Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Official KC Post

Tonight on Mountain Millards: the official Kansas City post, complete with my limited selection of pictures. Before I start, I just want to say that Matt takes way better pictures than me, so I really need to find an easy way to get his pictures on to my computer. I wanted to find a good picture of the bride and groom to whom we owe the pleasure of our trip back to KC, but every single one I took was blury. Grrrr.
The past weekend was a haze of wonderful people, fun times and perhaps a little too much sleep. The hardest part was getting through the Thursday night before we left. I had to take Pongo to the kennel by 6:30 pm Thursday because we had to leave home at 5:15 the next morning so I lost my evening buddy. It was really hard. But like I said yesterday, he quickly made friends with the biggest dog there so I figured he wasn't bad off.
It is strange driving to the airport and actually parking our car there instead of being spoiled like we have in the past and having someone drop us off and pick us up. Our flight was uneventful except that when I booked the tickets, I checked the "window seat preferred" button so Matt and I both had window seats, which meant we weren't assigned to sit together. On the way to Denver, the girl in the seat next to me didn't mind switching. On the way home, however, there were sets of twos already in both of our rows.
After we got picked up in KC by Alissa, we headed to Nebraska Furniture Mart to browse matresses and bedroom sets. NFM is our favorite store by far because they have the best prices and best selection. We even found a set that we liked that was reasonably priced. Unfortunately, it costs around $500 to ship to Denver, so that ruled out our option to buy there. But at least we got an idea of what we like and what we can expect to pay. I can't wait for a new BIGGER bed.
After that, I had the pleasure of spending a couple hours at Western Air Maps (my old job). It kind of felt like I had never left except someone else is using my computer now of course. They even let me go in the secret room and participate in our old daily tradition of the birthday game. (The KC Star has a list of celebrity birthdays every day, so one person gives clues and everyone else tires to be the first to guess the celeb birthday.)
Of all places, they wanted to have lunch at Taco Bell. But that was fitting because that's what we would have normally done. I'll say it again...I really miss those folks. They are so awesome.
That evening, we headed to Leza and John's rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Then Matt, Mark, Talicia, Alissa and I met Jake at Old Chicago for a couple drinks. Our favorite waitress was working and she still recognized Matt and I and was happy to chat for a while. Friday was an awesome day filled with awesome people.
Unfortulately, Saturday started off wrong. Matt and I ended up sleeping until 11:30 am! It really was a combination of things...lack of sleep all week, 4 hours of sleep the night before, our phones being on silent and Matt covering up the digital clock on the VCR so it wouldn't bother us. Well, we pretty much messed up the lines of communication between everyone on going over to Matt's dad's house for lunch. We still got there a little after noon but I just felt awful just the same. I told myself no matter how tired I was, that I would make the most of the weekend. Well that went down the tube pretty fast.
After lunch, it was time to get ready for the wedding! Leza looked so beautiful. She and John were so happy and they had the cutest kiss at the end. Leza is taller than John, so she bent down so he could kiss her! I was a little nervous because I had a reading part and get really nervous with a lot of attention on me, but all went well.
Here are some pictures of the reception:

Larry (father of the bride) is really getting his groove on out on the dance floor!

Arlene and Alissa doing the YMCA.

All of the Millard children.
The original 3 Millard children. :)

Sunday, we spent the morning with Matt's grandma and the rest of the weekend guests before heading over to see Anne at her new house! She has the biggest back yard. It was fun to see Casey running all around it. We had pizza for lunch like old times and watched the first half of the Chiefs-Broncos game. The chiefs won their first game of the season, which makes it a little easier to be a Chiefs fan in Denver since they beat the Broncos.

Anne took us to the airport, but on the way, we stopped to buy some Boulevard beer. We really miss that out here in Denver. We got two six packs and after they were packed, my suitcase was barely under the weight limit. It seems silly to fly beer back to Denver, but it's totally worth it.

Corky the Yorkie in his bed.

Anne and Casey in Anne's new house!

I took out my book to read for a bit once we got through airport security at KCI. Somewhere between there and boarding the plane, I realized I lad left my book in the terminal. I was crushed! All I was looking forward to on the plane was an hour and a half of good reading time. And to make matters worse, Matt and I couldn't trade seats with anyone this time.

