....to hide. In Colorado mountain resorts.
But first, an update on Son: Son saw the psychiatrist the other day. It seemed to help. I saw the man size up Son before they went back to his office. He took in the shorts and leather coat ensemble (in 70+ degree weather), the stringy hair, the baseball cap, the unshaven face, the iPod firmly inserted in the ears. But Son came back smiling.
Two little girls, about 2 years old, were running around the waiting room. Psych said to Son, "You used to be cute like that."
Son said, "Yeah, so I hear. But I was a weird kid."
Psych looked at me. I said, "He built a catapult of Tinker-Toys when he was 18 months old."
The man turned a shocked look on Son. "Wow."
So, Son asked me to take him to lunch. I did. He told me some of the superficial things they visited about, but didn't dive deeper. He seemed up-beat. Later that night, we'd made dinner and called for him to come down. As has become the norm, he did not appear.
In a few minutes, he came down the stairs and said, "Uhm...lunch didn't set so well with my stomach. So, I'm letting it calm down before eating anything else. But I knew you'd made a dinner I'd like, so I wanted to let you know why I wasn't coming to eat."
You coulda knocked me over. That's the most communication we've seen from him in weeks, and it was actually considerate. Wow. I'm praying it's a new trend.
Okay, so back to me running away for a few days....
It wasn't a complete run-screaming-into-the-woods moment. It was planned. I had to attend a conference in Vail. I know, what a hardship, right? I've never been there, but a company-paid visit to a place with "resort and spa" in the name sounds like a good idea.
I'm still sorting out the Ranger situation. One thing is for sure(well, among others) -- when he's with me, I'm pampered and cared for like at no other time in my life. As corny as it sounds, he makes sure I'm cocooned in love. So, we planned this getaway together. We left a day early and stayed at the Lodge in Glenwood Springs, right by the hot springs pool. Ranger is a regular fish when you get him near water, and he's been dying to get me in the water, too. So, he was ecstatic!
I'm self-conscious in a swimsuit. I haven't worn mine in years. Even being 60 lbs lighter, I'm self-conscious. So, I tried it on, and it's a little gappy at the edges. I figured out how to adjust it, but still wasn't so sure about being seen in public in it. I mean, Colorado seems full of healthy, pretty people. I'd get a look at that pool and see how covered up I needed to be.
So, Tuesday morning, we head down the road. I have my playlist of songs I want him to hear all keyed up on my iPod. He assures me we won't have a repeat of the Vegas trip, where he dismissed my playlist. He realizes that I put as much thought into my 60-song list as he put into his 300-song list. He just has more music than I do.
We can't check in until 4:00, and Glenwood is one hour away. Hmmm....time to kill. Ranger gets an idea and we head south, in the direction of Aspen. Instead of heading to the tourist trap, though, we take a couple of turn-offs and end up wandering among the little towns in the mountains. Blink and you'll miss 'em, folks, but they're worth a stop. Or maybe a weekend getaway. Hmmm....
I'm particularly fond of the little town of Redstone. It's on the Register of Historic Places, apparently. For me, it just smells like the mountains. Has shops and terrain to explore, and a little general store for your basic needs. Now all I need is a secluded cabin nearby and I'm a happy Blogget.
Redstone was established as a mining town, for the coal mine workers. By the highway, you see this row of dozens of coke ovens, for the coal. These are over 100 years old! Click to see bigger pics.
A little further down the road is the thriving community of Marble. As you get closer, the name becomes obvious. Huge blocks of beautiful marble are scattered alongside the road. People have mounted mailboxes on them. The town has one restaurant, a barbecue place. It was closed for a few more days, until the summer tourist season starts. You can take tours of...what else?...the marble quarry.
And someone had a sense of humor.
Ranger, being the rock hound he is, was ecstatic! We're certainly going back to explore. We drove through the smaller roads that wound through the aspens, past some local residences that made me incredibly jealous.
Some had cute names.
Some had the ruins of previous homesteads.
Their stories intrigued me, and I wish I knew more about the place. Something to research when I fired up the laptop at the hotel.
We also stopped along the way to explore Hays Creek Falls. It's a little turnout in the road, but has the most spectacular waterfall. I have a bum knee and couldn't climb to it, but Ranger could. You see him climbing here, and it give you size perspective with the falls.
