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We are back home after a couple of days in the big city of Denver.  What?  You didn’t even know I was gone?  Hmmmph!

My niece and her fiance were having an engagement party, so we left the lazy life in western Colorado to head over the mountains into what I consider the stress cauldron of the state.  I don’t like Denver.  Never have.  Most likely never will.  I am not a big city girl.  I don’t care all that much for small cities, but over my lifetime, “my” town has turned into a small city.  I tolerate it.  But, I’d love to move out of this small city and into a small town.  Yes, there’s a difference.

We had to take a 2 hour detour to pick up our son who goes to college, lives, and works in another mountain town, but we arrived in Denver mid-day-ish on Saturday.  Oh, wait…I need to back up a moment.  Due to the fact that our seven-year old chocolate lab is the most spoiled canine on the planet, we had him with us.  My mom usually babysits him, but since my niece is her granddaughter, well…she was headed to Denver too, so her dog-sitting services were unavailable.  My niece and her fiance assured us that our lab could stay with them since they have two black labs.  Oh, they’d have a fine time the three of them!  Uh…not so much, but that’s another part of the story.

We arrived in Denver, took our dog to my niece’s house, left him there with a bit of trepidation since he was running around like crazy and yelping to beat the band, and then headed to our hotel to check in and rest a bit before the big party.  Later that evening, we went to the party which was very nice, but we felt a bit out of our element.  My niece is 20 years younger than I am, and though I am loathe to admit it, I’ve become a bit of a fuddy-duddy.  I can still REMEMBER my “wild days”, and I do so with fondness, but I’m very content to be beyond them.  It was very apparent that we “older” folk were a bit out of our element.  I think that fact was made crystal clear when they brought out a huge trifle bowl brimming with various flavored J-ello shots.  LOL  Our two children are young enough AND old enough that, while they watched the trifle bowl pass by them, they did so with quiet yearning.  Being 19 and only four months shy of 21 in a state where the legal drinking age is 21 can cause frustration, especially when the kids know that it wasn’t all that many years ago that the legal drinking age in Colorado was 18.  Therefore, my sister, and my mother, and my family left the party early.  My two children went with their aunt to go see a movie.  Dh and I went back to the hotel to relax and watch some mind-numbing tv.

The next day was supposed to include an afternoon of major league baseball.  But, with the weather forecast leaning toward cold, windy, and rainy, we decided to do some big city errands and then head home early.  We knew we had a 6 hour drive ahead of us.  The first order of business was to pick up our spoiled rotten dog who thinks he is a person.  When we pulled up to my niece’s house, she and her fiance, and my sister, and my mother were all out front in the driveway.  I’m thinking…gee…what a welcoming party!  But then, common sense kicked in, and I realized that my niece looked tired and none to happy.  Maybe it was a hangover from doing too many J-ello shots at the party?  But, no.  Turns out she spent most of the night on the couch with one hand on our spoiled rotten dog so that he would stop whining long enough to fall asleep.  It didn’t make her feel any better to know that none of the others in the house had heard the whining.  It didn’t make her feel any better when I told her that that must mean she’s going to make a terrific Mom some day…she already has the “mama hearing”.  Hey…I TRIED.  Needless to say, we hustled that big, brown, furry, lab butt into the mini-van, gave everyone quick hugs, and tore out of that cul-de-sac before my niece could pelt us with leftover, slightly slimy alcohol-laden shots!

Next on the agenda, find Pho (fuh).  Our daughter very recently graduated with her Associates in Culinary Arts, and she is employed by one of the trendier restaurants in town.  Her boss had told her that she really MUST find the restaurant in Denver called Pho 79 and get an order of Pho….that it was pure Heaven in a bowl.  I don’t know about you, but the idea of eating something that rhymes with Huh?  and Duh! just doesn’t sit well with someone like me who is, as I told you earlier in this entry, a fuddy-duddy as well as someone who cannot eat anything if the texture is even slightly “off”.  You’d think that being persnickety when it comes to edibles would lend itself to me being a lean and mean machine.  All I can say is that I have on occasion been accused of being mean.

We located Pho 79.  My daughter obtained an order of Pho.  It turned out to be soup…a clear-ish type of broth with a Styrofoam box filled with all manner of items to add to the soup.  She had ordered the medium size.  We well could have done with the small size.  The amount of broth and other items could have easily fed four people.  At any rate, with Pho on board, we hit the road again to find a mall where our son could locate a Rockies team jersey.  While he and dh were in the mall, my daughter and I investigated the Pho.  The broth itself was burning hot.  Her boss had said it was Heaven in a bowl.  I’m thinking it was way too hot for Heaven, but maybe that’s just me.  Juggling the burning hot Pho and the chopsticks and the too-tiny spoon and the box of add-ins was no easy task.  The add-ins were cold, so I’m assuming that these, when added to the hotter-than-Hades broth, would cool down the liquid to a manageable temperature.  We never got that far as we couldn’t figure out how to add all the add-ins to the practically boiling broth without causing the broth (did I mention it was HOT?) to overflow the container, scald my daughter’s legs, and lead to a million dollar Pho lawsuit.  Therefore, we packed up the Pho and accompanying edibles with plans to consume them later when we stopped somewhere along the way for lunch.  Maybe if enough time passed, the Pho would be cool enough that it wouldn’t melt the plastic spoon.

While we were juggling Pho, my daughter missed two phone calls from my dh who, with his son, had found the Rockies jersey.  Son beamed.  Father fainted.  Why is the cost of a college boy’s happiness so high?  After apologizing for not answering the phone due to Pho entanglements, I gave dh the go-ahead to purchase the jersey with the understanding by our son that this was to be his birthday present four months early.  We weren’t going to allow him to drink illegally, but by golly, we could buy him a Rockies jersey emblazoned with Troy Tulowitzki’s name and team number.  College boy beamed again.  Mission accomplished.  Pho mission still in progress.

Tune in tomorrow (if you managed to read even this far) for Part II of “The Great Pho Hunt and Staring at the Sun”