Pongo was very happy to see us when we got home. Our friend Carlene did us a HUGE favor by picking him up from the kennel so that we didn't have to wait until Monday morning. Matt and I watched our recorded Thursday night TV shows and by that time, I was tired and went to bed. And so concludes our weekend. And then I went to work on Monday to find lots of new airports waiting for my attention...just when I thought I was getting caught up. :) Serves me right for taking a Friday off work.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Blues

Well I meant to get to posting a blog about our weekend trip back to Kansas City earlier tonight, but I was out running errands and being productive so I'll just write a few words and then do an official KC post tomorrow. Let's just say I was a little emotional getting home yesterday, but I knew I would be after the first visit. It sure didn't help that I left my book (Twilight, Stephanie Meyer) at the KC airport terminal somehow. Don't worry, I got a new one today! It's a great book.
Anyhow, it was nice to be somewhere where EVERYTHING was familiar again. Except KC, MO.... :) That's where the wedding was, which was wonderful and beautiful. Leza just looked so happy and radiant. And traffic was great, even with the NASCAR races in town. Not to mention the Chiefs somehow beat the Broncos.
I don't want to get too detailed so I don't repeat myself tomorrow, so I'll change the subject. I had a pretty stressful day at work with one particular project that just doesn't seem to want to go away. But I took myself on a shopping trip after work to get my replacement book and got some fall decorations for the house because it felt like fall today. I barely made a dent with them. This house would cost a lot to decorate, so we'll just have a "fall corner."
I also finished and edited my statement of purpose for Purdue. The application is due in a little over a month. Whatever I write just sounds really cheesy. I feel like they've heard all of this before. I'll look at it again tomorrow with fresh eyes and probably completely re-write it. But it makes me feel good to have something.
Pongo is not too mad at us for leaving him two weekends in a row. He wolfed down two scoops of DRY food at 6 am so I doubt he ate much at the kennel. We usually have to mix in some wet food once a day to get him to eat enough. But I know he made friends with a great Dane and I feel good that he had some socializing time. He is still sleepy tonight.
Well that was more than a few words. I think I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Map of I-70

In the past few years, Matt and I have made the drive from KC to Denver and back several times for various reasons. Many people I know hate the drive because it's long and tedious and flat. I can understand that and sometimes it seems like it will never end. But I also don't mind the drive myself because I have some favorite "landmarks" and memories at certain mile markers that make the drive go faster. I will share these with you now, starting from Kansas City going west to Denver. Maybe the next time you make the drive, you'll think of some of these and it will make the drive more fun.

Exit 202: Lawrence. Well of course I love this one. You can see Frasier Hall and its flags flying on top of the hill and the rest of KU surrounding it. I have so many great memories in Lawrence that I ususally take a stroll down memory lane for a while as we pass the city.
Exit 365(ish): Topeka. This is where the "countdown" begins. When you get off the turnpike, the mile markers indicate the number of miles to the Colorado border. 365...that's a lot of miles to go!
Exit 316: Deep Creek Road. Also known to Matt as County Road 911 and a bad omen. I exited here once when I was taking him to Manhattan with me when we first started dating. We went to Pillsbury Crossing, a river fjord. When I started driving across the water, he said "What are you doing!!!" and grabbed on to the car armrests. I completely freaked him out, it was great!
Exit 313: Manhattan. In college, my drive on I-70 usually began or ended at this exit, depending on if I were going home or heading back to school. What can I say about Manhattan? I mean, I grew up there and Matt and I got married there! So again, memories usually come flying at me. If we're driving at night through to Kansas City and can't stop in, it still comforts me to see the lights of the city coming up out of the valley. You can't see Manhattan but you know it's there just the same.
Exit 253: Salina. We make an occasional stop in here for gas and an even more rare stop to see Mark and Talicia (Matt's brother and his wife). Historically, Matt and I have made the KC-Denver drive at odd hours to accomodate work schedules, so a visit doesn't usually work out. But whether or not we see them, we are always thinking about them and sometimes at least on the phone with them as we pass Salina.
Exit 235ish: Wind farms. This is a rather new one for me! It seems like all of a sudden, dozens of towering wind turbines have popped up. They are amazing to see during the day and even at night, you can see their glowing red lights. I've seen these from airplanes as well. It's fantastic!
Exit 212: Quinter, KS. I have no real ties to Quinter as fas as I know. 212 happens to be my lucky number, so if I am paying attention and see the sign, I make a wish!
Exit 160: Hays. A great place to stop and get gas and a bite of food. I'd call it roughly the half way mark of the trip. Just don't eat at the Arby's there. Trust me.
Exit 99: Park, KS. It's your typical small town but there is a beautiful church that just really sticks out to me. I always look forward to seeing the church at Park.
Exit 95: Hoxie, KS. Matt and I ALWAYS "discuss" the proper way to pronounce this town every time we pass this exit. Is it "Hoaxie" as in an illusion or hoax? Or is it "Hoxie" as in "ox," the animals used to pull covered wagons. I guess we'll never know.
Exit 0: The border. The split second where I get to be in my two favorite places at the same time.
Exit 383: Arriba, CO. This little town has the best rest stop. It's a ways off the road but has an awesome map that tells you exactly how many miles you are from just about anywhere on 1-70.
Exit 359: Limon, CO. It is here that you can get your first glimpse of the mountains. Well really just Pikes Peak, but I find this amazing since you are still 75 miles east of the front range. I hate going through Limon at night because you miss this view. BUT, it also marks the fact that you only have 1 more hour of driving to Denver!

