So, this is how badly we needed a break from the business that is One Sixth Sense…neither I nor my dh who does the OSS books, fabricates the HangUps, and makes my shipping runs, thought to do ANYthing remotely doll related while in Denver.  We usually do some sort of OSS related dealings while out of town so that at least some of the trip can be written off as a business deduction.  Not this time.  I’m shocked.  Dh is mortified.  LOL

The continuing Pho saga:

With beaming college boy and boiling hot Pho on board, we hit the road for the long trip back to the western side of the Rocky Mountains.  From Denver to where our son lives and attends college, it’s about a 4 hour drive.   A short ways outside of the big city, we stopped at a Qdoba to buy some sodas and some huge thing wrapped in a tortilla for the college boy who did not hesitate to turn up his nose at the still steaming Pho.  Qdoba was kind enough to give us a bowl and a couple of spoons…plastic but of sturdier stuff than the original too-small Pho spoon.  We unwrapped the amazing Pho accoutrements, spread them out, and began to experiment.  For future reference, if you ever order Pho, get the small.  It’ll be plenty.  Trust me.  In the Styrofoam box lay pieces of cooked chicken, sliced green onions, slivered white onions, bean sprouts, fresh Asian basil (I think), fresh cilantro, a lime wedge, several slices of raw jalapeno pepper, 2 little plastic cups…one with an orange sauce and one with a brown sauce, and a large mound of flat white noodles.  Unfortunately, the noodles had “set” into a twisted knot, so we had to pull them apart with our fingers in order to break them up.  So, again for future reference…Pho is not a meal you would wish to have on a first date.  There’s nothing dainty or civilized about trying to eat Pho.  You want to have a 2nd date, don’t order Pho.  “Heaven in a bowl”, it ain’t.  I don’t care what my daughter’s boss says.

As my daughter and I are Pho fussing, dh decides to be manly and pops a huge slice of jalapeno into his mouth and starts chewing.  The chewing motions slowed.  His eyes bulged.  He grabbed for the soda.  I stared at him with an expression of disbelief and mild disdain.  Would he never learn?  He’d done the raw jalapeno pepper thing years ago when he worked for the railroad and some of the men would bring fresh jalapenos in their lunch bags.  Those men munched on them as if they were popcorn.  Dh, never one to be outdone when it comes to spicy edibles, decided to chomp on a jalapeno too.  It did not go well.  Not then.  Not now.  Can you see my eyes rolling?  Can you hear my college boy chuckling under his breath as he inhaled the gigantic burrito thingy?  Dh is a good egg but also provides his family with many hours of comic relief.

Daughter and I finally get the Pho figured out.  The stuff has cooled off enough that we dare to attempt consumption.  And once we got the add-ins adjusted to our taste, we decided we quite enjoyed the Pho experience.  But, in my humble opinion, it will never be described as “Heaven in a bowl” by this blog mistress.  THAT description is reserved for Baskin Robbins’ Pistachio Almond ice cream.

We packed up what remained of the Pho etc., and piled back into the van.  I now must return to the tale of the big, chocolate blob who is our dog…he really did NOT have a good time at my niece’s.  He didn’t sleep.  He didn’t eat.  He wouldn’t play with his “stinky minky” toy.  But now…now that he was once again safely ensconced in the van with his peeps, all was well.  As we traveled, he reclined on his soft doggy bed while the kids took turns giving him bottled water and handfuls of dry doggy food.  (My eyes are rolling again.)  And he slept.  He not only slept; he snored.  I know that if he could speak, he would have told us that, as far as he was concerned, this vacation had totally stunk.  It rated right up there with a trip to the vet or the much maligned quarterly bath.

Four days…I mean four hours later, we finally made it to the boy’s college town.  We stopped, to his dismay, at McDonald’s for a potty break (NO way I’m using the bathroom at my son’s condo.  A public bathroom gets cleaned occasionally.) and to purchase a hot fudge sundae which was my dh’s answer to my declaration that I NEEDED some chocolate.  Back in the van, I scooped off the fudge and nuts, ate them, and then handed the cup to my dh.  He blinked at me.  I informed him that I needed chocolate and nuts.  NOT ice cream.  After four hours of road travel with a smelly and snoring dog, I tend to get a bit demanding.  My family would now say, “A bit?”  Yeah.  You heard me.  A bit.  I then asked if we could please stop at the grocery store so I could get a proper serving of chocolate and nuts in the form of a Mr. Goodbar.  My daughter then piped in that she was in dire need of a Butterfinger.  My son yanked his cap down over his eyes, slid down further into his seat, and whined something to the effect of, “Are you kidding me??”  To which, I asked with sweet facetiousness, “What?  Have you had too much family time already?”  I think he responded with a grunt.  I’m sure his eyes narrowed or rolled back in his head, but I couldn’t see them.  I smiled.  I just love annoying my children.  🙂

Less than 10 minutes later, we were saying our “good-bye’s” at the condo.  When I walked in, I could see that our son’s roomie had been hard at work cleaning.  NOT.  I told him with a good-natured smile that the kitchen looked the same as when we had left two days earlier and that he was “slacking off”.  He turned beet red, gestured to the coffee table, and said, “I did clean off the table.”  When he saw my look of disbelief as I surveyed the glass oval covered with video game pieces/parts and some crumpled food wrappers, he amended his statement with, “I cleaned off MY stuff.”  I had to totally laugh out loud.  Boys crack me up.  I gave my son a hug…which basically means I smash my nose against his six-pack abs and wrap my arms around his toothpick waist.  He is 6′ 5″.  I’m not.  He started to withdraw.  I squeezed tighter and told him I wanted a REAL hug.  He sighed and complied.  Have I mentioned I like to annoy my children?  LOL

On the road again.  Two hours away from home.  Mr. Goodbar kept me happy for about 15 minutes.  There weren’t even any elk herds along the way to distract me.  Daughter had her earbuds in, her fleece blanket over her legs, and her eyes closed.  Nothing to do but listen to the dog snore and count the mile markers.  About an hour into the drive, the wind really kicked up.  Dh had to keep both hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road to keep the van on a steady course.  The sky looked like the one over L.A., but this haze wasn’t smog.  The dust in the air was incredible.  You could almost taste it.  As we got closer to home, the dirt in the air got worse.  It was so thick, it blotted out the sun to the point that you could stare directly at it without going blind.  Freaky!  Dh turned on the weather station, and we heard that our town was getting wind gusts of up to 61 mph.  Yucko!  Having lived in western Colorado for all but my first 2 years of life, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen this much dust in the air.

The sun behind the dust, May 29, 2011

About a half an hour from home, this is what the sun looked like!

Daughter opened her eyes and asked, “Is that the moon or the sun???”  It was just that weird-looking.  Once we peaked the last hill before home and then dropped into the valley, you couldn’t even really tell it was a valley.  The mountains surrounding it were completely blotted out by the blowing dirt.   When we pulled into the garage, we all breathed a sigh of relief.  Well…the three humans breathed a sigh of relief.  The dog just continued snoring.

And that’s the end of our vacation tale.  Well, almost.  As if the weekend hadn’t been traumatic enough for our spoiled rotten Labrador.  While unpacking the van, dh accidentally stepped on one of the dog’s feet and broke off one of the nails.  I’ve never heard so much yelping in my life.  And the dog was whining too.