And the adventure continues with Monday and our visit into the city!
I woke up super excited and more than ready to see Allerz. The last time I saw her face-to-face was when she came out to California seven years ago. I’ve missed her so much. Almost like she could sense my awakening, she texted me about five minutes after I rolled out of bed, listing all of the stuff we could do today and letting me know her ETA.
I’m not joking, I spent pretty much the entire time waiting for her, hovering by the window waiting for her car to pull up. When I saw her, I was up and gone in a blink. I literally ran up to her for hugs. Big hugs. Fuck, I have missed this girl so much!
Our first stop was to the library. Allerz works at a library up in Denver, so whenever she’s in a new area of Colorado, she gets a library card. She collects them. She also does research on things that could be useful in her own branch.
Once we finished at the library, we parked downtown (or, well, as downtown as Colorado Springs gets… it’s a lot less city-like than I remember… but maybe I’m just so used to San Diego) and started out on foot to explore.
Our second stop of the day was a candy store. Because we just have noses for this kind of stuff. I bought more than $50 worth of candy, because I have a problem. I still have most of it in my fridge, too. So much chocolate. I bought this giant hunk of chocolate peanut butter fudge that I can barely stomach because it’s so sweet.
I had to insist on buying Allerz’s candy for her. She drove all the way down to CS to see us, I wasn’t going to let her pay for anything else.
After the candy shop, we just walked around and did some window shopping and Pokemon hunting. We found this sign with these made-up Pokemon names on it during our trek. We were really confused! The next day I did a quick internet search and it turns out the names are all from some Reddit post where someone who knows nothing about Pokemon tries to name the original 151. Reddit is not a good research material, kids.
We stopped in a bento place for lunch. Once again, I had to insist on paying for Allerz. Pup actually took her wallet from her until I’d paid. I… yea, I don’t think she was really fond of that and I kind of wish he hadn’t done it.
We sat at this tiny little table that made Pup look like he was sitting at some kind of Fisher Price kid’s toy. When the food came up, I think he offered to get it just so he could stretch his legs!
These were big bentos! We didn’t expect nearly as much food as we got. We had to throw half of it out, which was disappointing. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be near a fridge anytime soon and the day was so warm, there’s no way we could have taken it with us.
After that, we went into a shoe shop because they had some amazing stuff in the window. I ended up buying two pairs of shoes because I have no impulse control (and also no forethought on how I would get them home, because we only had the one suitcase and it was already pretty full). But they’re cute as sin, so it’s kind of okay! Kind of.
After I’d spent a small fortune in the Springs, we drove out to Garden of the Gods, which is a gorgeous national natural landmark of beautiful red rocks and green trees, back dropped by Pikes Peak.
It’s so pretty.
By this point, it was kind of dreary and had been raining off and on. That’s how Colorado works. You can experience all four seasons in a day. It’s impressive. Even though the sky was cloudy, it still made for some wonderful shots.
We wandered around in the visitor center and took some more pictures from their terrace, because no seriously so pretty.
After we finished there, we headed back into the city to do more shopping. Allerz is a biologist (marine biologist specifically, but she loves all animals and all of their bits). She, not unlike Pup and myself, kind of collects dead animal parts. She had a swordfish sword and a shark’s jaw and lots of things in jars. For science.
She apparently has good luck finding these sorts of things at antique shops, so that’s where we headed to. I’ve never seen much dead animal bits in antique stores, personally, but I also don’t live in a mountain town where dead things are common decor. People in California are kind of weird about filling their homes with dead creatures. Not sure why.
Unfortunately, she didn’t find any dead bits, but I found a whole mess of rocks! And my rocks, I mean gemstones. I got a couple bracelets, a few small stones, a big ol’ hunk of rose quartz.
Sadly, when I pulled out my card to pay, they said their machine was down and could only take cash. Luckily, my ex is generous and kind and intelligent enough to know that you should always carry cash on a vacation. So, he picked them up for me.
Allerz, in her great act of vengeance for us not letting her spend money, pulled a dollar out of her back and threw it on the counter with a triumphant, “HA!” Which really, was just adorable.
From there, we headed to an art supply store. I’m not an artist (at least, not as far was drawing or sculpting goes, although I would like to learn sculpting for cake decorating reasons), so I was a little lost.
But! They had an array of Gelly Roll pens I haven’t seen since Comic Con 2012. Also, individual Sharpies in every color imaginable! ALSO ALSO! They had these notebooks, which I highly recommend to any creative journaler or SMASH booker.
It has a half and half layout, with a place to draw (or put a photograph, or whatever) at the top, and then some lines for writing a little blurb at the bottom. Allerz said they’d make good field notebooks. They had a half size (which I got) and a full size, plus a full size with the space for drawing to the right and writing to the left in a column layout.
I fell in love the second I saw it. I love my grid paper Moleskine, but I’m also always willing to try out new things.
From there our day started to wind down and we decided to close out the adventure with some ice cream at a place Allerz used to go a lot when she was younger, Josh and John’s.
Now. Throughout this day, we had been constantly Pokemon hunting. We’re Pokemon Go nerds. Allerz, you may have noticed in the pictures, is wearing a Pikachu shirt. This is relevant.
As we were standing in the long line, a little girl comes up to her and says, “That’s Pikachu!”
“Yes, it is!”
Thus begins the greatest evolution of friendship in the history of all time. Allerz starts showing this little girl (and her family, behind us) how to play Pokemon Go. She’s so distracted by her new status as Poke-Guru, that Pup and I don’t even have to argue with her to pay for her ice cream.
We get our noms and head outside, where we end up running into the little girl and her family again. Once more, Allerz has been recruited as the resident Pokemon Master (honestly, there’s no one more suited to the job). To Allerz’s great amusement and confusion (amusion), this little girl just plops herself right in Allerz’s lap to play with her phone.
It was amazing. Pup and I were standing there watching and laughing, while Allerz was just killing it at passing on this knowledge to the next generation.
But that’s not the best part.
As we start to go, Pup points out, “You know that guy with them, he’s the owner of the store. His picture was up when we first came in.”
Allerz goes, “What? No!”
So, of course, we have to go back and ask. And yes, this little girl’s grandfather is indeed Josh of Josh and John’s. She had to get a picture with him and gush over how she’d been going there since before she was born (her mother went a lot).
It was a great way to end the day.
She dropped us back off at Jan and Phil’s house and we hugged a lot. We swore it would not be another seven years before we visited again, and it won’t be. I’m almost thirty. I can go out to Denver any time I want (finances permitting).
We got back in and said good night and goodbye to Jan and Phil, since they would be up and gone to work before we even woke up, most likely. Pup and I, by some miracle, managed to pack my new shoes into the suitcase with everything else. And by this I mean, Pup Tetris-ed everything in while I came back every three minutes with something new saying, “Can you fit this in there, too?” and he would glare at me.
Our exciting conclusion will post tomorrow with the trip home and a few general thoughts on the whole thing.
I love you all.