So there you have it. Some of my favorite spots on the drive. I obviously left off KC and Denver themselves. They don't really have one particular exit that I would associate them with. Also, there are so many different places in these cities I could mention, and that would take forever. The company I am with on this drive also changes the way I look at it. For example, I do not recall Amanda and I arguing over Hoxie, KS on our spring break trip in 2003, but that was the least of our problems! (We drove back in a pure white-out blizzard.)
I am nervous about going back to Kansas City. I know this is silly but it's the first time we will be back since the move and it seems strange that we no longer live there. In my old perception of reality, we visited Denver and went home to KC. Now it's opposite. It's only been a few months, but living in KC seems like a different lifetime. It's a city filled with familiar people and places that I miss dearly, but now Denver feels like home too. I know I have said this all before, it's just all coming back to me now that our visit is so close! Don't get me wrong's a good nervousness. An excited nervous. I can't wait to see all of you KC'ers this weekend!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wedding Weekend

I apologize for taking a whole week off of blogging! I put it at the top of my to-do list this evening. After talking with so many people this weekend, I never realized how many of you read this blog. (I think everyone who reads should comment just so I know!) I have a feeling that my large readership has come from the fact that this blog is linked on my cousin Jaime's blog, which is excellent. I am really feeling the pressure to keep it updated now!
We had a wonderful weekend in Stafford, KS at my cousin Jenny's wedding. It took me a while to finally get packed and organized for the road trip, but once that happened, we had a blast! I was so paranoid that I was going to forget something important in Denver, such as my bridesmaid dress, because I had a dream that it actually happened! We left Denver on Friday morning a little later than planned. Matt typed "Stafford, KS" into our Garmin and it gave us an estimated arrival time of 5:26 pm, which we were very happy about since the rehearsal started at 6:00pm. Then we realized that the garmin was on mountain time and we would actually arrive at 6:26!
We decided to drive straight through and take as few stops as possible which worked out great. We ate our pre-packed sandwiches on the road for lunch and stopped for 5 minutes for gas in Hays. We also used our common sense and took an alternate route than what the garmin said, which actually saved us 20 minutes. We ended up getting into town with plenty of time to spare so we checked into our room at the Littlefield house, changed and headed out to the rehearsal.
Saturday, I woke up to the sound of rain. In actuality, it was artificial rain INDOORS. It turns out that the house we stayed in was having some plumbing issues and when my dad took a shower, it drained into the living room area of the house! There was a bookshelf right underneath the area that got drenched and Matt almost left our wedding albums on it the night before! (Yes, I finally got all of the pictures printed and sorted!)
If one good thing came from the shower incident, it is the fact that neither of my alarms went off so the sound of "rain" inside the house woke me up so that I could get to my hair appointment on time. Apparently, our house had some of the fewest plumbing issues, if you can believe it. The one next door didn't have toilets that functioned properly. I would personally rather have a working toilet than a shower. Luckily, the bathroom in the Millard room functioned normally on all accounts.
The wedding ceremony was almost as beautiful as the bride herself. Like Matt and I, Jenny had a former pastor come back to her church to perform the ceremony and you could just tell how special that was. There were so many people there that I hadn't seen in a long time. Matt met most of them before I could even introduce him at the reception because he ushered a lot of them in. I was also excited to finally get to hold my cousin's daughter and niece of the bride, Abigail. She is such a happy baby was was definitely the crowd pleaser at the reception. Matt impressed her by letting her press the buttons on his $_00 camera. (I'm not going to specify the price because it was my wedding gift to him.) He got some funny pictures that she took by accident. If I can ever get the pictures from his camera, i will post them. His camera card is not standard so I can't just steal it and plug it into my computer like I do with my own camera. He also got some other great "candid" shots throughout the weekend that I'm sure Luke and Jenny will enjoy.
We made it back safely yesterday afternoon with an hour to spare before we needed to pick up Pongo. It was so windy that we were practially blown home! It really helped our gas mileage too. We filled up in Colby and still had a half a tank when we pulled into our driveway!
