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July 15, 2002
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Packing Up, Heading Out, and Lasagna at The Goal

The house was crazy this morning. Everyone was running around packing, making up beds, getting things straightened, putting boxes out to be put into the cars, yelling to find out what was where, and trying to get breakfast all at the same time amid a mountain of leftovers from yesterday.

Jet was up a bit before seven, and John with him. He'd done really well last night, only up once, and briefly. I guess the party and the cousins all tired him out. He'd eaten a huge breakfast with everyone. I ate rather less, and didn't mind it after the last couple of days.

While Jet was occupied with Emily, Yuri, Marina and Simon, Bernd, John and I ran out to do one last hit on Costco. It didn't open until 11, so we did a few other things, first.

On the way out to the Parties for Less, Bernd saw a Starbucks and he wondered how, in this economy, such a business could flourish. It's so much cheaper to make ones own coffee than to get an espresso drink from a barista. John and I have this theory that it's a relatively cheap luxury item that makes people feel good. That it's not just a matter of price, but of service and of small things that feel good and don't cost as much as even a movie. So people are willing to spend a little every day to just feel better.

John did a quick return of the tank, then we hit Target, with three very specific things in mind. Since it wasn't quite 11, we then went back to the Starbucks to let Bernd take a closer look and to get a drink himself. He bought a vente mocha, while I went with my split shot double tall latte with caramel sauce, and John got his usual no whip grande mocha. We sipped away happily and wandered through the store looking at all the stuff they had there. Plenty of things to buy. Bernd picked up a transparent Starbucks' card and peered at it and all the small print carefully. I liked how it looked, so I got one, too, but I just can't bring myself to give them money before I want to spend it.

Costco surprised me. It was a complete zoo on a Monday morning. I wasn't expecting that. I had expected the zoo on Sunday morning and the one we fell into Friday evening, but Monday morning? There were crowds there, not quite as tight as on the weekend, but enough that we had to dodge quite a few people. Okay, that's one bit plus about Colorado, not everyone has discovered Costco, there, yet, and it's very fast to get through. John and I raced back to get bread for dinners and a gallon and a half of half and half for ice cream. Bernd stopped to look at jeans, and he said that he'd meet us up front.

We actually got through a checkout line before he came by, and John went after him and waded into the mix. They found each other and got through relatively quickly.

All this time, Jet's at home, fighting his nap while playing with his cousins. We walked in the door and several people said that Jet had gone to sleep just minutes before. I found Isabel at the computer, trying to type with Jet draped across her shoulder. He was dead asleep. Isabel said that he was even asleep when someone tried to stand him up, he was so tired.

We tucked him into his car seat, put him away in the back bedroom, and then frantically started loading the car. We wanted him to sleep for as much of the drive as possible. So folks helped us out and piled stuff into the trunk of the big Impala and when we were done, the three of us headed out, north on 405 and then east. We were just headed out east when we crested this hill and were instantly waved over by two patrolmen just standing there by the side of the road. John pulled over without a word, and when the patrolman came up, he handed over the rental car agreement and his Colorado driver's license.

Turns out that the patrolman was from Colorado, too, and he might have had some idea of the difference between driving in one area and the other. I also don't think that John was going that much over the speed limit. Still, it was kind of him to let the out-of-town folks go with just a warning and John kept closer to the speed limit from then on.

The only problem is that with the patrolman's very clear and very loud voice and his radio, Jet woke up thoroughly. Oops. But he did quite well, looking around and studying things for a while as we headed up over the mountains. He did start getting fussy when we headed through a town, as we had to turn off the main way to get where we wanted to go. So we pulled over and found a Taco Time. I nursed Jet in the car, while John went in to get us lunch.

Okay. I love authentic Mexican and New Mexican food. It's great stuff. Taco Time does not serve authentic Mexican food. It serves the Northwest version of said foods. One of the things they do serve is a beef, chicken, or bean 'crisp burrito'. It's a flour tortilla wrapped around a thin core of the chosen protein, which is then deep fried until it's crisp. It's thin, crisp, and usually fresh out of the fryer and so hot I always burn my tongue on them. They're yummy for their own sake. I got a beef one of those and a chicken taco just to have some veg.

Jet looked intrigued by the beef crisp burrito. After he yelled, "Owie." after trying to hold it a few times, he let me blow on it a lot before letting him nibble. Soon he was taking a bite every time I took a bite. So he ate a good bit of it before I just broke off an inch of the tube and gave that to him to gnaw, rather than feeding him every bite. I got to finish mine that way. I asked John to get me another bean burrito, and let Jet nurse the other side while John did that. When John came back with that, Jet wanted some of it, too, and he got three inch long chunks of it, blown until it was not so hot it would burn him. He loved it and munched it down happily.

With food inside him, Jet was far more cheerful about the last of the ride to the cabin.

We turned out to be the first ones there. There were two real swings, not the bucket of straps that Jet usually swings in, but he really wanted to get on it. Since swinging under my supervision would keep him way from the river, I put him on it, made sure he had a tight grip of the chains and then gently started pushing him. He loved it.

