ll miss our friends while we’re off the grid for a few days, but it’s a much needed break. There are times in which social media is great, and times when it gets in the way. This week, it would get in the way of the rest and reconnection we so desperately need.

Hopefully, everyone will find the peace they seek this holiday season. There is no perfect world, but maybe, just for a little slice of time, we can find our own version.

### A Remainder of One

This week kinda sucked. My headspace went straight to hell about a week ago for some inexplicable reason. I realize this is not statistically significant – it happens to everyone on occasion, and I’m no different.

The only problem with this particular time for me was the fact that it’s careening headlong into the holiday season, which can exacerbate pretty much any emotional state that’s left of center for me. The holidays bring Golden Boy back into the neighborhood, along with my mother’s manipulative attempts to guilt me into doing whatever whim she’s focused on at the time. Last time she lied to both me and my sister, in an attempt to get me to attend the “family” gathering. My sister approached me a few years ago about not doing them anymore – I agreed, as our kids have grown apart, and everyone felt a bit forced. This was fine, but I should’ve seen her suggestion for what it really was, because now, the rest of my bio family gets together except for my crew. I’m sure I should feel upset and betrayed by that, but really? I actually find it funny.

But the impending tension does set me on edge. So when I wind up in a conversation with the Quilter on Sunday about the fact that I don’t have the capability to be “in love” with anyone, it took a slide and shoved it into a spiral. It wouldn’t have been a huge deal, but that conversation was then followed by a related one the following night with the Professor and the Scientist at dinner. Follow that up with the 6 month mark of the Moore, OK tornado that took Sydney, mix in a horrifically stressful week at work, and I’m pretty well done.

Feeling broken is something with which I’m quite familiar. I’ve written about it before. It’s still hard to explain though, to someone who thinks that the inability to be in love is a choice. This isn’t something that I’ve chosen; I am not denying myself some level of bliss by design. Instead, I stagger through my world, seeing people falling in love, having that light bulb turn on, and resent the fact that I can’t comprehend it. There was an internet essay about how a special needs child is like planning a trip to Paris and winding up in Holland. Different, but beautiful. For me, this is more about wanting desperately to plan a trip overseas, but being ineligible for a passport.

I’m not going to bore you by rehashing why I suck at marriage. You can always go read it if you want.

But seeing my kid struggle to comprehend why her mother isn’t in love with her father, and hates the concept of marriage, but has chosen to stay in it anyhow, really broke my heart. She worships her dad, as well she should, and she knows that it hurts him. I didn’t have the words to explain it to her any more than I could explain myself to the Quilter. All of my talents at “translating” information, which make me an amazing teacher, failed me.  There are things in my past that my kids will never know. No one knows some of the things in my past except the people who were there, and that’s the way it needs to stay. However, the Scientist will tell anyone who asks that I’m a “fabulous wife”, which amuses me to no end. It’s true that I try to be good to him. He is a truly wonderful man, as a father, as a person, and as the best friend I’ve ever had. I live with the guilt every single day, knowing the selfish choice I made and why I made it, but he has decided that this life with me is better than the alternative. I still feel, and will always feel, that he deserves better than me. People have tried to reason me out of that, and guess what? It hasn’t worked yet, and it won’t work. So save us both the hassle and the boredom, and don’t bother.

As much as I deplore a particular coke-headed neurologist who tried to pass his psychotic ramblings off as scientific fact, I do agree that we learn a basic sense of trust versus mistrust from day one. Your very first intimate relationships are with your caregivers and family, and when those relationships are destructive, that foundation is too damaged to hold up anything else. And like any other permanent structure, once it’s built, you can’t go back and fix the base. Laws of physics and all that.

Having this mess swirling in my head all week has definitely been a double edged sword. The one side of the blade is that it reinforced the fact that I am, by nature, a loner. I spent a lot of time in my head, ear-buds firmly tucked in, music blaring. However the other side of blade reminds me that, on occasion, as soothing as my solitude is, it can also be a lonely place. Despite the fact that I am almost never alone during the week (with the obvious exception of my hour-long commute to and from work), I felt little shards of loneliness slip in here and there. Such an odd feeling, as it’s quite rare!

