Stories, Scotch, Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Shenanigans 

You may be surprised to hear it from me, knowing just how busy I keep myself, but this week has been quite a hectic one.  I have to say, right up front, that I don’t like it when I have a wonderful plan that then gets all sorts of pressures put on it.  You’ll understand if you keep on reading.

So, Monday was a day of work. Nothing particularly remarkable.  Mark did have fun throwing a host of things in my direction that were not planned but necessary.  Wasn’t a huge issue because I got all the ‘right now’ things done and the rest just had to wait.  Not having many meetings sure did help, it didn’t last.  Another curveball was thrown my way by my great-uncle-boss, John.  He caught me on my way to the toilet and asked me to do a presentation on the windfarm work we’ve been doing, about 24 hours before the proposed presentation time.  That was somewhat unexpected but clinches the deal on one of my goals for the year.  So Tuesday morning I had a pile of stuff to get done and only half a day to do it.  I managed to get some of it done while calming a couple of whirlwinds, nothing new there.  Then Tuesday noon through Wednesday noon we had a CCM leadership conference.  What I hadn’t realised when the save the date was sent for 24 hours they really did mean close to 24 hours, the surprise dinner really did mess with my plans.  Anyways, the afternoon went relatively well and the presentation was sufficiently inspiring to a host of people.  Winning.  Dinner was not much to write home about, but I got out of there earlier than expected so managed to finish up all my packing, thankfully.  Tuesday night I packed for the rest of the week, I didn’t see my bed again until Sunday night.

Wednesday was another day in the meetings. If a couple of the initiatives / actions get any traction that will be exciting, not sure who has the time for them.  Bloody expensive couple of days when you consider 60 people, about half of them from out of state, all of them leaders….Okay about 3/4 were Mark’s level or higher, the rest were plebs like me.  We got back to the office and there was a surprise birthday cake there for Kat from her over-the-top boyfriend.  He’d also sent the bonsai, that boy is besotted.

Surprised (ish) Kat. Happy birthday from the messengers!

Wednesday afternoon I had the pleasure of travelling to Minneapolis. This was one of the surprises messing with a decent plan.  We were supposed to go to Minneapolis last week but our majority partner changed the week, so this week it was.  Silly moment: Mark was following me through security and the full body scan, a peep of my daffodil is evident when I hold my hands above my head.  His comment was that I’m more of a protea than a daffodil.  I choose not to read anything into that other than proteas are Aussie and I am Aussie.  Wednesday night was a later night than I’d liked, the plane didn’t land until 1900 so by the time I’d eaten and got to bed, late.  But first a bed time story.

Bill eventually arrived and regaled Mark and I with his ‘Aussies are Crazy’ story:  when he was working in Uganda he knew an outfitter who was an Aussie, his name is Gavin.  Gavin was well known to live on the edge, but as a job he guided rafting, kayaking, bungee, didn’t matter… everything.  Gavin is the subject of this tale, the “Crazy Aussie”.  So Bills team included Helmut, an elderly – think 80 yr old – German bloke and his protégé Lars who was reportedly 70 years young (I suspect the ages are exaggerated but it makes for a good story). So to celebrate a project success of some sort Bill took the team to a local bar, one of these places by and over the river Nile, and got a few drinks into them.  Some time in the normal bar ness a bright idea comes up: why not try to slingshot someone through the bar into the river, it’ll be great fun!  So Gavin fetches his bungee rope and rigs it up, but they can’t get enough tension in it, so out comes the trusty land-rover to drag it out.  Bill is a sensible lad and got he and his team out of the bar at a safe spot to watch.  Gavin got himself all set up and was ready to go then was casting about for a volunteer to be the one launched into the river.  Sensi-Bill stepped in and put the kibosh on that, not a bad idea me thinks.  So the test dummy was a giant jack fruit, one of the other people in the bar scrambled up a tree and shook one down. In it was strapped then pulled back, and back, and finally in a good place to launch when the winching rope was all too taught to unhook. Design flaw. Sensi-Bill again had to step in, this time to hold old Helmut back from running up and slicing the winch rope, imagine the wriggling rebound!  The whole set up was unwound and a quick release contrived.  Finally, ready for testing!  Nope, Sensi-Bill struck again, his time to clear out the bar, back to that erratic rebound and really, anything could happen here.  Bar cleared, Jack fruit in place, quick release installed, and lift off!  The jack fruit made it to the Nile, via destruction of a table and bannister, but it was declared a success.  Gavins enthusiasm was stiffled by Sensi-Bill once again and the whole kit was packed away and drinking resumed – no human test for this one, at least not while Sensi-Bill is around!

