Anniversary & Dad’s visit
Last week was the 14th anniversary of my wedding to my dear husband, Martin. We celebrated twice, but neither celebration was on the night of our actual anniversary, the 12th. First, on the 11th, we got takeout from PF Chang’s, which is rather our go-to for special-occasion meals, largely because it’s good food that both Martin and I like, and they have a very reliable gluten-free menu, which (unlike the few restaurants that have g.f. menus) sees frequent updating, so I’m not stuck ordering the same dish over and over.
But, I digress.
It was a nice meal, after the kids were in bed, hubby and me, Chinese food, a bottle of inexpensive pinot noir… and we had the best conversation we’ve had in weeks. It was just what we needed.
Then, on Saturday, when we could actually get a babysitter, we tried out a new place.
Before I found out about celiac disease, we were very adventurous eaters, living for our next hole-in-the-wall, mom & pop ethnic gem. Since celiac disease, we’ve become very predictable, eating out only where it’s safe. “Safety” has become the operative word in eateries, instead of taste or even price.
But, starting a few years ago (literally), I keep reading good reviews for a teensy Ecuadorian restaurant that is reasonably close by to our house.
I knew it was in an old strip mall, but when we drove up, it was even older and strip-mallier and a wee bit scary. We stayed in the truck for a bit, eyeing the restaurant. My hubby said, “I don’t want this to be a ‘slap the burrito on the paper plate’ kind of place. It’s our anniversary.” But, I figured, since we were there, we might as well at least poke our heads inside.
We did, and we stayed. Mi Cocina Mi Pais was fantastic, all you’d want in a hole-in-the-wall, mom & pop ethnic gem of a restaurant. It wasn’t fancy, but they did have real tableware, and not a burrito in sight. The mom was in the kitchen, the son was the waiter, and the dad was the busser. Even though the whole place had maybe seven tables, I was worried that it was going to take a couple of hours to get our meal, since each table was full and there was a “kitchen help wanted” sign on the front door, but it wasn’t so. Service was very friendly and reasonably paced.
We’ve eaten at more than our share of Mexican food places, so I thought South American wouldn’t be a very large leap, but about 80% of the menu offerings had to be explained to us by our waiter, Michael. I’m sure it’s an effort he’s made thousands of times, but he was very helpful and patient. I picked a few dishes that I thought sounded like they would be gluten-free, and explained my need to Michael. He poked his head back in the kitchen to double-check with Mom regarding their makeup, and happily, the dish that I most wanted was free of any kind of flour or wheat. There’s still always a risk, especially when those preparing/serving a meal really have no idea about celiac disease at all… but I suffered no gluten-induced symptoms. Woo hoo! 🙂
And, Mi Cocina Mi Pais is fairly inexpensive, and had a “you can take the kids” ambience, so I’m sure we’ll be back.
We had Fiala with us. She stayed asleep the whole time. We finished our meal before 8:00, and though we had our babysitter until 9:30, if we stayed out that late, I would have to feed Fiala in the truck before we went anywhere else, like for coffee. We just decided to go home. Party poopers in our old age, I guess. It wasn’t for lack of pleasantness; we just had had a very nice time already, were full of good food and good conversation, and it felt like the night was a success and it was all right to call it a night, early.
Good thing we did, because my Dad arrived very shortly after we came home. I think it would have been awkward for the babysitter if my Dad had been there, even though I told her that it was a possibility he’d arrive before we did.
So. My Dad’s here. He’ll be here until Friday. Right now, though, he and my three boys are at the Titan Missile Museum, south of Tucson. At least, I assume they are. That’s where they were headed when they left home at about 9:00 this morning.
It’s been a nice visit with my Dad. We have a mixed history, but for the last three years or so, all has been well between us. He came to church with us on Sunday, and seemed to really enjoy it, which is good. I feel a little badly because we’re all sports nuts, so we usually have on whatever game is playing, and he doesn’t care for sports… I’m sure my Dad has watched more basketball and football in the past few days than he has in years. We’ve also spent a good deal of time at the neighborhood park… We went to a dentist appointment for the three boys yesterday. Martin, my Dad and I had a great conversation last night that started with parenting issues mostly about Grant. We had a tense evening… well, part of the evening, anyways, because of behavioral stuff from Grant. Sometimes ALL THE TIME, it’s difficult to sort out from where his difficulties stem: a) his immature 9yo boy-ness, b) his brainy, purposeful manipulations, and/or c) his learning disorder (he has an odd learning disorder called Nonverbal Learning Disorder, and some things about Grant are startlingly brilliant, and some things are frustrating to the extreme, “Why can’t he just get this???” and he just can’t — or at least, it’s very hard — because of the way his brain is wired). The conversation morphed into dietary interventions that we’ve tried with Grant (and my Dad had a few new ideas that I’ll likely try), dietary issues with Wes & Audrey… then somehow turned the corner to the theological, and the way God speaks, and what God might be doing in the American Church and in our country right now… My Dad and I have had theological disagreements in the past, and I can’t say I even agree with my husband 100% of the time on politics. But the three of us agreed that God is not a God of fear. He doesn’t want us to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the goings-on in Church and Country, but He’s still not a God of fear. When He speaks, when He acts… He doesn’t do things out of fear, or move in fear. He’s sovereign, He’s good, He has His ways, He’s powerful, He’s not thwarted by whoever is or is not in power, and can use anything for His own purposes, including letting someone rise to power with whom we don’t agree. My Dad likened it to America in the 70s when things were morally and politically bleak under Carter, but the climate rallied Christians to a deeper commitment to Him, and a greater involvement in politics, and my Dad believes that’s what led to Reagan being elected in 1980. (All of us are fans of Reagan.) It was a good conversation.
Yesterday, I started apologizing to my Dad about what was surely the most boring trip ever, but as the words were coming out of my mouth, I realized (and he did say) that “boring” was exactly what he needed. He’s on focus-burnout right now, due to the nature of his work, which is heading up a company that is inventing some new artificial intelligence hardware and software. It’s funded by an investor, which makes things all the more tense, because there are lots of $$ waiting to be reimbursed when the technology becomes finally marketable. It’s getting there, but the huge contracts that are continually in the offing remain just so. And it doesn’t help that the main investor has made his money from oil and gas, and since prices are plummeting — which is great for 99.5% of us — that means the investor has less money available and is all the more antsy.
Welp. I need to feed my baby, then do some cleaning. Though I am at home with only my two girls today, it’s been a startlingly unproductive day. Peaceful, though…
Posted on November 18, 2008, in Celiac Disease, Christian Living, Christianity, Family, God/Christianity/Church, Marriage, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Parenting, Political Thought, The Dear Hubby, The Kids, Vineyard Phoenix. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.