As the week wound down, my headspace started to settle at least a little bit. Being swamped at work helped that, as I didn’t have time to brood about my messed up head. Some creativity this weekend is a priority, as that will help more than anything else.

At some point, I hope I can learn to realize that even though I’m broken, I’m functional – maybe even more so than some others!

### Repeating decimals

I’ve often been asked why I feel like I am a failure at marriage.  My explanations, no matter how carefully worded, always wind up wracking me with guilt, and so I basically just mumble something about being a loner at heart (which is true) and let it go at that.

The problem is that, no matter how much I own my feelings, no matter how much I stipulate that this has nothing at all to do with the Scientist as a person, it still makes me seem like a horrific bitch who hates her spouse.  And while the first part may well be true…ok, who are we kidding here?  It’s true…the second part isn’t.  After three and a half years of therapy, the Scientist has become my best friend again.  While I may not be “in love” with him, Cinderella and those wenches are overrated anyhow.  And Prince Charming?  Eh.  Have you ever seen Prince Charming when he wasn’t dressed and acting like a prissy stick-in-the-mud?  Nope.  I’d rather a guy who can look good in jeans and a shirt, sweaty and dirty from working in the garden with me, thanks.

So, at the risk of having my Facebook friends’ list chopped in half, and whatever miniscule readership I have on here bailing too, I’m going to lay it out in the open and just be honest.  Don’t feel bad about it if you’re one of the ones who shakes your head and walks away; I can’t say I blame you.  Sometimes I’d rather walk away from me, too.

The short answer is quite simple: I view the concept as a leash.  A well intentioned, sometimes beneficial, leash, but a leash nonetheless.

The explanation isn’t quite as easy, and this is where things make me look selfish and mean.  Since I was a child, I have had wanderlust in a really bad way.  I’m never so happy as when I’m traveling, especially somewhere new.  The Scientist doesn’t have it quite as badly, but through me, scuba diving, and Geocaching, he has definitely developed a love for travel and exploration.  That being said, I also have other people in my life who love to travel, and with whom I would love to travel.  Here’s where we start to get dicey.

The Photographer, for example, is my twin sister from another mother.  We’re so alike it’s scary sometimes.  Her wanderlust matches mine.  She and I have made a promise to each other that has two parts: first, we will go on an African photo safari together, and second, that neither of us will go without the other.  I take that seriously.  There is truly no one I would rather be with on that trip, and if I had the money to go right now, I wouldn’t do it, simply because I know that for now, she cannot.  End of story.  Now, in this particular example, if the Scientist were to join in, it wouldn’t bother me at all.  I think he’d have fun, he adores the Photographer (and vice versa), and it would be a fun group trek.  But if he suddenly wanted to go, just the two of us?  No.  I wouldn’t go with him because my promise to my twin sister would be the priority.  In marriage, prioritizing someone else over your spouse is generally considered to be a huge no-no.  But that’s how I feel.

The Trainer and I have discussed, on multiple occasions, two trips in particular.  We both want to go to Thailand and to India, and we want to go together.  But on those trips?  I wouldn’t want the Scientist, or anyone else along with us.  Those trips are for us.  We’ve talked about them, made little plans here and there of certain things to do, places to see, and that’s our adventure.

Now, let me be perfectly clear about this next part.  All, and I mean every single one, of the Scientist’s objections to the idea of me taking off with the Trainer for a week or so, on two separate occasions, to see parts of the world we’ve only dreamed about, are absolutely appropriate, reasonable, and rational.  They are ones that any normal person would make at the idea of their spouse going off like this.  So please do not think I am trying to make him sound like the problem; he isn’t.  I am.

