Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Real World: Colorado

This is the true story...of 4 people (well, mostly 3 of them) in a family...are forced to spend time together, all day, every day, for 10 days...here's what happens when people stop being polite, and start getting real.

[Various shots of Denver in rapid sequence, finally settling on a crooked shot of a dilapidated Victorian in Congress Park.  LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem plays over the sequence]

Day 1:  Everyone is happy and in a good mood.  Whee!  We're on vacation!  We're heading to the mountains to see our cousins!  We've never been to Carbondale!  It's pretty! Yaaay!

Three hour car ride proceeds uneventfully.  Kids sleep through much of it.  We admire the scenery driving through Glenwood Canyon.

We arrive at the cousins' house, and Zeke and Josie reunite with the cousins' 2-year-old and everyone plays and has fun.  We go for a walk down by the river.  The children throw rocks and run around.  We have the traditional Jewish Christmas eve dinner of Chinese food.  Cousins are alarmed by how much J eats.  "Welcome to my world," I tell them.

Cousins are slightly horrified by my childrens' bedtime habits, or lack thereof.  Their kid goes to bed at 7:30.  Our kids are still up and partying like rock stars at 9.  I make them go to bed and we watch Bridesmaids.  Josie and Zeke keep popping out of the room to try to join us.  We finally get them to settle down.

[Shots of mountains, the town of Carbondale, and Aspen, especially women in ugly fur coats, leggings and boots, and horrifying plastic surgery.  Pink's Stupid Girls plays.]
Mt. Sopris.  Pretty.
Day 2:  Christmas Day.  As Jews, we do nothing to commemorate the holiday except to say, "hey, it's Christmas! Merry Christmas!" and then go about our day.  The children play nicely.  The guys take the kids into Aspen to go to a park.  Cousin and I get some quiet time (she's 7 1/2 months pregnant and could use the rest).  I exercise.  We drive into Aspen to meet everyone.

Josie is fussy.  Zeke is obnoxious.  The guys seem harried.  Aspen is vulgar.  We go to lunch at a diner.  We manage to contain the children long enough to scarf down a turkey reuben (me) and a club sandwich (cousin).  The guys go skiing/snowboarding, and we take the kids home.  Cousin's kid naps.  Mine don't.

We walk by the river again.  Kids play and wear themselves out, but the lack of naps means they are acting like assholes much of the time.  We light Hannukah candles.  We make lasagna for dinner.  It is yummy.  Zeke proclaims it to be the best thing he's ever eaten.  Everyone is, again, astonished by J's ability to inhale ridiculous amounts of food.  "Tell me about it," I say.

Bedtime.  Cousin's kid passes out at 7:15 without a fuss.  At 8:00, Zeke proceeds to have a total meltdown.  He loses his shit.  I lie down with him to try to calm him down and we all fall asleep at 8:30.

[Shots of kids sleeping, then slowly waking up.  Shots of toys all over the floor.  More mountain shots.  Chorus of Rocky Mountain High plays.]

Day 3:  Everyone wakes up happy, having gotten lots of sleep.  The children play nicely together.  Zeke tells his little cousin, "you're a really nice baby!"  Josie pushes her doll stroller around.  I take Zeke down by the river again so he can throw rocks and sticks.  He digs this.  We see a bald eagle flying around, which is really cool.

We pack up the car and head home.  I can tell the cousins are happy to be rid of us and our noise.

The kids sleep on the drive home.  The rest of the day we chill out, unpack, watch movies. 

So far, so good, mostly.  But the true test starts tomorrow, when J goes back to work.

[Shots of traffic on Colorado Boulevard, people walking in and out of the coffee shop on 12th Avenue, finally settling on the crooked shot of the dilapidated Victorian.  Drake's Unstoppable plays.]

Day 4:  Everyone sleeps in.  We get up, have some breakfast, and watch some Pink Panther episodes on Netflix.  We don't have diddly in the fridge, so I load the kids into the car and we go to Target to go grocery shopping.  Josie sits in the seat part of the grocery cart, Zeke sits in the basket because all of the double-kid-seat carts are taken.  He is remarkably good natured as I proceed to bury him in groceries, no doubt helped by the fact that I buy his cooperation with animal crackers and little mini boxes of goldfish.  And a new box of crayons. 

We head home and have lunch, then the kids are sent to their rooms for quiet time.  Josie naps, Zeke hangs out on his bed and plays Angry Bird on his new Kindle Fire (a present from my mother -- doesn't every 4-year-old need one?), and I exercise.  The day is going well.

Later we color and play with trains, then a friend of Zeke's stops by and invites us to go sledding, so we put on our snow gear and head out to the sledding hill.

We go home and light the Hannukah candles -- it's the 8th night so the menorah is full and beautiful.

Everyone is happy.  I feel like a success as a mother.

Day 5:  I've still got some tricks up my sleeve.  We go to the indoor community pool, the one with the big water slide.  Josie, who thinks she can swim even though she really can't, requires all of my attention, so Zeke ends up swimming much more independently than I would otherwise be comfortable with.  He ends up going down the big water slide by himself a number of times and then swimming to the side of the pool alone - the first time he has ever done this.

