Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dreaming of Floyd

First of all, let me explain the title of this blog before anyone starts worrying that I am thinking of another guy. :) You see, in 15 days, we will be closing on our NEW HOUSE, which happens to be on a street called Floyd Place.
I used to think that I would be really sad to leave this rental house. It's the first house we called "home" in Colorado. This house rescued us from homelessness when we were crazy and stressed, moving from Kansas City without an actual address to give to the movers. My side of the family had our last real family Christmas in this house. We have hosted so many dinners, parties and barbecues, and housed countless numbers of visitors over the past two years. We have so many memories in this house, that it's hard to imagine living anywhere else.
I am a pretty sentimental person, so I think this move would have been a lot harder had our current landlord not intervened. About a month ago, he called and said that he was going to have his son in law put a new roof on the house. He mentioned numerous other assorted projects, including new counters in the kitchen and some new windows, but he implied that these could wait until we moved. We agreed to facilitate the roof and windows (which involved giving our house key to the handykid), not knowing what we were really getting in to.
B, our landord's son-in-law has been at our house for the past 2.5 weeks working dilligently on the roof. And the new roof looks great, I must say! However, the loose nails and tar paper that liter our deck and back yard are not so great. It appears that when he finished last Friday, doing a little pick-up was too much to handle. So we spent the weekend dodging said items on the deck and hoping that our dogs wouldn't come in the house with a bloody puncture wound until I just couldn't handle it any more. The yard hadn't been mowed in weeks and it was turning into a swamp. So i gave in and filled two trashbags full of roofing debris before I felt I could mow properly.
I am also not thrilled that B's air powered nail gun and other tools are residing in my garage spot. I'm sure I have grumbled about this a fair amount to way too many people, for which I humbly apologize. However, nothing set me off as much as B did yesterday when I got home from a not-so-great day at work. He informed me that the windows would not be ready until June 29, so he would be focusing his attention on the kitchen counters instead.
*****RANT ALERT*****
Ok, the roof was one thing, and the windows need to be done in a BAD way, but Matt and I did NOT sign on for having our kitchen torn apart while we are still paying rent and living inside this house. I was politely informed last night that I would need to remove everything from the counters by today or Wednesday so that he could begin work. He did not ask if this would be a bother to our lives or schedules even though I later volunteered the information that we would be heading out of town starting Wednesday. B also made a comment that it would be hard to do the windows with our stuff in front of them (living room and office). I really wanted to snidely remind him that we do in fact LIVE in the house, but I kept my cool and he left.
What is a girl to do when she had set aside the evening to finish a boat load of homework, and is suddenly told to spend that time packing up her kitchen instead? Naturally, I broke down and had a good cry. :) And I didn't pack a single thing last night. Today, he must have found other projects, but he wisely wasn't around when I got home.
Today Matt called our landlord, who is in Atlanta for a conference and didn't seem to want to be bothered by these issues. And we don't really have too much of a case to argue, since he somehow already knows that we will be heading to Kansas after work tomorrow. So tonight, we took everything off the kitchen counters and I packed up the china for the move to Floyd, in order avoid any chance of it being broken. I'm still not thrilled about the constant parade of people through the house (between the repairs and the rental showings.). But I know that when we move, WE will have control over what happens in our house, and that is an amazing revelation at this point.
I am hoping for some magical changes in the rental house when we get back, so that we can enjoy our last couple weeks in our first Colorado "home." Old counters out, new ones in and finished. Kitchen swept and cleaned like no one was even in there. Remaining mountains of roofing debris to magically disappearing from the yard. Garage spot clear and open for my car again. Garage door opener waiting for me on the new counter. And most importantly, for these household projects to be DONE until we are outta here. I laugh even as I type out this list of "hopes" for our return.
In the mean time, I will enjoy my time in Kansas and keep dreaming of Floyd when we get back! And I promise for a more uplifting blog (and maybe some recent photos) soon!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Angry Ranger Story

Some of you may have seen my status on Facebook earlier this week about our disappointing Memorial Day camping trip. As promised, I am blogging today to tell the story of the state park ranger who ruined our weekend.
