Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dealing with Denver

So last night after I got home, I started to write my travel blog of my adventures in Denver. I was so bored writing it that I knew you'd die of boredom reading it- so I put it off. I'll see if I can't be a bit more creative today.

Don't let that in anyway lead you to believe my trip was boring. It was so far from boring that normal life is going to seem very humdrum for a while.

A few weeks ago my Lisa friend told me she had a buddy pass expiring and would I like to come out to Denver for a few days. Does a bear sit in the woods? Of course I'd like to go to Denver! I didn't even have to ask for work off, it was my regular weekend off.

I flew out Thursday afternoon. When Lisa was able to get off work, we drove to her house and played with her cute baby, Justin for a while then went to a movie. We're movie premier buddies- and this was as close as we could get to the premier of The Host. Good enough- and I didn't even have to lose sleep. It was surprisingly good. I thought it would be kind of embarrassing like the Twilight debacle.

The next day we had lunch at Old Chicago (if there is not Old Chicago in heaven, I don't want to go!) and then home to watch a movie while Justin napped.

That evening she drove me to Desiree's work and dropped me off. I'd gotten all fancied up and Des and I drove downtown to see a play. First we had dinner with Tina and Lesley (Tina just got engaged- and Lesley just got a new phone that fell in the toilet, so they both had pretty big news!) at Little India. It was sooo good- but I was so full from lunch that I could barely eat anything.

The play was so good! Sense and Sensibility the Musical. I'll tell you, I think it was so good because I went in with some seriously low expectations.  It was either going to be awesome, or the kind of thing where Jane Austen was rolling in her grave. The music was actually acceptable, and the acting was fantastic. I laughed my head off- and even cried once.

After the play, I had a minor meltdown on the roof of the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Crying to Des that I didn't want to go back to Utah where I am always alone and don't really have any friends. I never knew what a needy people person I was till I moved here. I've always been surrounded by friends- but  here my friends are much fewer and farther between.
Anyway, after that, we met back up with Tina and Lesley for pie. Hanna also joined the throng. I haven't seen her since I moved out almost three years ago!!! 

Saturday, Lisa and I wrangled Justin as we tried to watch conference. Between sessions we got an Anthony's pizza and Ben and Jerry's ice cream. They have my ice cream. That right there is reason enough to move back to Denver. Enough said.  And Anthony's is the best NY style pizza I've found outside Jersey.

After conference, I met up with my old manager from the [cough] bank and her family. I loooove her family! We had such a great time at dinner. I've known her son since he was about five years old- and her daughter was only a few months old when I left.

The conversation at dinner:
Me: Austin, you're so handsome I can't get over it! (he blushes and looks away)
Zoe: [pouty face] What about ME???
Me: You're beautiful!
Zoe: [matter of factly] I know. [well, duh] What about Daaaaddy?
Me: Daddy is also handsome.
Zoe: [satisfied, crosses her arms and glares at me] and Mommy? 
Me: Mommy's very beautiful too.
Zoe: Yup! [loses interest and moves on]

After Chris took the kiddios home, Amanda and I spent a few hours- just talking. We wandered the park meadows mall and retraced our old haunts in Parker. We made some pretty awesome memories in that town, too good to be forgotten easily. It was really, really good to see her. She is another one I haven't seen since I moved- so it was nice to spend some good quality time with her. She is very much a kindred spirit.

Sunday morning I got up and headed to the Carroll's for conference. They had their children ever so reverently sitting around a table coloring or working on some cute project to help keep them engaged during conference. I wish I'd had so much to keep me occupied. I tried playing with my iPad, but honestly, I didn't get a whole lot out of it.

I stayed for dinner and family prayer. I felt I'd overstayed my welcome a little- but it was just so nice to be in their home.

Monday was my last day. We got up early to make the most of it. Hanna and Lisa's friend, Sharley met up with us and we all drove up to Boulder to the Celestial Seasonings factory. I've been there before, but I still love it anyway. It just smells so good. That peppermint room- YOW!

I even got brave and drank some of the tea this time- I usually fore go because I really don't like tea (we call it tea here, but it's really an herbal infusion that contains no tea whatsoever). Did you know that some teas curdle milk? yeah... I didn't either. I learned that the hard way. Ick.

We all took turns bouncing Justin around. Poor kid. It was a long day for him.

But, regardless of the tea, you get to wear these super sexy hair nets when you go into the factory. I'm pretty sure I should take this look on the road.

