Last week I chronicled our great trip to my home state, Colorado. The reasons for this trip were two-fold, with many pleats in those folds. First off, it was time for my class reunion, so we kind of planned the trip around that, but also, family. We stayed with my cousin and her family, who graciously opened their home to us. She has two daughters who are pretty much the same age as my girls, and the four of them got along great (you never know, as the four of them haven’t been together for a couple of years). We would have just up and returned to Colorado if it wasn’t for our life in Ohio.
My mom and stepdad came up from Arizona to stay with her sister. My cousins (siblings of the cousin we stayed with) also came in for the weekend. So, it was a quasi family reunion; all except my brother. Who is mad at me right now because I don’t call him enough. So, just as well he didn’t come . . .
We also got to see Ted’s brother, who lives in Boulder. He’s an awesome young man, and we love seeing him.
The weekend started off with a class get-together on Friday night. Really fun. Not many people there, but I had a great time. It is amazing how you can fall back into friendships easily after so many years. We live in different parts of the US, have incredibly varied careers, raised or are raising children of incredibly different ages, and are of incredibly differing political ideals, we all fell into conversations just like it was yesterday. We laughed, drank, reminisced–all the stuff you would expect from a class reunion. Or at least a good class reunion.
Saturday night was different, but the same. We had two public high schools in Greeley, one semi-private (at the time affiliated with the University in town. Now it is a charter school). Saturday night we had all three schools together. It was great fun and awesome, but a little overwhelming. So many people from so many different facets of an old life, it was hard to put them all together. My brain hurt by the end of the night.
Sunday we, as a family, headed to Estes Park and had some family fun. Last summer that part of the Rockies flooded, along with towns down river (including Greeley, which is about 60 miles east of Estes). The destruction was incredible, as was the spirit to rebuild. Much of Estes is back, although a lot of the damage was still evident. But we had a great time; we bought sweatshirts, cruised the street, and hit the ‘fun plex’ for go-karts, bumper boats, bumper cars, and x-treme trampolining.
The rest of the week seemed to go by in a blur. We went to WaterWorld in North Denver, an incredible water park with tons of land. The girl’s had a great time on the slides and in the wave pool, and even Grandma and Grandpa got into the swing of things!
We got together with extended family (my mom’s cousins), went back to school clothes shopping, went to Boulder for dinner with Ted’s brother at an incredible Mediterranean restaurant (MED). Boulder does Gluten Free seriously, and that is so nice to see (the rest of the trip, especially on the road, we had more trouble, but made it work). It was so successful that we spent the trip home trying to figure out if it was feasible to move back. The answer is not at this particular moment, but in the future. Luckily, we live in a town we like and have a lot of good friends; if we were miserable, we would be moving heaven and earth to get back.
I miss and love Colorado and my family. One week was not long enough!!!
And now, This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.
The quirky, angst-driven Foxman family in Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You is totally dysfunctional. But it works for them.
I fell in love with the Foxman family, mostly because they remind me of my own family (with whom I am spending an extended vacation as I finished this book), minus the Jewish part.
The family is thrown together when their pretty much religion-free father demands they sit Shiva for him on his death-bed. The story is mostly told by Judd Foxman, the third of four Foxman children, who is separated from his wife, jobless (because his wife slept with his boss), and living in the basement of a “crappy house.”
Judd is the author’s main focus, but we also get large doses of the rest of the family. Judd’s mother is a sexy older woman who is best known as the author of a well-known book on child-rearing. His older brother, Paul, is angry and resentful, the athlete whose career was stunted, and is now running the family sporting goods business (concidently, my family’s business, as well!). Wendy is his older sister, married to a wealthy, distracted man and caring for her three children. And Phillip, the good-looking younger brother who can’t keep his hands off pretty girls, even though he is engaged. Throw in neighbors and old friends, and you have a great story to which many and most can relate.
Coming together for seven days as adults means dealing with childhood issues that were never completely put aside compounded with adult issues. The Foxmans handle it all with just enough anger to be believable and enough sarcasm to be funny. You want to hug them and then laugh with them.
I read this because of its soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture status, and I’m very happy I did. Loved this book. I think the movie will be good, but I’m glad I read it first (as I usually am).