Tuesday, April 29, 2008

While away from Dodge...

I know...I've been neglectful about finishing the "Getting out of Dodge" story! Things have been very busy with work and with injuring myself this week (ugh - gotta love bad backs), but I'm getting back to it now!

So, Wednesday the 16th, we headed up to Breckenridge. I let Ranger lead this time, since he had the directions to the hotel. Waking up with Ranger that morning had been nothing short of wonderful. It was our first night to actually sleep beside each other, and it was comfortable and sweet. And I don't think I snored, which I'd been afraid of.... As indelicate as it is, it happens when I'm really tired! But waking in the gray light of morning, with the breeze blowing the curtains, and a soft "good morning" and a warm snuggle....well, I don't know that words describe how happy I was that morning.

We arrived at the hotel in Breckenridge and I attempted to check in. Even though it turned out that I was one of dozens of guests who arrived too early, the desk clerk just blinked at me when I gave my name and confirmation number. I swear, you could see the hourglass turning on this one. His best idea was for me to leave all of my belongings in my car and hand the keys to the valet, until my room was ready. Uhm....no. We put all my stuff in Ranger's car, THEN handed over the keys to the valet.

I ran to my first meeting and Ranger went exploring. I bumped into one of my favorite professors and my boss. We chatted and the professor told stories about a recent trip to New Orleans and an establishment called something like "Big Ass Beers To Go." That's just too freakin' hilarious. "It was my Everest," he said, and for an Irishman, that's saying something!

I cut out of lunch early to see if by chance they had a room ready for me. Everyone had been told to check later in the afternoon, but I was trying to dodge the crowds. Hoorah! Success! They had a room for me! I called Ranger, then told the desk to give him a key, and decided to check out the room. It was lovely. Huge TV, fridge, cushy bed, soft towels, with rustic touches that felt very appropriate among the mountains.

And it started to snow. Wait, that sounds to peaceful. It started blowing snow. Big snow. Big, huge, sticky flakes of snow!

After my meetings, I made my way to the room. In the lobby, I spotted Ranger talking to the desk clerk and getting about as far as I did. My boss was there, waiting for valet to retrieve his car (with all his belongings in it), so I introduced them. Ranger was excited. He showed us two stones he'd found. One had a purple ribbon running through it and the other shimmered with iridescent colors.

"This is the stone I'll build my house with someday," he said. My boss was impressed and they discussed rock hunting for awhile. My boss is a kayak-to-the-wilderness kind of guy, so he loved the hiking stories Ranger has.

Pretty soon, a valet kid comes in and looks at the ticket in his hand. He checks it with my boss's ticket. Both say number 1466.

"Yeah, that's mine," my boss says.

The kid looks at him and says, "Dude, do you know where your car is parked?"

I'm totally not kidding. He really said that.

A look of concern crosses my boss's face. "Uhm, isn't that your job?"

"Yeah," says the kid. "Just a minute." He grabs a walkie-talkie and says, "Dude, can you find number 1466?"

The thing crackles and a voice says, "Dude! That's what I'm doing!"

We decide to let my boss figure out this one, and head to the room. Ranger is telling me about calling his buddy in Missouri from South Park, Colorado (nearby), just to say "I'm standing in South Park!" and about a great little movie memorabilia place he found.

The room is really cozy and comfortable. I laid back on the bed to relax for a few minutes and Ranger snuggled up to me. He whispered to me, "You know, I said something wrong. Those stones aren't for the house I'll build for me. They're for the house I'll build for us."

We relax for a little while, until I had to get ready for a reception I had to attend. We'd find some dinner after that.

During the reception, I sat with some of our other professors. One in particular announced that was her birthday, and I had a feeling the wine glass in front of her had not been her first. She was a little flushed and boisterous. Birthday Girl had a few more before the end of the reception, too. The other professors decided it was time to go to dinner, and invited Ranger and I along. I called Ranger and checked that it sounded good to him, and away we went.

Thank goodness for hotel shuttles! Ranger and I, three psychology professors, my boss, and one of the college's VPs all piled into the shuttle and let a Breckenridge native drive us to the restaurant. It was in a spectacular old house, converted into a restaurant, called Hearthstone. I highly recommend it!

They were running a special. Your choice of a menu of appetizers, entrees, dessert, and wine, for $30. Fantastic. Perfect for the traveler's budget! After we ordered, the VP announced he was picking up the ticket for all of us. Brilliant!

