Mom Humor, Self Love, Uncategorized

Taking a Baby to Costa Rica- Part 5: Slap in the Face from the Mother of Nature

“I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad.” ~ George Bernard Shaw


We were not awakened by the lapping waves from the nearby ocean, no; we were awakened by a vicious parrot brawl at 5:30am. “If you wake up my baby you stupid f***in parrots, I will f*** **** **** *****, shut the heck up!” Yes, they’re beautiful, but beauty does not excuse pure obnoxiousness. When the screeching was reduced to mild chirping, I was able to soak in the ‘oh yeah, this is awesome.’ Most of the walls in the rooms of our new jungle house were composed of wooden lattice and screens, to prevent the local diverse creatures from making themselves our bedfellows. These “walls” allowed us to see the vegetation surrounding us and feel the “cool” breeze.


Because Hudson was able to sleep through the bird riots I decided to sneak out and check out our new digs, without the need to walk hunched over to prevent a curious toddler from eating a crab. The house and surrounding landscape had an intense ‘Jurassic Park-esque’ feel. The huge lizards ran like tiny raptors and the howling monkeys in the distance made me half expect long-neck-riding demons to come tromping through the jungle.


After capturing an over abundance of still-life photos, I wandered back to the house to find Luis and his team laying out a table of lush fresh fruit, homemade toast, eggs, Gallo Pinto, and coffee; coffee, give me coffee, por favor. I sat for a moment enjoying the coffee and “jungle silence,” and pondered the miraculous fact that Hudson was still asleep. Oh wait, is that a shrieking monkey or my ‘not asleep’ baby, right on cue Hudson.


After our eleven person troop of travelers cleared all food from the table, the intrepid surfers rallied for a surf excursion. Apparently, the three-foot shore break in front of our house wasn’t enough for them. We donned our Costa Rican uniforms, composed of brightly hued bathing suits, and loaded in our rental cars. The first half hour on the heavily pot-holed road went “smoothly,” until we came to The Hill. The Hill rose up from a “criver” (a river/ creek,) and was not only incredibly steep but muddy, and strewn with some serious rifts. Could our flimsy non-four-wheel-drive sedan make it? The SUV rental car went first, created some cringe worthy spinning tire clamoring, but made it.

Us next.

Eric: “I got it, no problem, piece of cake.” (Infamous last words.)

Me:” I will not be in this car, with our baby, when this car goes up, then down, the hill of slippery peril.”

Conveniently, there was a footbridge over the criver for nervous mothers. As I walked sideways across the bridge, making sure my back was turned to Eric’s brazen ascent up the hill, in the rental car we weren’t “supposed to” wreck, or leave evidence of off-roading on, I heard clanging, banging, rock crunching, and then a car successfully moving up the hill. It was a miracle, but oh wait, we would have to go down the hill on the trip back.


We pot-holed our way the remaining distance to the surfer’s paradise of Pan Dulce; unfortunately for me, there was no sweet bread hanging from the palms, as the name so inaccurately implies. As our surfers waxed on and waxed, and drank the obligatory pre-surf beer, (at least those over 21,) I perused the beach for a “baby safe” hangout. I use the term ‘beach’ loosely and place quotation marks around ‘baby safe’ because the waves were not lapping/crashing onto a sandy shore, no; it was more like a giant-bruise-producing slab of rock. But, that of course did not stop us, and we picked our way into the ocean, baby and all.

It looks deceivingly sandy. Under that water is pure rock.

Have you ever heard the term ‘renegade wave?’ I have. Therefore, I should have known better than to take my baby into a seemingly calm shore break I was wholly unfamiliar with. As soon as we reached under-boob level in the deceivingly tranquil waters, I spotted it, the renegade wave forming. I quickly calculated my chances of reaching the shore before the looming mass of water crashed atop us, but determined the effort would be futile. I then quickly calculated my chances of being able to dive under the wave while holding my 12 month old. He would hold his breathe, but the strong force of the rushing water could likely prove to be too much for his little body. Last ditch option, rush towards the wave in an attempt to jump over it before it began its foreboding crest. I rushed towards the wave gripping my child with every last iota of strength and lunged up and out of the water. We were too late, the wave had begun its crest and Mother Nature harshly slapped us in the face. But, we made it through, and were met with another renegade wave! Just kidding. After our harrowing adventure, I was water logged, and baby was stunned into silence. We high-tailed it out of the unpredictable surf and found some sandy turf, well out of reach of the grasping waves.