Money is the big one.  “Our” money funding “my” trip, one in which he isn’t welcome to join.  The next would be if he wanted to see the destination, too.  Why should I get to experience that when he’d be left behind?  He’s already a bit jealous/upset that I have spent some time with the wild ponies at Assateague and he hasn’t.  I cannot even fathom his reaction to, “Bye, Honey, I’ll be back in a week or so.  I’m going to Thailand!”

That is a more extreme example, of course, and not one that will come up any time soon.  (Seriously…have you looked at the economy lately?)  The more basic level concept is, when you’re married, you almost always have to take someone else into consideration.  Compromise is vital, and while we have both done it a lot over the years, I freely admit to resenting some of it.  Petty?  Probably.  But fights about anything from naming the kids to paint colors in the new house and everything in between are always occurring.  Let’s say you love the color sage green.  (No, I don’t love it, but it’s an example.  Work with me here, people!)  You’ve had the idea for a perfectly decorated living room for your new house, you’ve picked out accent pieces, artwork, whatever.  Your spouse, however, hates the color and wants to paint the living room blue.  There are three options here.  1. You paint the room sage green and your spouse is pissed off every time he walks into the living room until you sell that house.  2. You let him paint the room blue and you resent it every time you walk into the living room until you sell that house.  3. Neither of you wins, the room gets painted yellow, and you both resent it.

I feel like the last twenty-ish years of my life have been one big compromise.  Has he compromised too?  Absofreakinlutely.  He gets full credit for that.  I know it seems like I’m beating the dead horse, but I feel the need to reiterate – this isn’t about him.  It’s about me.  And I’m tired of compromising.  It could be that I chose to have kids so young; when you’re a parent, your life is simply not your own anymore, by definition.  My kids are getting to the point where they’ll be off doing their own thing, and I have hit my metaphorical wall when it comes to giving in.  I’ve become selfish in my old age (shut up, 41 can be old!), and I want my own life.  If I want to blow off cooking for several days because I have more creative things to do, then so be it.  If I have time off available and I want to vanish to the coast to breathe the salt air, listen to the oceanic rhythms, then I’ll do so.  I want to paint the walls the colors that I like, spend my evenings and weekend however I want without consulting someone else’s schedule.  I want to be able to go off on “girls’ weekends” without guilt.

But the marriage leash pulls me back.  For now, the benefits outweigh the deficits, but what happens when the kids are out on their own, and we no longer have them as a central focus?  The Scientist and I are best friends, but we literally have almost nothing in common.  I’m worried about will bind us at that point, because right now, I look around and don’t see a shred of rope, a bit of duct tape, or anything else that will suffice.

And that, boys and girls, is why Mick sucks at marriage.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to someone.  I’ve posted before in my blog about the Scientist, but today I’d like to give you a little more insight into him as a man.  Why?  Because men should aspire to be like the Scientist.   I’m going to explain to you why real men buy tampons.

No, this has nothing to do with the hero worship of romance.  Anyone who’s been playing along at home is well aware that ours is a non-traditional marriage, based on friendship, respect, and three amazing kids.  No, this is based on years of observation, watching how he handles situations, and seeing him mature and develop as a partner and a father.

The Scientist was raised in a very traditional house.  His mother did not work outside the home and still doesn’t.  His father was involved insofar as being active in Boy Scouts, and they played golf together as the Scientist hit his teen years.  But when it came to the Scientist’s sister, the Banker, it was very much hands-off.  She was a girl, and that was the Mom’s job.  Getting involved with me was a bit of a culture shock, as my mother worked full time, and when we grew up, my brother could cook, clean, and do laundry as well as anyone else.  My father could too, but he rarely did so if one of the kids was around.  My father in law can repair a vacuum, but I’m not entirely sure he could actually wield one with any success.

My pregnancy with the Professor was not planned, and occurred earlier than we’d hoped.  At the time, I gave the Scientist the choice of whether or not to be involved, as we were not married at the time.  However, I made it clear that if he stayed, he was not going to be some sort of hands-off dad.  He would do diapers, and anything else that I would do with a child (except for breastfeeding, of course!).  He chose to commit.  Now, at first, he watched me change the diapers, since he’d never done it, and we were using cloth.  But he is a smart guy and within a few days, voila.  He was an old pro.

