I have been meaning to put this up for almost a month now and I just keep procrastinating it. Today the procrastination ends because I have about 3 other posts I need to add!
I seriously consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world. I’ve got some amazing people that I call friends. People that are closer to me than family. People that have supported me endlessly and continue to. Here are some stories!
Almost a month ago my best friend Emily came out from Oklahoma! Emily and I met in high school, officially, in a French class that we both loathed. I’d seen her my freshman year a few times because we had the same lunch, but never really got to know her till sophomore year. Our friendship started off on a mutual hatred toward this class and its teacher, and grew from there! We passed numerous notes back and forth that had nothing to do with French and found a friendship that was pretty out of the ordinary. Soon we were skipping class together to go get lunch or just hang out. We had quite a few conversations about life and got along great. Our shenanigans continued until she graduated, the year before me. That summer, after my parents had kicked me out, she came to rescue me a couple times. Every time we hung out, without fail, she’d get pulled over. Once it was on the UCO campus, another was around town when we were out past curfew where the officer pulled her over for fog lights she didn’t even know she had. Always, whenever we hang out, something ridiculous happens. Its made for some great stories, and even better memories that now I can reminisce about when I can’t see her for long spans of time.
We’ve been talking about one of us visiting the other for years now, and it just never happens. Earlier this year she wrote me an email and said it was going to happen. Much to my shock, less than a week later I received a Travelocity forward stating her trip itinerary! I almost peed my pants in glee!!!! She was coming out for about 3 days JUST to see me!!! (ok, so maybe Dave and her nieces had a *little* to do with it) Due to schedules, she was never able to meet Dave, and we were not able to see her before we left Oklahoma after we got married. So! This was the first time she met Dave, and also the girls!
I picked her up from the airport and showed her a little of Salt Lake at night. We got to her hotel and talked for about 2 hours before going in. She checked in around 2:30. She mentioned about how there were only 3 cars in the parking lot, but I just blew it off, cause really, Utah is not exactly a happenin’ place. Wellllll, well, well, well… we checked in and went up the flight of stairs to her room, since there was no elevator. Getting to her room, we passed one room that had the lock hacked off and was slightly ajar. I just kept trying to think positive, certainly this was because they needed an extra storage room and not because some pimp needed into the room…
UH YEAH. We unlocked her room and found a few surprising things. The room was insanely hot, and had these little bugs flying around. We only saw a couple and figured with some air flow, they’d be gone. She set her stuff on the floor next to the TV stand, that had a massive chunk torn out of it. Hesitating, she sat down on the bed, surely waiting for it to bottom out as well. I took a seat on a dilapidated chair that was haphazardly added to a desk that was in about the same condition. We talked for a little while longer, and then I told her I should probably go so we both could get some sleep. I asked her if she was ok staying here, and then mentioned maybe we should check the sheets. Sure enough- hair in the sheets- and not the long straight kind that comes from brushing one’s head. We pulled back the mattress pad to reveal a bug carcass and a nicely stained mattress. Emily screamed at the sight of all this and said, “I gotta get the hell out of here, is that ok?!” I was dying laughing and still am. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, the nicely mannered, generous and thoughtful person, she asks me if its ok that she not stay in this whore house. I didn’t know what was funnier- that she was asking me if it was ok, or all the stuff that had transpired in the last 20 minutes. We went downstairs and informed the front desk attendant, who spoke very little English, that this was not acceptable and we’d be staying elsewhere. After about 45 minutes of fighting with the no-English-front-desk-guy, and the no-English-Travelocity-rep, surely half way across the world, Emily was told she’d still have to pay for this night.
We left and couldn’t decide what to do besides laugh our butts off at the entire ordeal and remember that this shouldn’t really be shocking us considering the past. So, by this time its about 3:45am. She asks me for a hotel recommendation. I’ve never really stayed anywhere in UT, besides Park City. When my mom came out earlier this year, we stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn with her, so we headed that way. After being informed that the ENTIRE hotel was booked, we drove over to the Holiday Inn Express. This is where Dave and I usually stay when we travel. They have nice rooms, normally clean, and the staff is always friendly and accommodating. I went in and asked what kind of a rate they could give my sweet friend, who had travelled all this way, and had a disgusting room down the road… the girl was SO sweet! She gave her a SMOKIN deal, that’s about half of the cheapest rate Dave and I have ever paid! It was AWESOME! I went up to the room, just in case, and when everything had checked out nicely, I finally left to go home- at 4:15am.
I slept for a few hours, and that morning we went up the canyon and took pictures. Emily is an EXCELLENT photographer and that was one thing I told her she had to do while she was here. The girls were really restless and it was pretty warm out, so we got a few good ones. I just can’t wait till they’re older and can follow directions a bit better- and it would be nice if they cared about bribery!
I should also mention during our little photo shoot, I was attacked by some sort of worm. I HATE bugs as everyone knows and no kidding, these things were in my hair, on my neck, down my shirt- everywhere. They were so disgusting and I’m sure it made for some hilarious viewing for everyone else watching me do a jig to try and get all these damned worms off me. They came from a tree we stood by. I still get the willies thinking about it!