Pongo was sure ready for us when we got to Doggy Day Camp. I looked through the window to try to find him and he spotted me right away and started howling. He was so happy to be home but I could tell he had a fun weekend because he was exhausted from playing with the other dogs. Apparently, he has made a friend named Lola...
Only 4 more days and we'll be on a plane to Kansas City for the next family wedding. This time, it's Matt's cousin Leza who is getting married. We are looking forward to the weekend and are going to see as many people as we can and visit as many of our old haunts as we can while we are there. We already know that we will be stopping at the Kansas Sampler to stock up on KU items. That stuff is hard to find out here! Imagine that. We plan to leave plenty of extra room in our suitcases for anything we might buy and bring home with us.
Until then, it's 10 hour workdays for me, but nothing I'm not used to. It's worth it to have a 3 day weekend and an extra day with my husband. I'm so lucky to have an awesome job and supervisor who are leanient with scheduling so i can have these days off for the weddings. Oh, and I had business cards waiting for me on my desk today, so watch out! One may be coming your way.
I think I've written just about enough for today.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nineteen Minutes: Book Review

Well it's been a few days, but I honestly haven't had much to post about lately. We had a fun night at Lodo's and the Rockies game on Saturday with Nick and Carlene. We had great seats and were among KU people, which is always awesome. Sunday, Matt and I were back at work. I didn't stay as long as I planned because the building was uncomfortably warm. I don't think they keep the air on during weekends, which makes sense because not many people are there. I went home after about 2.5 hours, went for a run and did laundry, which was way more productive than I would have been at work in the heat.
I really wanted to comment tonight on a book I've been reading. It's called Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. She is one of my favorite authors. This book started off almost exactly like The Pact so I was a little bored at the beginning, as I felt like I had read it all already and knew where the book was going. To give a brief premise of Nineteen Minutes, it is mostly about a kid named Peter who is tormented and bullied every day at school by "cool" kids. He doesn't fit in anywhere and only has one "friend" to talk to. He gets driven over the edge and takes guns to school where he shoots and kills many of the kids who have bullied him. The book covers all of the events leading up to that day and also covers the trial and emotions that occur after the shooting from many different angles.
There is no way I thought I would actually be on Peter's side after what he did. He seemed so cold and uncaring at the beginning. But as the book begins to detail all of the constant humiliation he endures and the feelings he encounters, it really played on my emotions. Here is a kid who doesn't know who he is in any facet (he even goes to a gay bar because he thinks may be attracted to men) and he has to try and figure it out while the whole school taunts him and beats him up. He gets average grades and has no athletic talent so he has no "group" to associtate with.
Now, I don't think it was okay for him to take guns to school and shoot people in retaliation, but the kid really didn't have anyone to turn to for help. He didn't know how else to cope. His parents were still reeling from the death of his "perfect" older brother and his one childhood friend has abandoned him for the popular crowd. He gets fired from his job. His teachers turn a blind eye when he gets bullied, so he literally has to take all this weight on himself. Nothing can go right for this kid!
I think what got to me the most was when Peter realized that despite all the pain he caused to the students and families through the shooting, that things hadn't really changed and he would still never fit in to their world. I cried and cried at that part.
After reading this book, I realized how lucky I was to have so many wonderful friends and family to turn to when things got rough in my life. I was lucky to never have to endure "bullying" at school. I do remember one time in junior high, a kid handed me a razor he had fashioned out of notebook paper. I didn't really get it at the time, but I hadn't started shaving my legs and I had some peach fuzz on my upper lip. When I figured it out, I was mortified because I realized they'd been laughing about it forever. Kids can be so cruel, and I admit that its much easier being the one to tease than the one being teased. Nineteen Minutes really stressed that point. I know I did my share on the teasing end as well, unfortunately.
I would recommend this book, and I'm not usually one for law thrillers. It is a pretty standard Jodi Picoult style book, so it traps your emotions and gets you really wrapped up in the drama. first official book review! Next up, I'm going to read the Twilight series that everyone is raving about by Stephanie Meyer. I ordered them off Amazon and they are on my bookshelf waiting to be read!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pongo is Two!