As our daughters have grown, we both knew the inevitable time would come when they would need such things as bras, tampons, and advice on boys and dating from a male perspective that did not include things such as, “I’ll kill him” or “Hell no.”  Coming from a family where females were devalued and treated much differently than males, I was adamant that our daughters not feel that way.

Because here’s the thing, men…you need to really listen here, and really learn.  This applies to your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, you wife, your daughter, and any other woman with whom you consider yourself “close.”  When you are too immature to pick up a sealed cardboard box that happens to have the word “tampon” (or any related noun), you’re not just showing yourself to be on the level of the 12 year old boy down the street.  You are lighting up the neon sign that tells that woman that a natural part of her is disgusting to you.  You are telling her that her body is so revolting that you cannot even sully your hands to touch a sealed box.  You send the message that your love for her does not extend to include such a simple act.  You send the message that you just are not man enough.

So why is the Scientist such a man?  Because the first time that his daughter was out with him and got that panicked look on her face when her backpack did not contain what she had hoped, he didn’t freak out.  He didn’t tell her that she would have to use wadded up paper towels (which is an unbelievably uncomfortable solution, by the way!) and just live with it.  He didn’t yell at her for being unprepared.  He didn’t make her feel like an inconvenience.  He found a store, walked in with her, had her pick what she wanted, and took the box to the counter to pay for it.  The message that he sent?  “I am a man, and I have a woman in my life who needs my help right now.”

This same man drives a Saturn VUE that looks like a stereotypical “guy” car.  Geocaching supplies, extra towels and clothes, snacks and other junk fills the back of it.  He is a man who is always prepared, just like the Boy scouts taught him to be. There is also a hole in the driver’s seat where the ever-present pen in his pocket slipped out and got caught, mud stains all over the floor, and occasionally a travel mug with remnants of hot cocoa in it, long since dried.  And in the glove compartment, along with the insurance card, napkins, ketchup packets, and an extra pen, is a box of tampons, just in case one of his daughters needs it.

He has taken the Professor shopping for bras when I was under deadline and couldn’t do so.  He has taken the Artist to the doctor when she was having issues with recurrent UTIs.  No embarrassment, no apologies, and certainly no regrets.  His daughters know that they can broach any topic with him, and that has made their relationship that much closer.

The Scientist is a man who values the women in his life.  He values them as a whole, with all of their aspects.  He doesn’t pick and choose which parts are important, or which things he will accept.  He loves them as women.  And the best part?  He has been an example for his son to do the same.  The Ambassador will roll his eyes, but he knows that bras don’t ever go in the dryer, he knows that women who live together will often find that their cycles sync up, and he knows never to blame a woman’s emotions on PMS.

So men, if you are already like the Scientist, congratulations.  You are definitely a real man.  If not?  There is still time.  Put your Big Boy panties on, man up, and grasp the realization that a sealed cardboard box is not “icky” and cannot hurt you.  Show the woman in your life that you’re a man, and that you value her as a woman.  I guarantee it won’t hurt.

### Finding my own derivative

I need to preface this post by making one point very, very clear: this post is not about the Scientist.  I realize that, at first, it may seem to be, but it isn’t.  Please understand that I am strictly speaking in conceptual terms here, and that my feelings would not have changed whether the Scientist was the victim in question or not.  It’s just his unfortunate fate that he is.

So here goes:

I do not like marriage.  Yes, that is what I said.  I do not like marriage.  I suck at it, and it is just not something that I see changing.  Now, I realize that many of my peers perceive marriage as the ultimate in security, the pinnacle of emotional success, and the goal of  any sane adult.  For me, it’s a leash.  You can have a puppy on a nice long Flexi Lead, and she will prance along, happy as can be.  The sun is shining, there are great smells in the air, and all is well.  Curiosity will inevitably come calling, and the puppy bounds off on a new adventure, and *WHAM* the leash reaches its maximum yield, and she is yanked back on her butt, wondering what the hell just happened.  And yes, I realize that for a puppy, leashes are a safety measure…spare me.  One, I do not need someone looking out for my safety, and two, it’s an analogy, people!