Since we were in Boulder, we seized the opportunity to go to Beaujo's. That's all I should have to say: Beaujo's. That is all.

I had to laugh though, if you remember this post, you'll agree that it was funny that at one moment while we were waiting for our food, I looked around the table and saw this:

The ride home was filled with a few tears, a few tantrums and lots of apple sticks being shoved up noses.  And that was just Hanna and me.

Alas the time came for me to pack my bags and hit the road. I am very VERY grateful to Matthew and Lisa for letting me crash with them and steal their car for a couple of days. They were very gracious hosts.

The trip home was an adventure in and of itself.  Last week when Lisa looked at returning flights for me, there were 50 open seats. Somehow during those four days the plane filled up. Since I'm flying on a buddy pass, I'm basically the dirt underneath the low man on the totem pole when it comes to being allowed on a flight. So we left for the airport a little early so Lisa could figure out how to get me home. 

There were three open seats and I was the fourth standby so it wasn't looking good. She started looking for alternate routes. Then the wind came. We'd heard rumors of a storm a-brewin'. It was supposed to hit Tuesday, but already flights were being re-routed and/or cancelled. It was looking worse and worse. I had to work the next day but it was looking like I'd either be late- or have to call in.

She asked if I wanted to just try again in the morning- not really. If Denver was already closing up, there'd be no getting out in the morning. So she booked me on the flight to Phoenix. I'd have to sleep in the airport then fly out early early in the morning to get back to Salt Lake. I was fine with that. I even started to fantasize a little bit (I have a great imagination that keeps me entertained to no end) and getting excited about my little detour adventure. Just then, Lisa told me that due to the storm, some meeting somewhere had been cancelled, and five seats just opened up on the original flight. So she printed me up a boarding pass and hugged me goodbye.

I was quite literally the last person on the plane. The jet way behind me was totally void of life.

Because I was the last person on the plane, naturally there was no room for my carry on bag. I had to unpack the breakable stuff and gate check the bag. I was fine with that- I used to do it all the time. But Southwest isn't like Delta- when they gate check your bag, they put it in with the other baggage and send it to baggage claim instead of giving it back to you right as you de-plane. But seriously, not a biggie.  Or was it...?

The flight was full so I of course got the middle seat. I felt sorry for my row mates- I hugged myself the entire flight trying to take up as little room as possible. We were on the runway for about a half hour. A lot of planes ahead of us were turning around. People started to wonder if they'd cancel us. I refused to believe it. I'm a lucky traveler and I was determined to get home!

My positive vibes paid off and we were cleared for take-off. It was a bumpy ascent, but you all know that I believe a flight without turbulence is a total waste. I LOVE turbulence! It's like a free roller coaster ride in the sky.

When we touched down in Salt Lake, I headed to baggage claim. I stood there like a schmuck with 3,000 other people. One by one though, they gathered their bags and rolled away. I still stood there. And stood. And stood. A handful of other people had the same looks on their faces as I the oh-crap-where-is-my-stuff look. The carousel stopped, and we all herded like cows to the baggage claim office.

I don't envy those girls their jobs. Seriously. They get nothing but pissed off people because the only time you talk to the people in that office is when the airline loses your stuff. Bleh. What a job. Anyway, when it finally got to me, they told me because I was on a buddy pass, that when/if my bag was found, I'd have to come get it, they wouldn't deliver it to me. I was a little angry, but really the only thing I needed in the suitcase right away was my journal. 12 years in a row starts to become a habit you can't do without, ya know? but again, I started to fantasize about all the things I would get to buy to replace the stuff in the bag. I was really excited to go buy all new makeup when someone came in the office to say there'd been a jam in the carousel and he sent up all the bags that were stuck. Mine was among them.

See? lucky traveler.  Also while I was in line, I found out that the later flight from Den-SLC had been cancelled. And I because I had been booked on the Phoenix flight, I got a phone call from them as well, that flight had also been cancelled. So as it stood, I was the last person on the last flight out of Denver. I am one lucky bug.

Trip stats:

Movies: 3 (at least that I can think of right away)
Pizza: 2
Pasta/Rice dishes: 2
Easter candies: too many
Pints of ice cream: 2 1/2 (and I'd do it again right now if I could)
Stolen pens: 6
Friends: Who needs a number? It's enough that they were there. I love them. I miss them.

Thanks guys!

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