I can't decide if I need to stop traveling to Colorado or if I should go there every month! I've been in that state three times in two years and each time interesting things have happened. The first time, an ex-boyfriend and I decided to try rekindling romance. You can read about the last time I was there here. I just returned from another trip to Colorado and, boy, was it interesting!
I left Wednesday night directly after work and drove a few hours, staying the night in Green River, UT. No biggie. Standard drive. Standard hotel. Standard.
Thursday, I hit bad weather and roads just east of Glenwood Springs. I panicked a bit when I kept seeing signs warning that commercial vehicles had to have chains or else were breaking the law. I didn't have chains (dang it, I should have listened to my boss!). At one point, police cars were directing vehicles; they'd either wave them on or signal for them to pull over to put on chains. The policeman waved me on, so I figured that I was okay without the chains. Thank heavens for 4-wheel drive and a duely! I don't usually mind driving in bad weather, but this was so stressful! I worried about the trailer and how it would react if I had to stop quickly or started to slide, so I drove pretty slowly. If I never have to go through that Vail pass in the winter again, it'll be too soon. No doubt, it was beautiful - what scenery I saw since my eyes were pretty much glued to the road and my side windows - but I would've gladly given up the beauty if it meant not having the stress and mental fatigue as well.
When I finally got down from the pass and into Denver, it started snowing harder and I hit major traffic. It took me almost 90 minutes to get from the west end of Denver to my destination, Aurora, on the other side. When I got to the base, I was so tired of driving and manuevering around cars, but I still had to go through an inspection of my vehicles and set up the trailer. Fortunately, someone was there to help me because there was a wall of dirty ice completely surrounding both the trailer legs, which need to be lowered before unhitching the trailer from the truck. It took us about 20 minutes to get enough ice off to be able to lower the legs. On top of it all, I worried about the snow piling up on the roof of the trailer because we recently discovered that we have a leaky roof. All night I worried that water would leak in, destroy more ceiling tiles, and possibly leak on to the space heaters causing a fire that would burn down the entire trailer. Yes, I was awesomely tired.
Friday, I was pleased to discover the trailer intact. The snow had stopped after I had checked into the hotel so very little had accumulated on the trailer's roof. I hurried to set up everything so I could start at 8am then waited and waited. No one came. After 45 minutes, I called Sgt. M, who had met me at the base the night before, and asked what was happening. He didn't know why no one had come. Almost an hour later, I still hadn't seen anyone. As some of you know, I'm not the most patient of people, especially when being kept waiting. Especially when I wake up a whole heckuva lot earlier than I like to make sure I'm on time. Finally, the guys started coming. I was on fire. I was testing faster than I've ever tested. Cpt. H, who checked on me from time to time, was extremely impressed. He said I was a lot faster than the guy they've had since the last time I worked with them.
Saturday, I slept in a little because I didn't have to set up the trailer. Just as I finished calibrating the audiometers, Shawn walked in. I had kind of hoped that he wasn't there since I hadn't seen him Friday. Nope. He had thought it was that other guy, so he hadn't bothered to come out to the trailer. (Everyone I had met in April came out to chat with me at some point or other once they discovered I was there, and they all were so glad I was there instead of the other guy. It made me feel good.) He had overheard some soldiers talking about the lady doing the hearing tests and he wondered if it could be me. When he saw the license plates, he said he got excited to see me again. He gave me a huge hug like we were best friends that hadn't seen each other in years. I wondered if he was going to kiss me, but the door opened and a couple soldiers walked in. I got them into the booths and started their tests. Shawn and I conversed for a little bit while I monitored the tests. He said he needed to get back inside but that he'd come back to see me later. He leaned down and hugged me again - his face nuzzled in the crook of my neck, kind of tickling me. It actually felt really nice.
I was on fire again and in 3 hours I tested 65 people - lots more than I was "supposed to". The head honchos of the medical corps called Logistics to see if they'd authorize me to keep testing (it wasn't quite noon, so I could've tested a lot more people and they really wanted the help), but Logistics didn't want to pay me more, so I was told to close up shop. All the time I was testing, Shawn would come to chat but nothing else could happen because I always had people in the trailer waiting for their turn. Fred stopped by - remember him? He came during one of Shawn's visits and didn't stay long. I barely got to talk to him, which really disappointed me. I'd like to get to know him better. I trust him more than I do Shawn. Fred asked if I was working on Sunday and I said no. He frowned and said he wouldn't be able to get away again that day but had hoped to come chat with me more Sunday. Sigh.
It was shortly after this that they had me stop. I gathered up all the paperwork, prepped the trailer for travel, then went inside to finish up the paperwork. I asked a soldier to help me locate one of the people who could help me, he brought me Shawn. For the next hour, Shawn and I took care of the paperwork, sometimes having to go all over the armory to find this officer or that officer. We finally got into an officer's office in order to fax something that needed to be faxed. While it was being faxed, Shawn closed and locked the door from which we'd entered, saying that we'd leave through the opposite door. When I was ready, I headed to the door. He chuckled and said that we were locked in. I knew he was joking so I laughed and said jokingly, "Oh no! What are we going to do now?" Just as I asked, I tried the door and it really was locked. I turned around and he stepped towards me saying, "I can think of something." Then he kissed me.