In a marriage, there is almost no decision you can make without it affecting someone else.  This, of course, increases exponentially when kids are brought into the equation.  Case in point: I recently planned a surprise party for a teammate at work.  Instead of just picking a date with the other person who was helping me, we both had to make sure that it wouldn’t have any sort of adverse effect on our respective spouses or kids.  Again, please remember that this has nothing to do with the Scientist.  He is by no means a jerk about me doing my own thing, or about scheduling issues.  This is about always having to figure out everyone else’s needs first.  It’s the Butterfly Effect in my every day life.

I’ve been job hunting for a few years now; no secret there.  But I am severely limited in my options, not just because of my profession, but because I can’t move.  I’m tied here (as is he – this definitely goes both ways!)  Vacations, whether major expeditions or quick getaways are really the same.  I have to take someone else into consideration every single time, whether he is coming with me or not.  And sometimes, I feel like I really don’t have the option of going by myself.  If it’s an interesting or new destination, there’s the unspoken (or sometimes it is spoken!), “You’re not seeing/experiencing that without me!”

I can see my readers now, shaking their heads and thinking, “Holy hell.  I had no idea that Kel was such a selfish bitch!  I feel so bad for the Scientist!”  And you’d be right.  I feel bad for him, too.  This has been such a gut-wrenching thing for me to even contemplate, much less admit to myself, and then the world.  I look around me at people whose biggest goal in life was to find a partner, and I’m envious of them.  This one, for some inexplicable reason, wants to keep on not just holding the other end of my leash, but wearing the one that’s looped around my wrist.  I simply cannot fathom why.

I truly wish I understood why I feel this way.  Why did I get left off the list when starry-eyed romance was handed out?  How come I got shortchanged in the desire to find “true love” and live “happily ever after”?  My therapist is an amazing woman, but how would I even phrase that?  “Hey, V, can you help me be normal like other women, such that I love being stuck in the marriage cage?”  Hmm.  Might need to revise my phrasing…

Anyhow…

My solitary nature has gotten me into trouble over the years of being married.  It occasionally makes me uncommunicative, not by deliberate omission, but simply by a lack of realization.  It just doesn’t occur to me to tell him, and this pisses him off.  I’m definitely working on it, but my deficit is still pretty glaringly obvious.  I have to make a conscious effort to let him in on my emotional state, or when I’m dealing with things, but I am trying.  However, I have said in therapy on numerous occasions that, without wanting to sound “emo” or anything, I truly do not believe that I am cut out for this kind of relationship.  I don’t think I’m good for the Scientist, or anyone else in that capacity, and that kinda hurts.

As usual, the future is a secretive bitch.  But we’ll see what comes, and see if maybe I can fix yet another thing about my soul that I don’t like.

### Now batting for the Wunderdogs…

I am a sports girl.  I grew up watching football, baseball , soccer and hockey, with Olympic sports tossed in every few years.  I will admit that basketball bores me stupid, and tennis and golf don’t even keep me awake with the aide of Mountain Dew, but there aren’t too many others.  I used to love to play sports, but now that I am relegated to the role of spectator, I prefer of course, to watch through a lens while capturing the action when I can.  For things like December football games, nothing beats curling up on my bed with a soft blanket, some snacks, and my Steelers rocking the house.

My kids started sports early.  I wanted them to have the benefits of the social interaction, the healthy lifestyle, and the fun.  But I also wanted them to understand teamwork and to learn how to function as part of a team, and so we kind of adopted a team attitude towards our home life as well.  We function as a team in many ways, and I find that the payoff is well worth the effort.  While the idea of an “allowance” is cool with me from a parental perspective, it doesn’t apply to the “usual stuff.”  Help me clean out the gardens before I set in fall bulbs?  I’ll toss in some cash.  Do the dishes after dinner?  Guess what?  You live here.  That’s part of the team.  So each kid has a “Chef Night” where they are responsible for prepping dinner for the family and then cleaning up after it as well.  Haul boxes down from the attic and back up there?  Money can change hands.  But cleaning your bathroom?  Sorry, dude.  You live here, you clean up after yourself.  And so it goes.

