Monday, August 25, 2008

Lordy, Lordy, I'm lovin' forty!

Oh, it was a glorious day! Ranger made a concentrated effort to make sure my 40th was perfection. It truly was.

Now, it had the potential to be a complete disaster. My sister called the day before. She was headed to the emergency room in horrendous pain. She said it was worse than labor. She just had that lap-band surgery about three weeks ago. So, we were worried. The ER sent her by ambulance to a urologist. She had a 1/4" kidney stone, backed up by a 1/2" kidney stone. They scheduled her for surgery Friday morning. It ended up taking 2 1/2 hours to break up the stones with a laser. She's doped up on pain meds, but much better now.

Friday morning, we got a call from the assisted living place where my aunt lives. She was going by ambulance to the hospital with chest pains. My folks headed there. Turns out, it was an esophageal spasm, which mimics heart-related chest pains. They delivered her back to her place, and all was well.

With all the commotion, I was running a little late Friday morning. I rushed downstairs at a little past Time To Go time and found Daughter scrambling eggs, happy as could be in her little world.
"Uhm, sweetie," I said. "Do you know it's 7:05?"

"WHAT?!" she said, wide-eyed. She looked at the not-yet-ready-for-prime-time eggs and said, "Would you mind packing my lunch for me?" Then, she grinned. I packed the lunch. She ate the eggs out of a travel cup on the way to school. Hey, at least she got a good breakfast!

I dropped her off and called Ranger, to let him know I'd been delayed. "No problem," he assured me. "I'm just getting in the shower. Come out here and we'll go."

Then, I called and lied to my mother. Okay, so I don't like doing that. I hate doing that. But I also completely despise the criticism I get for taking a day off and not spending it doing what SHE wants me to do. It's my 40th birthday, for pity sake. I'm not spending it cleaning house. So, I told her I'd be at the other campus, about 90 minutes away. With all the commotion, she and Dad decided to not work that day, and spend some time together. Cool.

Once I got to his place, Ranger and I got a little more off-schedule. He let me see some interesting packages he had in the corner of his room, all wrapped in pretty paper. I could look, but not touch. Interesting, indeed! Then, we relaxed and made love, and let our schedule get a little more off. Never even made it to the woods. It's just been too long since we had Alone Time!

Ranger told me the plans changed, though. No picnic. He was driving me down to Gateway, which is a pretty little resort town. He wanted to take me to lunch at a place where crossing the threshold means stepping back in time. An old-fashioned, 50s-style diner. Best burgers in the world, he swore. Complete with an authentic soda fountain, where you can get shakes, malts, and fizzes. He was like a kid, so excited to show this place to me.

So, we headed off to Gateway, through red-rock cliffs, gorgeous valleys, and lovely forests. Take a look at the picture here, and you'll see a good view of the road we drove. Glorious, yes? We listened to the radio (no mp3 players this time!) and talked. He pointed out some geological anomalies. I saw beautiful horse farms. It was all so pleasant and relaxing to me.

Except for one weird moment. We came across a bit of roadkill. A bobcat. Ranger was so saddened by that. He loves wild cats. He stopped the car and said, "Are you squeamish about things like that?" Now, I can watch autopsies all day. But a mutilated animal? Can't take it.

I watched in the mirror as he walked back to the bobcat and circled it, examining the mangled body. For a moment, I was afraid he was going to pick it up and put it in the car. He came back (empty-handed, thank God!) and said, "Looks to be about three years old. Beautiful markings. That's really too bad." And we were off again.

He told me about a little resort in Gateway, where he'd once considered working. He took me by there to show me the lovely setting. It's a fascinating place. Lots to do, like ATV tours, horseback riding, canoeing, fishing....or just relaxing in the hot tub on your private patio. Too fun!

Then, we headed to the diner. As we got close, Ranger started saying, "no, No, NO!" And then I saw it. A sign in the window that said, "FOR RENT."

It was closed. Not long closed, though. We looked in the windows. I saw the old soda counter. The juke box. The dishes were stacked on the counter, as though ready for service. An antique Harley was parked by the front window, with a leather jacket slung over it. Nothing had dust on it yet. No, it hadn't been closed long. But it was certainly closed.

Ranger about cried, I think.

We headed back to the resort and had lunch at their grill. Check this place out: Gateway Canyons Resort. A nice place with an international staff. Our waitress was Ukrainian and another waiter was South African. Their general store was well-stocked for the guests. The rooms have their own little kitchenettes, so they actually have produce and groceries available. I started thinking of what a nice getaway it would be some time. A little weekend away, for some peace and quiet. I've tucked that in the back of my mind, for future reference.

On the way home, we stopped at some historical markers along the way. I love doing that! No one has ever indulged my curiosity, though, and allowed me to check out these roadside markers. But Ranger does. He might even encourage me! Anyhow, my favorite was in Unaweep Canyon, and is pictured at the right. It's called Driggs Mansion and was built out here in the early 20th century by a wealthy New Yorker. You can read more about the history on page 5 of this document. The weird thing is that the Driggs family camped out at this spot for four years, while the construction was going on. Four years. Once the house was finished, they stayed in it a few weeks, then abandoned it. Go figure.

