Big city boy in a small town

Late July, I decided to spend over a week with the family in Pueblo. Haven’t visited since my little sister Isabella was born, so that would make it nine months. If Dad and my stepmom Marie decided to have another kid immediately after Isabella was born – she would have been due the time I got there.

I flew out from NY on a Saturday. Had breakfast with Mom in McDonald’s (keeping it classy) before my cab picked me up from my apartment. My cabbie spoke only Spanish – which is not a surprise. The surprise was he insisted I speak Spanish as well. After three “Sorry but I don’t speak Spanish,” I gave up and just smiled every time he turned around to ask for reassurance that his story is worth telling to a perfect stranger who does not speak the language.

Check in, luggage drop off and security clearance was a breeze – twenty minutes tops. I made a mental note to fly Delta as often as possible. Pueblo, being a small town of 105,000, has one dead airport that is only used by Target for their distribution. So I flew to Colorado Springs which is way bigger but still small based on my big-city-standards. No direct flights to New York. Fun. I had to stop by Minneapolis and stare at the incredibly pale people for over an hour. Dad and my brother Saul picked me up and at one point, they switched driving duties. The sudden realization that my younger brother knows how to drive makes me feel ten years older than I really am. I’d like to think I’m wiser now, but really, who are we kidding? Also, he is officially a better driver than me. Actually, he can drive 150 miles per hour on the wrong lane in a school zone, and he’s still be a better driver than me. The rest of the day was spent just chilling and listening to my sister Angel talk about either her dogs or Selena Gomez. Nine-month old Isabella spent most of the time staring at me – she did not cry, which is good but she had an I-don’t-know-you-but-you-look-like-the-rest-of-these-guys look all the time.

The brood of six less the baby decided to sleep together in the basement. We pushed together a big couch, a coffee table and a lounge chair to create one big bed. This is not a first, everyone is afraid of the dark so it’s pretty common we all end up together whenever someone ventures down the basement. We like to feed off on each other’s fear. It’s actually pretty comfy – though I was kicked on the face and in the balls several times during the night. I’m pretty sure someone had his face on my foot so let’s call it even.

I woke up fairly early the first morning because my east coast body decided it has not adjusted to mountain zone time. I went up to the kitchen and stared at the coffee machine for a good ten minutes before I decided the machine has won against my will to make coffee. Saul saved the day by getting up early and making me coffee. I made note of this so I can wake him up every morning to nourish my need for caffeine.

Later that afternoon, I helped Marie in the kitchen. It has always been my duty to be like Santa’s little helper in the kitchen when I’m around. That day, I was on the dessert station. I still don’t know what I did. It’s basically like a doughnut without the hole, and then I filled it up with a cream cheese frosting. Topped it with raspberry jam but that came in a jar, so I don’t know if that counts as cooking. By the way, one key ingredient of the pastry was amaretto – probably the only liquid with alcohol in Dad’s house. I spent that night (and many following nights) drinking amaretto on the rocks. Is anything sadder?

The boys and I spent a good chunk of the day telling fart jokes to each other. Angel thought it was gross, but I know she secretly wanted to chip in with her own fart stories but that would be distasteful so she went back to her room and listen to either Selena Gomez or Taylor Swift but kept the volume low enough to hear why the guys are laughing their asses off. Here’s my brother Iya, demonstrating what we call a “squishy fart”:

We spent some time taking pictures of ourselves and printing small passport-size pictures for frames I brought along. It’s pretty cool, each frame is basically a body and you put a face picture on it, and you can stack them up. The rest of the day was spent trying to decide how to stack them up. There was a consensus that Isabella should be on top – it was a rare moment of five minds agreeing on one thought. It felt like I should be recording the whole debacle and have it shown on C-Span just to show Democrats and Republicans how agreements are made.