After licking our wounds, my mom decided she would like to go for a dip, and because Hudson had long forgotten about our five-minutes-ago trauma, he of course decided that he must go with her. The surf had mellowed considerably and we were sure there was no further chance of a slap-stunner wave….

As soon as they made it to the exact same spot I had met my aquatic match, another rebel wave popped up. Not kidding. Before I had the chance to warn my never-gets-her-hair-wet mother they were receiving another fully submerged slap in the face. Baby wasn’t stunned into silence this time, he was pissed, and he let it be known. That was the last time mom got her hair wet in Costa Rica.

To make use of these bitchy waves, I decided to grab a boogey board, and the baby, and attempt to make the waves work for me. Just kidding, about the baby part. I dove out into the tepid abyss, and floated, and floated, and floated. The car rental Gods must have been pissed that we took the cars up The Hill because the waves knew what we wanted, and were consistently providing us with the opposite; hopefully the surfers were having better luck around the bend.

I decided to make a coconut cocktail out of the salty lemons being served up, and became one with the tranquil float. Our pre-teen travel companion then joined me in the watery float and we commenced to have a beautifully spiritual discussion about past lives, hypnotherapy, the power of the mind, and iPads; that’s right, we’re deep.


As the menacing thunder-heads rolled towards us, and the howler monkeys (right on cue) began wailing, we spied our luckily-not-too-intrepid group of surfers picking their way along the rocky coast back to the awaiting muddy vehicles. We all had the same unspoken thought in the back of our minds; ‘Get to The Hill, before it becomes a wall of sliding sludge.’

We piled into the mildew mired vehicles and slogged our way back to the The Hill. Our luck had fortuitously shifted and the clouds had not yet unleashed their watery fury on The Hill. We “gracefully” slid down hill, through the criver, and up the much less daunting other side of the hill, and continued our meander down the pot-holed path. Soon after, as we stopped so I could tinkle/urinate on the side of the road, an echoing cacophony of monkey moans reached my ears, as the fat drops of downpour soaked my exposed tushy. Apparently, the car rental Gods don’t appreciate “indecent” exposure.


Coming Soon: ‘The Tale of the I-Thought-You-Were-Right-Behind-Us Waterfall Hike’

Guilt & Forgiveness, Mom Humor, Uncategorized

Part 2 of… To Let the Baby Eat Cake, Or Not to Let the Baby Eat Cake, That is the Question

You made it to Part 2, go you! If you have not yet had the “pleasure” of devouring Part 1 of this scintillating parenting dilemma saga, here is the link, pop on over.


Are other (*ahem* sometimes judgmental) folks watching?

I would love to say I live by the credo, ‘What other people think of me, is none of my business,’ but I do find myself adjusting my parenting tactics just a smidge, depending on who is watching. Is this something I am working on? Yes. Do I someday wish to be a card carrying member of the, ‘What other people think of me, is none of my business’ Club? Absolutely. But, for today, my reality is that I still somewhat care what other people think about my parenting abilities. Well, maybe not all people, but at least those nearest and dearest.

Am I divulging this tiddy bit about myself so you’ll follow my lead? No. But, if you happen to be one of my fellow parents who secretly cares a smidge, or a smatter more than a smidge, about what others think of your parenting, I want you to know that you’re not alone.

Luckily for me, I have a pretty supportive village that is helping me raise my child, and a partner who I feel comfortable engaging in sometimes exhaustingly honest conversation with, about everything, but especially our varying parenting philosophies, methods, and tricks.


Okay, so we care, maybe we don’t want to care so much about those opinions being delivered via a sideways glance, sigh, tensing of facial muscles, uncomfortable body shudder, or outright, “Do you really think that is the best choice for your child?” but we do, we care. What do we do about this? How can we remove all the external (and corresponding internal) chatter from our head and learn to follow the lead of our ‘more wise than we give it credit for’ intuition? We can start by actually listening to our intuition, and not the “sage” advice of great aunt Know-it-All. Many times, our body has a physiological response when our actions are contrary to what our intuition is telling us. My physiological response occurs in my stomach. I experience an ‘I have to poo’ and ‘I feel a tad nauseous’ combo when my actions contradict my intuition, especially if my little sweet noisy angel is involved. Now, every time I feel that pang in my stomach, I head to the bathroom, or I make a conscious decision to listen to my intuition, even if it elicits a sideways eye twitch from an on-looker.