And he got these lovely close-ups of the water:
Checkin time was coming, so we headed back up to Glenwood and the promise of hot springs relaxation. By this time, though, relaxation wasn't an issue. I was breathing mountain air. Ranger was holding my hand and softly crooning love songs to me. I settled deeper into my seat, let the breeze blow on my face, and let it swep away the things that elevate my blood pressure when I think about them.
We checked into the hotel. Incidentally, they'd pissed me off a couple of days before. I made my reservation and asked for a fridge in the room, to keep my insulin cool. I told them why I needed it. They responded by saying I'd have to purchase a more expensive room in order to have the fridge. Okay, lemme get this straight....diabetics can only stay there and have insulin refrigerated if they book the more expensive rooms. Lovely.
So, the room was....okay. It was nice. We had a small balcony that overlooked the hot springs pool. I stepped out and checked out the view. Well, what I was really doing was checking out the bodies at the pool. I wanted to see how self-conscious I needed to be among the beautiful people of Colorado.
Know what I found? Bodies that shouldn't be in bikinis, but were anyhow. Sagging, wrinkled, aged, cellulite-ravaged bodies. My self-consciousness melted away a bit. Obviously, no one was worried about themselves or others. And I learned. Quit worrying about how you look to others. Ranger thinks you're beautiful without a stitch on, Blogget. He thinks you're beautiful when you're feverish and stuffy and mucousy. Get into the swimsuit and relax, kiddo.
So I did.
We strolled to the pool. I checked out the shop there, looking for some campy souvenier. Oh! A towel! Perfect! Big, fluffy, white, with the pool logo....and $40. I'm not paying $40 for a towel. And I'm not paying $60 for a purse, no matter how cute, so we headed to the dressing rooms. I changed and rinsed off (as they request), and stepped out to see Ranger.
He smiled. His eyes moved over my suit, and my form. "You look so lovely," he said. I smiled, feeling ridiculous about feeling relieved.
You actually have two pools to choose from. The smaller one is hotter, and nearer the spring's source. The bigger one is cooler, in many ways. One end has slides and diving boards. This is where the kids and families gather. Then, it has lap lanes. This is where the exercisers gather. Then, the pool becomes still and tranquil. This is where the floaters are.
We stepped into this part of the pool. The sky was overcast and the breeze was cool. We glided into it, Ranger going all the way under as quickly as he could. My fish. We half-waded, half-swam to deeper waters. The water is dark and salty, full of minerals. Good-for-you stuff. We got deeper and Ranger swam to me, coming up under me. Gently, he swept me up into his arms, floating me, carrying me like a groom carries his bride over the threshhold.
I dropped my head back, soaking my hair in the water. I slowly kicked my feet and let my hands drift. He bobbed me a little, making waves, floating me to the deeper end of the pool. I looked at the clouds. I soaked in the warmth of the water.
Ranger dropped his arms, and I swam away. He followed, doing underwater flips beside my lazy breast-stroke. I flipped onto my back and watched him, kicking slowly to keep moving along. I do love him.
"Ready for the serious stuff?" he asked. We made our way back out of the cool-pool and crossed over to the hot pool.
Dang, it's hot!
This is the therapeutic pool. They warn you not to stay in it more than twenty minutes. We sat in the bubble-chairs for awhile, then followed the path of the steam to the hot-hot end. Benches are there to sit on, your back just feet from the spring's source. You can feel the flow of it into the pool, if you put your feet over the right places on the bottom. We lingered our twenty minutes, then hauled our bodies from the water. Your limbs feel heavy with relaxation, as the heat has permeated to your bones. My back felt good. My knees felt good. We showered and headed back to the hotel to collapse.
Well, not exactly collapse. Okay, we intended to collapse. The balcony door was open, letting the breeze stir the sheers. We stretched out beside each other and made love. Then....I was starving.
When in Glenwood Springs, there's only one place to satisfy an appetite that's gotten so worked up. Juicy Lucy's. Probably the best steakhouse in the state. No kidding. Steaks for dinner and creme brulee for dessert. The most professional wait staff anywhere. Perfection.
I couldn't sleep that night. Asleep. Awake. Asleep. Awake. I was relaxed, full, and happy. I have trouble the first night in a new place, anyhow. It was a rough night, though, and I was not ready to get up in the morning. I checked my conference schedule. I needed to be at a luncheon at noon, an hour up the road. I climbed back in bed and let Ranger wake me up properly.
I ended up running late for the luncheon. Go figure. About 30 minutes outside of Vail, my boss texts me: "Are you here yet?" Oops. I just about ran into the hotel lobby to get checked in, so Ranger could unload the things from the car. I about tripped, though, when I looked around.