We make it out of the rec center without anyone drowning.

[Neighborhood footage.  Overcast skies.  Eminem's Things Get Worse plays.]

Day 6: The wheels start to fall off the wagon.  Everyone is getting tired of being around everyone else.  I try to rally the kids to do something -- anything -- but no one will get dressed and everyone is whining and no one wants to do much but lie around, watch TV, play on the Kindle and make a mess.

Both children are going through very bossy phases, particularly towards each other.  At one point, Zeke is annoyed with Josie because he keeps telling her to do something and she won't.

"You're not her boss, Zeke.  She doesn't have to do what you want.  Stop ordering her around," I tell him.

"Go away, Zekey. Leave me alone," Josie says.

"Josie, stop telling people what to do!" Zeke yells.

He clearly has an under-developed sense of irony.

By late in the afternoon, I'm losing it.  I'm supposed to go to a retirement party for a coworker, but J gets called out on an emergency job so I have to stay home with the kids.  The one thing that I'm clinging to is J's promise to take the kids to Jump Street when he gets home so I can have my weekly banjo lesson without the monkeys interrupting me.

He walks in at 5:45.  "Oh, man, I guess it's too late for Jump Street," he laments.

"Nooooo!  Please! You have to take them out of here!"  I'm practically in tears.

He does me a solid and hustles the kids out the door in under 15 minutes.  I have a good lesson and I get some peace.

I'm all Scarlett O'Hara, thinking, "tomorrow is another day."

[Shots of cultural points around Denver - the zoo, City Park, Mile High Stadium, the Museum of Science and Nature. Howard Jones's Things Can Only Get Better plays.]

Day 7:  Determined to avoid the disaster of the previous day, as soon as the kids are up and fed, I hustle them off to the science museum.  We go see the real dinosaur exhibit, then look at the wild animal dioramas, then we go to the kids' center.  They run around and play hard for 3 hours, then go home for lunch and a rest. J gets off work early, and my time as a stay-at-home mom officially comes to an end.

That night, one of the daycare teachers comes over to babysit and J and I go see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  It's really great (the movie, too!).

Day 8:  I had been planning to take a solo ski day, but the weather is shitty -- crazy gale force winds that end up forcing most of the ski resorts to close their lifts -- plus my uncle and his family are in town and invite us to have lunch with them at the Four Seasons.  We take the kids and manage to eat and get out of the hotel without anyone getting injured or summoning the fire brigade.

That night it's New Year's Eve.  We had been planning to go up to Frisco for the weekend to stay in a friend's condo, but the condo is under renovation so we can't use it.  We go over and visit some friends in the neighborhood around dinner time, but go home at 7:30.  J and I are asleep by 10:30.  Woop-dee-freakin'-doo.

We do, however, manage to take a picture of us kissing for the cover of our 2011 yearbook.  Every year since we've been married, we have made a yearbook and the cover shot has always been one of us kissing. This year, we had never taken a kissing shot, so we got it in under the wire.

[Interior shots of a messy house.  Toys on the floor. Crumbs on the floor. Garbage pails needing to be changed.  Matchbox 20's How Far We've Come plays.]

Day 9:  Another write-off of a day.  Nobody has slept well.  Everyone is tired and grumpy.  I try to clean the house.  I spend all day cleaning, and every time I turn around, a child is making a mess behind me.  Even when they're ostensibly trying to help.  I clean the kitchen 3 times and it's still a mess.

I manage to get out of the house to pick up my new skis, which have been in the shop getting bindings put on.  Come hell or high water, I am taking a ski day before going back to work.

[Shots of the Rocky Mountains and cars driving on the highway in the early morning.  The end of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, where he says, "free at last" is playing in a voice-over.]

Day 10:  I leave the house by 6 and get to Copper Mountain by 8.  I have a cup of coffee and head out to the lift when it opens.  I proceed to ski my ass off for the next 3 1/2 hours.  The lift lines are non-existent and I rarely stop to rest, so I'm just going up and down and up and down the mountain.  My new skis are awesome.  I'm flying.

Heading up the Super Bee lift.
My legs turn to jelly by around 12:45, so I head back to the car and go home.

I'm happy to see my children again.  We go for walks and watch football and get to bed early, ready to begin the new year in earnest.

[Shot of the kids under closing credits.  Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World plays.]


  1. Great post. My five year old has that same thing with her 2 year old sister -- wants to boss her around all day long, then yells "she's telling me what to do!" for little to no reason. Hehe.

    Your description of your ski day has made me want to ski for the first time in 20 years.

    Also, now I want lasagne. Dang this low carb diet!

  2. I'm doing "slow carb", which allows me to cheat one day a week. Hence the lasagna. It actually really works well.

    And skiing is so great. I love the way it makes me feel.

  3. Funny Wendy! I like how you act as if my child is an angel when it comes to sleeping...you should have seen him yesterday!! It was fun having you guys over and great to see you.