Am I saying ‘No’ just for the sake of saying No?

Even when we are a self proclaimed ‘yes person,’ we sometimes fall into the habit of saying ‘no’ to everything, especially when it’s related to our precocious baby wanting to flex their newly developed skills, or draw on the wall with paint pens.

One day, when I was home alone with Hudson, I suddenly noticed, to my horror, that the only word I had muttered all day was ‘no;’ horrified. Most of my ‘no’s were justified, but it didn’t matter. I was in the process of creating a ‘no baby,’ and he most certainly was born a ‘yes baby,’ who am I to suck the ‘yes’ out of him? I needed to change my tune, or at least my language.

First off, I made the commitment to myself to actually process what Hudson was requesting before shooting off a ‘No.’ Am I saying no just because what he is asking for is an inconvenience to me, or am I saying no to protect the body or property of another living being? If, my ‘no’ originated from my desire to not be inconvenienced, I needed to seriously reconsider that ‘no.’ I want my child to learn, grow, and experiment; if that means I need to clean up the occasional/’all the time’ mess, so be it, my baby is in his lab doing extremely important experiments with his new world, and I spend a few minutes cleaning up the aftermath, no biggie.


If the purpose of the ‘no’ I was about to spit out was to protect another, or their stuff, it was justified, but I needed to rephrase my ‘thall shall not pass’ response. What was my baby learning from the word ‘no?’ To say ‘no?’ That needed to change. I needed to become a participant, not just an observer, in my child’s development. Instead of saying, ‘No, you can not throw your uncle’s keys in the ocean,’ I rephrased it to, ‘I can see that you have the desire to throw something in the ocean. I need to take these keys from you because your uncle uses them to drive his car. If they’re in the ocean, he no drive no car. If you would like to throw something in the ocean, here is a nice big sea shell that is too big for you to choke on.’ Okay, my ‘no’ replacement usually isn’t so wordy, but you get the idea. Instead of saying my robotic ‘no,’ I started to tell little one why I needed him to not do that, and redirect his attention over here, to the sand castle that is waiting to be squashed.


Is the ‘Yes’ I’m giving more for my benefit or his?

On the flip side of the previous few paragraphs, it’s easier to just say yes, well, at least in the short term. In my desire to go from being the ‘no mom’ to ‘yes mom,’ my consents to baby requests began to get out of hand. I started to become addicted to the ease of saying ‘yes’ to questionable requests.

Baby: (Point point point, frustrated grunts.) While trying to reach the remote control that was sitting just out of his chubby handed reach.

Me: (After baby’s eleventh grunt-turned-high-pitch-wail) “Okay fine, here’s the remote.” (Hand him the remote, after removing the batteries.)

Baby: (Grin, and waddle away with his newly acquired precious.)

Me: (Peace and quiet, happy sigh.)

A moment later, the vibrations of a watery kerplunk reach my inner ear and I remember the small tub on the porch that is filled with the perfect ‘remote killing’ elixir, water. It was a goner. I rushed outside and immediately regretted my decision to say ‘yes’ to the ‘I want that thing with buttons’ request from baby, and ‘yes’ to the lazy voice within me that said, ‘Just dump out the tub of water tomorrow.’ Although the yes’ seemed easy at the time. I now had to find time to drive forty five minutes to the ‘Dead Remote Replacement Center,’ so I could watch my ‘so bad it’s good’ TV shows on the rare nights baby is asleep and Eric is working. (He only likes good TV, and baby only likes no TV.)


As this ‘remote in water,’ and similar occurrences, began popping up in direct relation to a ‘yes’ I had dolled out absentmindedly, I realized I needed to put a reign on my use of the ‘y’ word. I was giving an affirmative response to requests my intuition knew I should decline, which would then cause me to turn around and deliver a big fat, ‘NO, don’t do the natural thing a toddler would want to do with that object I just let you have.’ I was confusing my child and myself. Solution? I still say ‘yes’ way too much, and get myself into tricky ‘take backsies’ situations, but not as often. I now attempt to take a pause, and mentally run through the most likely scenario my ‘yes’ will elicit, before spitting out a, ‘Sure, do whatever you want, eat that piece of chocolate cake on the white carpet.’ If my logic and intuition throw back a, ‘Duh, no,’ I muster up the brain power and creativity to find some other fabulously awesome activity my son, and my intuition, will love.