The cabin was a huge A-frame thing with all glass on the river side. The river was running a bare 30 feet from the front of the cabin, and it seemed huge and was running very, very fast. The river was a good 50 feet wide and the water was just rushing along it. I don't think we've seen this much water going this fast in all the trips we've taken in Colorado. It's a very small river by Washington standards, but it seemed huge, dangerous, and fast to me right then. So John and I took turns watching Jet while unloading the car. The cabin was locked, so we first piled everything on the front porch. Then John discovered that one window wasn't as tightly locked as it should have been. He popped the screen, pushed the window open and got in. So we were able to unload the car into the cabin.

While we were unloading the Filley clan arrived. Isabel's brother, John, with his kids and their kids and spouses all arrived in two or three carloads and started running around. Soon the rest of the Rostyki made it as well, and the cabin and the other cabin were all filled with people.

I think the best decision that the Rostyki made for the whole trip was renting two cabins instead of just one. Dorsey, the husband of a Filley daughter, and Bernd and Simon were all surprise additions. While the cabin rooms mostly could fit four on double bunk beds, it was more comfortable having a single family group, sometimes of only two people, in each room. Plus, the cabin capacities had included the lofts and the livingroom beds. So it would have meant people sleeping in the public areas. I'm glad we didn't have to do that.

John and Jet and I took one of the upstairs corner rooms. With the thick walls and some extra baffling by the hallway to the room, the room seemed extra quiet and we didn't think that noises in the room would go, too loudly, through to the other rooms that adjoined it. No one said otherwise, so I hope it was so.

When everyone had arrived, it was nearly 5. So the Rostyki buckled down and made dinner. We had Costco lasagna, and the big, meat ones went into the regular oven. We had bought an entire bag of garlic from Costco, and I'd been thinking of smashing heads of the stuff into butter for garlic bread. I was reminded that there was one vegan in the group, so I decided to just roast the cloves, and let people apply their own butter and garlic. Instead of roasting it in heads, which is always kind of messy in groups to serve, as someone always ends up with a mashed and mangled head with papers indistinguishable from pulp, I broke up four heads of garlic and just put the individual cloves all in one piece of aluminum foil, doused them with a bit of canola oil (no olive oil available since we had to bring one oil for breakfast things, too), wrapped it up tight and tossed it into the oven.

Since the big meat lasagnas took a good hour and a half, the garlic had plenty of roasting time. Cathie and I also got both veggie lasagnas done in the microwave and there was plenty of time to brown them up in the conventional oven while the regular lasagnas had to sit and coagulate before serving. We managed to juggle six loaves of bread through the oven as well, and served them hot. Jan did the salad with good grace, and by 7:30 everyone was sprawled everywhere, eating.

Most folks were outside. All the menfolk had been outside the whole time we were cooking inside, making ice cream. Paul had cooked up all the ice cream mixes, and set them up in each of the freezers, and people were all over the patio cranking them and getting bit by mosquitoes.

At home, I worry about mosquitoes coming out when the sun sets and it starts to get cool. Usually there are a few out and they always find me. I hate that.

Here, there were thousands of them. I went outside with my plate of food, and I was back in the cabin in about two minutes, as they were driving me insane. They would dive bomb my face and I had swatted a dozen of them before I ever picked up my fork. Dorsey was collecting bodies. He had a napkin filled with at least fifty of the suckers, and was slapping, swatting, and squishing them right and left. Yuck.

So I hid in the cabin. There were still mosquitoes there, but they were mildly more manageable. I was mildly worried about Jet, who was outside, toddling around, sampling from everyone's plate, and generally doing well. When I got a good look at him afterwards, though, he hadn't been bit at all. John hadn't, either. So I guess Jet has inherited John's tastes-bad-to-mosquitoes gene. I'm glad of that. I had no desire to spray DEET on Jet and have him rub it, accidentally, into his eyes. It looked like I didn't have to, as he was out in it for a good long time and he had no welts at all.

Jet got to enjoy the homemade ice cream. He got a whole bowl to himself, and he walked around eating it. This time he had a napkin as a bib and managed to be intense enough about eating it that he didn't get much, if any, of it on himself. I was pretty impressed. He's getting handier with the spoon. He also learned that he could pick up the bowl, at the end, and drink the leftovers quite neatly. He did great with that, and I was impressed that he didn't tip the bowl so far that it spilled around the sides.

When it was true dark, there were still bugs outside, but it wasn't the constant warfare of the evening. So I finally went out for a while, and talked with folks. Everyone else was going a mile a minute, catching up on what was going on with everyone, with the folks that couldn't make it, and with all kinds of cool topics. Everything from computers to fiddle performances, from ceramics to cooking, and everything in between. Folks settled in, got comfortable again with each other and relaxed while they were away from it all.

Isabel looked radiant. George was quiet and he seemed totally happy to just be here and soak it all up. I was glad of that.

Finally, Jet turned into a pumpkin at about 10. I took him upstairs and it took me an entire hour to get him to calm down, cool down, and settle down enough to finally get to sleep. All the input and excitement and new things are getting to him, I think. So as soon as he was asleep, I got ready for bed and went to sleep as well. Best to take advantage of it while I can.

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