Bella had an appointment with the doctor and Saul and I went along with Dad. Walking to the hospital after finding a parking spot was rather eerie. I kept forgetting how friendly people are in Pueblo – I fake smiled my way from the car to the doctor’s office. Anyway, we found out that she weigh twenty pounds which is rather heavy for her age. Basically, if she was in a boxing competition with other infants, she’ll be in a different weight class. Probably with older babies who already know how to walk. Despite the fact that she was rather a sickly child when she was born, she’s doing really well now.

After the doctor visit, Dad dropped Saul and I near the Albertson’s on Highway 50 because we wanted to eat and see a movie afterwards. Being the good brother that I am, I took him to a Japanese restaurant for sushi forgetting he is allergic to most seafood. He promised not to die on my watch and ordered a chicken katsu – all is well. I called one of the six cabs in town for a ride to the local movie theater even though we can literally see the theater from the restaurant. I was going to make my brother walk with me but Interstate 25 was on the way. The cab was interestingly clean and it didn’t feel like a cab. I was expecting to see last night’s puke somewhere on the white leather seat but was disappointed. After the five-minute cab ride, we got to Tinseltown and purchased our tickets. I looked at our movie tickets from an arm’s length and then up close to my face and asked out loud to no one in particularly: Do my eyes deceive me? $11 for two tickets? At this point, I couldn’t care less if Salt turned out to be shitty.

Oh, here’s a video of my youngest brother Marty beating me on a game of foosball (Iya was shooting this, I think he was trying to test how long a viewer can stand the shaky video before he pukes):

Check this out, this is pretty cool: my dad took me flying! So Dad and I woke up early because we have to be in the earlier-mentioned dead airport in eastern part of Pueblo. We have a cousin who owns a small plane. When I say small – I mean it seats four. It has one door – you have to climb up and walk on the wing to get in. Pilot and co-pilot seat upfront and then two more can sit on the back. I’ve said before – if a pilot only has to turn his head around to make an announcement, I’m out but I can’t let this one pass though. The flight itself was less shaky than I expected. Smaller planes tend to make you feel everything, so I’m not sure if the weather conditions were just on our side or our cousin is just a damn good pilot. We flew over my alma mater Colorado State University – Pueblo, and that was pretty cool. I saw the new football field, the old business school building and my old apartment in the Walking Sticks. We went over Pueblo West and saw my dad’s house. We turned towards south after Pueblo West since we were getting too close the mountains, and apparently the wind over there is just the bitch. We headed south near the Colorado City area and saw Walsenburg further south. We flew over this huge gorge – I forgot the name which happens when one hand holds a Blackberry to take pictures and the other is working the FlipCam. Was airborne for about an hour when we headed back to the airport then had coffee and talked shit for another hour or so. I’ve never talked about weed with my dad, so that discussion we had about Pueblo’s new ruling regarding marijuana was very interesting. We also talked a lot about our family and heard very, um, attention-grabbing stories. Like this one:

Cousin A: They locked me up for nine years! They treated me like a felon.

Cousin B: But Cousin A, you ARE a felon.

One morning, Angel was making fun of my bed head. So I got a hold of my Blackberry and started taking pictures of our bed heads. Who has the best bed head?

During the weekend, we visited the mall hoping to find cleats for the boys and then headed over to Uncle Eli’s. We also met up with Aunt Elaine and cousins Brit and Tristan. Apparently, cousin Jake was MIA for five days and only showed up at home to go to Denver and see Lady Gaga’s concert. Uncle Eli’s wife Marcie showed us this game where you throw these stringed balls (or balled strings – it’s all relative) to bars hoping the strings would loop around the bars. It sounds weird to explain, but it was fun to play with.

Here’s a funny video of Angel and Iya just fooling around. Marty was in it too, but at one point, he got mad at Iya for using his shirt. I have no clue exactly what they were talking about, and some point, I don’t even the words they were saying, but it was just hilarious listening and watching them:

Had fun hanging out with the kids but after one week – I was pooped out. Here’s the difference between NY and Colorado: You feed off on NY’s energy, while Colorado feeds on yours.