Kim was a Diet Pepsi addict. From the day I met her, she was always drinking the stuff. We would literally go through cases of it in a couple of weeks – I would buy three 36-packs every time I went to Sam’s Club. The last time I bought any for her was 5 October of 2020 – I bought three 36-packs. Two remain.
When we first moved to this house, I remember having to run up to the Canton Meijer to buy the stuff for her when I would take the cars to gas them up – I would go get gas in mine, come home, grab hers, and put gas in it, too. I think that ended when I went out for my first launch with Ford. After that, Kim had to gas her own car.
Sometimes, she’d run out of pop, and either she or I would make a run up to the nearest store to get some. She preferred the cans or the single-serve bottles, but she would tell me to just pick her up a couple of two-liter bottles “to save money”. “DP” she called it. A couple of two-liters would last her a week or so back then. It wasn’t really until somewhere around 2000 that she would have a “Bubba Keg” mug full of ice and Pepsi all of the time. I would constantly spill the thing out because she would just add more Pepsi to it and top up the ice. It had to be a watered-down horror.
I hated the stuff, and I worried that it would kill her. Maybe it did. Who knows. I’m pretty sure the beer had a hand in it, though.
Prior to and just after we were married, we would grab a case of “La Beer,” as she called it, when going to parties or family gatherings. It worked nicely for such because, back then, I liked it (I hadn’t yet become the “beer snob” I am today) and the beer drinkers in our combined family liked it, too. And, back then: it wasn’t a problem. She’d get “full” after a couple and wouldn’t want anymore. Frankly, prior to about 2002, I can’t say I really ever saw her drunk more than once, and that time was after a big vendor Christmas party in ’94, and EVERYONE had too much to drink. But, at some point, something snapped, and “La Beer” became a force unto itself for her.
I remember calling home when on a launch and hearing it in her voice. And I remember not wanting to talk anymore once I recognized it. Honestly, launching is a hard, hard life for a married couple; especially a married couple with young children, and it’s the young engineers that tend to get sent out. I still think that it was my job that caused her to slip into alcoholism, and I truly wish I had noticed it in time to change careers – “golden handcuffs” or not.
But the Diet Pepsi is still here, right next to the mini-fridge I bought to house our sauces, where she would use the built-in can caddy to keep a few cans cold for herself and whoever else would come over and want one. I remember the neuropathy from the Folfirinox causing the cold to be painful, and having to get the Pepsi for her and pour it for her into, at that time, the big plastic cup she got from Harry Potter Land at Universal Studios. And then the day came that she couldn’t suck through a straw anymore, and “DP” became a thing of the past…
Jillian and I went to Sam’s club this afternoon to stock up on a few things that we only purchase there. It really felt strange not to be putting a few boxes of DP into the cart.