Thursday, March 07, 2013

Ultimate Road Trip Day 3: Rocky Moutain "Hi"

It turns out the Tooth Fairy does find people on vacation; she just changes her m.o.  She leaves the tooth under the pillow, for a keepsake, and puts a surprise for the kid under a cup in the bathroom (fifty cents in our case.)  It's good to know.

Sometimes when I take the girls out, to a public place - restaurant, store, etc. - I get the comment, "You've got your hands full!"  I think people are being kind of friendly, kind of sympathetic.  I find it funny because almost everyone I know has more kids than me, and none of them think I have my hands full.  Then we go somewhere new, and it's interesting to see what other people see. 

I wouldn't say I've got my hands full.  I'd say I am just one part of a happily well-oiled machine.

We flew across Kansas today.  I thought it would take all day to get to Denver, like it has taken all day to get to our other destinations.  But I failed to take a few things into account.  Like, the speed limit is 75mph the whole way.  There are no cities, and therefore no city traffic, in the span.  And you gain an hour in time zones when you enter Colorado.  So, we left our hotel nice and early and made 150 miles before our morning rest stop, where we played on ice patches, ran relays, and everyone found the perfect pine cone.
We made another 200 before lunch, which consisted of McDonald's happy meals and a stop into WalMart for lollipops, blank notebooks, and sleeping pills (I am still not sleeping well.)  We never even made our afternoon rest stop because we were so close, and we checked into our hotel near the airport at the heavenly hour of 3:30 p.m. local time.  The girls watched cartoons while I laid on my back with my eyes closed for an hour, then made some calls and checked things on the internet.

Not that it didn't feel like a long day.  Kansas is one long, flat state.  A couple of bluffs offered variety, and a few miles of wind turbines were the landscape highlight of the day.  I can't cross Kansas without thinking of my friend Jenny Trapp.  She was my church friend when I was about Hazel's age.  I liked her because she was freckled and tomboyish and made me laugh, which made church way more fun.  When we were ten she moved to Lawrence, KS, and became my first pen pal.  We wrote each other funny letters for a couple of years, and then when I was 12 I got to fly by myself to visit her.  We went to a music camp at the University of Kansas for a week, and goofed off whenever we were home.  After that, you know how those years are.  Letters trickle off.  Your personality and social life shift a lot.  We completely lost touch.

In 1998, I was running a 5K race at BYU.  A girl fell into pace and asked if she could run with me; we struck up a conversation as we jogged.  Turned out she was from Lawrence, so I excitedly asked if she happened to know Jenny.  She said she did, and was sorry to be the one to tell me Jenny had committed suicide the year before.  I was, of course, shocked.  Immediately remorseful at losing touch.

A few years later I was in Lawrence for an academic conference.  I looked up Jenny's parents in the phone book, and sat, holding the phone, wondering if I should call.  I didn't know if they would remember me, or what I would possibly say.  I lost my nerve, and never dialed that number.  This is a sad story, and I relived it today as I drove across that great middle state.  But when it was done, I went back to Jenny as I knew her - athletic, fun, goofy, and a really great friend with neat handwriting.  I picture her in a high-collar white blouse, gold necklace, and flowered corduroy skirt, with a classic 80's bi-level haircut.  I like thinking about her.  No one so great should be forgotten.

As of this writing, Ed made his train, which means he should make his flight, which means he will be joining us here sometime after midnight.  Tomorrow we have to haul our rears over the mountains and hopefully to Salt Lake in time for the rehearsal dinner.  Besides his stimulating company, I am looking forward to having his help with 1) rest stops, 2) driving, and 3) teeth brushing.  Hotel sinks are surprisingly tall, and with no step stools provided, it is a real pain to lift everyone up for prolonged swishing and spitting. 

I'm super happy to be in Denver.  I love it here; it's where Ed and I were married.  We lived in Boulder for 6 years, which is the only place in Colorado cooler than Denver.  I'm not necessarily super happy to be driving into a snowstorm in the mountains tomorrow, but it can't be helped.  We had dinner tonight with my friends Kat and Margaret (and our collective eight kids.)  Catching up with them was phenomenal, we just picked up where we left off, as is always the case with true friends.

Daily Report
Miles: 546
DVD:  Kiki's Delivery Service
Activity: IQ Fit and IQ Twist 
Poppy: her favorite toy phone from home, which I've been hiding for 2 weeks so it would seem like new
Snack: Ring Pops
High Point:  Hazel - watching Kiki; Ginger - "Everything.  It was my favorite day."; Poppy - "driving" and bringing Tyrone into the hotel; Kari - at first it was spotting my first mountain from about 100 miles east of Denver, but in the end it was, of course, seeing my friends
Low Point: Enviously watching Poppy take two substantial naps in the car, and realizing just how tired I am

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