Later that day, I took Emily up to my favorite place in Utah! PARK CITY!!!!!! The whole way up I told her how gorgeous it was and how much cleaner the air is, and bragged all about how awesome it is…when we got up there it started raining. I figured it would just be a little rain, no big deal. We did some outlet shopping and then went to the Olympic Park. I’d seen this being built in 1999 when we lived up in PC, but had never been up there. It was really interesting and we got to watch some bobsledding-during a rain/sleet/snow storm!!!!!!!
The park is located pretty high up on one of the mountains, and so it was not just rain up there- 50 mph winds and hard rain, mixed with sleet and a little bit of snow. It was FREEZING! While it was interesting, I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of driving in a short bus, with a senile old man behind the wheel who wreaked of smoke and marijuana, up the side of a mountain, on a one lane “road”, that is wet. When all was said and done we made a beeline for the car. Correction- I made a beeline for the car with Emily holding onto me so she wouldn’t have to take the brunt of the wind and rain, and since she’s about 6 inches shorter than me and weighs nearly nothing. We got to the car and were both soaked through AND to top it off- it took me 2 minutes to be able to pull my door shut, it was that windy. I think I’ll plan to tour this in the heat of July next time! It was still fun, and again, pretty comical.
That night we went to Rodizio Grill. I LOVE that place! They’ve changed it around since Dave and I went last, but it was still SO good! We left stuffed and went back to her hotel. We talked in the parking lot for another couple of hours and just caught up on all the years that had gone by.
Her last full day here, we did a few more things. In the morning we went to the zoo- she got some AWESOME pictures again, and it was fun to watch her with Tori. She’s so good with kids, and she joked that its because little kids don’t see her as an adult cause she’s “their size”. Emily is short- I’m guessing 5 feet? and she weighs like 90 pounds. I was dying laughing when she told gave me her version of why she gets along so well with kids. She’s hilarious.
For lunch, we met Dave up at the Hunstman Cancer Institute where they have a nice little bistro that overlooks the whole valley. We met some friends of his from work, and enjoyed the last day with Emily. Charli was so tired, she conked out before we even ordered food!
After lunch, we headed up to the Great Salt Lake. On a side note, I’ve never been here as an adult. I know my parents took us when we were little kids, but I don’t really remember anything about it. We pulled up to the place, paid around $10 for our car and drove into the park. Its not really a park, but its considered a State park in UT. You drive along a causeway with the lake on either side of you. It was kind of neat at first. I say at first because as we were driving we kept seeing these little plumes of what we thought were smoke. Looking closer, we saw they were actually swarms of some little bug!!! It was SO gross! Every 20 or so feet, there would be another column of swarming bugs. So, we drive further into the park, up this little mountain where the gift shop is. Its gorgeous up there with a little overlook down to a sandy beach and just very picturesque. HAHA! Not for long! We get out of the car with both girls. I’m holding Charli and all the sudden these bugs are everywhere. Just these little tiny gnat looking things. Tori is hanging out behind me when she all the sudden starts freaking out. “THEY’RE ITCHING ME MOM!!!!! GET IT OFF ME!” I tell her to calm down and quit being so dramatic. We continue walking, thinking these things will leave us alone. Literally, withing two minutes of being out of the car, these little bugs are EVERYWHERE. All over Emily, all over me, and worst of all: all over the girls and in their fine hair. So we make a mad dash to the car, but when we open the car, the damned things fly inside. So I tell Em to just get in her side and shut the door as fast as she can. I throw Tori in her seat, Charli in hers, and then run to my side and get in. I turn around and take a closer look at the girls- these little gnats have bit them ALL over. They both have bugs(alive still) in their hair and both girls are itching their heads like crazy! Oh my gosh, I almost flipped a lid. So, I figure we can just drive half way down the mountain and there wont be anymore- we can brush the girls hair out, get all the bugs off as well as change Charli’s diaper. So, we drive down some. I get out of the car to check for bugs. Again, a swarm surrounds me. I jumped back in the car, we drove another 100 feet or so. Emily gets out to help me cause Tori is freaking out. All the sudden a HUGE gust of wind picks up and blows my skirt up- poor Emily got a full frontal flash! I was about to die! So after the shock, she grabs Tori, the brush, and brings both over to the passenger side to get the bugs out. I grab Charli and the stuff to change her, and we do the mad dash again, to jump in the car. It was insane. We finally left the park without really “seeing” anything except thoe bloody gnats. We both had bites all over as well! When we left the park I asked the attendant what kind of bug flies around everywhere, because we were attacked every time we got out of the car! He non-chalantly says that its a “biting gnat” as if we should have expected this. I was disgusted that this guy would not say anything about it as we drove into the park, clearly seeing we had two little kids. This is the first and last time I’ll ever do that again! A week later, Emily wrote me and said she still had the bites on her face. Amazingly enough, she was still able to catch some shots! I’d say they’re gorgeous, but they come along with the memories of profusely itching myself and picking live gnats out of my childrens’ hair!!