History is so odd. I love it.

We made it home and planned to have a celebration with my family Friday night. I headed to my house, which was empty and quiet for a few minutes. My folks had taken my kids shopping for me. When they got back, my mom whispered to me, "When you open your gifts, just keep in mind that Son was hungry when he was shopping." Son tends to pick out odd gifts, anyhow, so I couldn't wait to see what had happened this time!

I had my choice for dinner. Steak or chicken? I'm a Texan. I want steak. My dad grilled outside. We had red potato salad. And peas. I love peas.

Ranger picked up a birthday cake for me. His eyes literally sparkled when he showed it to me. An ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery, called "Midnight Delight." Chocolate goodness inside, covered in chocolate ganache. Oh. Wow.

We had seven people there for my birthday. We had eight slices of cake. Guess what I had for breakfast on Saturday? Oh yeah.

I stared opening presents. Daughter gave me a Star Wars book about Darth Vader and the Clone Wars soundtrack. And I saw what my mother meant about Son. He gave me cookbooks. Four of them. Ranger and my folks got me the same book. A Star Wars trivia book, with 2500 questions in it. Ranger also got me a beautiful glass heart and Star Wars movie posters.

Here's the thing about the posters. When I opened them, he told me they were first-run, theater-used posters of the original trilogy. He'd gotten them at that movie memorabilia store in Breckenridge. I was over the moon! What lovely collectibles! And he had to have spent a pretty penny on them. He was beyond tickled to have gotten them for me!

But I took a closer look later. They are reprints. Although they have the appropriate 1977, 1980, and 1983 copyrights on them, they also have little 1995 copyrights on them. They are not first-run, theater-used posters. But I don't have the heart to tell him. I feel sure he was cheated and lied to about these, but I think it would break my heart to burst his bubble. I love what he thought he was doing for me, and the reality of what they really are doesn't change that.

My parents told the story again of the day I was born. Or rather...the day before. It was a terrible rainy night, in El Paso, Texas. A rain storm like they hadn't seen in ages. My young parents (each age 20) and my uncle (Dad's little brother) had scraped together the money to buy steak for dinner. They were preparing it when it happened -- labor pains.

My dad braved the storm and reluctantly left his steak to take my mother to the hospital. In 1968, dads didn't go into the delivery room, so he decided to skip the waiting room and headed home, with steak on his mind. He braved the storm again, knowing my mother couldn't eat her portion, so there was more to be had.

But he'd also left his little brother home with the steaks. And my uncle figured he now had three portions to himself. And he did. They were gone by the time my dad got home.

So, he braved the rain storm again, so he'd be in the waiting room when they came to tell him I'd arrived. And he was. When I was born nearly 24 hours later. he still remembers how uncomfortable that couch was. My mom doesn't seem to care.

And so, at 5:32 pm on Friday, August 22nd, 2008, my thirties became a part of my history. Here's to new chapters ahead!


muse said...

Sounds like a perfect didn't have to make any decisions and only had to tell one little lie! This looks like a great place to visit, maybe next time I pass through.

Happy Birthday and welcome to the rest of your life.

Blogget Jones said...

Thank you, thank you! And you're so right -- no decisions was wonderful. And do visit Gateway and Unaweep Canyon! Lovely!

:o) BJ

D-HOR said...

Ranger is so sweet :) And your boy cracks me up :) Gawd when I was a kid I always got my mom kitchen utensils or other cooking STUFF. My Dad never tried to steer me to something that she would like instead of a tool for a "chore" that she had to do. DAD!!?? Ugh, ah well, I make up for it now.

Blogget Jones said...

LOL D-Hor!! I get such a kick out of seeing my son shop that we just never interfere with his thought process. You never know what he's going to pick out, but he has his reasons and it's from the heart.

I did wonder over the "Ethnic Cooking" book, though. Turns out, there's a killer salsa recipe in it that he wants to try. LOL!

:o) BJ

Fire Byrd said...

Glad you had a great birthday, and now it's only 10 years till 50!!!
Which has to be said is the best decade yet!
Love the pics, the space in America leaves me breathless coming from crowded England.
Not good about the posters, but lovely of ranger to have gone to so much effort, bastards for ripping him off.

Blogget Jones said...

I'm so MAD, Byrd, about Ranger getting ripped off! I know they just knew they had someone who didn't know about movie memorabilia. But I just can't tell him. He's so proud of I'll just let him be proud :o)

Walker said...

Sounds like a fantastic 40th birthday.
The start was a little scary but the ending was perfect.
I kjow what you mean about the posters.
You have to take a close look.
I know the ones i have in the basement are not the origional movie posters but they are the ones released with the first VHS videos that came out.

Sounds like people want you to do more cooking to LOL

Blogget Jones said...

Thanks Walker! It was a great day :o)