Ranger and I told them about the restaurant in Glenwood Springs. "Juicy Lucy's?" the VP exclaimed. "You found the best steakhouse in Colorado!" My boss quizzed us about it, planning to take his wife there some time. The conversation that night was brilliant. It ebbed and flowed comfortably, and so did the wine. Birthday Girl had a few more glasses, which made her a little loud for the small space. When she started repeating herself, we decided it was time to call it a night. We left fat and happy, heading into the snow. Lots and lots of snow!

I settled in for the night in the cozy pale green satin pajamas Ranger had given me. We were stuffed to the gills.

"I have a surprise for you," he said. He went to the closet and retrieved a large black bag. "I've never seen anything like this and knew you had to have it."

I pulled the bag off and stared at the box. A new, in the box, Darth Vader water globe.

I went understandably ape-shit.

See, you can take the top off and watch Obi-Wan and Anakin battling among red glitter flying around (looks like Mustafar sparks). Or, put the helmet back on and flip the switch....to hear Vader's breathing and look in the eyes to see flashing red lights light up the battle scene in the globe.

Ape-shit, I tell you.

We settled into bed and watched Alton Brown's "Feasting on Asphalt," and laughed our asses off. Still full from dinner, and deliriously happy, we dozed off with the TV on and the snow still falling outside the window.

I was slow to get ready the next day. I was painfully aware that Ranger had to return to Ranger-life that day. He was aware, too. He tried to lighten up the mood by scooping snow from outside the window and throwing it at me.

I skipped the conference-provided breakfast to have breakfast with Ranger. We walked in the cold, crisp morning, hand-in-hand. It was delightful. We were squeezing out every minute we could. Regretfully, I went to my conference sessions and made plans to meet Ranger for lunch.

I got back to the room early and surprised Ranger. He was writing a note in a spiral notebook. He hid it from me when I came in. This sparked my intense curiosity, and he finally relented.

"Okay," he said, "I suppose, since you're here, it's silly to insist on writing it. I can just tell you. But I'm a little afraid of it."

"Afraid? Why?" My danger-you're-about-to-get-hurt sense started tingling.

Ranger was looking at the floor. "I just know that you've gotten ticked at certain people before who tried to make plans with you. Future plans."

He was referring to Old BF, when he called and started telling me we needed to make plans to get married when the kids were older. That was a different situation, though. I'd already told him to take a hike when he said that to me.

"No, that's not what made me mad," I said, trying to soothe Ranger. "It wasn't the plans that made me mad. It was the person wanting to make them. I'd already made it clear to him that we weren't going that way, and he wasn't listening."

Ranger nodded, and wrapped his arms around me. "It's just that I really feel we have something special here. I've never felt this way about anyone. And I don't want to lose you. Ever."

"That's what the note is about?" I asked.

"Yes. It's about having you in my life now and always."

We ended up skipping lunch.

I was worried about him going through the passes with the snow, but my fear was unfounded. It was cleared for him and he made it safely to my town, where he stopped for a short time to stretch his legs. And to be sneaky.

He called me when he was headed out of Grand Junction.

"Wow, you were there a long time," I commented.

"Yeah, I suppose I should tell you that I saw your folks. They'll probably mention it, anyhow. They caught me trying to be sneaky."

"They did? I suppose you won't tell me what you were doing, right?"

He laughed. "Right! You'll have to wait until tomorrow, when you get home. If your folks don't spill the beans first."

I got back to the empty hotel room. A note was stuck to the TV screen. "I love you!" it said, in big letters. I smiled and missed him all the more.

My mom called and said they'd been watching TV when she saw a shadow pass the den window. My dad went to the door and there was Ranger, leaving a present for me. They chatted awhile, then Ranger headed home.

Mom and Dad went back in the house, and Mom said, "I think someone is courting your daughter." My dad just laughed.

Before I left Breckenridge, I strolled through the shops in the nearby plaza. I found a lovely Native American print, with a quote on it about the sacredness of nature. It expressed sentiments I often heard Ranger say. So, it came home with me and I had it framed for him. It would be a nice surprise, in return for all the surprises he has given me.

The drive home was blissfully uneventful, but too quiet. I stopped in Glenwood Springs and drove past the Hotel Colorado, remembering our day and night there.

When I got home, I saw my surprise. A beautiful plant of purple orchids, with a note attached. The note read "I miss you!" on one side, and on the other side: "Purple is the color of royalty. I chose this flower to remind you that you are always my queen."

Man, he knows just how to get to me.


Anonymous said...

OH my goodness tell, me he has a nephew LOL!! around my age.. I want to be courted!! HAHA!


Blogget Jones said...

Hey Single! If you don't mind me asking, how old are you? He has a son who is 19! ;o)