Colorado, Part One: Family and Freak Outs

As you may recall, I spent last weekend in Colorado visiting my family. And wow, let me tell you. That was a trip and a half. I’m having to break it into three parts. I’m starting with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; Monday tomorrow; Tuesday and a little extra on Monday.

Friday:

We left early in the afternoon on Friday, because we weren’t entirely sure where the parking lot we were leaving our car at was. We stopped at IHOP for breakfast on the way. I picked that day to try something new, because why have stability during a stressful trip? I got the Classic Breakfast Crepes, if you’re curious. They were okay, but not great. I doubt I’ll get them again.

We got to the airport where the stress was a little overwhelming. I did get a message from my friend Allerz, saying that she had Monday off and we could hang out then. That helped my mood a lot.

Fri 1

The view from the plane.

The plane ride into Denver was okay. I pretty much just listened to music and failed to nap. Then, for some reason, instead of renting a car and driving the hour from Denver to Colorado Springs, we had a forty minute layover (which Pup and I spent Pokemon hunting as we made our way to our gate) and then flew into Colorado Springs.

Fri 2

Pup was not eased by the many “Tornado Shelter” signs we saw.

My uncle Rich came to pick us up at the airport in CS. I was surprised by how much older he was, then I remembered it’s been twelve years since I’ve seen him. Of course he’s not forty anymore. He took us to his and my grandfather’s house for the night (we didn’t stay the whole weekend, but it was too late to go to my aunt’s place).

My grandfather is kind of… well… he’s very old and… let’s say set in his ways. He can be very loud and very abrasive. He once called me a slut for defending my older brother, who he was calling ungrateful and spoiled (if you knew my brother, you would know that is just an outright lie). He’s not… a stable person, let’s say. And when he starts on politics… oh. Just. I’ll spare you.

So, going into this trip, I was concerned about Pup’s mental state. Because he’s a very logical person, an individualist, but also almost as hard-headed about things he believes in as I am (almost). I foresaw much clashing between the two of them.

But, surprisingly, my grandfather was very well-behaved. He didn’t start in on how “the Democrats are ruining this country” or “Hillary will destroy America” (I thought it was supposed to be Obama who was going to destroy America, but whatever you say, grandpa). We all had a nice conversation about what everyone has been up to and the miraculous wonder that is Netflix.

Pup and I went to bed pretty early. He was just tired from the trip and I was quitting the conversation while it was still pleasant.


Saturday:

The five of us (my mother, my uncle, my grandfather, Pup, and myself) went to Waffle House for breakfast. The food was pretty good. I’ve never had hashbrowns smothered in country sausage gravy, but I’m glad it was something I’ve experienced, now. Again, the conversation was surprisingly pleasant.

After that, my Aunt Jan and Uncle Phil met us back at grandpa’s house. That’s when grandpa started in on the political garbage. I just got up and left, but Pup actually engaged. Grandpa was happy to hear he’s not a democrat, but was less happy to hear he’s a libertarian (I can only imagine how he’d react if I told him I was a social anarchist). For my grandpa, it’s Republican or bust, although he and Rich did change their affiliation to Independent for this election, because even he knows Trump is a complete idiot.

Mom, Pup, and I crammed into the back of Jan and Phil’s car to head to their house to get situated. There was a lot of pleasant conversation and getting to know each other, then we piled back in the car to go out to their weekend house in Black Forest (they bought a run-down little place on about eight acres of land and they’ve done wonders cleaning it up and renovating) for a family BBQ.

Sat 1

A nice little panorama I took of their backyard in Black Forest.

Grandpa and Rich met us out there shortly after we got there and much more chatting ensued. We took a quick tour of their property, which really is huge and so pretty, and I was so tired from walking. More chatting and some minor arguing happened.

Sat 2

L-R: Mom, Phil, Rich, Grandpa (yes, he’s wearing a Police Lives Matter shirt… yes… I know…), the back of Jan’s head

It was when we were making the food that the real drama-llama started. Mom, Jan, and I were in the kitchen, prepping food, while the boys were outside talking. And then we could hear the yelling start as my grandpa and Rich got into each other.

Honestly, it wouldn’t be a family vacation if there wasn’t some screaming.

But, things calmed down fairly quickly, especially after the food came out. It was delicious! My Aunt Jan is a great cook. So is my mom. I come from a family of talented chefs. I think it’s the Italian blood.

After that we headed back to Jan and Phil’s place, where we all talked a little bit more, watched some of the Olympics, and then again Pup and I crashed early.


Sunday:

Most of Sunday was spent inside just hanging out. This was the actually vacation-y, relaxing part of our trip.

Jan made pancakes and sausage in the morning (which was delicious, oh my gaw, that sausage was amazing). A lot of fun was had over trying to get rid of a wasp nest I found up in their gazebo. Mom and Pup were like, “Oh, cool. Dead wasps.” And Jan and I were like, “EW GROSS!” Basically, my aunt and I are pretty much the same person.

No, seriously, I’m probably more like my Aunt Jan than anyone else in my family. We have the same picky taste in food, we both will only drink milk through a straw (because it tastes better that way), we both think bugs are gross, we could both easily live off of Oreos and Cheetos (both of which she had in abundance). We are also both incredibly cute, but that’s a given. 😉

Sun 2

This little bunny apparently just comes and chills in their front yard. He was there for HOURS. We got close to him, too.

After breakfast, Pup and I took a walk to a small park to do some Pokemon hunting. There wasn’t much around to be caught, but I evolved all of my Pidgeys for some ridiculous XP. Because I’m a nerd. So there you go.

We were only out for a half hour, forty minutes, but I burned like I’d been out all day! It was absurd. I guess because the air is thinner or there’s less ozone up there or something. I don’t know the specifics. I just know I’m still crispy a week later.

Sun 1

You know you’re jealous of my mad skillz.

Pup and I spent most of the day napping and watching Star Trek down in the office we were staying in. Neither one of us gets much sleep, so we took full advantage of not having to work.

For dinner, Jan mad spaghetti and chicken parmigiana and eggplant parmigiana. Again, everything was delicious.

Later in the evening we came to a horrifying realization, though. See, a few days prior to our arrival, there was a huge hailstorm. The worst most anyone in the area had ever seen. We’re talking hailstones, without exaggeration, the size of tennis balls. Many, many cars were damaged.

Pup and I were planning to rent a car the next morning to drive up to Denver and see Allerz. Except, because of all the damaged cars, residents needed to rent to get around. There were no cars available to rent.

I frantically texted her and she, like the blessed angel she is, said that she could drive down to us if needed. I thanked her profusely, because I was just lost trying to figure out how to get up to Denver via public transport. I also told her I would pay for everything. This is relevant.

With that crisis averted, Pup and I called it an early evening again. Remember, we get about no sleep usually. We were all about those Z’s.


On Monday, we got to see my darling little sister. That deserves a post all on its own. I’ll be back with part 2 tomorrow.

I love you all.

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