Today is our puppy's second birthday. I still call him a puppy, but it's probably time to stop that. As many of you know, Pongo is my first dog ever. I worried (and cried) like a new mom when I brought him home because I didn't know what to do with this little wiggly thing that howled every time I left the room. I read every major dog training website and memorized the Super Puppy book I bought from the vet during one of his many early visits there.

What we have today is a wonderful and mostly well behaved dog, however spoiled he may be. Pongo is not only my dog but my running buddy, evening companion and howling guardian. He is so intuitive and knows when something is wrong, when to cuddle and when to just be his cute self. He sighs when we forget to feed him on time and groans when we move him during his sleep. He learns new tricks so fast I can't think of what to teach him next!

Here are a few pictures of our dog on his big day.

Pongo got a pretty red jacket from his "grandma." It fits him perfectly and it comes just in time for fall!

This is Pongo with the spoils of his birthday including some toys, chew bones, a laser pointer chaser and a cow halloween costume!

Tonight I had dinner with Matt at the hospital. The plan was for him to fax an order in to Chipotle and I would pick it up and take it to the hospital on my way. What I didn't realize was that the whole evening staff also put in orders so when I left Chipotle, I had two paper bags and a couple drinks to juggle in to the hospital. The new facility is beautiful! The atrium reminds me of an airport terminal because it is so open and so naturally lit. I really like all of the people Matt works with but honestly, I have no idea how any of them find the pharmacy. If Matt hadn't met me in the atrium, I would have wandered around in the basement for days looking for it. It's like a huge maze of identical hallways with a million corridors and turns.

It was good for me to physically see where my husband spends his evenings. It puts things into a lot better perspective to meet the people and hear them discuss "work stuff." AND I can report to all of you some of these little details that wouldn't get posted otherwise. So now this week, Matt and I have both been to each others' offices which is pretty cool. I think we're going to try to do more of that on a regular basis.

Tomorrow, we are attending a KU Alumni event which includes a Rockies game and a gathering at a local bar. Sunday it's back to work for both of us. I'm working on another urgent project and also banking some hours in order to take Friday off to head to Stafford, KS for my cousin Jenny's wedding! Matt traded Friday for this Sunday so he can have Friday off as well. I can't wait to see my family again!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Thought We Were Over This

I am trying frantically to get a crisis project done at work...while doing it right at the same time...while having various co-workers peek in my cube every now and again to check on the status. I don't mind any of this, and I don't mind having put in 25 hours already this week. However, when I got home this afternoon, I laid down on the couch and slept for an hour and a half! It felt so good, but what I didn't realize was that I left the back door ajar so Pongo could do his business and then come back in on his own. When I awoke from my glorious nap, Pongo was curled up next to me but something smelled horrible!

