Annual Vacation Odyssey! and a Rocky Mountain High

I’ve missed you. I hope you’ve missed me. Would you believe me if I said I spend a percentage of each waking hour wishing my fingers were tapping on a keyboard? Probably not. But it’s the truth. When I say this to Hot Firefighter Husband, he says, Then write! Just write! Do it! and I think, I will! I will write today!

Then the oldest child calls from the school nurse’s office because her toe is bleeding and the youngest child has forgotten the journal she covered in flowered wallpaper and the middle child is calling from the bus stop because THERE’S A TURTLE MOM IT’S DYING PLEASE COME RIGHT NOW HOLD ON I JUST HAVE TO TUCK AN ORGAN BACK UNDER THE SHELL and then I have to fold clothes, cook dinner, and watch Rachel Maddow reconfirm the burgeoning apocalypse.

Nevertheless, I persist (See what I did there?) and I’ve come back to you. This summer passed in a mercurial blink, which had not happened since before kids. Usually I’m all Why can’t we have year-round school? and Of course you’re taking the bus, because that means you’re out of the house longer.

This year, though, I came to depend on lazy mornings, late dinners, and sweaty workouts. Really, I like sweating. Anyway, since the kids are back in school and the summer of 2017 has been tucked away inside a sandy beach towel (except for the ongoing extreme heat which has absolutely nothing to do with global warming), I’m going to give you the flyby version of our Annual Vacation Odyssey.

We met the husband’s family in Estes Park, Colorado for a reunion. Estes Park resembles an old western hippie town with the hotel that inspired The Shining staring down from a nearby hill. It’s at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park, and from the heart of the town you can get to some remote trails and mountainsides within minutes. We hadn’t been in Estes Park for more than an hour when we encountered two enormous brown bears play-fighting behind the liquor store. How cool is that? Less cool: we saw the bears because we were climbing a giant rock behind my sister-in-law’s rental house, which was heavily decorated with swastikas.** For real. They were carved into the stone floor of a weird cave room adjacent to the house. The cave room was full of stuffed dead animals, skeletons, and ancient pictures of unfriendly white men who looked like Germansnamed Heinrich.

**My sister-in-law called to complain about the decor, and the property manager claimed the swastikas were actually Navajo peace symbols.

Husband and I and the kids stayed in a great little house just uphill from town, which meant the children could walk by themselves to get ice cream every day, or twice a day, or whatever, we were on vacay, mofos. We LOVED the house until the VRBO owners gave us a bad rating for “cleanliness” after we left. This infuriates me because I did, in fact, strip the beds, sweep the kitchen floor, and wash and fold most of the towels. I think the bad rating was because the girls ate popcorn in their room and I didn’t vacuum up the kernels, and I didn’t vacuum up the kernels because why the hell did I have to pay a $100 nonrefundable CLEANING fee if I have to do the cleaning myself? I’m sorry, I’m off topic. But if you’re going to rent a house in Estes Park, beware of “Navajo peace symbols,” and do not rent a cute 3-bedroom red house with a deck just uphill from town unless you don’t plan on actually staying there.

I was very excited to get a Rocky Mountain High, if you know what I mean, but just my luck that Estes Park has banned the sale of pot. So I was stuck with whiskey. I didn’t drink too much, though, because I woke up every morning at 5 am to go for a long mountain hike. This restored me in a way I cannot explain. The solitude, the open sky and steep paths – the sheer implausibility that such beauty and grandeur exist on this earth – it did my soul good. Also, on one hike I encountered a wood formation closely resembling Mary, mother of God, or a couple embracing, depending on the angle. So I felt blessed.

We even got the kids to hike. The Tyrant carved her name on the railing of a national park bridge, which I know is very, very bad, and the Pterodactyl complained about his legs for the next three days, but they did it.

One day, Husband and I took a hike together on a trail flanked by fields of wildflowers. After we’d walked a bit, Husband invited me to sit with him on a picturesque log so we could rest and talk. It was sort of a romantic gesture. We sat, and I leaned up against him. Suddenly, I noticed the log had come alive with enormous red biting ants. I jumped up and he jumped up, and we both had to rip off our pants and socks because we had been invaded. These marauders were everywhere, and I was screaming like my son does when we run out of batteries for his headset. I inadvertently made a video of the incident, which turned out very Blair Witch Project. That was Husband’s last hike.

It was a pretty great trip – with amazeballs outdoor time and great visits with family. Colorado has got this quality of life thing hammered down, except for the dryness, which made everyone in my family suffer nose bleeds and itchy skin. If the state could invent some kind of giant humidifier, it would be a perfect place.

Then we came home to summer life here in Florida, which is like living on the surface of the sun. One child went to the Dominican Republic, one child went to Camp Immokalee, and one child visited remote exotic locales he invented on Minecraft. Sometimes he brushed his teeth.

And I went on a backcountry wilderness camping trip. I’ll tell you about that later.

Have you bought my book? Have you read my book? Have you reviewed it on Amazon and GoodReads? Have you ordered copies to give as Christmas gifts? Just wondering. Muah. 


2 responses to Annual Vacation Odyssey! and a Rocky Mountain High

  1. Dan Hamilton says:

    “Also, on one hike I encountered a wood formation closely resembling Mary, mother of God, or a couple embracing, depending on the angle. So I felt blessed.”

    That was actually a Navajo sex symbol.

    • tricia says:

      AAHHHH, it all makes sense now. You continue to instruct, sensei. xoxo

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