The place was gorgeous. Quite possibly the most gorgeous hotel I've ever been in. It was everything you think a mountain lodge would be. Wood, leather, stone gorgeous. The clerk was smiling at me in a way that said, "You are the most exciting guest I've ever seen and I'm completely overjoyed to help you."
I handed her my reservation and gave her my name. "Oh, I see you're one of our rewards members," she said, tapping away at her computer. "We thank you so much for your loyalty, as we know you have a choice when you travel." Tappity-tappity. She handed me my room keys. "We have a lovely room for you with a mountain view and balcony."
Mountain view and balcony. I love those words.
I strolled back out to Ranger and the valet. The parking is valet only. The valet wrote down the room number and my name on the tag. "Okay, Mr. and Mrs. Jones," he said. "I'll meet you upstairs with your luggage." Ranger shot me a look. He was assumed to be Mr. Jones. I laughed, and hoped he thought it was funny, too.
Ranger assured me he could get everything from the car, and shooed me away to the conference. I got checked in and went to the luncheon, just in time for the keynote speaker. Whew. My boss was busy visiting with someone and didn't see me slip in. Double whew.
As conferences go, it was a good one. I learned a few new things, like the educational applications of Twitter, Ning.com, and how cool the GE Smart Grid virtual holograms are (if you haven't taken a look at Plugintothesmartgrid.com and tried the hologram thing, you gotta!). We saw a cool demo of a 3D environment for education. Cool, but too pricey to be useful in this economic climate. I stated that to more than one over-zealous vendor. Listen, bud...when we're being asked to cut budgets, telling the administration we want to spend money is a tough sell.
Another thing conferences are good for are door prizes. This conference does them during the breaks. So, they hand out little numbered tickets -- a new ticket each drawing. I memorize the number and tuck it in my name tag, so I can do other things. Like make myself a cup of coffee or eat my snack. I'm standing beside this one vendor named Nick.
"What's your number?" says Nick.
"136688," I answered, without pulling out my ticket.
"You memorized it?"
"Yeah," I said, then saw his look. "It wasn't a hard one. It starts with 13, which is a number that follows me around, then just two 6's and two 8's."
I won a shirt.
"Wow, that's amazing. So, what's with 13?" asks Nick.
I explained the whole weird thing. The number literally follows me. It started when I was about 5 and was number 13 on my softball team. Since then, it's everywhere. Any drawing, I have a 13. My house has 13 steps in it. Right now, my parking tag number adds up to 13. My office key is inventory #1613.
So, the next drawing happens. I notice all the tickets start with 13 now. It's that way throughout the conference. I hear Nick say, "Watch....she memorizes it." I won a CD and a tri-color highlighter.
Next drawing, we're at the final luncheon with my boss. Nick is sitting beside me again. They call my number and I get up. I won a mini-microscope. Behind me, I hear this:
Boss: "She didn't look at her ticket."
Nick: "No kidding, right? She memorizes it."
Nick: "Yeah. She's data-driven."
So, I've jumped way ahead. Back at the ranch...I mean, back with Ranger, he's having a ball with our hotel room. The beds are just doubles, but he doesn't care. Makes for good snuggling!
"Look at this!" he's saying as I come through the door. I'm in our foyer. Foyer. I hang up my jacket on the rack, and walk in. The place is gorgeous, like the lobby. The bathroom is huge, and marble. The beds are fluffy and fold me into sweet softness when I stretch out. We have a balcony that looks right at the ski runs. It's sunny and nice outside. Not too cold, but that changes.
We get hit by a major snowstorm that week. No one can go east of Vail. Skiiers are flocking to the town for the end-of-season celebrations, as huge snow falls on them. Five floors below us, we hear revelers enjoying the outdoor hot tub, and lots of beer. Lots and lots of beer.
Ranger brought many soft, silky things for me to sleep in. We cozy up and sleep with the balcony door open. We watch the snow fall and keep each other warm. While I'm in the conference sessions, he's building his web sites for the business he's starting.
This is what the snow looked like from our balcony:
We went to dinner with my boss twice. The first time was with one of our instructors. They started talking about a survey that was done on our campus recently, about our distance education program.
"You were mentioned quite favorably," my boss said to me.
"Really?" I said. I hadn't heard about this survey.
"Oh yes," said the faculty person. "I think you're due for a title change."
"I think so," my boss said. "How about 'Queen'?"
I'll get the new business cards ordered.
11 hours ago