Saturday, August 27, 2005

Daddy, how come we never dance at Sundance?

asked Ella on our hike today.

Last night’s sleep was awful. I had a bad stomachache after dinner and it lingered off and on through my sleep. Damn Weight Watchers – I know the culprit was too many sugar snap peas, carrots, grape tomatoes, carrots, and any other fiber-filled zero point object I could get my hands on yesterday. I woke to pee about four times as well as woke to Ella climbing into our bed. “Chris, carry her back to bed.” No response. I let her stay with us and fell back asleep. A few hours and bathroom trips later, Harrison was trying to squeeze into our bed. I picked him up to carry him back to bed and he started to cry pretty loudly. Not wanting him to wake Ella, I relinquished and allowed him to take my spot while I climbed into his bed for the remainder of the night. The stomachache was at an all-time peak at this point and consumed me. I somehow managed to sleep a little longer until I finally woke up to my sore throat returning along with a really sexy low cough. The stomachache was gone, though. I was ready for the day.

I crept around the house gathering my running gear and put it all on. As I put my contact lens on my finger I noticed that a small chunk of it was gone. Missing. Broken off. I put it in and tried to position it so that it wouldn’t feel like a wood chip was in my eye, but rather a small fleck of dirt. As I shuffled out into the kitchen, Chris woke up and questioned my sanity as I looked and sounded like hell. “Take a day off.” “Are you nuts????” I said. “How can I eat as much?!!!” I thought it through though, at his encouragement, and decided to take the day off from running AND my diet. It was hard to agree to, but I thought that my cold might get better if I rested. I was crabby and defensive, and very irritable. I snapped at him about everything. He responded in pretty much the same mood. Somehow, we both managed to turn it around and decided to plan something fun so that the day wouldn’t be wasted. He suggested we go to Sundance Resort and hike.

We got a late start for a number of reasons, but got out the door around 11:30 or 12:00. Preparing for a hike is much like preparing for a mini-vacation. Kind of like packing your make-up bag, you have to bring almost as much stuff for one day hiking as if you were going somewhere overnight. Extra clothes, lots of food and snacks, sweatshirts for layering, sunglasses, water bottles, etc.

We stopped at Target on our way because we could. Raised in Minneapolis, I was spoiled to have a Target on every corner, but in Salt Lake there are three. THREE in the whole town. The closest one is about 25 minutes away. This side trip added an extra 45 minutes to the already long excursion. As we got back on the highway and Chris turned the car and headed up American Fork Canyon, I finally remembered what a trip to Sundance involves – a long, winding, slow drive through spectacular scenery that makes me nauseous and nervous. The road is very narrow and treacherous in places. It takes about 45 minutes of slow winding to make it to the resort. About 15 minutes into the ride, Ella starts complaining of a stomachache. She does this a lot and it usually means she has to use the bathroom or she has drunk too much water. We kind of blew it off. Her whines/complaints lasted the rest of the drive. Harrison joined her whining when we had about 10 minutes to go. He complained that he was bored. We agreed and kept telling the kids that we were almost there. It was hard to enjoy the amazing views of Mt. Timpanogos due to our overwhelming desire to get the hell out of the swerving car. As we came over a crest that allowed us to see the parking lot of Sundance, we heard a noise we hadn’t heard in quite some time: Ella gagging, coughing and spewing. I whipped my head around and screamed, “Ella’s throwing up! Ella’s throwing up!” As I tried, unsuccessfully, to get out of my seat belt, Chris pulled over onto the non-existent shoulder of the aforementioned tiny and narrow two-lane road. At this point the noise became stereo as Harry joined her. “Harrison’s throwing up, too!” (Isn’t my dialogue so engaging, by the way?!) We both jumped out and tried to get the kids out without getting dirty ourselves. Ella was a crying, screaming, vomiting mess. She couldn’t stop until each clothing item on her body, and every bit of her car seat, were covered. Harrison wasn’t quite as bad. He left a HUGE pile in the middle of the floor of the van, but didn’t get his shoes or his clothes nearly as dirty. He even waited to finish until he got outside. His feet were half on the side of the road, and half dangling over a sheer cliff, as he balanced and vomited while I held him up. Ella just had to avoid traffic on her side, and the astonished looks on the faces of visitors to the canyon trying to enjoy the beautiful afternoon, as she finished her business. We stripped them down right there on the side of the road and then opened the seats that had been closed and raised in the middle of the van. (Side note: We had recently put all the seats in the van so that we could carry more people. The kids thought the “way back” of the van was “so cool!” and begged us to move their seats back there. They’ve been sitting back there for about two weeks.) After we got to the resort parking lot, we pulled the kids out and started wiping. Baby wipes are amazing. We wiped their bodies, clothes and the seats and floor of the van. The car seats, and Ella’s dress, got the worst of it. Chris took the car seats into the creek and soaked them. It felt kind of like “Little House on the Prairie” for a moment or two. Chris playing Charles and I, Caroline, as we faced adversity in the shadow of Robert Redford’s play land.

I had brought another dress for Ella, but only shorts for Harry (who knows why?) As we walked to the gift shop, we placed bets on how much a “Sundance” t-shirt would set us back so that Harrison wouldn’t have to look like trailer trash all day. Amazingly, at this point, the kids were acting fine. They weren’t whining or even worn out from their “adventure”. We figured out pretty quickly that riding in the back of our extra long Chevy Venture on curvy mountain roads is equivalent to bouncing in the back seat of a school bus on a bumpy dirt road. This is what had made them so sick. We will not be taking the scenic route to Sundance again any time soon.

After we left the gift shop, we rode the chairlift up to the top for a little exploring. We changed our plans and decided to just go for a short hike up there in case one of the kids got sick again. It was so beautiful. I took about 140 pictures. We gathered rocks, brushed by wildflowers, scared a snake and found a waterfall.

As we headed back to the chairlift for our ride down, Chris pointed out a big house with a large meadow. “I’ll bet that’s Redford’s.” Sure enough, the lift operator corroborated our guess. He told us that Bob owns all the land in the area. There are a few private homes here and there that I asked about. The operator told us that Redford sells lots when he needs the cash. Currently there are 10 lots for sale - $2.5 million a piece.

A thunderstorm was moving in, so we decided to dine a little early. The music playing in the restaurant was old blues. My favorite kind. One of my favorite moments of the whole day was watching my kids tap their feet and bob their heads to the familiar rhythms. Ella finally got to dance during this, her third trip, to Sundance. We had a wonderful meal (I didn’t count ANY points) and then went to play in the creek before heading out. The ride home was all four lane roads or highway, and much less eventful.

This was one of those days that felt really good. Nice. I don’t exactly know why – it just did.

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