July 17th 2012
The final day of the longest continuous vacation I had taken in my adult life began with a cryptic message taped to our bedroom door. It probably would have been much less cryptic if I had been working harder on remembering Spanish. I got the general gist of it, but had to wait for Rosa for confirmation. There was much pathetic snuggling for most of the morning, alternating with my wife and daughter, until the volume of what was left to do forced us to awaken.
The message said that Titi LuzMa might not be able to get out of work to drive me to the airport, which meant we needed to add Atmobile driving lessons for Rosa to the events of the day. Amid the chaos of getting ready to leave, we were able to get a birthday message to my younger, and more technologically connected, cousin far easier than we got one to her dad.
I made Anabelle her requested grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast, but neither of us was very hungry. We spent much of the morning telling each other there was mail outside, and leaving little notes on the stoop. Yes we were both cute and pathetic at the same time. We went over “brave things” again, and she wanted me to hold her cardboard “Green Lantern” logo she used to remember to be brave to help me make it alone through the next two weeks. (EXTREMELY cute and pathetic.)
I was happy to learn that I didn’t really overdo “Leave me alone, I’m on vacation,” since my belt needed an extra hole to properly support the size of my new bighorn sheep belt buckle. Secure in that my drawers would stay drawn, Rosa’s Atmobile experience could begin.
The GPS decided not to completely hate me for once, and I managed to navigate us to our final stop on the Atmobile training tour: Chipotle!
Titi LuzMa shifted her schedule, allowing her to meet us home for lunch. Returning issues with the garage door meant that the Atmobile was to be left out in the lot, and not get a final trip to the Atcave.
A storm was forecast, because we were still in Colorado, prompting us to rush out of the house. I managed to stash my gifts and postcards in the rush, but some things got forgotten. We remembered Rosa’s glasses in the driveway, and ran back in to get the item critical to her navigation skills. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember my hat, which I made sure to take out of its home for the past two weeks (the Atmobile) and then left in the bedroom. I noticed it was missing about halfway down Interstate 70, far beyond a turning back point.
Anabelle and I sat in the back seat looking through photographs on my phone. Not just pictures from this trip, mind you. Our cute patheticness had us reviewing images starting the previous February.
Thanx to some issues going on in the front seat, there were several exits and entrances of the highway, with multiple U-turns in between. I certainly wasn’t going to mention anything. This not only extended our picture reviewing time, but netted Anabelle the sighting of a New Hampshire license plate and two more Idahos.
They had the full body scanners up and running in Denver Airport, which have slightly different rules than the regular scanners. I thought I was all set to go through, and learned at the last minute that my laptop had to be all by itself in a little bin, and also that only removing my belt buckle was insufficient, the whole belt had to go.
Therefore I was completely discombobulated when I finally got through security while trying to gather my crap, get dressed and wave goodbye at the same time. Whatever it is I’m allergic to must have been all over that scanner pad, yielding a massive itchy feet attack on the tram to the gates. I managed to run to a store, and blow four dollars on one Claritin before remembering I had a Benadryl in my pocket for just such an occasion.
We were boarding in a completely organized manner almost immediately. One Colorado guy (in his Colorado hat and t-shirt) was joking to everyone who would make the slightest eye contact with him, “That’s the most polite and friendly New Yorker I’ve ever seen. Ha Ha Ha!” He went on and on the whole way onto the plane about what an amazing and unprecedented event this was. His astonishment made it somewhat hard to hear the petite attendant asking if I would consider checking my bag. My answer of, “I can’t, my wife told me not to,” was assertive enough that she didn’t push her request at all.
We all settled in the plane, and had a bumpy but not overdramatic flight, complete with a near constant lighting show out the window.
Mr. Colorado Guy, amazed that a New Yorker could show ANY politeness at all, proceeded to watch Casablanca on his laptop for nearly our entire flight home…