To my four faithful readers - I apologize for my long silence. I was, of course, busy being on vacation in beautiful Coolorado, as I will now refer to it, because, well, it's just that cool. I won't bore you with a lot of details of the trip, but there were some enjoyable highlights I'll share because I feel like it, and, let's face it, this is my blog and I'll do what I want! So...
-Car ride with sister in law, a 3 yr old, and a 1 yr old. Surprisingly uneventful. It was actually enjoyable. Maybe I psyched myself up to travel with young kids and overprepared, but they're such good little ones... Of course, I was doing most of the driving and little of the entertaining, so perhaps my perspective was a bit skewed ;)
-Gelato that tastes like cake batter. 'Nuff said.
-Sexy Pizza. Yes, there is a pizza place called Sexy Pizza in Denver. And boy did we ever look sexy as we sat out front, cheese dangling from our mouths as we huddled under the minute pieces of shade. (And yes, my pizza was naked* according to Phyllis**)
-A free haircut. Anything that doesn't cost money is okay in my book. This was even better, because my cousin did a phenomenal job. And I don't break out words like that for nothing. Anyone in the Denver area who needs a good haircut, talk to me. I'll hook you up;). (Meaning, of course, that I'll tell you where she works, not that you can get a free haircut. Girl's gotta eat!)
-Good friends. Not to be sappy and sentimental (okay maybe a little), but I really have some of the best friends in the world, and it was so good to be able to see them for a couple days! Plus, who else would sing with me in the pool? And the car? And the mountains?? Oh the beautiful mountains.
-Floating lessons. Some people are sinkers, some are floaters. We're kinda like poo that way. (Sorry, that was in very poor taste, but we used to have a book with all sorts of scientific facts and there was one picture of a boy sitting on the toilet thinking, "Will it be a sinker or a floater?" beside a bit on poop. No, I'm not joking. So now every time I hear "sinker" or "floater" I can't help but think about that book. Wonder where it ended up...) Sorry, tangent. I tried to teach my friend how to float, but she just kept sinking. And it is no problem for me to float...I treaded water for a very long time. I think it has to do with built-in floatation devices...*blush*
-Getting locked in an entryway. Apparently some genius thought it would be a good idea to have a set of doors you could get into but not out of directly before a set of doors that were deadbolted. No signs. No warnings. It was hilarious. We pounded on the door and got jokingly scolded for trying, but hey, we were guests, we didn't know any better. I like to think we made an old man's job just a little more interesting that day.
-Family reunion. 40 people (10 kids age 4 and under)=complete and utter chaos. But fun. My family is crazy (whose family isn't, really?) and we only all get together about once a year. But that's better than a lot of families, I suppose. And there's a reason we only do it once a year...I need that long to recover! Haha. I could fill a lot of time with stories, but most of them would not be amusing at all unless you knew the people, so let's just skip that, shall we?
And finally, a short story about a girl with a dream...a dream to ride down a river full of sharp rocks and angry water on an inflated bit of rubber. Some call it white water rafting. I call it an extremely fun lapse in judgment. Actually, it wasn't anything like a lifelong dream...just a whim. So that's where our story begins...
It was a dark and stormy morning...okay that's a total lie, it was a gorgeous day, but early, and all early mornings seem dark and stormy. Nina got out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. As she woke up more fully, the butterflies started. Perhaps to be more topical, we should say that the white water rapids started in her stomach. Nevertheless, she got ready and went down to meet the rest of the crazies...ahem...the members of her family who were going rafting. Unfortunately, no one else showed up at the appointed time. Nina frantically began calling everyone she could think of. Finally, Bobbin and her mom Flitty joined her, and a few minutes later, Nina's mountain-man brother Ken and cousin Kerry showed up. The party was complete. It was time to depart.