Is it healthy?

Back to the cheesy chocolate cake mentioned in Part 1; should I let the baby try some of the cake he so obviously desires? As I attempted to ponder this question, through the cacophony of baby wails, I spotted a bushel of broccoli sitting on the countertop. Hmmm…. I further pondered, ‘Is it the cake that he wants, or the something new that he wants? He’s never had broccoli before…it’s a long shot, but I’ll try it.’ I sauntered over to the tiny uncooked green trees on the counter and did my best ‘ohh look at this yummy morsel’ performance, and slowly passed over a small batch of the broccoli to my now quizzical baby. He hesitantly reached out and grasped the broccoli, thoroughly examined it, and gave me the most satisfying grin I’ve ever received. He commenced to take a small bite, spit it all over the floor, and walked out of the kitchen leaving a trail of pulverized broccoli behind him. Was I upset? Absolutely not; my child no longer wanted cake and I had the ‘Mommy Aha Moment’ (that I’m sure all you smart parents had long ago,) that if my baby had the unrelenting desire for a new object or activity, that I had no desire to grant him, I could just offer him something else “new”, that was healthy and/or (somewhat) safe; or I could still revert to simply say a firm, ‘NO.’

This parenting thing is hard. But, I’m smiling right at this moment, as I hear my baby opening and escaping through the bedroom door he learned to open this morning, because this is the best non-job job I’ll ever have.


Guilt & Forgiveness, Mom Humor, Uncategorized

To Let the Baby Eat Cake, Or Not to Let the Baby Eat Cake, That is the Question



“Outide, outIDE, OUTIDE!”

Translation, “Mother if you do not take me out into that 106 degree Fahrenheit heat, I WILL wear you down by shoving my tiny Crocs in your lap every seven seconds. And NO, that book you’re trying to distract me with does not amuse me. Outide.”


Baby: (Purposeful finger point.)

Me: “Do you want a strawberry?”

Baby: (Forceful head shake, and more punctuated finger points.)

Me: “Do you want some water?”

Baby: “No, no, no!” (Bordering on hazardous finger points.)

Me: (Internal Dialogue) “Oh, you want that piece of chocolate cheese cake you’ve never had a bite of, therefore you should not know that you should greatly desire it, and I don’t even know where it came from. Did I sleep shop again?”

I then set baby down, because his persistent wiggles are becoming hard to manage, and he plops his squishy-diapered bottom on the floor below the devilish cake and persists to hold an ‘I want that mystery food’ vigil, while screaming of course.

No, this isn't the cake, this is a baby "cake" I made for his birthday, complete with no sugar, no butter, and no eggs. It's pretty much made of applesauce. It's the only cake photo I had, and you can't really see the cake.
No, this isn’t the cake, this is a baby “cake” I made for his birthday, complete with no sugar, no butter, and no eggs. It’s pretty much made of applesauce. It’s the only cake photo I had, and you can’t really see the cake.

Being a parent is hard; it’s also greatly fulfilling, enriching, smile inducing, humorous, etcetera, etcetera, but it’s also really hard.

Where do we draw the line between setting healthy boundaries and just giving the little bugger what he wants, to gain a moment of peace?

I am not the perfect parent, shocking right? But, I do actually think, mull, and ponder the decisions I make regarding my diapered offspring, likely to the point of mild obsession.

These are a few of the questions that zoom through my mind in between my son’s insistent inferred (or sometimes incredibly direct) request (aka demand,) and my decision to grant my assistance in said request, or practice the art of gently redirecting him to a more appropriate activity (I’m still in the finger painting stage of this ‘art.’)


Is it safe?

Good question right? If I grant baby’s request will his health and/or safety be in jeopardy? Seems like this would be a no brainer; but my brain won’t let it be so. If I never let my child partake in activities that may potentially harm him, how will he ever learn how to climb a tree, make paper snowflakes, or blend a smoothie? Yet, on the other hand, handing the 14 month old the knife he’s ‘mine, mine, mine’ing at, and letting him chop up his own apple, probably isn’t the best idea. I usually find myself weighing the potential of the request to be mortal, or just band-aid worthy. Band-aids I can handle; but what if he then develops an intense attachment to the dinosaur band-aids and “they” one day run out of stock? Geesh.


