Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Monday, 16 April 2012

Six short stories

Ladies, gents, girls and boys, and all the other creatures who check in on this blog  - it has been a big April! And we are barely halfway through.

As so much as happened, I thought I would treat you all with six short stories on our adventures thus far this month. Sit back, get yourself a cuppa, and enjoy.


At the very beginning of the month Zac and I went with one of the other local Aussie families on an adventure to the Zoo in Colorado Springs. We loaded in to the McKee-mobile (pram, baby carrier, oxygen, baby bag, baby sling and all the other bits and pieces that make up any outing of more than a couple of hours) and headed down the six lane highway (I25). Following the GPS we went through a suburb with some serious $$$ (Ka-ching!). There was a golf club, an enormous club house, and hotel, all looking pristine like on a movie set. We passed houses that looked like they had been stolen off the set of Gone with the Wind, or had been on MTV "cribs", or built to look like a house of parliament. And we climbed. And climbed. And climbed. The city sits at about 6,000 ft above see level: I reckon this zoo would have been another 2,000 ft higher (I don't even think I am exaggerating). Zac was trialing days without oxygen - but not this day. I felt fuzzy headed, so on it went.

The zoo was unique... there were exhibits where serious money had been spent, and there were exhibits that hadn't been touched since they were first built years and years (and years) ago. But the thing that they all had in common was that you could always see the bars on the cages. That was very strange - I don't think I remember actually seeing a cage at any zoo at home... or maybe I just wasn't paying attention.... but any way, there were some awesome animals. You could feed the giraffes, and look down on this funny, horse-zebra thing; there were (smelly) monkeys galore; hippos that looked like they were swimming in a backyard pool (green stuff around the sides and all); an enormous budgy cage (that with my irrational fear of birds I kept a serious distance from); and the best bear show EVER! The cage had a glass viewing wall that was half land and half water. The bears had just been fed so they were active, diving into the water to pick up toys that must have been filled with peanut butter for them to lick out, playing ball, floating on their back with all four paws in the air - it was one of the most fantastic things that I have ever seen. And given the looks of awe on the Mckee's boys faces, I guess they felt the same.

The zoo was a mad house. Built on the side of a mountain (not a hill), you caught elevators to the top of exhibts or once you had finished a "level". Crazy stuff! And you should have seen the "map" of Australia near the bush rats.... obviously the artist didn't know where Australia was or it's shape. It gave us a good giggle.

A very fun day - check out the photos on FB.


In my absence from the great country of Oz, two of my best friends - the lovely Miss G and my wife Ange - have become engaged. Both of these beautiful ladies have asked me to be part of their big days. I'm more than a bit chuffed. Being that I am so far away, I am missing many of the little preps that my brides are making. So in order to try and be a "help" I went dress shopping. I left Zac and Tristan for some Daddy-son time and headed for the shops.

OMG - so fun! I would have tried on a dozen dresses. Long and short. Fancy and party-like. All the hues of the rainbow. As much as I love my girls, I must say that it was fun to shop for them without them ;-) Like all things in this part of the world, the stores are huge. There were rows of dresses, in every size (no need for giant bull dog clips or "just hold the smaller size against you. You'll get the idea...") and 32 dressing rooms. So after a few hours of fun, I picked a couple of dresses, and sent them home for opinions. In all likelihood they'll get something from home, but gee I had fun "helping".

Dresses are much cheaper here than at home, so I think there are a few that need to be added to my wardrobe soon...


Over the Easter weekend we had our very first guests from Australia (well technically one of them lives in Pommy-land, but he's from the coast so...) Ben and Tania road-tripped from NY city to Denver to visit us for a weekend - now that is commitment! It was great to hang out with a couple of Aussies who shared the same "OMG! It's so big" opinions of the US. They experienced many of the big things that the US has to offer: the big Apple, the big road trip, big mountains, big burgers, and even Basspro and Sam's Club (those of you that have spent some time over here will get the references - everyone else will need to come visit so I can show you). We spent the evenings drinking cheap American alcohol (well, I was actually drinking NZ Sav Blanc - but the thought was there), and eating bad American food (we will all now die of heart attacks), while talking of home, and drunk Skyping (better than drunk dialing). It was great. And we appreciated the visit more than we can say.