Early last Saturday afternoon, Matt and Alissa and I and our friends Nick and Carlene arrived at our reserved campsite at Golden Gate Canyon State Park (GGCSP) for a long awaited weekend camping trip that we had on the calendar for months. We wasted no time setting up our tents and unpacking our cars. A couple hours later, we noticed a state park ranger approaching our campsite. He noted several violations in our campsite, including our three tents on the pad (only 2 are allowed) and the fact that we had Perdi teathered around a tree with her leash. He asked us to take down a tent and tie Perdi to the picnic table, which we immediately did. He left shortly after that. We were slightly annoyed at this, but didn't really think much of it for the remainder of the afternoon.
We enjoyed our afternoon, playing board games, snacking and having a couple cold beers. We noticed that some storm clouds were rolling in, so we hung up a tarp over our picnic table to have shelter from the rain. It ended up raining and hailing for a couple hours. We were cold and miserable, but we stayed pretty dry! It even hailed for a while, so we were especially glad to have the tarp up.
At dusk around 9:30 pm, I went to the Highlander to put some food away so we didn't attract any bears. I noticed the ranger's truck pull up as I was heading back to the campsite. Two rangers got out of the truck and headed directly to our campsite, which was set back in the woods a little bit and not visible from the road. I got back to the site before them to warn everyone that our ranger friend was back.
This time, he had a really bad attitude with us. He asked us why we had the tarp hung up in the trees. We reminded him of the hailstorm and said we would take it down right away. He asked us if we had ever camped in the state parks before and we said we had camped there on numerous occasions. He also asked if we had ever been approached by a ranger before, and we said no. He really thought that was funny...he asked us if that was the case, then did we remember what he had just talked to us about yesterday. Since we had arrived at the park that very afternoon, we had no idea what he was talking about. We told him he had talked to us earlier that day and that we had complied with his requests, but he didn't seem to remember that. He had it in his mind that he had paid us a visit the day before, and that we were deliberatley disobeying park rules.
We were all really flustered by then, as we were no more in violation of camping rules than any other campsite. (lots of people had trash bags and clotheslines hanging in the trees and one campsite with a family was way over the six person limit.) What really freaked me out was when the ranger asked if we were aware that quiet hours were at 10 pm. Since it was about 9:35 by this point, we didn't know why he was asking. Matt politely asked if anyone had complained about us being too loud, as we tend to have animated conversations at times. I thought the ranger was going to use a taser on Matt for asking that question. But he said that there had been no complaints. We told him that we would observe quiet hours and the rangers left without visiting any other campsites with the same "violations" (or worse) than ours.
We were angry and perplexed after that confrontation. We had not been being loud or obnoxious. Frankly, we had been sitting under a tarp in the rain for hours not doing much of anything. We tried to think of ways that we were over-reacting or being dramatic. But the fact of the matter was clear: we were the only "young" group of campers in a campground full of families and older couples. We had clearly been targeted because of our age, with the assumption that we were there to be loud, drink and party all night. Ironically, we went to bed shortly after the ranger left. We didn't feel like staying up to risk another visit.
We had a nice conversation with the head ranger the next morning. Ranger Todd asked us to provide written documentation of what happened. He even came to our campsite and picked it up himself. Finally we were being treated with respect! Ranger Todd promised to address the ranger who had visited us the previous evening and apologized for how we had been treated.
We decided not to stick around and find out if he would follow through with his promise. We didn't want to risk another night filled with visits from that ranger, since we knew he would be on duty again after talking to Ranger Todd. We took a quick hike, packed up and left. Luckily, we were able to salvage the rest of our weekend with Alissa, but she still didn't really get to experience camping with us, which was the main point of her trip.
I wrote a two page letter to the Colorado State Parks Board on Tuesday and mailed it to the Denver Admin office as well as GGCSP. The way we were treated was completely unwarranted and very frustrating to five responsible adults who simply needed a couple days of solitude and relaxation in the Rocky Mountains.
Some children go through an "awkward" age. I know I certainly did, probably for most of my childhood. :) But I believe that we twenty-somethings are still in an awkward period in our lives. We are working HARD at so many aspects in our lives: careers, relationships, educations, friendships, and on and on. We want to be taken seriously. We want to prove to the world that we are responsible and capable and that we can handle it all and succeed. And, like anyone else, we just need a chance to get out of computer/cellphone/reality and relax for a while. It is so upsetting to me that five twenty-something friends can be written off as loud drunken partiers with just a simple glance. That is all it took for that ranger to judge us.
GGCSP used to be my favorite place to camp. It is beautiful and set way up high in the mountains. The scenery is breathtaking. At least it used to be. I hate to say it, but I don't know if I will be able to go there again without feeling the dissapointment of last weekend.