We decided to go to Colorado for a week to visit Sean, Kathy, Dillon, Connor and baby Aidan. It was kind of a last minute trip that was motivated by the fact that Chris had to travel for work to Salt Lake City, and because we wanted the boys and girl to meet each other and have some time together. This was the first flight for Teddy and Gwen and it was an adventure for us to fly with three children. We left for the airport about 4:30am on Sunday morning. Our secret parking area was full, but we found another spot nearby (sorry, we can’t divulge where this is located). First challenge: wheel all of our stuff and children into the terminal. We hadn’t thought this through ahead of time but managed ok. Second challenge: get through airport checkin and security. We are experienced enough to know that airline and TSA rules for children are about as predictable as the weather. We had birth certificates for the babies and a passport for Everett, and for this leg of the trip we needed all of these documents (but we needed none of them on the way home). All of the children did great on the flight. We arrived early on Sunday morning and Sean met us at the Denver airport to help us pickup the rental car and haul our stuff to their house.
As soon as we arrived the older three boys were inseparable. They played all day, everyday together.
By Monday they had invented a game called Mingo in which you throw a wet washcloth at someone while saying “Mingo!” On Tuesday morning Chris drove to Salt Lake City for work and returned Thursday night. While he was away he missed the USA Pro Cycling Challenge that went right by Sean and Kathy’s house.

Prior to this trip Chris explained to Everett some of the crazy things that Uncle Sean roped him into during past trips to their house. One was hauling a refrigerator up a nearby hill with 10% grade.
Another was hauling a 300 pound stone coffee table up the stairs to the main floor of their house.
So by the time we arrived on this trip, Everett was asking questions like “Uncle Sean, why are you always getting my Dad involved in these cockamamie schemes?” And it turns out we weren’t going to be disappointed on this trip either. For the last few years Sean and Kathy have held an annual BBQ at their house, building on the 50 year tradition of BBQs at Dad’s house when we were growing up. This year the BBQ was planned for Saturday night, our last night in Colorado. One key feature of Sean’s BBQ is the cornhole tournament with two person teams (see here to learn more about cornhole and related terminology). The couple who wins the tournament gets bragging rights for a year, and to further edify this honor Sean decided to get a trophy engraved with the names of the winners.
Great idea. So on Thursday evening when Chris returned from Salt Lake, Sean asked “Do you want to go for a bike ride?”. Again, great idea. Sean also made a passing comment that we might have to make a “brief stop” on the way. Here’s what happened: Sean and Chris rode over Swan Mountain to Frisco and stopped at a trophy store to pickup The Cornhole Cup. However, when we got to the store we were surprised to find that it was closed (it’s closed daily from 1:30 to 2:30 for lunch).
If we were on the east coast then 2:30 would mean 2:30, but 2:30 mountain time means about 2:45 in actual time (even though the atomic clock is just a few mountains away), so we waited for about a half hour for the store to open. During this time it started to rain. Once we got the cup, we carried it by bicycle to the Building Permit Office for the City of Frisco so that a friend could bring it to the BBQ the next day.
On way home we managed to dodge the rainstorms, though Chris accidentally broke one of the pedals on a loaner bike while he was just riding along (JRA). Sorry Tina! This begs the question: why does Chris keep getting involved in these schemes? The truth is that he secretly enjoys these adventures because they are fun, challenging and unpredictable. And at the same time they provide an opportunity to poke fun at family members for their non-engineer-like approach to solving problems. Conversely, other family members sometimes make fun of engineers for coming up with vastly complex solutions to seemingly non-existent problems. So it all works out.

On the way to the Denver airport on Sunday we stopped to see Mark and Katrien and their two children, Zander and Ayla. We had a very enjoyable lunch with them in their backyard, and we provided photographic evidence to our families that we were in fact able to get together, which is no small achievement considering how busy all of us are and how many children had to cooperate to allow this to happen.

During the flight home from Colorado, we were on a “completely full flight” on Southwest Airlines. Translation: we were on a flight with 4 empty seats within two rows of us. Nonetheless, the flight attendants scolded Chris for bringing carseats on the plane. He was optimistically thinking that even though it was a “completely full flight”, he had flown Southwest often enough to know what that means, and that there might be empty seats where we could put the twins. Instead, the flight attendants asked us to each hold a baby in our arms and that we put the carseats away. Chris tried to put them in the overhead bins as he had seen other parents do in the past, but there was just no way that these carseats were going to fit. So he dashed to the front of the plane to gate check them while one flight attendant held Teddy (she provided photographic evidence that she is a grandma with seven grandchildren), and we each had a baby in our arms for the duration of the flight. They were fussy, but it was mostly ok until it came time for bathroom breaks. Near the end of the flight we changed their diapers, and we asked Everett repeatedly if he had to go to the bathroom. He assured us that he didn’t, which lasted until the plane was about to land and we had made the final trip back to our seats with clean babies, at which point he told us that he had to go right away. Both of us were pretty upset with him and told him he had to hold it until we got to the airport. To this he calmly replied “That means you aren’t taking care of me and you aren’t doing your job as parents.” Goodness. If this is what he says when he is five, what are we in for ten years from now?

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “Cockamamie

  1. One of the many joys Everett brings to the world is the instant bonding he is able to accomplish so quickly with so many. He shares his love so generously; he welcomes all with open arms.

  2. Everett’s comment reminds me of the time my oldest, Kris, said he was worried that he’d been having a stomach ache and we weren’t doing anything about it (never mind that this was a frequent off and on complaint at all times). Turned out he had pneumonia, and we parents felt properly guilty.

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