{Note almost a week later: I talked to Mark about this story, he doesn’t think it was all hooey, sure some exaggeration, but Bill has had those sorts of experiences. He also said that Aussies are crazy.}

After my bed time story, and before Bill could start on another, I plead out of the booth and ran back to the hotel and to bed.  Thursday was a smooth day of standard Minneapolis meetings.  A big kerfuffle when we discovered that one of our exclusive subs (on the design side, not my favourite construction lads) is apparently boasting about being on all three teams.  Good on ’em. Not for long buddy.  So out they go.  We got onto a full plane and headed home (ish).  The safety talk included this pearler “If we decide to turn into a cruise liner instead of an airliner your life jacket is under your seat”.  Love it.  I do enjoy the safety talks on Southwest.  I landed at DIA and caught an uber up to Earls place. Straight in the car and onto the weekends adventure for us!

This seemed like mother and son. Both had well used teddy bears with them, I liked the red dinosaur.

When we got to the cabin it was apparent this isn’t a cabin, it’s a mansion.  Okay, maybe not mansion but a bloody huge house.  It very comfortably sleeps 16 people for crying out loud, that’s no ‘cabin’.  Jac had prepared a couple of pizzas for our arrival, then I crashed out.  Friday morning we had breakfast wraps then the keen skiers headed up the hill.  I did a couple of calls, organised some meetings, and booked travel to Rhode Island in a week.  While I did that Earl went for a snowshoe up one of the old ski runs, the weather rolling in combined with a steep hill had him back at lunch time.  We headed up the gondola and had lunch with the crew.  After lunch I got the mickey outfit on and went skiing. First time in Colorado and first time for about nine years.  It was great fun…it kinda reminded me that I should get out there more often, of course everyone else thinks similarly so it’s crowded up the hills *shudder*.

Naughty mickey and minnie…

The crew, waiting for the bus to the gondola.

Me, Jac, and Brian at the top of my first run. Mum says I had the same skiing style when I was five, good to know I’m consistent.  Here is a video to even better remind you how I ski.

With that checked off the list – I have finally skied in Colorado – we were all ready for dinner.  The scheduled dinner was at MiCasa, a local Mexican place. The people were hilarious, they called Jac twice to confirm we were coming.  The third time they called Jac said yes but for six instead of eight people.  They said nothing, but 20 minutes later Jac gets another call saying they can’t hold the reservation when the number changes.  Chad had to have a word with them. We kept our reservation. We popped home for showers and snoozes then walked down to the restaurant. On the way they messaged again to check we were coming.  The hell of it was that the place was empty when we got there! Idiots.  The dinner was filling, and decent, thankfully.  After dinner we headed home for a soak in the hot tub, some drinks, and games.

I’m not sure whose face is more silly, his with my finger up his nose, or mine….

Games! I’m bad at these sorts of games….

Random local buildings.

Saturday we headed up to Mohawk Lake for a snowshoe.  There were a few newbies to the game, but they seemed to enjoy it.  Stella at least sounds like she’ll join us some.  One of the girls had a bad cold so she was in struggle central, we didn’t quite get to Mohawk Lake but the lake we did get to was stunning! 

The line of walkers; Jac trying to set up a group shot.

We made it, stunning view.

Group photo, without the girls who turned back early.

Yep, the smiley one was there too! 😀

The girls, Jac, myself, and Stella.

Panorama courtesy of Brian.

Well that was a barrage of photos, and it’s only two hours of our Saturday.  Don’t worry, it gets much easier from here.  After our wander we headed back for showers and a spot of lunch then off on the afternoons exploring.  We started with the local brewery, the Broken Compass.  They had a great ginger beer.  Farah and I had the most epic game of Jenga I’ve ever played.  Seriously awesome.  Then we headed off to the Breckenridge Distillery. I’ve had their whiskey before but didn’t know they did fun things like espresso vodka and spiced rum.  I may have bought a couple of bottles.

The epic Jenga game. Have you ever known Jenga to ‘end’ in a stalemate then keep going?  We did it. We started pushing the pairs together and pulling out the second one.  I met a challenge at last, though I still won.

Toilet art. Why do all these places have cool art in their toilets?

I learned that 1/3 of the cask gets lost to evaporation, that seems insane, gotta be a better way.

After that fun we all headed home loaded up with more booze.  The dinner was a pot luck, thankfully Stellas wraps were consumed for lunch because there was a mass of food: fajitas and rice, ribs, salad, apple pie, dumplings, yum!  We also had some more game playing.  I went to bed super early (big week coming up), but Earl had a long night ranting about gmos to poor Jac and Stella. I don’t think they needed to know that much about gmos!
Sunday was pack up, clean up, and ship out.  With Earls late night we had a cruisey evening.  I did washing and packed for my Monday flight.  Earl snoozed and we watched some movies.  We did have a walk up to the burger place for lunch, Earl needed some greasy 🙂  An early night was had and that was the awesome weekend in Breck.  An immense thank you to Jaclyn for organising such a great weekend, and a shout out to everyone who came and made the weekend fun!

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