Saturday, April 19, 2008

April

The first true month of spring, and for me the one spent everywhere but home.

Sitting in Denver International Airport pondering the remainer of the month while waiting for yet another delayed flight. DIA is the 9th unique airport I have been since venturing forth that past March 29th. Certainly a personal record. For those planning on passing through here, the best food options are located in Terminal B and the rest rooms double as tornado shelters. I wonder if men and women are expected to separate during such an event?

Aside from the largest Crocs store I've seen, the only unique thing here are the birds - little flocks of House Sparrows, ever the opportunists, living in a predator free environment subsisting on food court droppings. They sit high up on perches, tiny representations of their lofty cousins Peregrine Falcons surveying the areas under the tables for prey. A french fry, a bit of frosting from a croissant, a bit of hamburger bun. No challengers in this unique biome aside from the cleaning crew.

Looking back on the last three weeks we are that my original plan of two whole days home during the month was put asunder by the convergence of time zones, a nasty Asian virus and the bloom of the mulberry in my home town. Those three met in sort of a "perfect storm" of illness that extended my 1 day of downtime into 3 days in bed, unsure as to what the proper medicinal concoction was to deal with such a combination. As always, My Lovely Wife came through to mop my fevered brow.

Worried that this was going to scotch my plans to do the one thing I really wanted to do - visit my kids on the tail end of business in Phoenix - I experimented with all manner of over the counter medication until I finally arrived at a combination that enabled me to board a plane to Colorado on Thursday night.

It's never fun to fly when you're feeling marginal and your ears are ringing but it worked out, the only snag being my trusting nature that put me in the local toll road that promised to take me from the airport to Boulder. $2 contributed to the local economy and a wasted 20 minuter visit to the Great Plains only out a little damper on my spirits.

Picking up my youngest the next morning we started the day at Whole Foods which is still called Wild Oats in Boulder because that's where they started despite being bought out. Interestingly, the Wild Oats 6 miles down the pike is now called Whole Foods in recognition of the change. Another "only in Boulder" I guess.

Muffins and coffee and a new friend in the hyperactive barista who wanted me to tell him how to say all sorts of things in Chinese. We even did to elbow touching version of shaking hands that food service people do to avoid contamination.

From there we headed out to one of my old favorite haunts, Walden Ponds, a local wildlife refuge that was the place that got me really hooked on birding some 25 years ago.

It has really been upgraded in the intervening years and is now less of a weedy area of abandoned quarry ponds than it was back in my day. We took a long loop around checking out the birds, savoring some resplendent Cinnamon Teals and tons of other ducks. Off in the distance, a small kettle of White Pelicans wheeled over some distant lake, making we surprised and reminiscent of the first tme I saw them, some 40 miles to the east at Barr Lake.

Rounding the corner I was jolted back to the moment by many dozens of them preening and feeding in one of the ponds. A new one on me, and a testament to just how far my favorite little spot has come. We stood and watched as a dozen more flew in and joined their brethren.

From there, a little shopping and a nice discussion on the weakness of multi-wheeled luggage with the woman at the travel store followed by lunch for the 3 of us, we having collected my oldest.

By now my cocktail of drugs was dragging me down so we split for a couple of hours so that sad old dad could catch a little cat-nap.

Boulder on Friday nights is a busy place, so we were not surprised when they told us it would be an hour wait for a table at hour favorite place, Rio. We were surprised when we checked back in 20 minutes and got a lecture about how they'd been paging us for 10 minutes. But nothing was lost as the table was still there. Joined now by their two beaus, we settled in for a great Tex-Mex dinner and some good discussion about Obama's appeal to today's youth and the weird things I eat in China.

After collecting jackets we decided to go tip a pint and went searching for a bar with room for 5. We ended up at Boulder's premier Irish pub which brings me to my next personal record - I've now been in an authentic Irish Pub in 5 cities on 3 continents since the 1st of the year.

That pretty much capped the night and we headed back to my car. I was truly grateful for the fact that I would not have to burn my clothes as Boulder is completely smoke free. A far cry from many of the places I have haunted recently.

We said our goodbyes and I went back to my hotel, thankful to have such wonderful kids and more than a bit sad that I don't get to see them as much as I would like. Life deals you tough hands sometimes and it's easy to just throw in the towel. But I think I will try to play my cards more wisely as we go forward.

The third leg of my woeful health condition reared its ugly little head this morning when I was totally awake at 4 once again. Rather than fight it, I just turned on the tube, watched Batman Returns, ate a tangerine and drank a flat Diet Coke. Such is the glamorous life of the international jet set.

Left the hotel with plenty of time since I had no idea how long it would take and made my way east. Noticed for the first time that from the top of the hill at Federal Blvd. you can see Long's Peak, Mt. Evans and Pike's Peak in your rearview mirror in one sweeping vista.

40 minutes to the airport and through to security in less than an hour, leaving me with 2+ hours to ride the trains, drink coffee and make up stories about the people wandering to and fro. That plus ponder the fact that on Monday morning at 4 I am up again to start anew. Perhaps my jet lag insomnia will finally come to beneficial use. With my luck, that will be the first day I could've slept through the alarm.





Source = Blackberry

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