It turns out that while he had free reign of the yard, he managed to roll in the most hideous smelling rotten something! He hasn't really done much of this since we moved out here, but it used to be a bad habbit of his in KC. I really thought he was over that stage of puppyhood. I guess not. I had to leave for a rec volleyball game and didn't get to bathe him. Now I'm still working up motivation to do this but I am not sleeping with such a stinky dog! At least he will be nice and clean for his 2nd birthday on Friday! (Assuming he doesn't have a repeat performance of tonight before then.)
Pongo and I are really bonding since Matt is gone during the evenings. He senses Matt's absence and is extra on edge, barking at the smallest creak or outside noise. Most of the time, it startles me and creeps me out a little. But I'm really glad he feels like a guardian when it's just the two of us. I'm sure he will get an extra special birthday present!


Sunday morning I had brunch with my former supervisor from Western Air Maps. Of course it sent me on a big nostalgia trip. Golly, I miss those people. It really is hard to change once you get used to a certain way of life, a job, a group of friends or all of the above. I still find myself thinking about and missing how things used to be quite often. But then I think of how good change can be as well. One thing I have learned is that my heart will always be in two places, no matter what happens down the road: Kansas and Colorado.

I was thrilled today when Matt and Pongo brought me lunch at work. Yesterday, I caught a mild version of what has been ailing Matt the past few days. Basically, just a sore throat in the morning and off and on during the day. I was craving broccoli cheese soup from Jason's Deli and my wonderful husband didn't let me down! We had lunch on the back patio of my office building at some picnic tables by the lake/pond. It was so great to be able to have a meal together during the week! I totally took this for granted before. Matt also got to meet some of my co-workers and see my cube. (Pongo stayed in the car.)

I would love to take dinner up to Matt at the hospital some evening. It just never seems like he knows when he'll have a break or if he'll even be able to get away long enough to call me! Timing a break for a meal together seems like a shot in the dark, considering that the hospital can be quiet one moment and booming the next on any given night. What I am considering is making Pongo a volunteer dog for the hospitalized children if TCH (The Children's Hospital) would allow it. I know they have pets go in and visit the kids in the hospital to cheer them up during their stay and I think Pongo would be great at this. He is never agressive and very tolerant of just about everyone! He must learn not to roll in stinky things first before he can do this! No kids want to pet a smelly dog!

This is my former supervisor Kyle and I at Einstein Bros after brunch!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Deaths In The Household

When I was in high school, I worked on the MHS Mentor, our weekly newspaper. One of my first tasks was writing headlines for all of the stories and they were supposed to be attention grabbing. I'm kind of implementing that strategy into by blogs (sometimes). Did the title of this post grab your attention? Well don't worry, there haven't been any serious deaths in this house, other than that of about a million or more germs today.
So here you have it: Matt is battling his first round of sickness just as fall is rolling in. He attributes this to working in a new hospital with a new set of germs and bugs and other unpleasant things. Regardless of what has made him sick, it's hard for me to really take care of him with our opposite schedules. I have not so subtly encouraged him to take vitamin C and echinacea, which boost the immune system. But other than that, I can't do much from my desk at work. So today, after my plans to see my former supervisor, Kyle were postponed, I decided to give the house a thorough cleaning. I figure that can certainly help Matt get better. I did all the things I hate doing like cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the stairs. I think our Wal-Mart vacuum is about to give out. I really don't think it does a proper job anymore. I am trying to convince Matt to let me get a Dyson vacuum but they are very expensive and we have other things to save for like a new bed, car and eventually a house.
I also disinfected everything in the bathrooms and Pongo's kennel, thus inflicting massive death on all of the germs and bacteria that might have been living in those areas. I still have a couple items left to clean, like the shower, laundry, kitchen and the dog. I'm exhausted though and need to run since I skipped out on that yesterday.
Matt and I finally combined our cell phone plans yesterday! Well actually I just added him on to mine because we really liked the T-Mobile Sidekick phones and it also goes back to the whole history thing. I have been with them now for 5 years on my own plan and have a good background with them, so hopefully no funny business will happen like with the bank. We also wanted to keep our current cell phone numbers and T-Mobile allowed us to do that.
We love our new phones! They are twins except mine is green and Matt's is black. They come with unlimited texting and internet, for a monthly fee of course. The screen pops up and underneath is a full qwerty keyboard which I am still getting used to, but it is much easier to send text messages that way. Our plan also includes a "Favorites Circle" and free nights and weekends for each line. So we probably won't be using many of our shared minutes since we have the house phone as well.
All right, I better hit the running trail before Matt gets home from work. We're headed over to watch the KU football game and grill with Dave and Mary tonight. It will be a fun evening!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Weird Banking