When I accepted this contract, I figured I'd see Shawn. I thought about what I'd do if he tried to kiss me and had decided that I wouldn't let him. The more I thought of it, I became convinced that he wouldn't even try. Afterall, he obviously wasn't interested in me because it's been ages since we've been in contact (though I did kind of discourage further contact, subtly, awhile ago). I should have been more on guard, but I just couldn't believe that he would actually kiss me again. And, when I'm completely honest with myself, I would have been disappointed if he hadn't. What can I say? He's a great kisser.
This time was just as good as before. It wasn't a makeout-type kiss. Just a mildly long, lingering kiss. Heaven help me, that man has soft lips!! It took a lot of effort to pull away because every part of me wanted to wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him long and hard. I guess I'm easy, just not that easy. He chuckled and pulled me back in for a hug, whispering, "You are so sexy when you blush." I pulled away, laughingly thanking him, blushing furiously. Finally, I said I really needed to go so I could try to take a nap and asked him to please open the door. He did, rubbing my back as I walked through. The room was crowded with people, and I swear each of them turned to look at us as we entered. He walked me out to the hallway, then gently took hold of my arm to turn me towards the correct door when I mistakenly sstarted in the opposite direction (that place was such a maze!). We were almost at the door when a soldier came and said they needed him somewhere. He looked annoyed but had to go. He turned to me and made me promise to find him before I left the next day. I said I would, and he left.
Today, I arrived at the armory and there were tanks surrounding the trailer. Typical, I thought, just typical. When I pulled up, a group of soldiers who were having a smoke break, came over to chat with me - I had tested them all - I've found that soldiers are really friendly once I've tested their hearing, for some reason. We chatted about the truck and they mentioned how impressed they were that I drove it and the trailer. Finally, the tank drivers came out and moved the tanks so I could hook up the trailer. They stayed around and helped me, I love how polite military men can be! They all called me Ma'm, both young and old. I was tempted to leave without seeking out Shawn, but I decided to try to find him since I'd promised. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. No one knew where he was. I don't have his phone number since I lost it with all the others when my old phone died. I had opted against asking him for it when he asked if I had the same phone number when he noticed my new phone. (He also noticed my haircut and said he liked how it frames my "gorgeous blue eyes" - see what I mean, he's a player.) I figured, if he wants to talk to me, he could call me. I finally gave up and just left. I had mixed feelings about not seeing him. A part of me was relieved, another part of me had really hoped for a goodbye kiss.
The roads and sky were wonderfully clear as I went over the Vail pass this morning. I listened to a book on cd and enjoyed the scenery I had only caught glimpses of before. I pulled off I-70 at Glenwood Springs to gas up. I should say that it's tricky to get into this gas station with a big truck and trailer, something I had discovered on the way to Denver. However, since I had figured out how to do it, I wasn't too stressed and took the same steps I had before.
I was a little too confident, I guess, and wasn't as cautious as I tend to be. I ended up taking the turn too narrowly and hit a light post!!! I broadsided it and the top fell off (think one of those 8' decorative light posts, not the really big ones). I cursed. Repeatedly. I pulled over and had no idea what to do. I checked the trailer and determined it was travel-worthy, so I drove the short way to the gas station and filled up. When I paid the clerk, I asked her for the phone number for the police. I explained what had happened and she told me I should just go without reporting it because most likely no one had seen it happen!! No way! I imagined doing what she suggested and then later paying the consequences. If nothing else, I'd feel guilty about it forever. She gave me the number and I called it when I got back to the truck. A policeman came, assessed the situation, ran my driver's license and registration, and checked my insurance. Finally, he told me that he wouldn't issue me a ticket since it would mean me having to return to Glenwood Springs to appear in court. He said that the city would bill our insurance company and told me it how much it could cost to replace the post if needed - it could be less if they only have to repair it.
As soon as they left (another cop had driven up for some reason), I got in my truck and had a good cry. This was my first ever accident and only the second time I've had to talk to a policeman due to driving. I just felt fortunate that it was such a minor accident and that the trailer was okay, the truck was okay, I was unharmed, and no one else was harmed. I called my boss and left him a message quickly explaining that I'd been in an accident but that everything was okay and I'd talk to him when I arrived home.
I've got to give my boss credit, he could have handled it differently. He could have grilled me about what I'd done wrong, made me pay for the light post, or even taken away my commission for the job. Instead, he made sure I was okay emotionally. He never made me feel guilty or bad about it, just offered me comfort and support. I did tell him what had happened and what I could have done differently, but he didn't rub it in, he actually said he could see why it had been so difficult to maneuver that turn. What a guy! He did interrogate me about Shawn, though, and teased me mercilessly when I admitted to letting him kiss me. Seriously, my boss cracks me up! Sometimes I feel like he's more like a brother; sometimes an annoying brother, but a brother just the same.
I'm so glad to be home. I'm so tired. It was a crazy trip, good and bad crazy, but I think I'm ready for some boring-ness for a little bit, at least for a day or two!