Of course, no one knew exactly where they were going, but, relying on vague signs and mapquest, the group made it to the rafting headquarters. They signed lengthy documents saying that if they died, no one was to blame, and then paid their money. Nina, unfortunately, wore flip-flops for the occasion, and was required to turn in her license for a pair of boots. Lucky for her, they were sexy and black, with just the right amount of holes. They looked especially good with the capris. Really. The group donned bright yellow helmets (better for spotting when someone is catapaulted off the raft) and got in line for life jackets. Now, the trick with the life jacket is to make it just tight enough so you can't get a full breath...too tight, the life jacket will slowly suffocate you, not tight enough, the life jacket will escape you should you end up in the water.
Finally, the groups boarded the bus. The safety talk guy, Barry, started out by asking whose first time it was. A good portion of the people on the bus raised their hands at this, to which Barry replied, "Yeah, I know the first time I rode a bus, I was pretty nervous too!" Hence began the most amusing "here's how not to die" talk that ever existed. Who knew death could be so entertaining? Barry spent a lot of time telling the group how not to die, what to do if they thought they're going to die, and how to prevent others from dying. Having sufficiently scared the majority of the people on the bus, Barry sat down to let them dwell on their life. Sufficient time for the whole life flashback thing. Nina watched out the window as other rafts floated down the river, wondering why they were all sitting on the edge of the rafts, therefore that much closer to death.
Finally, the bus reached its destination. Everyone waddled off the bus in their life jackets and helmets, and congregated. A photographer wandered around snapping pictures of the groups, perhaps for identification purposes. At last, Nina's group was called forward. Their raft guide was an outdoorsy girl with super long dreds. She gave them a bit more of a death talk and asked who wanted to go in front. Ken and Kerry were the strongest, so they volunteered. Aunt Flitty was excited to be the "queen" and not have to paddle. Nina and Bobbin sat in the middle. Armed with paddles, the raft pushed off and they were away!
The very first big rapid was the biggest of the entire trip, a level 4. Immediately the raft headed straight for a rock. "High side!" yelled the guide. Confused, each person went in their own direction. Thankfully, the rock showed mercy and everyone stayed on the boat. A paddle high five sealed their success at tackling a very difficult rapid.
Along the way, the rafters were invited to jump out of the boat and take a short swim. Not willing to risk an inability to get back into the boat, Nina stayed put. However, Bobbin, Ken, and Kerry all took a dip. Kerry almost did not make it back to the boat, and was taunted by Barry in the boat behind, who said, "You're gonna have to swim harder!" and showed no inclination to offer service.
As the rafting adventure drew to a close, Barry showed his penchant for spontenaity one more time. His raft drew ahead of Nina's, and as they passed under a bridge, Barry stood up, grabbed the bridge, and hung like a monkey. As Nina's raft passed under the bridge, Barry dropped, and achieved a soft landing...on top of Aunt Flitty! After a bit of bumper rafts to return Barry to his abandoned crew, Nina's raft reached its destination, and the end of the adventure had come at last.
The groups headed back to headquarters, where Nina gratefully retrieved her license, although she was reluctant to turn in her sexy boots. The group bought a CD of pictures showing them all looking very suave, like professional rafters (the looks of terror were totally staged). All purchased t-shirts as proof they had survived. Nina and Ken got ones that read, "I enjoy a good dump." Perhaps not very professional or mature, but stinkin hilarious. The end.
(Guess what. Nina was ME. Had you fooled, didn't I? Thanks to my fellow rafters, Ben, Kitty, Robin, and Cherie, and the entertaining guide, Gary.)
(Disclaimer: This story should in no way reflect my writing abilities. It is just for fun, has not been edited or checked for...well...anything! Take it as it is and enjoy!)
* Naked pizza = Cheese pizza. You might, like me, say that cheese is a topping, but to quote my buddy Phyllis**, "Saying a pizza isn't naked because it has cheese on it is like saying I'm not naked, I have skin on."
** Name has been changed to protect the identity of someone who might not want to be affiliated with me. (Is that name choice okay with you, Andrea?)