Moral of my dilemma, don’t let baby do anything that could easily lead to an ambulance ride, and consider facilitating his persistent request if I’m able to provide my rapt supervision, while he boldly explores this beautifully challenging world, and learns to expand his own physical and mental capabilities.


Is this a slippery slope?

Letting your bay go diaperless on the sandy, deserted, (and carpetless) shores of Costa Rica is one thing, while allowing a diaperless bottom to roam above our very much carpeted living room at home, is something entirely different. Yes, yes, I know “they” say that you’re supposed to set the same boundaries for baby no matter where you are, to learn consistence, and a lot of other really great developmental stuff. I absolutely get the logic and agree with this philosophy, but I’m also a real live mom who can’t always set consistent boundaries, everywhere. Some moms can, and they are awesome, they’re rockstars, I consider myself a groupie, and I’m okay with that, less pressure.


So yes, I do bend certain boundaries for baby depending on the who, what, where, when, and why. But, when the answer to the following question is ‘yes,’…. ‘Are we at home in an environment where this particular situation will likely arise again, and again, and again?’…… I better stand my ground. For example, the bare bottom poo poo carpet situation; I had to nip that in the butt (pun intended.) How to keep baby from removing his own diaper? Stick some difficult to remove pants on him, now no one can get that diaper off.


Aren’t we blessed that every single one of us is beautifully unique? Even when this means we can’t just do exactly as our best friend, or that mom blog, says to do and have it work perfectly with our custom personality our remarkable one-of-a-kind kiddo? We get to soak in other people’s ideas, opinions, and suggestions, process it all, then do whatever we think is best for our unique families, in the moment, depending on the who, what, where, when, and ‘why did you cover your entire body with purple permanent marker?!’


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post (that I considered too long for one post,) that I will be posting tomorrow. If you’re reading this the day after tomorrow, then Part 2 is already posted. Yay! You’re a rockstar for reading this.

Mom Humor, Uncategorized

Taking a Baby to Costa Rica- Part 4: Collective Bliss

“I’m awake, rested, in Costa Rica, and a giant lizard didn’t eat me in my sleep.”


Let’s celebrate with coffee, maybe mixed with some alcohol, maybe some Baileys.

Celebrate we did, but no Baileys….yet.


Our large group dined half naked, clad in our bathing suits, sporting fresh Farmer’s Tans, or Wetsuit Tans, depending on what part of the world you reside in. Luckily, most restaurants in Costa Rica have a ‘No shorts, no shirts, eh whatever’ mentality, but you better have money hidden somewhere in that bikini top. We feasted on piles, yes piles of moist (don’t you just love that word?) fruit, various forms of eggs, and a delicious mystery sauce contained in a nondescript plastic bottle. One of our teen travelers made the difficult breakfast order of, “Mango.” This simply stumped our server who was likely accustomed to difficult Americans ordering a, “Double and a half shot espresso mixed with soy creamer, a sprinkling of fresh cocoa flakes, a squirt of caramel sauce, and a pinch of fairy dust. Three eggs, one, sunny side down, one, lightly scrambled with a dash of cow’s milk, and one, egg broken but still slightly runny. Got that?” No, he just ordered “Mango.”

Server: “Mango smoothie?”

Us: “No, just one whole Mango.”

Server: “Mango slices?”

Us: “No, just one whole Mango.”

Server: “Cooked mango?”

Us: “No, just one whole Mango.”

Because our kindly confused server could not seem to comprehend this American anomaly, we picked up a whole mango from the barrel of fruit residing by our table and asked for a knife. Now he got it, but refused to allow said teen to devour said mango without some form of assistance. The mango was whisked away and returned a perfectly diced version of its’ former self. Mango good.

The sun was out, the waves were…waving, our bellies were full, and our cell phones didn’t work, life was good.

As I waded through the moist air, observing my fellow waders, I came to the realization that I could have just brought bathing suits, diapers, and bug spray/sunscreen and been just fine. I had no need, or desire, for clothes, and naked babies (big and little) were everywhere.


