Be It Ever So Humble…
(Originally posted January 14, 2013)
I’ve found that returning to my hometown, no matter the circumstances, always offers a sense of comfort. Our lives have been in a pretty constant state of flux over the last several years, and in New York, I don’t think there was ever a sense of us being able to ground ourselves and put down roots. Perhaps that’s why we weren’t destined to stay there. But even though we knew our return to Colorado was only temporary, that sense of homecoming was present from the first morning we woke up there and knew we could, technically, stay as long as we needed.
Our lives acquired a rather routine rhythm pretty quickly—I won’t bore you with lots of the everyday details—but there were several days there that were, in some way, out of the ordinary, so I’ll share some of those with you.
First off, however, there are a couple introductions to be made when describing our life in Colorado. The city of Boulder seems like a good place to start. For anyone who has never been to our hometown, I can’t recommend it highly enough that you pay a visit someday.
The second, extremely important introduction is Tracy’s parents’ dog Sophie. She’s a twelve-year old miniature dachshund, and she’s probably the most adorable dog I’ve ever known. When we’re in CO, we fawn over her beyond belief. The problem is—well, there are several problems. First off, she really doesn’t like us much. I guess that’s not totally true; she just doesn’t really like people that much. She’s not mean or anything (she’s one of the most docile dogs I’ve ever met), but she’s more like a cat than a dog. She generally doesn’t care about being pet, or about getting attention, or about playing, or really about anything much. Except food. She loves food—quite literally—more than life itself. Hence, her dinner time was one of our favorite times out of every day. The minute you ask, “want to eat?” she goes crazy. It’s the one time each day when she was guaranteed to show some interest in us. The other thing about Sophie is that she’s really dumb. Like dumb as a brick. Because of this, we usually call her Stupey Doodle (or just Stupey). That name has also morphed over time into such nicknames as Stewy Monster.
Here’s the little angel now.
Tracy and my families, of course, also played a major role in our stay in CO. We stayed at her parents’ house, but made frequent visits to my mom’s house where she lives with my grandma, as well as visits with my dad, my stepmom Beth, and my half-siblings Emma and Ben. Tracy also has quite the local extended family. Her mom is one of nine siblings, most of whom still live in the area, so we spent a lot of time catching up with all the relatives.
But anyway, on with some highlights of our first month in CO. When we first arrived there, Colorado was just getting some relief from the string of forest fires that seemed to be burning everywhere. That meant a constant haze of smoke hovering around the usually crystal-clear mountains. It was almost like a precursor to what the mountains in CA would look like on a smoggy day.
One of the first things we did just a couple days after arriving was to finally see Brave at the movie theater. We had really wanted to see it when it came out, but we had sworn off seeing movies in NYC. It was just way too much of a hassle there. In New York, you arrive at a movie an hour before it starts, and you are met with a line very much resembling one at a Disney park. You subsequently wait in said line until about twenty minutes before the movie, and then you are admitted into the theater. The movie theater we lived nearest to in New York was one of the biggest, most popular theaters in the city, yet for some reason I will truly NEVER understand, they never took the time to install stadium seating. Now, I have been to movie theaters in some pretty Podunk places, and in this day and age, EVERY theater has stadium seating. Our problem with the theater in NYC not opting to join the late twentieth century and install this “perk” is that Tracy is a relatively short person. Therefore, it could be all but guaranteed that no matter how early we tried to stake out a spot at the movies, or how strategically we planned our sitting situation, someone with a giant head would always swoop in at the last minute, sit right in front of her, and block her view.
My rebellious nature kicking in, the last time we ever saw a movie at that theater in New York, I came prepared. I printed out a sign that said, in large letters, “Seat Out of Order! Do Not Use!” And I taped that sign on the seat in front of the one in which Tracy sat. The movie was packed—as all movies are in NYC—but no one wanted to risk sitting in that chair, and Tracy enjoyed her only unobstructed view at a movie in New York.
But I TOTALLY digress! The other reason we wanted to see Brave in CO was that the movie theater was dirt cheap. By going to the first showing of the day, our tickets were only $4.00 each (a.k.a. a full ten dollars cheaper per person than they would have been in NYC). Anyway, we enjoyed Brave a lot! It may not have totally lived up to the Pixar standard of greatness, but I thought it was really well-done, and had a lot of heart. After the movie, we went to the mall for lunch, and ventured into the Disney Store. It was during one of their “Twice Upon a Year” sales, and we picked up this plush for just $5.00.
August continued to chug along, and our routine at Tracy’s parents’ house solidified further. We took some turns cooking, and we also got to go out to some of our favorite local restaurants. One restaurant that I wouldn’t typically count among our favorites, but which we had the… pleasure(?) of trying out anyway, was Chuck E. Cheese. Tracy’s cousin was turning six years old, so we attended a little party for her there. Having not been to Chuck E. Cheese in probably almost twenty years before this occasion, this is what I gleaned from the experience:
1) The food isn’t as bad as you might expect as long as you play it safe. Our initial inclination was to steer clear of the pizza, because we knew that gross pizza pretty much always tastes the same. After looking at the menu and discussing it with one of Tracy’s cousins, however, we decided to split a Veggie Pizza. This turned out to be a good option because all the veggies disguised the taste of gross pizza, so it wasn’t that bad. Some of the other people in our group decided to branch out and try the Buffalo Wings, and they quickly regretted it.
2) The “audioanimatronics” are terrifying. I didn’t even realize there was an audioanimatronic type show at Chuck E. Cheese, but it was scary in how awful it was. It was all mostly unintelligible gibberish being “sung” by monsters. I’m quite sure that several of the songs were about how to correctly apply sunscreen. The one that stuck in my head the most for the rest of that day was called “SPF.”
3) You’re never too old for a souvenir cup. We all got our drinks in these sweet Chuck E. Cheese cups, and since we opted for that upgrade, we were informed that if we brought them back, we could get free soda in them EVERY time we came to Chuck E. Cheese in the future. Talk about a bargain.
The rest of August honestly flew by. We met up with lots of family, both immediate and extended, and also a couple friends. Tracy’s best friend from her childhood dropped the unexpected bomb on us that she was pregnant, so that threw us for a loop. She actually just had her baby yesterday, so it’s amazing how time flies!
The last weekend of August, Tracy went up to her aunt’s cabin in the mountains with a few of her aunts and cousins for one of their “girls’ weekends.” I was jealous that they got to see lots of animals while they were up there.
And it looks like Tracy played a mean game of horseshoes.
At least I got to hang out with Stupey Doodle back at home. One of the best moments was when she didn’t realize I was home, and I caught her up on the couch (where she is very much not-allowed). Her look of anger at being discovered was priceless.
And speaking of pets, we also found a couple new ones in Tracy’s parents’ backyard in August. Three different toads decided to make themselves at home in the yard, and we thought they were a fun addition. Unfortunately, we found out that, while they’re generally not harmful to humans or dogs, if a dog eats a toad, the dog will die. We didn’t think Stewy would ever be smart enough to accomplish eating a toad, but she also just might have been dumb enough to try. Therefore, we had to relocate the toads to the park down the road. I was sad to see my friend go.
We also went miniature golfing. I don’t really have any fun stories about this excursion, but here are some pictures.
Before we knew it, we had almost spent an entire month in Colorado. We were possibly getting a little over-comfortable, but in the next month we would make a few decisions that would kick our planning for the rest of the move into slightly higher gear.