That night, I took Emily on her first Costco adventure. True to Oklahoma- they only have Sam’s out there and so she’d never been to Costco, but heard how fabulous it was. We got a couple things for dinner and then then went back to the house to put it all together. She met Dave’s parents and we ate dinner and had cupcakes afterwards.
After Tori’s pleading, Aunt Emily tucked her in and put her to bed, and we went down to watch the American Idol Finale. For those of you that watched- I really like Kris Allen, but Emily LOVED Adam Lambert. The moment finally came and I sarcastically, in my best Ryan Seacrest said, “And the winner, of this year’s American Idol issssss KRIS ALLLLLEN!!!!!”. I seriously did it in sarcasm, as I was sure that Adam was going to win. Three seconds later I’m hearing a repeat, only this time, it really is Ryan Seacrest. I was FLOORED. Emily was freaking out and I couldn’t decide what was more funny- her reaction or the actual results.
The next morning, we drove to the first hotel to take a picture of the dump.
Afterwards we grabbed some breakfast at the Original Pancake House(which they don’t have in OK, but is amazing!) and then went to the park to feed the ducks.
We stayed for about a half hour, then had to go cause she needed to be at the airport. When we dropped her off, I started getting really choked up. The time with Emily had gone by way too fast, we’d had so much fun and now it was all over and I had no idea when I’d be seeing her next. We said a quick goodbye, as we were both tearing up, and I got back in the car and started sobbing as we pulled away. We didn’t leave the airport for about an hour. I pulled off and sat and cried, while Tori watched the planes take off and Charli slept.
Dave called while we were sitting on the side of the road. He’s always very good about being sensitive when my friends or family leave, and its pretty much a habit now when anyone leaves for him to call or talk to me. The first thing he says is, “Are you ok?” and I give a sorry excuse for “yes”. And then he says, “Same thing?” and I say yes, and then proceed to start sobbing again. I think that’s been the hardest thing for me about living here. When Dave sees his family, he knows it will be a mere few days before we see them again. In the last 8 months, its more like, minutes before we see them again, since we’re living with his parents. But, when my friends or my family come, each time they leave, I don’t really ever know when I’m going to see them again. Its very difficult and has been a huge sacrifice for me. I’m just glad because Dave has come around and really warmed up to moving out of Utah. I can’t wait! Then maybe the tables will turn and I’ll be asking him, “Same thing?”.
Our little family had such a spectacular time with Emily and we miss her tons already. She brought the girls and I little gift bags, and Tori carries around her “lipstick” that Auntie Ems gave her. We have some great pictures and even better memories of Emily’s first trip to Utah!!!! I miss her everyday and am so grateful for the amazing friend she is. She’s been through some tough stuff the last couple of years, but always manages to ask me how I’m doing and give much needed encouragement. I couldn’t ask for a better friend and I love her tons.
I’m feeling guilty, because I have another amazing friend that comes out just to visit us, who I also have not been back to see. She’s another one of my best friends from high school. Cynthia is equally amazing in her own way. She’s come out twice in the last couple years and every time we have so much fun too. She came out about a year and a half ago for the first time with her boyfriend David(great minds think alike!) to go snowboarding, and then again by herself last September. While we didn’t get out and do as much because I was still recovering from surgery, we still had tons of fun. We went out for hibachi and then went to a movie downtown. I somehow managed to get us turned around and so we spent about an hour looking for my father in law’s jeep. It was hilarious and something we still laugh about.
I have so many fun memories with Cynthia. We’ve been friends for almost 10 years(HOLY CRAP! We’re getting old!) and every minute has been awesome. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding. And she’s been there for me so many times. When we were 18, her parents took her on a cruise for graduation and she chose me to come with. It was a blast and a memory I’ll treasure for forever!!!! Junior year, we had lockers next to each other and would spend the mornings before school hanging out together. She spent tons of time at my house spending the night, or hanging out. Once, my mom and sister were fighting downstairs and I went to close my door so as not to listen to it. She goes, “Don’t close it! This is funny! I wanna hear it! There’s never any fighting at my house!” She’s an only child and so the dynamics of our families were just so different! That still makes me laugh. There was a time we paid off my little brother to not tell my parents we had some boys over while they were gone… he still told, and we still laugh about it. She’s been there for me for so many things, and is like another Auntie to my girls. I love her tons and miss her all the time. We always talk about when we’re rich, how we’ll just fly to wherever and meet up whenever we feel like it. It’ll happen, one day!
I could go on and on and on. Emily and Cynthia are my two best friends, but there are many others who I just feel so dang lucky to know. My friend Stacey has been there for perspective on parenting and kids that I can’t get with most of the people my age. She’s like a big sister to me and I know I can call her whenever. I recently reconnected with Sheila, after 18 months of no contact! We had dinner and went for ice cream, and she’s like a mom to me. She’s so much fun and we have a ball every time we hang out.
I can’t even name all the people that mean so much to me. I consider myself one of the luckiest people to have lived in so many places and met some pretty awesome people. Thank you is not enough to all my friends for all they do for me. I love you all!
“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg, even though he knows that you are slightly cracked” -Bernar Meltzer