The team approach is used with extra-curriculars as well.  If one person has a game/match/feis/tournament, we all go in support.  Siblings have wrapped up in layers of blankets on snowy sidelines for soccer games, they’ve been jostled through crowds of wig-clad girls at feisanna, padded their butts for softball tournaments, and a myriad of other occasions.  One goes, we all go.  Now, as they got older and schedules became tighter, that wasn’t always feasible, and the reality is that sometimes we can’t all go.  And that’s ok.  Policies are meant to grow and adapt with the family, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But when we can all be there, we are.

My family also approached my disability as a team, stepping up to help fetch and carry, take on extra chores, whatever they needed to do to help me stay involved, but not cause problems for myself physically.  Asking for help is not my forte, but I’m getting better at it, and it seems to be working.

So now we have a new situation, and it’s time for the team to flip the rally caps over and pull together.  I used to joke about the Scientist’s penchant for sweet tea consumption (by the gallon!) was going to turn him into a diabetic.  About 6 months ago, I suddenly realized that I was no longer joking.  I was worried.  He was having actual symptoms, and I was watching them add up to danger.  As is the way of men (but never women, no!), he ignored me.  I made mention a few more times, but the fact is, I’m not his mother.  I’m his best friend.  Well something finally got through, and he went online to read the symptom list and it tweaked him right the hell out.  A doctor’s appointment and a vampire’s 3 course meal later, we had our answer: Type II Diabetes.

He is, of course, absolutely on board with managing things correctly.  He had preferred his little Egyptian vacation, but he isn’t stupid.  He is quite cognizant of the deadly properties of this insidious disease, and he has no desire to check out any time soon.  And really, if a patient does make the commitment to managing their diet/exercise/levels, it will never get to the point of messing with insulin injections or hideous infections and losing toes.  There is no need for it ever to go there with a bit of due diligence and support.

Obviously, there is a ton of information to process, and we’re working our way through it.  He was very frustrated at first, feeling like anything he put in his mouth was “bad,” but now we’ve worked out a bunch of meal options to get him started.  He’s got Greek yogurt to make smoothies, eggs, and such for breakfast, soup, whole wheat tortillas to make wraps (instead of sandwiches), frozen meals that are high in protein but decent with carbs, and then some sugar-free options as well.  One fun little twist to our hero’s story is that he is allergic to aspartame/NutraSweet, which makes shopping for sugar-free stuff really interesting.  Stevia and Splenda are great, but the vast majority of the sugar-free options are made with aspartame or a blend, which makes every one of them a “no-go.”

We’ve got 4 diabetic cookbooks arriving in the mail on Monday, which will provide a huge help to us, I’m sure.  I’m having the kids peruse them as well, because when I overhauled the pantry and fridge, my plan was to overhaul all of our diets.  Now, I do not want the kids messing around with food chemicals, so they will not use sugar substitutes much.  But I didn’t want this to isolate the Scientist, where he eats his special diet meal over here, and we eat some decadent food right in front of him.  That’s just not acceptable to me.  So we’re going to eat healthier as a team, and support him as a team.  The kids felt a little bit of a disconnect with the whole thing, so I bought the wristbands (kinda like the LiveStrong ones) in red that say “Cure Diabetes” on them.  They are quite stoked to wear them in support of their Dad, and I bought extra in case any of our Village wants one, or if one breaks or something.  He’s got a profile on Spark Pages, which I think is a cool idea, along with a blog, which will be great for him, too.  I’m really glad he’s got the support from his friends; receiving a medical bitchslap, which I have done 4 times in my life, can be truly devastating, and the more support you have, the better off you are in handling it.

So it’s his turn at bat…time to knock the Diabeetus out of the park.