As per usual, we all had big plans to go out on the town one night - I even lined up a McKee to babysit. But then Zac decided not to sleep the night before and my eyes were hanging out of my head. And Tristan had just come off a shift and was buggered. And we sent Ben and Tania to drive up a mountain, shop at the outlets and to eat a stroke inducing burger (which as a result I'm not sure they ate properly again for days), and they couldn't be bothered getting dressed and going out either, so we repeated the night before. It was awesome.

Selfishly, the best bit was showing our little fighter off to people who know us from home. It made us both very proud - until the little bugger spewed all over me. Sigh....


So after Ben and Tania got back on the road on Easter Sunday, Tristan went back to work (which I will furthermore call Hades as in the ancient Greek underworld) and Zac and I went over to another Aussie's house for a pot luck Easter lunch extravaganza.

Easter is very different here. There is no Red Tulip aisle in Coles to tempt you with all the wonderful and waist expanding goodies. In fact the only eggs you get are little tiny ones. Most Easter chocolate on this side of the pacific is normal bite size chocolate (i.e. kit kats, snickers, peanut butter cups), in Easter themed wrappers. It made me sad. It just didn't feel like Easter.... But everywhere I went there were plastic eggs (you know the type - with a hinge on the side and empty in the middle).I didn't get it. why would people buy so many plastic eggs? There are only so many chocolate crackle eggs that you can make! But on Easter Sunday, everything made sense. Americans fill these little eggs with toys - like lucky dips. What a great idea!

Easter just is better when there are little kids running all over the yard looking for eggs.

Following that adventure, I watched the "big kids" take part in a Mexican easter tradition. Earlier in the week, someone had boiled dozens and dozens of eggs, then dug everything out of the shell, and refilled it with confetti. So the idea was to break these confetti eggs on one another! It was so funny to watch (I had a baby protecting me so no one came near). Glitter went everywhere! In peoples hair, down their shirts (and some pants), some bounced off and landed in th grass, to be picked up by someone else. I am taking this tradition home. It rocks!!

All in all, Zac's first Easter was a lot of fun.


Time has flown, and last week Zac had his four month shots. I'm not particularly squimish about needles (I've had my fair share) so during Zac's last doctors visit I held him while they jabbed him with 3 needles and then gave him another immuinzation by mouth. My poor little boy was not happy! After a big cuddle, a bottle and a car ride, he had forgiven me. But the next day he had to have another shot. Well, I don't think that he forgave me for that one!!

We have had a few days of being off colour, but he's doing OK. But I think for his 6 month shots, Daddy can hold master Zac and look after him for the few days after. I'm not sure that a person is meant to do two rounds of shots back to back. Gosh it was hard! Zac got back at me, well and truly!!


So around about the same time as Zac's shots, Tristan had to go to Washington for work. (convenient timing?!?!?!). He was so excited for four nights of uninterrupted sleep. I was so jealous!

Once a year, Tristan has to go to Washington to attend a bunch of briefings and workshops. Zac and I stayed at home this year, so he was a free agent to "network", see (and drink) the sights and delights of the Capitol. From what I can ascertain, he was very busy during the day doing work stuff, and during the nights he did one armed arm weight lifting (drinking beer), spent time getting to know his colleagues from across northern America (drinking beer), and even got all dressed up in his dress uniform to attend a ball and watch the game of influence (while drinking beer). I think it was a big week for my man. And while his sleep may have been uninterrupted, I'm not sure it was for as many hours as he had wished ;-)

He took some wonderful photos, and next year when me and the boy tag along, he has given us a very long to-do list... Turbo tourism at its best! Lookout Washington and surrounding states, you're on the Apperley to-do list!


So that is April so far.... Tune in later this month to catch the adventures of the big blue car - the Apperely's go to New Mexico ;-)

Much love!!!