Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Historical-ness: Life in Colorado

I left off my 'historical-ness' post series with three anniversaries under my belt, adding Baxter and Lizzy to the family, and just about to move to Colorado in the summer of 2006 (click here to read it). And, that is where I will pick up this time - our four years in Boulder, Colorado.

Chris and I had lived together, if you recall because of hurricanes knocking out power, but we had never lived together alone. I'd never really even moved before. So, relocating across the country was a somewhat scary step. We didn't know anybody out there beyond vague acquaintances, so if shit hit the fan we had nowhere to turn for any real help. It was just us and the dogs.

We had saved up enough to get out there, pay rent for a couple months, and eat ramen, but we had to find a couple jobs right quick. And, we were lucky. Chris found a job at CMI (a halfway house) and I got a job at a bakery almost immediately. The bakery gig was overnight and I had planned on doing it just until classes started up in the fall, but I only lasted a week. A day or two later I got an interview at Petco and was hired to work in the grooming department, which was conveniently within walking distance of campus. Much better.
Overlooking University of Colorado at Boulder
We spent the summer going to garage sales for cheap furniture, taking drives up in the mountains, finding walking trails to take the dogs on, discovering little lakes in the middle of nowhere, and trying to get the dogs to stop howling every time we left them at the apartment.
Beagle wadding in a hidden lake in Boulder, Colorado
I started off at the University of Colorado (CU) as an International Affairs major. Turns out, I hate political science classes. I think I ended up with 2 Fs, 1 D, and 1 A that fall semester. The A was in a Shakespeare class. So, I started taking classes in anything that interested me to find a major I could stand at the same time I was checking off my core class requirements. But, because my gpa dropped so low I had to pick it back up by the end of the spring 2007 semester or I would be kicked out.

Unfortunately, I didn't succeed. I was just shy of whatever number I had to have, I think I needed 4 Bs and instead I got 3 Bs and 1 C - apparently you do better if you actually go to class, so I hear. I couldn't take any regular classes so I enrolled in the continuing education program for fall 2007 and took a few classes that way. I even quit my job to focus on schoolwork. I got all As, brought my gpa back up where it needed to be, and re-enrolled at CU in the spring of 2008.

I still had no idea what major I wanted though. So, I did all sorts of 'tours' for different majors - biology, history, architecture, advertising, etc. Three semesters of not finding the right fit. I nearly minored in Nordic studies, but in the spring of 2009 my grandma had a heart attack back in Florida and I fell apart. I couldn't afford to fly home, I was depressed, I was homesick, I felt like I had no direction, and I just started going through the motions. I ended up failing that semester completely. Thankfully it wasn't enough to get me kicked out...yet again.
Grandma and granddaughter standing in the snow in Boulder, Colorado
By the end of that semester I snapped out of it. I'd been doing the college thing for 5 years with nothing to show for it, so I needed to get my rear in gear. I ended up taking a tour of the anthropology department and fell in love. I enrolled myself in all the introductory anthropology classes that summer, and absolutely loved them. Finally.

I spent the next year taking all sorts of fantastic classes and coming home to tell Chris all the exciting things we'd talked about in them. I also took online courses at the same time so that I could graduate by spring 2010. I ended up having to take a couple classes in the summer, but I finished everything up by July. I ended up with a 3.9 gpa within the anthropology department, but a shitty one overall. Such a shame I didn't find my way to anthropology sooner.

Kind of a side story, but you can take 2 classes as pass/fail, and I hadn't used any up by that last summer. I had classes on Chaucer, Film, Modern Lit, and nutrition to take to wrap things up. So, I picked Chaucer and Modern Lit to use my p/f on. I got an A in both, which of course didn't matter. And, a D in that terrible god awful pretentious film class and a C in nutrition, which did matter. Seriously, if it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all.

That ended up being 3000 words about me. But, the majority of my time in Colorado was spent going to class and classwork type things. And, the majority of Chris's time was working. He spent around 2 years at CMI before he hated it enough to leave and found a job serving/bartending/training at a sweet ass burger joint called Islands - man, I miss those shakes.

In our free time we did a lot of outside things with the dogs. Our apartment was between two fantastic walking trails complete with lakes and mountain views. There were also several huge dog parks nearby that were always full of well-behaved dogs. Boulder was such a cool place to be a dog person. Everybody loved dogs, and dogs where everywhere - grocery stores, outside restaurants, Target, etc. In just about every class I had at CU there was a dog in attendance. The dog friendly atmosphere of Boulder is definitely something I miss living in hot concrete land with hardly a sidewalk in sight let alone a crosswalk.
Beagle in the snow in Gunbarrel, Colorado
We also took several trips out to Denver to go to the zoo, or a museum, or shop at REI. Chris got his kayaking instructor certificate, and he loved kayaking down Boulder Creek in the mornings. My grandma came out for a couple visits, bringing along the family weenie too. I lost my shit over the seasons (especially fall), and the first snow without fail. I, however, never learned how to walk in icy snow, and it took me three years to figure out how to layer properly or wear a scarf. I got to have my first real Christmas tree, and discovered that real Christmas trees are a messy pain in the ass - but, man are they pretty. And, I got to hear coyotes at night, see prairie dogs popping their heads out along the side of the road, walk by a stag on my way to classes in the morning, and catch a glimpse of a fox running off somewhere at night.
Kayaking Boulder Creek with your dog
In November of 2008 Chris asked me to marry him. Over french fries. I had no idea it was coming, but for some reason he thought I totally had figured it out. So, instead of carrying on with his original plan he went with the do it right now plan, which was getting down on one knee while I was checking my email. And, I thought he was joking so I kept asking him if he was serious. Hard to get more romantic than that, huh?
Picnic at Boulder Creek, Colorado
There was also an addition to the family that Christmas. Chris got me a kitten. I had always wanted a little black female cat that I could name snickers - I have no idea where this idea came from. Chris couldn't find the black female, so I couldn't figure out a name for the little grey and black stripped male kitten he did find. So, Chris named him Loki after his favourite Norse god. We technically weren't allowed to have any more animals at our apartment so we spent a good bit of time shooing him away from the windows, but he soon was king of the house - stealing the dogs' beds and sneak attacking them and then running away.
Baby kitty sitting on a desk
When my graduation was in sight we debated where we wanted to go, basically if we would try to stay in the Boulder area or move back to Florida. We decided to move back to Florida to be near my grandma and our friends, as well as Disney (yay Disney). So, as soon as I graduated we packed up (literally a few days after my last class) and drove back across the country (without stopping to sleep once because Chris is insane).

And, that about sums up the summer of 2006 to the summer of 2010 living in Colorado - good times and bad times. In the next 'historical-ness' post or several I will highlight bits and pieces, trips and such from living in Florida again, so keep a look out for that.

Click here to read any previous 'historical-ness' posts!

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