We covered up our bits and pieces with small pieces of waterproof material and boogied to the beach to let the ocean do what it wanted with us. The water was so warm I had no need to do my shiver shuffle into the waves (first the feet, then the legs, then a few minutes later the bottom half of my torso, and a few minutes after that the breath hold, and a chilly dive into the water.) I just dove in without a single shiver-me-tata. There aren’t many things as spiritually rejuvenating as floating in warm salty water, with the exception of floating in warm salty water with a cup of spiritually infused chilled alcohol.

As I looked back from my new-found briny oasis I observed Hudson having an equal dose of ‘yes’ rolling in the dark wet sand on the beach, with his Nana, who was definitely not rolling in the sand. Eric too, was enjoying a huge dose of ‘stoke,’ surfing in the ‘way too big for my comfort level’ surf further out. Our little family was living in collective bliss. Don’t be surprised to eventually see a ‘We’re Packin’ up the Wagon, and Moving to Costa Rica!’ blog post in the future.


Our final stop was a bamboo jungle house near Puerto Jimenez, in the Osa Peninsula, about three hours South of Dominical, aka, ‘Collective Bliss.’ After we slowly extracted ourselves from the yummy surf and undertook the futile task of rinsing the sticky wet sand off us, and the ‘I want to be dirty’ baby (while battling Pterodactyl mosquitoes,) we piled back in the vehicles and started our caravan deeper into the jungle.

The further we drove, the deeper we fell into total Zen; so deep, Eric almost fell asleep while driving. The passing green jungle excited us, the occasional rain cleansed us, and the visual hunt for wildlife entertained us.

DSCF3384 IMG_3633 IMG_3631

On this particular day, the final game of the 2014 World Cup happened to be taking place, and the two teenage boys, three grown men, one pre-teen boy, and one restless baby boy, traveling with us, were Jones-ing to witness the outcome. When my bladder required a release, we found a little “why are these Americans stopping here?” local hangout in the middle of “somewhere,” that obviously had a huge flat screen television, that was broadcasting the game of Argentina versus Germany. As the boys got their futbol fix, Huddy and the ladies wandered back to the little pool at the back of the establishment. As we wandered, a kind little boy brought an innocent looking pool floatie over to my son, a plastic floatie, not a brown one. My son proceeded to howl like he had seen an aquatic demon. Little did I know my little guy had a serious fear of colorful pool floaties. Who knew? The ironic thing was, that exact same floatie was waiting in my bag to be used by Hudson at the pool of our vacation house. Great.


After Germany was named the victor, we made the final trek to Puerto Jimenez and met up with the cosmopolitan local who would be our chef, comedian, caretaker, and guide for the next week. His name was Luis and he was a jovial, sarcastically humorous, Teddy Bear. He was full of jokes, smiles, and excellent cooking prowess. (He regularly made fresh bread and brownies, enough said.) After stocking up on food at the overpriced grocery store, we followed Luis on the dark road to our awaiting jungle house. It only took 15 minutes, but the potholes and ominously dark jungle made it feel like we had traveled an hour into the arcane abyss. Our primitive minds are instinctually fearful of the unknown, and my primitive mind was on fire the further we drove. “Where the heck are we going?!” When we finally made it, my fear of the unknown subsided and I felt as though I had stumbled across a secluded and humid slice of paradise. The house was an architectural masterpiece. Constructed out of bamboo, our new habitation resembled a luxury tree fortress. Well, maybe not a fortress… All the common rooms were open-air so we truly felt like we were living in, and with, the natural elements, mosquitoes and sneaky monkeys included. If were facing a zombie apocalypse, I would not want to live in that house. Well, maybe the mosquitoes would hold them off. No one likes to be itchy, not even zombies.


As we’re examining the house I immediately pulled the “Baby Card” to score us the downstairs master bedroom with the king-sized bed. Sleeping with a huge baby in a full-bed is less than ideal. And there were no “real” railings upstairs, so there was that.




As we settled in, our welcoming committee of a giant ‘maybe a Tarantula’ spider made himself known, and garnered rapt attention from us terrified, yet mesmerized city slickers. He was much more friendly than the flying bloodsuckers.


After stuffing our faces with Luis’ specialty, slightly mysterious, nachos (that definitely went against my “trying to not eat dairy and meat” diet,) and not having to do dishes, I realized that after two days of traveling, I had landed in heaven. Delicious meal + no cooking + no dishes = Heaven.