Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Kickin' It in the Dirty South

Lizzie was slated to spend a few weeks in New Mexico visiting her paternal grandparents and hanging out at their pool. Well, I get a call from her father about three days into her vacation: he's had a(nother) heart attack and is in the hospital.

A quick bit of history: about five years ago, Lizzie's dad had an aortic aneurysm, which should have killed him but didn't. Instead, he received an artificial replacement valve and aorta. He's been doing really well keeping his cholesterol in check and following a strict diet. That is, until the last year or so. This latest heart attack was precipitated by (a) strenuous exercise (for him) and (b) a heated argument with his mother. He has to have an angioplasty and possible open heart surgery if the balloon doesn't do the trick. So, he calls me from the hospital to let me know that Lizzie is being cared for by his parents and that he doesn't know when he will be getting out of the hospital nor when he might be coming back to Colorado. Oh, and Granddad is having a quadruple bypass in the next few days.

I quickly weighed my options: leave Lizzie in New Mexico under the care of her Nana, who spends most of her day watching HSN OR arrange for Lizzie to get home. One teensy, little ten-year old problem. Lizzie doesn't want to fly home alone. In her defense, she has only flown once and then it was to somewhere she really wanted to go (Disneyland) and with a whole bunch of people who could become human life rafts in the event of an emergency. So, no worries there. But, flying from NM to Denver all by her lonesome was not something she wanted to do. That meant we were roadtripping it.

I used to be a big roadtripper (new verb?) in my day, but it has lost a lot of its appeal since I now have children who need to stop every ten miles or their heads explode. Amazingly, though the trip was sorta fun.

I decided since we were going to New Mexico, we might as well swing by Taos. Taos is a lot like Boulder because it's small, friendly, has great scenery and great food. I lived in New Mexico for ten years but had never visited Taos until I moved away. I may never have moved to Colorado had I gone sooner. The hotel was nice but the pool sprung a leak and was closed during our entire stay. I am penning a letter to their corporate office in hopes of scoring a free night's stay. We spent way too much money on books at a bookstore with a stupid, corny name and a ginormous furry cat. We bought t-shirts and took pictures and acted goofy. We were just like all the other tourists.

Not to knock Taos, but it does seems to be a destination for rich, white people who think it's hip to say they've been to New Mexico. Unfortunately, if you've only been to Taos, then you haven't really experienced New Mexico. Try visiting Albuquerque's South Valley after dark or playing Russian roulette in an arroyo during a rain storm. Both could get you killed and both are somehow distinctly more New Mexican than karaoke bars and overpriced boutiques. I saw more Texas license plates, Louis Vuitton bags and bleach blondes to last me until my next pilgrimage to the Land o' Enchantment. Alas, no Julia Roberts, though, the patron saint of the plaza.

Since, my ex-inlaws have lived in the dirty south for more years than I've been alive, they volunteered information about local restaurants (Go to Roberto's, the cost is high but the food is excellent). They were right -- dinner for four was $45 but it was worth every penny. I had the beef enchiladas with red sauce and they were divine. As were the sopapillas. People in Colorado can't seem to understand that sopapillas are not a dessert. In traditional New Mexican fare, they are the bread and should be served with the meal. Roberto's gets an A+ for their traditional roots. The restaurant was great, too, because the building is very old and dates back to the mid-1800's. Oddly enough, the bathrooms, which are through the galley kitchen were brought up to date with Smurf wallpaper. It was actually kinda eerie. Madhubby said Looney Tunes adorned the men's room. I'll have to take his word for it. Still, I cannot wait for our next mini-vacay to Taos. Roberto's is definitely be on my list of places to go. Maybe, we can even squeeze in a hike and a massage the next time around.

Also, I think the next time we go, we will rent a house because hotels with my children can ruin a perfectly good vacation. Plus, the opportunity for "hotel sex" is practically nil when your kids are watching from the other bed.


The Apple Store left a message that my ibook was ready for pickup. I almost choked on my own tongue at the total: $755! But, I have a new logic board and a new display among other goodies. And Apple covered the entire cost of the repair. I wasn't expecting that since my ibook is seven months out of warranty. So, needlessto say I am giddy that my I have my ibook back and no damage was done to my pocketbook. I am already a Mac user for life, but Apple's quick service and free, unwarrantied repair has me officially proclaiming my allegiance to Steve Jobs and obnoxiously telling anyone within earshot to go directly to the Apple Store and purchase one for themselves.

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