It seems as if I am cursed now that I have closed my Commerce Bank account. Well, I guess this just had good timing...
Matt and I finally got our re-embursement check from the hospital for our move and deposited it on Saturday so that we can pay some bills. Today I got a letter from our current bank (I'm not going to specify its name here) saying that two checks we deposited are on hold because they were too much money! I've never heard that one before, but I can certainly understand where they are coming from. They don't want to be liable for a check in a large amount if it doesn't clear. What I don't understand is why we have to wait another two weeks to get our money. Does it really take that long? Even more baffling is the fact that I was told that they wouldn't honor the checks right away simply because we don't have a long enough history with the bank and they were suspicious because we have had no other checks of that amount deposited to our account! I was worried about the whole bank history thing when I closed my account at Commerce... Really though, do they think we are forging payroll checks like the movie "Catch Me If You Can?"
Of course, I tried calling the bank when I got home to prove that we are not money launderers, but the Colorado branch couldn't help much and the Mission, KS branch where I could resolve everything was closed due to the time change. Arg! I guess Matt gets to figure this one out tomorrow on his precious day off! Anyway, the irony of the situation is that in this day and age where banks are struggling due to inflation, bad mortgages, etc, we can't get our bank to take our money! I find this hilarious! This is definitely a first for me!
Alright, enough about that. The other big news of the day is that Pongo passed his "interview" at Doggy Day Camp and he allowed to go back. He spent the day there on a trial run and now he's exhausted! I'm glad he got a little socialization in. He now has a place to go while we travel to our upcoming weddings. I like this place and was very pleased at how nice and knowledgeable the owner is. It is close to my work, but we probably won't send Pongo to daycare much since he only has to spend a few hours in his kennel per day. It's nice to have a place where he can go when we're gone and I know he will be out and playing all day instead of cooped up in a kennel. I know...we have a very spoiled puppy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


This post will be short. I just had to share this experience I had while on my normal running route tonight. I worked late today, so I got a later start on the run and it was sunset. My favorite part of the run is at the crest of a hill where all you can see are the mountains. The scene was something like this: (obviously, I didn't have my camera with me while running.)

Sorry, this picture doesn't do it justice at all. But pair it with the song "She Goes All The Way" by Rascal Flatts and Jamie Foxx and it was such an incredible feeling. Either that, or I was high off of endorphins from running. I had chills from head to toe and was nearly in tears! What a wonderful feeling! It's hard to put into words.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Alissa's Visit (One Amazing Weekend)

I really hope Blogger uploads pictures tonight because boy do I have a lot! We had Alissa here for Labor Day weekend and we kept her very busy. I can already tell that this is going to be a long post, so hold on folks!

