Road Trip

arvada 0519
Arvada, as seen from my mother’s back window.

Having my sister closer to hand may be more work than I was expecting.

Tia, you may recall, has taken a job as the business manager for the Gunnison school district, but her family is not moving to Gunnison until after her son graduates high school, just about a year from now. So she is going to be — and already has been, one month into her new job — on the road a lot this next year. This week was particularly Road Warrior-esque.

Timing for this job wasn’t ideal, any way you slice it. Not for Justin’s schooling, obviously, but also in terms of when it started. The school district’s fiscal year runs July 1-June 30, so Tia landed, without a lot of guidance, right in the midst of salary negotiations and budget presentation. The Gunnison superintendent, whom Tia knew on a social basis in Lake City, took her job less than a year ago, so they are figuring their way through this together.

Timing mandated an extremely busy week for Tia, who came to Gunnison last Wednesday to work on negotiations. The budget needs to be presented to the school board at its meeting Monday night — but in the middle of this, son Justin had his choral pops concert. And today is Mothers’ Day (I’m reasonably certain I read my calendar right for this one).

There was nothing for it but a quick run up to Arvada and back. And I thought, well, I have more paint and flooring decisions to make, and stuff to clean and pack at home, and work is getting busier — why don’t I just go to Arvada too? So here I am, coming to you live from my mom’s guest room, prior to a family Mothers’ Day breakfast set to begin at 8 a.m. 8! In the morning! When did my family become so uncivilized?

I kind of think this was at Tia’s request. (I know it wasn’t at her daughter Ellie’s, whose response to the time was something along the lines of, “Oh good lord.”) She still has plenty of work to do, so I think we’re hitting the road shortly after breakfast.

So far this is sounding like work for me too, right? But this turns out to have only been the beginning. Tia used our time in the car to detail the many plans she has for things we’re going to do together once she’s in Gunnison full-time. (She does not know this yet, but she is likely to spend most of next year in a fervor of house-building decisions, so I should be safe for at least a little while.)

For half of the trip, Tia lamented how she is not a hiker, apparently in the sense of the inspirational hiking books she is listening to during her many hours in the car. For the other half, she was pointing out the mountains and the many trails — for some reason, they all go straight uphill — she has already hiked. She thinks it would be “fun” for the two of us to take a two-day backpacking trip. Fun. That’s the word she used, and not in any ironic sense that I could detect, although I tried very hard to detect that.

When I reported this to the rest of my family last night, my sister Terri was not particularly encouraging. “I find myself doing a lot of things because of Tia,” she said.

I guess I hadn’t really thought through what Tia moving to Gunnison might mean. I assumed it meant we would see each other more, but had I stopped to picture what that might entail? Maybe I had a vague idea we would have some meals together. And Lynn and I might go visit her and Don at their new house, and they might come over to our new house. That’s about as far as I thought this through. Tia obviously has been thinking a lot farther. Backpacking trails farther. Ellie was right: Oh good lord.

In addition to the breakfast that is happening far sooner than anyone in their right mind ought to be socializing, the other reason for this trip was Justin’s concert last night.

They have a lot of choral groups at Arvada West High School (those of us in the know like to call it A-West), and since this was the last concert of the year, upperclassmen got a chance to present solos. This process was streamlined by showcasing these solos over the three concert presentations, on Friday and Saturday nights and Saturday afternoon. So one soloist sang Friday, one Saturday afternoon and one Saturday night. That means that the audience didn’t get to hear everyone (unless you went to all three concerts), but it kept the program from going into a fourth hour.

Yes, fourth. Even with choirs entering and exiting the stage remarkably quietly during the solos, the program was still three hours long. Did I mention they have a lot of choral groups at A-West?

It was a good concert despite its length, with a broad range of music presented. Justin, who is in Varsity Men’s Chorus, Varsity West Chorale and Vocal Showcase, spent most of the second half on-stage. One of his choirs (they told me, but I don’t remember which one) has become only the ninth U.S. high school choir invited to the World Choral Festival (that’s probably not the right name) in Belgium next year.

Although I wanted to stay up and carouse after the concert, things didn’t work out quite that way. (Lynn, left behind at home, reported that college boys are doing plenty of carousing for all of us. Yesterday, post-graduation, was a major escalation of the party that has been raging since Wednesday.)

Terri, who chauffeured us to and from the concert, dropped my parents and me off unceremoniously, and then we had a further unceremonious “See you in the morning” inside the house.

So the carousing is waiting for this morning. 8 a.m. What was Tia thinking? This is going to be so much more work than I ever imagined.

One thought on “Road Trip

  1. Just so you know, years ago I ended up on a month-long back packing “adventure” in Alaska because of Tia. When I informed her I was planning the next vacation, she informed me we were on an “adventure,” which is apparently not to be confused with a vacation. You have solstice parties, birthday parties, parties for no reason at all parties, and plenty of yoga to look forward to! Not to mention the hiking and backpacking. And I dropped you off with great ceremony – I stopped the car and let you out. If that’s not ceremonial, I don’t know what is!


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