I picked Alissa up on Friday afternoon from the airport, slightly afraid that there would be a lot of airport traffic due to the conclusion of the DNC on Thursday night. (By the way, what a speech by Obama! I was truly inspired.) However, I collected her with little problem, other than having to circle the airport twice before I finally figured out which ramp to take to get to her. I even managed to navigate out of the airport without getting lost. I was rather proud of this fact, even though I have been there a couple times now. When we got to the house, we all decided to go to Old Chicago for dinner during happy hour. (Big surprise, right?) We were all pretty tired since all three of us had worked that day and Alissa had traved across the state as well. We decided to rent a movie and make popcorn, which made for a fabulous Friday night.
Saturday morning, we slept in late, then headed to the Coors brewery for a tour. It's not quite the same as our personal Boulevard brewery tours, but it was still fun. The assembly line where they box up all the beer and send it to various parts of the factory was in operation, and I probably could have watched that for hours! It was so cool to see all the boxes moving on conveyor lines in every direction. Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead and that was the one thing I forgot to buy at Wal-Mart that day, so I have no pictures of the brewery tour.
We decided to drive to Breckenridge after that to do some hiking and ride the alpine slide. The drive was interesting in my car. It has a hard time with the long uphill slopes on I-70, with only 4 cylinders. But we got there just fine and I was amazed at how much I remembered from our family vacations. The drive is so beautiful all the way from Denver to Breckenridge. I think I will always be in awe of the mountains, no matter how near or far away I am from them.
We spotted the alpine slide pretty quickly, but were told that it was out of commission because they are building a big resort right at the bottom. I hope this is just a seasonal thing because they just can't close that slide forever! It is so fun and so full of memories.
We ended up driving up Peak 8, where we found a trail to hike. I found this funny because Peak 8 is the mountain my cousins and I hiked once long ago. We didn't follow a trail, we simply walked up a ski slope. All we really wanted was to get to the snow. That was so fun...good memories. Anyway, Matt, Alissa and I hiked on an acutal trail which was really neat. We hiked for about an hour before heading back due to some thunder and dark clouds moving in. It was a good thing, because it started raining right as we got back to the car.
As we drove down, I kept looking for the house we stayed at for the Walter family reunions, but I don't think I would have recognized it if I saw it. I just think it would be so cool to live in Breckenridge. But I love Denver too. When we got home that evening, we had some dinner at home and planned our Sunday.
Wow...was all of that just Saturday? I knew this would be long. :) Sunday, we got up pretty early and went out to Red Rocks. It is so cool how those rocks just come out of nowhere. I still don't think I understand how they are formed and I read a little about it at the park. We were going to try to find some trails out there, but they all just led to parking lots and it was pretty hot so we got some pictures and then took a scenic drive to Golden.
Oops...we weren't supposed to climb on the rocks! We didn't know until after we did it...

Along the way to Golden, we stopped and waded around in Clear Creek. It was SO COLD, but lots of fun. Our feet got numb after being in the water too long. There were a lot of little flecks of gold in the sand, but they were so small it would be impossible to collect them.

We had lunch at Woody's (woodfired pizza) in Golden. It's an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet which was definitely not good for my diet! They make all kinds of different pizzas for the buffet. My favorite is a meaty pizza with barbeque sauce instead of pizza sauce. Yum!
We went home after that and rescued Pongo from the crate. We also had a Fantasy Football draft to complete, so we had to be home and by the computers! How does Matt think his team will do? "I think I have a strong team this year." That's what he says every year. :)
Later, we went out to dinner at a place called 3 Margaritas. This was one of the highlights of my weekend! We just ordered a couple appetizers to eat and of course, margaritas! Alissa and I tried a strawberry banana flavored margarita which I loved! The restaurant also had a mariachi band, which came and serenaded us during dinner. What fun!
Monday was Alissa's last day here. :( We decided to stay in Denver and go downtown. It was pretty amazing to think how many people had just been there at the DNC. We walked along the 16th Street mall. I picked up a few DNC trinkets for my family and almost bought a Rockies t-shirt. (So far, all I have are Royals shirts, which I end up wearing to the Rockies games.) We walked to Larimer square, where all 50 state flags were flying overhead.

Then we walked to Coors Field and bought tickets for the afternoon baseball game. We opted for the cheap tickets called the "Rock Pile." We were meeting our friends Dave and Mary, so we bought all five tickets so we could sit together. Our total for all of the tickets was $20. We thought that the guy hadn't heard us right! But it really was $4 per ticket! We still had some time, so we had a quick lunch at the Breckenridge Brewery Restaurant (where we took Jake). The food is quite good there!
It was very sunny on the "rock pile" so we ended up moving into the shade. The game was pretty uneventful, but the Rockies won! I'm 2-0 now for games I've been to! Maybe I'm good luck. Haha.
Dave, Mary, Matt and Alissa on the rock pile.

The purple seats are only in one row of the stadium and symbolize one mile high (5280 ft in eleveation.) We sat one row above a mile! Thanks for that piece of info, Mary!

I love how you can see the skyline in the background!

After that, it was almost time to take Alissa to the airport. But first, we stopped and bought ski passes at R.E.I.. With as much as they cost, we better do a lot of skiing this winter! But at least we get unlimited skiing in Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin (I think). I know it's 3 major resorts, I'm not positive on exactly which ones. I hope I like to ski!
It was sad to say goodbye to Alissa after such a fun weekend. Matt and I both hope she comes out again soon. We miss getting to hang out with her more often.
Hooray for blogger letting me upload photos!